What does Susan Boyle have to do to gain respect? The initial YouTube video of her audition on "Britain's got Talent" has received a record 75 million or so hits, and her debut album (I Dreamed A Dream) is at number one with tens of thousands of copies being ordered three months before its release, more than that for Whitney Houston and the Beatles. She has a fan-based website with thousands of members.
And she is still being disrespected by some newspaper journalists. In his "Dave On Demand" column in the Philadelphia Inquirer,
David Hiltbrand wrote last Saturday: "Mary Hart conducted an interview of Paul McCartney on 'Entertainment Tonight' this week that exemplified the show's ridiculous obsession with the flavor of the week. She asked the pop legend what he thought of flash-in-the-pan Susan Boyle. That's like getting a sit-down with Dame Judi Dench to ask her what she thinks of Gossip Girl's Blake Lively."
Huh? Susan Boyle a "flavor of the week?" A "flash-in-the-pan?" What was Dave thinking? I emailed him disagreeing with his assessment and asked if he had heard the YouTube video of Susan performing "Wild Horses" (from her latest album) on "America's Got Talent" which got rave reviews. He wrote back that he had and that it only reinforced his opinion.
Well, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I wrote back and said that he has no ear for music (I can say that because I am a professional musician) and that Susan's voice is stronger and more beautiful than Paul McCartney's and that she sings better in tune and that someday she will be as big a legend as the Beatles.
He emailed back that time will tell. I'm sure it will, in Susan's favor. Sure, she had a rough time after the instant fame and attention she received from the first YouTube video of her audition on Britain's Got Talent. Who wouldn't with all that pressure, especially if you have lived a relatively isolated life (with no computer even)?
In an earlier article in the Huffington Post, "The Appeal of Susan Boyle," I explained why I believed she touched so many viewers of the video. She showed inspiring grace in forgiving the audience for pre-judging her before hearing her sing. She is a hero to many and a reminder that we shouldn't judge a book by its cover. Now that the shock of our first encounter with her has worn off and she has experienced a "make-over", what is left is her extraordinary talent and haunting, powerful voice.
I can't help but wonder if Dave's opinion of her singing would be different if he had only heard her voice with no knowledge of her appearance (past or present) or her age or background.
Judging from her moving rendition of "Wild Horses", I believe her first audition was just the beginning and she has a long and successful career ahead of her.
As Dave has said, only time will tell.
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