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Remembering Susan Boyle’s Success Against the Odds

Updated on September 21, 2018
ethel smith profile image

With a keen interest in British politics this writer is never afraid to share her opinion

Susan, post Britain's Got talent and Makeover


Britains Got Talent 2009 and Susan Boyle

Britain’s Got Talent, B.G.T., has been running as an annual televised event in the U.K since 2007.

Auditions are held across the U.K. and a final 40 semi-finalists are picked from hundreds, if not thousands, of participants.

The auditions include some very talented contestants, some thoroughly stupid ones and some that are just plain eccentric.

The contestants are a mixture of talented people and they come from all walks of life, various age groups and include singers. contortionists, magicians, poets and more.

In 2009 an early contestant became a singing sensation overnight, despite having struggled for years to achieve success

That person is Susan Boyle.

Susan Boyle was 47 when she auditioned for B.G.T. She is has never been married, has suffered some problems in life but is a sensational vocalist.

The audience, judges and viewers at home were wowed as the 2009 series of Britain’s Got Talent played out.

Perhaps the most surprising fact was that she became a phenomenal star in the U.S.A immediately.

Much of her success may have been because she was an unlikely star. A person who was a little shy, wasn’t very glamorous but a woman with a lovely personality which came shining through.

And then that voice!

Susan was selected to be one of the 2009 40 semi finalists against the odds.

Five groups eight semi-finalists then compete against each other.

Susan's group performed live May 24, 2009, and many people were willing Susan to be successful.

Each year the problem is some groups have far more talented contestants than others and so it is inevitable that some great performers will fall through the net.

With such a fan base Susan would surely go through to the the final and ultimately win?

Each semi-finalist winning act is selected by the voting public.

In 2009 Susan Boyle fever looked set to last.

An unlikely sensation

At home in Scotland April 2009
At home in Scotland April 2009

Susan Boyle Britain’s Got Talent 2009

It seemed apparent to me that the show aired on May 23, 2009, was filmed earlier in the year. Susan's hairy eyebrows gave the game away.

When Susan first performed she came across as a sweet, funny lady who had no sense of style, had a great sense of humour, was a little old fashioned but had the voice of an angel.

Since her first appearance on screens earlier in the year, she underwent a radical makeover. One thing that vanished was those rather bushy eyebrows.

Presumably stylists working on the show thought Susan needed to glam up a little to win votes.

For me however part of her appeal was her naive charm.

We British like to see an underdog win through and that is what Susan did.

From the moment she walked out onto the stage, to the stifled laughter of some of the audience, the raised eyebrows of the judges showing a sort of disapproval and the cringes of some viewers at home, it seemed she was destined to only ever be an also ran

Once Susan let rip with that voice though a transformation took place.

Her voice and her demeanour brought a tear to mine, and other viewer's eye's

Once the show was over Susan was suddenly a sensation. Stars far and wide loved her, the paparazzi camped outside her home in the small Scottish village where she lived alone with her cat.

Immediately following her success in 2009 Susan appeared, via video link, on the Oprah Winfrey show in the States though she remained totally amazed that she was becoming such a success.

That tells you all you need to know about this unassuming Star.

That Audition

Why did it take so long for Susan Boyle to find success?

Well this is a hard one to assess.

Susan suffered from bullying at school and was nicknamed Simple Susan. Kids can be so cruel!

With her confidence shattered Susan found life an uphill struggle.

Once she was on the brink of success Youtube videos of Susan singing, both recently and in the past, sprung up.

As Susan joked on BGT the only tube she had heard of before BGT was a tube of smarties.

Susan auditioned for Michael Barrymore's My Kind Of People some time ago but nerves got the better of her back then.

The Semi-Final 24th May 2009

The first semi-final - Will she make it through?

Watching semi-final was tense as voting lines are open for ten minutes. I have cast my vote and waited nervously for the results.

The show kicked off with a great, young dance troupe and also featured a little treasure who was a ten-year-old singing sensation. Stand out performances were also given by a belly dancer and a violinist. Yes B.G.T. is like an old-time variety show.

The best, in my opinion, was saved until the last and a nervous Susan hit the stage.

Singing Midnight from Cats Susan hit a bum note near the beginning but this was soon forgotten as her performance went from strength to strength and the judges and studio audience loved her.

At this stage the judges votes were not counted and it was down to the voting public to pick the winner. When I quickly cast my vote for Susan, I had to ring a few times as voting lines were busy. That is a good sign as long as it did not deter voters.

The Results

The results a in Susan went through to the final.

Susan went through on the public vote.

One more act was to go through and the judges had to decide between the 2nd and 3rd place public vote.

The choice was Diversity, the dance group, or the ten year old, Natalie Okri.

Both were excellent but the casting vote, by Simon Cowell meant Diversity went through.

The reason given was that they were a more viable winning act.

Poor little Natalie who was tearful and bundled off stage.

Susan was her bubbly, ecstatic self, kidding around and doing a victory shuffle.

I thought - Go Susan.

Roll on next Sunday and the final.

The Final of Britain’s Got Talent May 30, 2009

Did Susan Boyle win Britain's Got Talent 2009?

Sadly no Susan was second place.

The winners were that sharp dance troupe Simon Cowell supported.

It was the first time Susan looked relaxed and able to be her familiar jokey self in a long time.

Some have taken her wacky humour as arrogance but how wrong they are.

Her warm personality shone through as she said that Diversity were the deserving winners of BGT.

Where will Susan go from here?

The media reported June 3, 2009. that Susan is suffering from exhaustion and nothing more. She had seemed fragile for some time.

Taking such a sensitive person and thrusting her into so many spotlights took its toll on Ms Boyle.

