Susan Boyle Goes Legend

Susan Boyle of Blackburn, West Lothian, Scotland,  is forty-seven. She’s frumpy, unemployed, lives alone with her cat and has never even been kissed. And . . . she . . . just . . . blew . . . away . . . the judges and crowd in her audition for Britain’s Got Talent on Saturday, April 11, 2009.

Wow. Be prepared to be moved. Big time.


Susan Boyle stuns the crowd on "Britain's Got Talent"

The judges and crowd had dismissed her—and were openly mocking her—before she sang a note. The looks on their faces when she started singing I Dreamed A Dream from Les Miserables are priceless. They were on their feet before she finished the first stanza. Incredible.

What made Susan’s performance even more touching was the song itself, a song she has essentially lived, a song that cries out to the lonely and unwanted, a song that offers not comfort, but salt in the wounds of dreams unfulfilled.

Yes, there are dreams that cannot be. Ah, but thanks to shows like this that offer hope to disenfranchised dreamers everywhere, Susan’s dream is just now beginning. 

Hers is a story of beauty and grace and inspiration on so many levels. It is the ugly-duckling-turns-into-a-swan fairy tale come to life. This was the first time we have heard of Susan Boyle. It will not be the last.

The lyrics of I Dreamed A Dream are at the end of this post; the portions Susan sung are highlighted.


We interrupt this recap of The Week Susan Boyle Took The World By Storm to bring you Susan’s semifinal performance of Memory from the musical Cats on May 23, 2009.

Here are the results of the first of the five semifinal heats. (Each semifinal includes eight different contestants. Two from each of the five semifinals will advance to the finals on Saturday, May 30.)


Here is Susan’s performance in the finals on May 30, 2009. 

And here is the announcement of the winner!

It didn’t take long for Susan’s first fansite to appear. Check out this site for all the latest news and video about Susan.


Here is a short interview with Susan on the show after her performance.


Here are Amanda Holden and Simon Cowell being interviewed about Susan.


Here is Susan’s first post-performance interview on the Five Thirty Show on STV, a Scottish television network, a few days later.


Here is a two-minute feature on England’s Channel 5 on Wednesday, April 15 that includes comments from actors in the current production of Les Miserables.


Here is a three-minute feature about Susan on the CBS Evening News on Wednesday, April 15.


Here is Susan’s interview on CBS’ The Early Show the following morning, Thursday, April 16, in which she sings part of I Dreamed A Dream from her living room. She also receives praise from surprise guest Patti LuPone, who originated the Les Miserables role on Broadway.


Susan also was interviewed by Diane Sawyer on ABC’s Good Morning America on Thursday, April 16.


Susan was featured on NBC’s Today show with Matt Lauer and Meredith Viera on Friday, April 17. Paul Potts, who won the inaugural season of Britain’s Got Talent, made a surprise guest appearance.


Here is Susan singing My Heart Will Go On during her interview with CNN’s Larry King on Friday, April 17. Piers Morgan, a judge on Britain’s Got Talent, is also a guest. He asks Susan to dinner and she accepts. Piers is responding to comments made by Susan about him in an interview. Read the story here, courtesy of the April 18 Daily Beast.


Here she tells WLC Online’s (West Lothian Courier) Richard Mooney about her memorable night.


Want to hear another song by Susan? Your wish is my command! Here she is singing Cry Me a River for a charity CD organized by her local newspaper in 1999. Only a thousand copies of the CD were distributed. Read the full story here.


And here is an interview on STV’s Five Thirty Show with Eddie Anderson, the man behind the 1999 charity CD mentioned in the paragraph above.


FInally, here is twenty-two-year-old Susan singing the Barbara Streisand hit The Way We Were and I Don’t Know How To Love Him from Jesus Christ Superstar during a 1984 competition at Fir Park Social Club in the Scottish town of Motherwell. The singing contest was between locals and visitors from a Midlands club. Susan was drafted into the Coventry Tam O’Shanter Club’s team because someone had dropped out.





