What if Susan Boyle couldn’t sing?

You’ve by now probably heard of Susan Boyle, a modest 47-year old spinster from Scotland who showed up a derisive audience and and even more derisive panel of judges on the TV show “Britain’s got Talent.”

Here’s how USA Today described the event:

Boyle — 47, unglamorous, unfashionable, unknown — faced down a sneering British audience and panel of judges on Britain’s Got Talent, including the ever-sneery Simon Cowell. Then, in an instant, she turned jeers to cheers with her rendition of one of the weepier numbers from Les Misérables. Almost as instantly, Boyle went viral: A clip on YouTube garnered millions of hits.

It’s certainly very uplifting and kudos to the modest Susan Boyle who trumped up sneers simply by being herself. But it does raise some uncomfortable questions. What if Susan Boyle could not sing? Why does derision spread so quickly in a crowd? How many other Susan-Boyle’s started out humiliated and went home humiliated?

Dennis Palumbo: What if Susan Boyle Couldn’t Sing?

But I can’t help wondering, what would have been the reaction if Susan Boyle couldn’t sing?What would the judges and the audience have thought, and said, had her voice been a creaky rasp, or an out-of-tune shriek? Would she still possess that “inner beauty?” Would we still acknowledge that the derisive treatment she received before performing was callous, insensitive and cruel?

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11 thoughts on “What if Susan Boyle couldn’t sing?

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Susan Boyle is indeed inspiring and positive, and she is very much herself! I just wanted to point out that were Susan Boyle not talented, she would still be beautiful inside, but the panel and audience would have humiliated her. And how many people have gone home humiliated because didn’t have the specific talent to win over the crowd?

  1. Trisha

    Not that I agree, but some people would argue that people who don’t have talent have no business auditioning in the first place…meaning they deserve any reaction they get because they put themselves in that position.

    Then again, people always view their own ethics more positively than reality. The majority of people will tell you that yes, they would have seen her inner beauty, regardless of her talent (or lack thereof), and never would have humiliated her.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      You’re right, some level of talent is expected at the competition. What if she were just moderately good? The audience and panel humiliated her before she sang, just based on her unglamorous looks.

  2. Trisha

    Oh I didn’t see the beginning; I didn’t realize they already humiliated her. If she were just moderatley good, they would have said she didn’t have the right look for the competition…they’ve said it to people before.

    What about the American Idol audition shows where the sole purpose of the episode is to make fun of people? (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2i9QYWzKGU) Maybe it’s scripted, but we all laugh at it either way. I’m on fence…I think people definitley put themselves in a position to be mocked, but I don’t know how much of it they deserve.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Right, I haven’t watched these shows so I don’t know what the culture of the show is. On Jerry Springer, there is a certain culture and people fall into certain roles. Maybe it’s the same in this show; I don’t know.

  3. Raymond

    Could you tell me why I cried while listening to the first notes of that extraordinary voice, me who never cries! Maybe because I’m on my way to awakening to the tru beauty of this world while turning off more and more the switch of my mental noisy voice. Thanks to this wonderful and simple women, Susan Boyle, for showing the world the deepest inner beauty of a human being.

  4. Jonathan

    If Susan Boyle couldn’t sing she would have been ridiculed because the worldview of society is seemingly lost in appearances. Are the best singers the most beautiful ? Are the greatest artists the most perfect beings ? This is a classic example of not pre-judging somebody before they’ve had their chance to shine. It is moving and humbling when real beauty emerges from the unexpected.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Jonathan,
      Yes, indeed. There are a lot of prejudices in people, and in this case, there is also a very cruel mob mentality. Susan Boyle turned it all wonderfully upside down!


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