April 2009, and the world has gone crazy over Susan Boyle. 'Who is Susan Boyle?' you might ask, so read on and see what 100 million YouTube hits in 2 weeks is all about...
Susan Boyle appeared on Britain's Got Talent on TV in the UK. A 47 year old from Scotland, she walked on stage with a look that has since been described by consensus as 'dowdy'.
She did a wiggle for the judges and announced in her broad Scottish accent that she wanted to be famous singer like Elaine Paige. The judges rolled their eyes and told her to start. The opening strains of 'I Dreamed a Dream' from Les Miserables rang out, and then Susan opened her mouth to sing...
The judges dropped their jaws to the floor, and the audience rose to their feet as a musical theatre voice came out that just did not sit with the image and expectation. Judge Amanda Holden summed it up when she said that everyone had been cynical about what they had expected.
I love that kind of moment, (I also love the show having had women hold my hand and cry next to me in their seat).
The clip has now had 100 million hits on YouTube, and Susan has seen her fame spread over the water to the US, where she's found herself on TV with Patti Lupone who made the song famous originally. Elaine Paige has suggested a duet.
So why is it such a feelgood factor? Popular media opinion seems to be that it combined a heap of emotions in a small time span - from dismissal, to joy, to guilt, to pleasure. Some say, similar to judge Holden that it shows a different way to go than cynicism.
While they may be true, I like to think of it as simple goal achievement, seemingly unlikely. 'Seemingly' is the key word, because although the audience on the night and on tv were expecting Susan to fail, Susan wasn't - in fact a key moment is where the judges told her that everyone was against her. You can just see Susan's quizzical look, because she could see no reason for people to have been laughing at her.
She had a voice coach, and lots of training, putting in the hours of work needed to go for a goal. She was using the encouragement of her late mother as inspiration to enter, so although she may have been overwhelmed by the strength of reaction, she knew she could sing.
So yes, there is the principle of not judging a book by its' cover, and of not being so quick with the cynical sneers, but I think the reason the world has gone crazy for Susan Boyle is that it shows what we know deep down to be true - that hard work and taking action can lead to amazing results.
Gordon Bryan is the author of 'Transform Your Life in 21 Days!' which has been described as 'motivational magic.' Read about it and grab his free 8 Step Goal Achievement Plan at:http://www.transformyourlifenow.com