Susan’s magnificent debut was even more unexpected than that of Paul Potts, who won this contest two years ago. Here is Paul’s star-making audition. And speaking of surprising performances, it would be a glaring omission not to mention eleven-year-old Bianca Ryan, who blew the roof off during her 2006 audition for America’s Got Talent, a contest she eventually won. Incidentally, Piers Morgan, who was a judge for all three of the above auditions, said after Susan’s performance:

Without a doubt, that was the biggest surprise I have had in three years of this show. When you stood there with that cheeky grin and said, “I want to be like Elaine Page,” everyone was laughing at you. No one is laughing now. That was stunning. an incredible performance.  Amazing. I’m reeling from shock. How about you two (to Amanda and Simon). I can’t believe it.

Out of nowhere, wIth one song, Susan Boyle went legend. In less than 48 hours, more than two million people watched her performance on YouTube. (UPDATE: In 72 hours, Susan’s YouTube videos compiled more than five and a half million views.) The April 13 edition of Mail Online, the digital version of the British newspaper, The Daily Mail, included these comments:

Miss Boyle revealed she was battling deep personal anguish as she sang the track from the West End stage show Les Miserables

It was the first time she had sung in public since the death of her mother two years ago. 

The church volunteer from West Lothian said she could not bring herself to sing after the death of her mother Bridget, 91, in 2007. 

Miss Boyle said she was only persuaded to sing when she heard about auditions for the show. 

‘I was left really upset,’ she said. ‘Because of the bereavement, I had decided to give up singing. Up until then I was singing in the church choir and doing karaoke regularly, but I just didn’t feel up to it after that. 

‘When I heard about the auditions for Britain’s Got Talent I decided to get back into singing and start enjoying life again. 

‘I wasn’t sure how my voice would sound after so long but the reception I got from the audience and the judges was fantastic.’ 

She lives alone with her cat Pebbles on a council estate in remote Bathgate.

Miss Boyle has admitted she has never been on a date, or even been kissed. 

‘I’ll get used to the fame side of things with baby steps  –  one step at a time. I am enjoying it very much just now. It’s very good. I’ll take the fame in my stride.’ 

She added: ‘Mum lived with me and she was my life  –  I cared for her. 

‘But she urged me to enter this show as she said I had a fantastic voice. So this year I thought I’d go for it  –  and I can’t believe what has happened.’ 

She added: ‘I hope my mum and dad Patrick are looking down on me  –  they’ll be so proud.’ 

Miss Boyle told the Mail she is facing the prospect of fame cautiously. 


Susan’s life will never be the same again. Indeed, when she woke up the next morning, her world looked very different than it did twenty-four hours earlier. For instance, the morning after her Saturday night performance, she received an ovation when she walked into church!


Here is an article about Susan from It has some good information although I noticed a few errors in it—they got the name of her song wrong—so don’t take it as the gospel truth.


Here is a San Francisco Chronicle article about Susan from April 16.


Here is an article about Susan from the April 17 online edition of New York magazine.



There was a time when men were kind
When their voices were soft
And their words inviting
There was a time when love was blind
And the world was a song
And the song was exciting
There was a time
Then it all went wrong

I dreamed a dream in time gone by
When hope was high
And life worth living
I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving
Then I was young and unafraid
And dreams were made and used and wasted
There was no ransom to be paid
No song unsung, no wine untasted

But the tigers come at night
With their voices soft as thunder
As they tear your hope apart
And they turn your dream to shame

He slept a summer by my side
He filled my days with endless wonder
He took my childhood in his stride
But he was gone when autumn came

And still I dream he’ll come to me
That we will live the years together
But there are dreams that cannot be
And there are storms we cannot weather

I had a dream my life would be
So different from this hell I’m living
So different now from what it seemed
Now life has killed the dream I dreamed

Click here to view the best acts from The X Factor, America’s Got Talent and Britain’s Got Talent.


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45 Responses to “Susan Boyle Goes Legend”

  1. Nicole Zivalich, ND Says:

    This made my day Phil! It really says it all. Thanks so much for taking the time to share this extraordinary piece. I feel totally re-inspired!

