Susan Boyle Was Set Up To Fail

Had she won Britain’s Got Talent, her story wouldn’t be half as compelling, right? Susan Boyle just upped her diva cred exponentially by having to be stashed away in a mental clinic. Her great comeback story writes itself.

That’s the cynical, heartless way of looking at her recent troubles. Right now, I just see a sad woman who fell victim to insta-celebrity and was hounded by the tabloids into a mental breakdown.

The producers of Britain’s Got Talent didn’t help either; they set her up for a fairytale ending, but the story just wouldn’t play out as plotted. Things got dark. Really dark. After her failure to win the crown, Boyle was driven away from the show, grim-faced, clutching her conciliatory bouquet of flowers. Not long afterward, she’d be checked into the Priory, the celebrity rehab center and sometime home to the likes of Pete Doherty and Amy Winehouse.

How’s that for a reward?

This is all tremendously sad, but I’m surprised meltdowns like this don’t happen all the time with these “talent” shows.

Britain’s Got Talent sucks because it isn’t about artist development. No one was grooming Susan to become a greater singer or more poised artist. And, more importantly, there was no one there to teach her about the pitfalls of fame.

At least American Idol and X Factor have the benefit of a lengthier process and more mentorship. Contestants on Idol and X Factor have to prove themselves in a series of themed weekly performances, allowing the better singers an opportunity for creative experimentation and self-discovery. Boyle just sang a few Broadway standards, and that prepares her to become a star?

I think the right people won Britain’s Got Talent. There was more originality, artistry, and wit in dance troupe Diversity‘s finale performance than the rest of the show’s performances combined. Check this out – they are simply phenomenal:

Susan Boyle would do well to listen to Tom Bergeron‘s advice and chalk this up to an enlightening, character-building chapter in her life.

And she should move the hell out of Britain. The tabloids are insane over there. The word boundaries doesn’t exist for them.

Diversity’s win is heartening for The Daily Telegraph‘s Sarah Crompton: “The fact that they took nearly 25 per cent of the final vote in a competition watched by a peak of 19 million bodes well for their future. They may not be as obviously marketable as Susan Boyle, but they are, in their own way, something special. People recognize that. They recognize something else too. This is the second year in a row that they have voted for a dancing winner. Yet it is not only Simon Cowell who seems not to think dance is marketable; the cultural powers-that-be also regard dance as the poor relation of the arts.”

However, Michael Jackson reportedly wants Diversity to perform with him at his London shows.

In other news:

  • David Tennant and Patrick Stewart will appear in a telly version of their Hamlet production.(Variety)
  • 60 million Britons will be able to lick Daniel Craig all over his body. Jealous much?(E!)
  • I couldn’t swing tickets, but Madonna and her boys, Kate Hudson, Chloe Sevigny, and LL Cool J were among the celebs who showed up at Prince Harry’s polo match here in NYC.(Hello!)
  • Watersports!: Harry spits some champagne on his polo rival Nacho Figueras.(Towleroad)
  • This just isn’t Danielle Lloyd‘s week: first she gets maimed in a bar fight, then someone steals her Miss England crown from her flat.(Telegraph)
  • Gordon Ramsay came so close to losing his company that he sold his Ferrari and nearly sold his house.(Telegraph)
  • Will Eminem sue after being teabagged by Sacha Baron Cohen‘s Bruno at last night’s MTV Movie Awards?(Newsday)
  • There’s a trailer for AMC’s remake of The Prisoner with Jim Caviezel and Sir Ian McKellen.
  • Joss Stone will pay EMI £2 million to get out of her contract; EMI may still sue her anyway.(NME)
  • Shocker: no one wants that hideous, Gremlin-esque painting of Madonna and Guy Ritchie.(NME)
  • BBC wanted to cancel Monty Python’s Flying Circus, documents reveal. During a meeting in December 1970, one exec said, “This edition had contained two really awful sketches; the death sequence had been in appalling taste, while the treatment of the national anthem had simply not been amusing.”(Chortle)
  • The Daily Telegraph‘s Neil McCormick gives Paolo Nutini‘s sophomore album FIVE STARS. Yeah, that’s FIVE (5) stars. “The result is an eccentric blast, like some obscure lost classic from the Seventies, channelling Harry Nilsson, Alex Harvey, Otis Redding, and Cab Calloway.”
  • Female impersonator Danny La Rue has died at age 81.(Hollywood Reporter)
  • The new Beatles Rock Band trailer.

Kevin Wicks

Kevin Wicks founded BBCAmerica.com's Anglophenia blog back in 2005 and has been translating British culture for an American audience ever since. While not British himself - he was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri - he once received inordinate hospitality in London for sharing the name of a dead but beloved EastEnders character. His Anglophilia stems from a high school love of Morrissey, whom he calls his "gateway drug" into British culture.

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