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Growing Bolder Article

Why has Susan Boyle Captured So Much Attention?

Posted May 27, 2009, 11:44 am
Growing Bolder asks leaders, thinkers, writers, life coaches, entertainers and role models to weigh in on issues affecting our lives.

Read the responses from our esteemed panel of Thought Leaders, then add your own thoughts at the bottom of the page!

Iris Davis Iris Davis
I grew up in Ireland and lived in England for many years,  therefore I believe I am an excellent judge of the British Character. The upper class British have this supercilious attitude that if you are not born on the right side of the tracks with the correct parentage, you have no right to become famous and rich. 

So no matter how great a singer she is, there is that part of the population which will always bring her down and begrudge her the rise to fame and stardom.   The other half will have such pride that one of their own ie, a normal person they would likely meet in the store or on the street will have reached such heights of recognition and fame.

I wish her the best of everything life can offer her.  She deserves to bring her talent to the world, it will be such a pleasure to listen to her recordings anytime. 

Its just a pity that she had to wait until late in life to be recognized as the truly great singer she is.  I can only say, go Susan Boyle, you have many fans who truly love you for the beautiful person you are, and we cant wait for your recordings to be released.
Now that she has come second in the talent competition, she can go on and become the star she should have been years ago.

About Iris Davis
Iris Davis always loved to work out, but in her 40's an illness left her paralyzed. Doctors told her she'd be in a wheelchair for life. Iris had other plans. She went back to the gym, and could barely lift a quarter pound. Two years later she was out of the wheelchair, and at the age of 50 she entered her first bodybuilding contest. She won nine championship titles, but got national attention when at the age of 62, the 5"1' 100 pound grandmother, wrestled down an armed assailant who was fleeing police. Today she is a National Physique Committee judge and a personal trainer.

Lou Whitney Lou Whitney
The old saying that "Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder" actually has a multifaceted meaning.  After all, we have five basic senses and some of the more gifted among us have more. 

All too often our initial judgment of things is based on our visual perceptions, but those judgments can often change as our other senses are brought into play. 

Take the skunk as an example. The first time that someone sees a skunk, they might think that it's a beautiful animal, especially with its unique black and white coloring. However, one quick spray will normally change ones perception of the skunk.  It may still be pretty, but you to want to get too close to it. 

This same analogy may be said of many other things in life.  A good case in point is Susan Boyle. Our minds have been preconditioned to relate beautiful music from visually attractive people, such as Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift, and going back to our era, Doris Day.  We are not surprised when we hear beautiful music coming from someone like that. 

It's a fallacy of our culture, and probably most cultures, that gives preference to someone who is visually appealing.  For some reason we want our primary senses to see and hear beautiful things.  When that doesn't happen, our sensory based feelings become confused and we see it as some sort of oddity. 

For instance, who would have thought that "Gomer Pyle" (Jim Nabors) had such a beautiful voice?  Or was his voice actually that beautiful?  Maybe Susan Boyle nor Jim Nabors wouldn't have made it based on their musical talent alone, but in my book, they both have beautiful voices and I enjoy listening to them and seeing them as well.

Maybe our musical talent shows should be based on just listening to the contestants only, and not seeing them first. Of course, Clay Aiken did make it big on his sound and not looks. 

Maybe there's hope for the rest of us who may be visually challenged, but have other outstanding talents.

About Lou Whitney
Now in his 70s, Lou does things people much younger could not. Whitney is not only a pioneer in Veterans Motocross racing -- he's a competitor. Whitney is a part of the fastest growing division of the sport, and staged the Veterans Motocross Championships in February of 2008. He also does another type of riding -- adventure riding. He goes on an annual ride to places like Mexico, the West Coast and Canada.

Ted Skup Ted Skup
I would say that most people do root for the "pretty" one, but I like many always root for the "underdog".

We all stood and cheered when Rocky beat Apollo Creed.

Susan's looks are like judging a book by its cover. Her talent comes from the heart.

Winner...Susan Boyle.

About Ted Skup
He believes that with obesity levels at an all-time high, fitness needs be a national priority. He says despite the fact we have an arsenal of exercise options at our disposal, the ultimate choice is, the simple push-up. Skup takes on the 35-billion-dollar fitness industry and explains why it is failing us, with its bogus claims, magic bullets, and quick fixes. Although the fitness industry may not want to hear it, push-ups are free, no equipment, no gimmicks and totally portable. He is the author of Death, Taxes & Push-ups.

Christine-Schwab-3x4.jpg Christine Schwab
About a dozen of my friends sent me the Susan Boyle You Tube tape when it first came out.