  2. Phil Bolsta Says:

    You’re welcome, Nicole! I imagine that Susan is making lots of people’s day!

  3. Pat Says:

    I completely agree with Nicole, the previous commenter. It brought tears of joy to my eyes, and I am force-feeding it to my friends!

  4. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Force-feed away, Pat! It’s a hearty meal!


    Hi Phil,

    Thanks for the Susan Boyle clip…. another inspiration!


  6. Phil Bolsta Says:

    You’re welcome, Myrna! We all can use a little inspiration now and then!

  7. Kim Battern Says:

    Hi Phil, Cyn just emailed me and told me you have a blog entry on Susan Boyle. Love your article. I told Cyn I have been tracking her hits on youtube. Yesterday it was 1,585,047 and this morning it was 2,721,614. What an amazing voice. I am so happy for her.

  8. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Yes, she definitely is the YouTube darling of the moment. And well deserved. Thanks, Kim!

  9. Jan Toomer Says:

    I always tear up when I read/listen to what you have posted – and have teared up yet again.
    Thanks Phil for the heart grabbing, uplifting stories you post!


  10. Phil Bolsta Says:

    My pleasure, Jan!

  11. Charlene Says:

    Another uplifting and inspirational article Phil. Hooray for you and for Susan. Thank you for keeping us abreast of good things that are happening around the globe. You truly bring us “blue skies”.

    God Bless,


  12. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Thank you, Charlene! You made my sky a little bluer today too!

  13. Deb Reilly Says:

    Phil, we’re fortunate to ‘know’ you. Thanks for another uplifting moment!

  14. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Thanks, Deb! I’m fortunate to know so many people who enjoy uplifting moments!

  15. Kate Says:

    Susan has a nice enough voice, but she didn’t bowl me over the way Paul Potts did. However, what’s at work here (with both singers) is the presumption that ugly, frumpy, socially awkward or dopey-looking people are to be cast aside until they prove that their talent, in some way, far exceeds the talent of regular, pretty, socially-adept or smart-looking people.

    It was embarrassing to me as a human being to watch the audience and judges react negatively to her physical appearance. I am ashamed that all it took were a few good notes coming out of Susan’s throat to move those audience members into acceptance.

    Thank goodness for the transcendent power of music.

  16. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Very well stated, Kate. Thank you for your wise words. Perhaps going forward, people will think of Susan before they dismiss or mock another human being who fails to meet their standards. I, for one, will be more vigilant about looking for the beauty in each human soul.

  17. Kerri Luecke Says:

    Hi Kippy,

    Very very touching video, certainly brought tears to my eyes. I always
    love to cheer for the underdog. People were indeed laughing at her,
    she may not be a beautiful model like figure on the outside, she proved that there is much more to a person than that outward beauty. She seemed humble, unselfish, ever giving of herself…she had a wonderful giving spirit, and we all should feel blessed that she chose to share that with us. Thanks again Kippy!

  18. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Glad you enjoyed it, Kerri! I suspect that Susan did much for the world than sing beautifully. She is a living, breathing reminder to treat each person we meet with respect and honor.

  19. Erin Says:

    When Abe first showed this to me, I was overcome with emotion. We’ve watched it several times since and I’m glad you put it on your blog. I was going to write something about the poignancy of the song’s theme in relation to her own life but then I read your blog and, of course, you already addressed that very eloquently. Whereas the song ends in tragedy in the musical, I liked that Susan’s dream of singing to a large audience was fulfilled and that this might be the start of a fruitful career for her. I actually like her voice more than the soundtrack I have. I’ve seen Les Miserables three times and I loved hearing her moving rendition. Thank you for the back story as well. I absolutely loved the shock on Simon’s face at the very beginning! When people are jaded or callous and then see the light, it’s fun to watch. There was one point where the camera cut to him and he had the lovesick look of a teenager on his face and he sighed heavily. It was great! I agree with what Kate had to say and I cringe every time I re-watch it and hear the judges’ comments about how no one believed in her, etc. I hope it was a wake-up call for some people to really look at every human being as a beautiful spirit who has gifts to offer the world and to not focus on the package, that pesky earthsuit, that it comes in. Love you!

