The Susan Boyle Effect


I admit. I can’t watch it enough!

I’ve viewed Susan Boyle’s performance on “Britain’s Got Talent” probably twenty times. The YouTube video has passed forty million hits.

If you’ve been out of the country—actually out of the world—Susan Boyle is a 47 year old, never-been-married, never-been-kissed, unemployed, church charity worker, who is, at first glance, strikingly unimpressive! Her common appearance is the first thing that hits you. At a school dance she would blend in with the wallflowers. Her companion is her cat Pebbles.

She is so “un-showbizzy” that the audience and three judges wrote her off before she even started singing. If tomatoes had been available the stage would have been slimed…and then the music began!

She sang a song from Les Miserables that her hero, Elaine Paige, had sung. Her performance was better than the one sung by her hero. I keep hit the play button on the YouTube video to that moment when the faces of the judges change from “Why Did I Take This Job” to “Oh! My Gosh!” Three seconds in the audience erupts in applause and astonishment.

It is a classic case of determining a book by its cover without bothering to even read the table of contents. It’s pre-judgment in its finest example. It’s the musical real-life version of the movie Hoosiers, which was based on a true story, but seasoned with a touch of Hollywood to make it that much more entertaining. Susan Boyle was entertaining, talented, but in real time! She’s Napoleon Dynamite with a personality and a smile; the average student who suddenly produces an authentic best-seller. She’s the clarinet player in a group that thinks percussion is where it’s at! She’s the little boy who gives Jesus his lunch in order to help out with the hunger pangs of the multitude. Who would have thought such a sacrifice would touch the whole crowd.

“Susan Boyle” is a story of the value that we so easily yank away from someone. It’s an example of the pecking order of life that people even exercise in front of a TV screen, or, in this case, an internet web site. How quickly we settle on first impressions! We tend to assign a value before opening the box.

The majestic moments in this situation are how quickly the audience and judges put the brakes on where they thought this was going, and turned the bus around.

It’s a heartwarming story that really does elicit tears. And yet in the midst of this incredible happening to an average middle-aged woman there have come doubters. Today I noticed that the skeptics surfaced, insinuating that it was all staged. It’s as though no one can so quickly change a hissing, ridiculing audience. Our world is more prone to think the worst of people than allow Cinderella stories to play out.

Susan Boyle, unintentionally mind you, has become a person of hope and realized dreams. In her a multitude of people see that perhaps their lives can find fulfilled purpose and realize what they only dreamed of. Our world infrequently allows average people to make vivid lasting impressions.

Susan Boyle has given us cause to celebrate and re-assess our value. Perhaps for a few moments it has caused us to slow our judgmental attitudes down long enough to hear the hidden sweet sounds of life that drift by us unnoticed.


Explore posts in the same categories: Bible, Christianity, Jesus, Pastor, Story, The Church, Uncategorized

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One Comment on “The Susan Boyle Effect”

  1. Katie Says:

    A great reminder to always look for the good in those around us – a lesson we all need at times (especially here in the trenches of dirty diapers, toddler tantrums and teen hormones!!)

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