Susan Boyle gets 2nd place in show
LONDON (AP) — She gave a final curtsy, a shimmy of her hips, and walked off stage, leaving the winners to perform an encore.
But it’s unlikely that finishing second on “Britain’s Got Talent” on Saturday night to a dance troupe called Diversity will be the end of Susan Boyle’s showbiz dream.
The 48-year-old church volunteer became an Internet phenomenon after she auditioned for the television talent show, her show-stopping voice combining with her frumpy appearance to make her a must-see on YouTube.
For the finals, she returned to the song that made her famous, “I Dreamed a Dream” from the musical “Les Miserables.” She wore a glamorous but modest sparkly floor-length dress, and her once-gray frizzy hair was a soft brown halo.
She appeared more polished and animated than in previous performances but seemed uncomfortable during banter with the judges after her song. Judge Simon Cowell said Boyle had a rough brush with fame but that she was “a nice, shy person who wants a break.”
The week leading up to Saturday’s performance had been a tumultuous one for Boyle. She lost her cool during a confrontation with two reporters, and the police intervened. Another contest judge said Boyle had contemplated pulling out of the program to soothe her frazzled nerves.
“A lot of people said you shouldn’t even be in this competition, that you weren’t equipped to deal with it,” Cowell said. “I totally disagree with that.
“You had the guts to come back here and face your critics, and you beat them.”
Asked about her career plans after the show, Boyle told broadcaster ITV that she hoped to get an album out and will “just play it by ear.”
Millions tuned in to the live program and voted by telephone afterward.
Boyle’s hometown of Blackburn, Scotland — a working-class village about 10 miles west of Edinburgh — rallied round her, stringing up signs declaring their support. Her defeat was greeted with shouts of “no” and gasps of disbelief at the Happy Valley Hotel, where neighbors and friends had gathered to watch the program.
“She lost because people didn’t bother voting for her because they thought she was going to win it,” lamented 21-year-old Gordon Mackenzie. “I didn’t vote for her because I thought everyone else would.”
Boyle was up against a host of everyman acts determined to find stardom on reality television, including a 12-year-old whose voice was compared to Michael Jackson’s, an 11-year-old body-popping dancer, and a grandfather-granddaughter singing duo.