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Idol Chatter

susanboyle.jpgLike the rest of the world (or most of it), I am obsessively following talk of Susan Boyle–her glorious singing voice and her inspirational story (though I am the avoiding makeover talk because it is unfortunate and unnecessary.) And I’m happy to say that she’s making headlines beyond YouTube: Boyle is the New York Times Sunday Arts section front page story from this weekend! (Go Susan!)
In this weekend’s article, “Unlikely Singer Is YouTube Sensation,” Sarah Lyall talks about Boyle becoming a celebrity overnight–and her singing and story a worldwide inspiration–but also that she’s not the first! She’s got some company:
“Miss Boyle’s revelatory performance brings to mind one from the series’s first season, in 2007. That time, Paul Potts, a tubby, dentally challenged, cripplingly shy Welsh cellphone salesman walked onstage and, looking as if he were about to cry, announced that he wanted to “sing opera.” The judges sighed and smirked. But then Mr. Potts burst forth into a soaring rendition of “Nessun dorma,” the aria from Puccini’s “Turandot,” forcing them into a quick re-evaluation and astonishing the equally skeptical audience.
Mr. Potts’s audition clip has now been viewed more than 43 million times on YouTube. He went on to win the competition, sell two million copies of his first album, embark on a worldwide tour and inspire Prime Minister Gordon Brown to declare that he proved that “Britain really does have huge amounts of talent.”
But why is Susan Boyle’s story even more inspiring to us?


“Mr. Potts had had a small amount of training and experience,” writes Lyall. “Miss Boyle’s apparently complete lack of formal training fits more purely into the archetypal talent-competition narrative: Unknown From Nowhere Reveals Extraordinary Gift and Stuns World.”
Do you prefer one over the other? I shed a tear or two watching Mr. Potts, but Susan Boyle captures my heart, hands down!

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