The latest internet rage is a video clip from reality show Britain’s Got Talent featuring the singing audition of Susan Boyle. I would embed the video here, but seems like most of the videos have disabled embedding so follow this link to watch the video. What’s the big deal? What makes this audition so much more special than any of the other auditions for the show? I’ll sum it up. This video features an ugly woman was actually talented at something! I know can you believe it? A non-attractive woman was actually good at singing. Everyone knows that if a woman is supposed to be a good singer that they have at least look good. What is the world coming to??
Seriously though, while this video was “inspiring” it mainly made me angry. I was impressed by Susan’s singing talent, but I was pissed off by the fickleness of the audience and judges. One moment they are staring at her like she’s the Black Plague and the next moment they are standing on their feet cheering and clapping like she’s the Messiah. All in the span of about 15 seconds–the moment she opened her mouth and the audience realized that she could sing. The whole video made me hate people more than usual.
The editors and producers of the show know that in order to make the audience think she’s even worse than she really is they have to make her look really bad (this way you’ll be even more shocked when she can sing). In the clip’s introduction they show this lovely camera shot of Susan stuffing her face with a sandwich.
Next we learn some more fun facts about Susan, all of which make her seem more pathetic and sad. We learn 1) she’s old 47 (old people don’t have talent!) 2) she’s not married and has never been kissed (so sad) and 3) She lives alone with her cat, Pebbles (even more sad). At this point in the video you just pray she’s talented at something…
Once she walks on stage it’s pretty funny watching the audience and judges reaction. At one point while she’s trying to describe the town that’s she from you hear condescending laughter and even a sarcastic wolf whistle–the kind people normally reserve for very attractive women as they walk by. When asked her age to which she responded “47″ Simon gave her this wonderful look.
It should be noted that Simon himself is 49, 2 years older than Susan. If things don’t workout between Simon and his wife, who knows, maybe Susan could be his mistress. Anyway, luckily Susan has a pretty upbeat personality handled his disgust gracefully. She even threw in a little hip wiggling action to show Simon how sexual she potentially could be. However, this didn’t seem to impress the other judge on the show, Piers. This was his reaction.
But the hate and disgust is not just reserved for the judges. When she shares that her dream is to become a professional singer even the audience has an opinion about that. Especially this young woman.
The third judge, Amanda, upon hearing that Susan will be singing “I Dreamed a Dream” just looks utterly clueless.
By this point the show’s producers have established the fact that there’s no way she can be talented. However, since we have her on stage might as well let her sing and get it over with. This way we can get to the more attractive people. So she starts singing and look the reactions now. No sooner after the Susan sings the second note in tune we get this…
Now that the audience realizes that she does have talent and they have been tricked by her unattractive looks they stand up and approvingly cheer for her. Just like people cheer for the underdog, longshot, or person who has no chance.
Even more annoying are the two obnoxious hosts who stand behind the curtain, I think their names are Ant and Dec. At one point one of them remarks “You didn’t expect that did you? Did you? No” and then a little later into her song he enthusiastically remarks “WOW! Look at THAT!” It’s really what he isn’t saying that bother me. Both statements imply that he didn’t expect her to be a good singer because she’s ugly. I mean why else would he have to assume she was a bad singer?
Anyway it’s pretty interesting to see how people react in this video. It really does make me hate people more…I mean why did everyone immediately assume she was going to be a bad singer? If you really think about it it’s probably true that more unattractive people are better singers than attractive people. And then what was up with their totally over-the-top support of her when they discovered she could sing? It seems like a sympathy cheer…because they felt bad for doubting her they had to over compensate by putting extra effort into their cheering and support for her. Even the clueless judge, Amanda, mentions how “everyone was against you…” but she never explicitly stated the reason why everyone was against her. Was it because she stuffs her face with sandwiches? Or the fact that she’s never been married? Nope, it’s because she was ugly and we assumed she couldn’t sing.
I read this article talking about the Susan Boyle phenomenon and she summed it up perfectly in her title, “It wasn’t singer Susan Boyle who was ugly on Britain’s Got Talent so much as our reaction to her.”
I should just create a show. I’ll call it Ugly People Got Talent Too…I’ll be rich! People would be on their feet cheering left and right non-stop.