Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Misjudging The Book By Its Cover

I don't watch "American Idol" never have, never will. But I had read about a woman named Susan Boyle who appeared on the British version of "AI" and had utterly stunned the judges and the audience with her singing. I googled her this evening and watched the YouTube video of her performance. She is a very plain, frumpy middle-aged woman from a village in Scotland; when she walked out onto the stage, you can see and hear the snickers from the audience and the judges, too, are skeptical to say the least. But she is plucky and so utterly believes in her talent that I feared for her because obviously she was going to make a fool of herself- she was going to be the next "joke" contestant, the delusional person the audience supports out of sheer snarkiness. I felt sorry for her and dreaded her utter humiliation.
Then she opened her mouth and sang and it was an epiphany. Her voice was gorgeous, her rendition of the song was heartfelt and stirring. She shamed us all as she embraced us with the generosity of her talent and her complete confidence in her ability. I was in tears at the end of her performance. Even Simon Cowell was stunned- the look on his face was one of utter amazement and pure delight. (I understand he has her under contract for his recording company as a result of her performance.)
I wish her every great thing- what a lesson in persistance, vision, belief in oneself, and courage. Her victory over our cynicism, our culture's erroneous belief that great talent must be accompanied by physical attractiveness, our focus on the cover instead of the writing are complete. But she does not need my wishes, she took the chances and is now going to get the recognition her talent deserves.
So from this plain, frumpy middle-aged woman whose talent is often dismissed because it does not come in the culturally-approved package, I say- you go, Susan!

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