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Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Susan Boyle: Saviour of the Modern World!

Like the rest of the world, I’ve been fascinated by the hype surrounding Susan Boyle, the 47 year old sensational singing spinster/AKA the “hairy angel”. An antithesis of the music industry has taken the world by storm and helped us to realise how sick we are of everyone looking so goddamned perfect. Susan stood in sharp contrast to Amanda Holden who couldn't even raise her botoxed eyebrows in surprise. Instead, Amanda showed us her pretty armpits. I wonder if this is a side-effect of botox??As I rarely watch TV, I missed the original broadcast on Britain’s Got Talent but saw it on youtube. I can’t remember how the story caught my attention or why I felt I needed to see it for myself (as I rarely take interest in these talent shows) but I’ve been hooked on seeing Susan’s performance and willingly take responsibility for at least a couple hundred (out of the 100 million) youtube hits. I’m addicted. I have to admit, my heart plummeted when I heard Susan say she was going to sing “I Dreamed a Dream”. The way it was all set up I think one can be forgiven for expecting some sort of joke interpretation. And IMHO, it’s too beautiful a song for that. It’s a song of pain and regret sung as a solo by Fantine in Les Miserables. She’s an abandoned single mother who has been forced to turn to prostitution and sell her child into slavery. I couldn’t bear to see this song turned into a comedy.

Well, I shouldn’t have been worried.

From the moment she opened her mouth, Susan Boyle was a revelation and, as they say, the rest is history. She has the je ne sais quoi lacking in so many of today’s musical performances. Just what might my thoughts be on this je ne sais quoi? Why I’m glad you asked because I’ve been doing some thinking (uh-oh) about Susan’s success. . .

First of all--and don’t hate me for saying it—it was not a perfect performance. The line “when the tigers come at night” was too low for Susan’s vocal range. In fact, I think her vocal range is quite limited. She also didn’t quite have enough breath to sustain “So different now from what it seemed” so she is going to have to work on the breathing.

I don’t think her performance was amazing because it came from an unexpected source either. All this “we were expecting hamburger but got steak so we’re happier than what we expected” business is nonsense. I wouldn’t watch it again and again to relive the “surprise” if that were the case. No, I watch it again and again because I’m handed a pretty damn perfect interpretation of how Fantine really felt: I really felt her pain and anguish. As much as I admire Ruthie Henshall’s voice--or any of the other "divas" who have sung the part I don’t think Fantine would deliver such a perfect, pretty performance at the end of her life. When Susan belted out “So different from this hell I’m living,” I just lost it. Just what kind of hell can Ruthie relate to or make us believe she had been through? I really believed Susan had connected the audience to the composer’s intention far closer than anyone else ever had. Divination at its finest. It's the feeling she puts into the performance--and that can't be taught, coached or paid for. Susan Boyle has proven to our disbelieving eyes that quality doesn't depend on the packaging. For this reason, Susan Boyle just may be the saviour of the modern world.

Do I think Susan can be a Broadway star? To be honest, I’d hate to see her wasted that way. I think if she’s trained like a monkey, she’ll deliver performances exactly like all the other singing monkeys on Broadway. She’ll lose the edge she has and she will never equal what she did the other week. I hope she does do a record before she starts up with the “professional” singing lessons.

Do I think she’ll win Britain’s Got Talent? Well, there is a chance the Susan Boyle hype will continue but it’s going to be quite a lot to sustain in order to win what amounts to a popularity contest. I couldn’t care less if she won a stupid contest—I just want her to keep on singing. And don’t go changing. . .
BTW, wikipedia was giving Susan a birthdate of 1 April 1961 at 9:50 am, Blackburn West Lothian Scotland. This gives her a Gemini ascendant--very apt for someone who claimed we were only seeing one side of her! This data shows transit Pluto opposing her Venus in recent years. We haven't seen the last of Susan Boyle!
In honour of Susan's long hidden but permanent fame, here's a little Venus in the sixth opposing Pluto joke:
One day a man was driving along when all of a sudden 'thud' 'splat' he hit a rabbit who had hopped out in front of him. He stopped the car to see if it was still alive but it was just a limp, lifeless creature in his hands. A blonde woman saw what happened as she was driving by and pulled over to see if she could help. The man explained what happened and she said, "Don't worry I know just what to do". She runs back to her car and comes back with a spray can and proceeds to spritz the entire contents onto the rabbitt. Suddenly the creature springs to it's feet and starts hopping down the road again. It goes about 50 feet turns and then waves it's paw at the two humans.....hops off again, goes 50 feet and waves......hops off, goes 50 feet and waves. The bewildered man asks the blond what it was she sprayed onto the rabbit? She hands him the can which reads, "Restores life to limp, lifeless hair. Adds permanent wave."