  20. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Thanks, Joyful! I hadn’t thought of that angle—that the song signified a tragic ending in the show but a bright new beginning for her. You are a wise young woman and I am oh so proud to be your dad!

  21. Deb Reilly Says:

    It’s obvious why you are so proud of her, Phil. Erin, you brought a wide smile to my face. Thank you.

  22. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Thank YOU, Deb! Yes, I am a proud dad indeed!

  23. beckylpc Says:

    Beautiful and inspiring on so many levels. Thank you for sharing – I will be sharing this with many as well.

  24. Phil Bolsta Says:

    You’re very welcome, beckylpc!

  25. Marcia Wine Says:

    Hi Phil,
    Erin sent this to me. “I Dreamed a Dream” is my favorite piece from “Les Mis,” and Susan sang it the best I have heard. Thank you for your insightful article. I look forward to reading your book and meeting you at the wedding. (I’m Abe’s mom).


  26. Phil Bolsta Says:

    It’s very nice to e-meet you, Marcia! I’m gad you liked the post and yes, I look forward to meeting you at the wedding!

    I also have to tell you that we all just adore Abe and are so happy that he and Erin found each other!

  27. Kim Wencl Says:

    This video clip was featured on Anderson Cooper’s show AC360 last night on CNN and this morning I saw it again on the early morning news. According to CNN it’s had 4 million hits!

  28. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Yep, when I checked last night, Susan’s YouTube hits totaled more than 5.5 million! A perfect example of viral marketing. Thanks, Kim!

  29. Kim Wencl Says:

    Another Susan Boyle Update: This story was on the news tonight the youtube video is up to 6 million hits AND Susan will be interviewed and will sing from her kitchen tomorrow morning on the CBS Early Show – 7:00 – 9:00 am – channel 4 WCCO.

  30. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Thanks, Kim!

  31. Kim Wencl Says:

    As of this morning – 11 million youtube hits!

  32. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Pretty amazing, Kim!

  33. Amy Jewell Says:

    Hi Phil,

    Wow. What a great gift this lovely woman has brought to the world! I never really thought that I liked opera until I watched this. Then I watched the other one you posted from a few years ago and it was so beautiful! I just love it when people burst out with all of their heart into song. It is remarkable. Thanks for sharing all of these clips!

  34. Phil Bolsta Says:

    You’re welcome, Amy. Ah, to have such talent and be able to express it with such passion as all the world watches!

  35. valmoss1 Says:

    Magnificent …and dosen’t Susan give us all hope that our dreams will come true ….I learnt aons ago never to go on appearances …….shes wonderfull ….i just love all your articles …you’re brilliant LOVE AND LIGHT VAL ………..

  36. Phil Bolsta Says:

    *blushes, humbly bows*

  37. ebjohns11 Says:

    OMG shes breathtaking!!!! I was surprised myself too. I had tears to be honest.

  38. Phil Bolsta Says:

    You and millions of others, ebjohns11! It will be fun to follow Susan’s career!

  39. lou Says:

    She is definitely a loving person just like her angelic voice. Thank you.

  40. Phil Bolsta Says:

    You’re more than welcome, lou!

  41. jopet Says:

    Wow! This video made my day. Thanks Phil for posting this video. I enjoyed watching the whole thing. From the audience and judges reaction before and after her singing and her angelic voice. Wow! You bet, I watched this video more than once. It just made me feel good and happy. Lol!!!!

  42. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Feeling good and happy is a good thing, jopet! Hope you come back for more!

  43. Susan Boyle Dreams a Dream that Comes True Says:

    […] I was reading Paul Bolsta’s blog post about Susan Boyle and thought I’d repost here… […]

  44. Kathy McGraw Says:

    Phil, I enjoyed this Post and watching all the different videos. Susan’s story of sacrifice and following her dreams is very inspiring.

  45. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Yes, it’s wonderful that people like Susan come along to inspire us and remind us of what’s really important. Thanks, Kathy!

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