On the Periphery

Things change. Life throws us curves and changeups. It's good to have a place to vent.

Friday, April 24, 2009

I don't watch reality shows including shows like American Idol (although I admit, I often tune in to the final shows, just to get water cooler ammo). But when I heard the furor over Susan Boyle, I was intrigued enough to check YouTube to hear her for myself. I have two things to say about it all.

First, although I think she does have a wonderful voice, I truly believe that had she not appeared as she did--a somewhat frumpy, middle-aged woman--there would not have been the reaction there was. Surprise was the deciding element there, and it was completely understandable. We have come to expect that great talent will come in a great-looking package. That's why Paul Potts, a somewhat plain-looking man, was such a sensation. Still, he possesses a magnificent instrument and certainly deserved the accolades, as does Susan Boyle. Personally, I believe this type of hubbub is somewhat insulting to normal-looking people.

My second comment on this subject relates to the more recent uproar over whether or not Susan Boyle plucked her eyebrows, dyed her hair, and dressed fashionably. How ridiculous! Why shouldn't she want to look good? Frankly, looking great comes hand-in-hand with confidence, and she should certainly be confident at this point, becoming a media darling overnight. But it does sort of make one wonder if her dowdy appearance wasn't totally calculated, designed to create exactly the effect she did.

It all comes down to this: what is real, what is not, and do we really want to know? What if Susan Boyle is actually a savvy, self-confident woman who decided to create a sympathetic character specifically further her career--the Underdog effect? Does it really matter? Cheez, people, just close your eyes and listen to the voice. The rest is just so much show.

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