Susan Boyle has proved that we are all more superficial than we thought. When she stepped onto the stage for Britain’s Got Talent, before she even spoke a word, we all expected her to make a supreme fool of herself, judging solely by the way she looked. But by now you know how beautifully she sang, and perhaps that her performance has been viewed on YouTube 20 million times and she has received an invitation to appear on Oprah. But because we are all so superficial, the nagging issue of her appearance remains. Tom Leonard writes in the Telegraph:
I don’t think the highlighted, dazzling dentures brigade on US TV have quite got the point about Susan Boyle’s huge popularity — that for many people, it’s a two fingers up to television’s obsession with physical appearance.
CBS conducted the most cringeingly condescending interview with Susan in which the male host evidently thought he had to talk very slowly and stick to questions like “Do you understand you’re a worldwide star?”. Diane Sawyer, anchor of ABC’s Good Morning America, was arguably even more patronising.
Did Susan know that America’s Got Talent winners get a makeover, she asked her. Would she perhaps be coming to the US with blonde hair and wearing red leather, she followed up.
Britain’s Got Talent judge Amanda Holden is trying to protect Boyle against a makeover. She tells the Mirror:
“I won’t let Simon Cowell take her to his dentist and I certainly won’t let her near his hairdresser.
“She needs to stay exactly as she is because that’s the reason we love her. She just looks like anybody who could live on your street.
“The minute we turn her into a glamour-puss is when it’s spoilt. That can perhaps come later when she’s signed the album deal and conquered America.
“For now we’ll keep her exactly as she is because that’s why we’ve all fallen in love with her. I think it’s the underdog thing. It’s somebody who’s looked after her mother all her life. She’s had real dreams, real aspirations and obviously she thought she’d had to say goodbye to those things.”
It seems inevitable that Boyle will receive a makeover, whatever happens to her — a record deal, the cover of O, a jewelry line (what reality-TV star doesn’t have one?). But what if she didn’t? What if we accepted that not all famous people have to be stuffed into Spanx and plucked and whitened and highlighted and buffed and blinged and laden with makeup? What if we didn’t try to turn her into Madonna? Can we let her remain famous just as she is? Boyle didn’t accept the inevitable, so why should we?
America reaches for its hanky over Susan Boyle [Telegraph UK]
Britain’s Got Talent star Susan Boyle won’t get makeover says Amanda Holden [Daily Mirror]