Enough, Already With This Susan Boyle Thing
Hi, Mom! Ready to find your son heartless? Here goes: I do not care about this Susan Boyle Britain's Got Talent lady that is sweeping the interwebz. "Break out the tissues!" warns every single person who posts it online. No, no I will not. In fact, here is what I'm breaking out: Movieline's inaugural edition of "Enough Already," the rant column to be used only when we're at our breaking point. Which I am.
At this point, the Susan Boyle YouTube clip has been viewed roughly, hmmm, a googol times? Is that right? Point being, it's as though everyone on earth has watched it already, and yet people who've just had WiFi installed in their caves continue to post it on Facebook every day as though it's never been seen. It has been seen. Stop doing that.
So, in the rare case you haven't already watched this thing, here's what goes down: it's a clip from Britain's Got Talent where this unkempt cat-lady-person, this Susan Boyle, admits that she's in her forties (NO!) and that she's never been kissed, but she wants to sing in front of a large audience with swooping crane shots, and she would really like it if producers could wildly stack the deck emotionally for her? So they do, trotting Susan out and editing her as though she is an innocent naif who just walked on stage and hasn't already survived at least ten audition rounds in front of the show's creator/producers, one of whom is the head judge, Simon Cowell.
As Susan channels her sassy inner gumption, the audience is clearly against her, and you can tell by the weirdly mixed in catcalls and ADR'd skeptical laughter. There is even a shot of some girl rolling her eyes, and if you know reality TV at all, she definitely rolled her eyes at that exact moment and not some other moment during the four hours of taping that the producers just spliced in to kickstart their segment's narrative.
And then Susan sings "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Miserables, and it's...good. It starts off good, and then it becomes not quite as good, just kind of OK, but we're not supposed to say that? And she smiles and hits the notes even though it's not really a "smiley" song and it would be a hell of a lot more poignant if she actually tried to emotionally connect with the lyrics that kind of mirror her own situation (never have a thwarted dream and "this hell I'm living" sounded so friendly! ). And then, the judges are just so amazed that someone who hasn't tweezed her eyebrows has technical singing ability, and they chastise the audience, this audience that they themselves have engineered and riled up to mock the ugly and inept. It's at this point that the viewer at home congratulates him or herself for knowing from the very beginning that this Susan was the real deal (on account of the Twitter introduction, "OMG what an inspiration!") and cries tears of joy and immense self-satisfaction.
I'm over it, d00dz. I am an asshole, but I'm over it. Actually, you know what I'm most over? This weird prizing of humility in people aspiring to be huge music stars. The same thing goes for American Idol, where contestants like Melinda Doolittle and Taylor Hicks are rewarded for their seeming lack of narcissism, while message boards churn with antipathy toward aspirants who are perceived as "too arrogant." Yes, because that's what we hate in music: arrogance. We certainly would not like to reward that boundless self-confidence in people like Kanye West, Madonna, Mick Jagger, every rapper everywhere, and Howlin' Pelle Almqvist from The Hives (I'm just sneaking that one in because I love him). Oh wait, we do, because we actually want our rock stars to be full of themselves. That's what makes them fun and larger than life and able to command a stadium full of people.
So, guys, enjoy your Susan Boyle album full of Celine Dion covers that you won't buy! I'll just hang out, being terrible and mean and OMG not possessing a single tenth of Susan Boyle's talent. Have at me. On eyebrows alone, I am confident I can take her.