Simon Cowell offered a firm recording deal for Susan, the choice hers to make once well again.

We had not heard the last of Susan.

President Obama invited Susan to perform for the July 4 celebrations 2009 and there were so many other offers

Susan and Barach Obhama
Susan and Barach Obhama

A Busy 2009 for Ms Boyle

Thursday May 28, 2009

Susan threatened to quit Britain’s Got Talent, pack her bags and return home. Such is the nature of her fame that anything she does makes national news. Susan's threats were down to press and public pressures.

The hype surrounding this woman was bound to cause Susan problems. Nasty comments abound the Internet on places such as Twitter.

Susan will have to harden up, ignore the morons and just be herself.

Monday June 1, 2009

It was sad to see images of an exhausted looking Susan on TV news channels today, as she was being taken to hospital. The night of the final and the days of press harassment took their toll.

Susan's learning difficulties had generally been forgotten or ignored during the BGT contest but of course made her extra susceptible to feeling the strain. Her many fans want to see her back to her bubbly self.

Friday June 5, 2009

One of Susan's brothers confirmed that Susan is now out of the Priory where she was taken for rest after it was obvious she was suffering from exhaustion. She is resting in London whilst she decides which offers to take up.

Go girl.

Friday June 12, 2009

The Britain's Got Talent U.K. tour opened today. Controversy continued to surround Susan Boyle as even at lunchtime it was unclear whether or not she would perform. However she did and proved her doubters wrong. In a flawless performance she wowed the Birmingham audience and confirmed just why she is so popular. Susan rightly received a standing ovation and hopefully will now go from strength to strength.

September 17, 2009

Following Susan Boyle's arrival at L.A. airport and her subsequent mobbing by fans Susan made her American Television debut.

It looks like those sad days toward the end of Britain's Got Talent, when she was unwell, are well and truly behind her now.

Susan looks set to achieve the fame she deserves, at least that side of the Atlantic.

However she has an army of fans in the U.K. who bought her debut album and made it a success.

Go Susan.

A lasting future?

Will Susan Boyle have a lasting career in music?

See results

Susan Boyle on America Has Got Talent

SuBo 2018

Susan has been keeping a low profile recently.

Her chart success means she is a wealthy one.

Now aged 57 she is wealthy enough to retire.

Chart and touring success has dwindled and her career has dived during the last couple of years.

Diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome SuBo as fans call her is an unlikely star.

However for me that is what she is a Star.

A woman with the voice of an angel who deserves all the luck the world can offer her.

© 2009 Ethel Smith


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    • Brinafr3sh profile image


      9 years ago from West Coast, United States

      Hi Ethelsmith, Susan Boyle has a great singing voice, her music is unique and classy. I seen her performance on the show called "The View." Cool hub-article, thanks. voted up.

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      9 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks and sorry for the late reply. Been on vacation :) She is inspirational I feel

    • molometer profile image


      9 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Ethel, Just read your Hub on Susan's experience in the music biz and I too thought she had a great voice. It's a shame that they did not leave her alone though; and got a whole stylist team on her and totally changed her appearance. This probable sent her nuts?

      I know that many people in show biz think the public are shallow and judgmental and that she needed tarting up but the truth is the public voted for her as she was?

      Great hub voted up UI. You Know my views on X Factor I think.

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      11 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      I think so Habee. I think I might update this hub

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 

      11 years ago from Georgia

      This woman is utterly amazing! Enjoyed this!

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      11 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks Bonny. I voted for her and hoped she would win. Perhaps, with her health problems just after the contest, it was as well she did not. I do wish her great success for the future though.

    • bonny2010 profile image

      bonetta hartig 

      11 years ago from outback queensland

      oh I loved this hub - you did a fantastic job - I cried when she didn't win - thankyou for the history

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      11 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks for the visit frogyfish. I have found little new information lately re Susan. I do hope she is still doing well. I know she has had some US sucess recently. Sometimes after these contests we do not see the entertainers for ages and then they reappear transformed. I hope Susan retains her innocent charm though. I will update as soon as I hear anything.

    • frogyfish profile image


      11 years ago from Central United States of America

      Your hub, this story, Susan's voice - all so delightful! I did not hear of Susan until she was semi-finalist, so all your updates were great to read. I have not heard about her for a while now. Do you have new information to share from your side of the world? I would really like to know how she is - and hope to buy her music too...perhaps someday get to admire her in person!

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      12 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Yes I know waht you mean Alexander. I think it is the story of the underdog that appeals more than anything.

    • Alexander TG profile image

      Alexander TG 

      12 years ago

      She has a good voice but it isn't as good as Paul Potts in my opinion.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      12 years ago from Houston, Texas

      She has the most beautiful of voices and it must be hard to put up with all the publicity when one is not used to it. If she can handle it, Susan will have a very long career ahead of her.

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      Wonderful hub .

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      12 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      I know Connie. I think it is her story that amazes us all more than anything.

    • Connie Smith profile image

      Connie Smith 

      12 years ago from Tampa Bay, Florida

      I have watched that video of her first performance over and over. Each time I watch it, the triumph of the underdog showing the world that she is a top dog just takes my breath away. I will definitely support her by buying her CD when it comes out, even though I don't even buy CDs. LOL She is a winner regardless of the outcome of BGT and no matter if she wins or not, I have a feeling she will still be performing for the Queen before it is all over.

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 

      12 years ago from Ohio

      Wonderful hub on a wonderful lady. I hope she wins, but I think she has what it takes to have a career even if she doesn't. My daughter made me watch her original performance and it brought tears to my eyes also. I think my daughter cries every time she hears her.


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