Some said they cried when they saw it. Others said it was the most astonishing thing they had ever seen. Basically everyone raved. I watched the tape, and watched it and watched it as it appeared on every TV show and was totally amazed at the response.

Can Susan sing? Absolutely, she has one of those magical voices. Did it make me cry? Absolutely not, what's to cry about? And so I asked myself what is all the to-do over Susan?

As a TV personality whose done thousands of make-overs on national television, nothing increases viewer response more than this much used story. We always saved them to use during the Sweeps (television rating periods) because they increased the numbers dramatically.

I think Susan captured the world not because of just her voice, but because she looked like the lady next door, your spinster aunt, the girl who never got picked for anything in school and there she was, with the voice of an angel and everyone clicking on to hear her.

She shows that nothing is impossible. She is the hope that everyone is looking for in this troubled time. She's the one who made it big.

We all love the underdogs, we relate to them. Susan is the best example of the underdog who took the world by storm.

As far as Clay Aiken, could this be a bit of jealousy?

About Christine Schwab
Turning forty, fifty, or sixty is not about getting older, it's about becoming ageless. Renowned style expert and television fashion reporter Christine Schwab sees aging as an opportunity to revitalize your style and enliven your attitude. In her frank, opinionated, and provocative style, she wrote "The Grownup Girl's Guide to Style", a book that defies many of the fashion and beauty industry philosophies. In this honest and empowering book, she offers the first open-minded approach to style, beauty, health, and well-being that will help every forty-plus woman achieve a classic look while maintaining her edge and personality.

Pat Paciello.jpg Pat Paciello
As Americans, it is only natural for us to root for the underdog. We rooted for David to beat Goliath, anybody to beat the Yankees, Appalachian State to stun Michigan University.

We identify with the little guy, the common man, the person from humble origins who defies all odds and becomes a success. We are also a fickle people.

When it looks like the little guy is getting to much publicity, or seems to embrace celebrity status, we turn on our hero. Why? He is no longer one of us, and has become part of the elite establishment.

On a lighter note, who is Clay Aiken, and why should we care about his comments? Recently he has succeed in bad mouthing both Adam Lambert and Susan Boyle.

Not that long ago, he had his fifteen minutes of fame as an American Idol winner. At that time he was the outcast trying to make it. Now he is another big shot with a stalled career who is crying out for attention.

As for Susan Boyle, she has entered a singing competition, not a beauty pageant - a wise move on her part. Let's hope that if she wins the contest, she will remain true to her roots and not turn to the dark side.

About Pat Paciello
Pat Paciello is pushing 60 these days, has three grown children, and has been happily married for over 30 years. (He says the first year wasn't so hot!) He has been retired from the workforce for almost a decade. During that time span Pat has been particularly adept at enjoying leisure pursuits, and earning the highest recommendation from his peers for his "I do nothing, but I do it well attitude." His book, Has Anyone Seen My Reading Glasses? offers a unique and fresh approach to the subject of Baby Boomer retirement. First, it's written by a Baby Boomer who is actually retired. Second, the book is long on humor and personal anecdotes, and short on statistical analysis.

Arm, Weight Mack Branham
I was disappointed to learn that singers such as Clay Aiken makes a statement concerning Susan Boyle (i.e. "She's not that good of a singer" etc). 

In my opinion many of the young singers I hear on the radio and TV simply cannot hold a note for any length of time like Susan Boyle. 

Consequently, they waver their voice and many times make a real mess out of the song.

About Mack Branham
Mack Branham likes to push the limits of his body, mind and soul. He's a pastor, president, professor and a world-class powerlifter. 
He took up powerlifting and track and field after his retirement. Now at the age of 76, he is a five-time national champion and a four-time world champion... Do the words "never too late" spring to mind?

Bobbe Lyon Bobbe Lyon
I think she's just super, you can't always tell a book by its cover, can you?

The fact that a voice like that comes out of a plain gal is just wonderful. I think people, professional and ordinary may be jealous. Susan reminds me of the Paul Potts story.

As a teacher, I must admit I've misread people too.  It has usually been a pleasant surprise to find out that I was wrong.

About Bobbe Lyon
Bobbe Lyon, M.D. (mirth dispenser) is a believer and practitioner in the power of humor. She thought her life was over at age 45 when her husband died. After wallowing in despair, humor became her primary tool for survival. It worked so well the Laughing Lyon earned a BA in Journalism and an MA in Counseling. Soon she decided to take her humorous ideas public. She has been a national speaker ever since.

Tony Handler Tony Handler
In any situation we will always have someone who has to find fault with something. In this case there are the cranky (or perhaps jealous) few who have to take shots at Susan Boyle.

I think that by far the vast majority felt she is quite good (as do I) and with some more training she could  prove herself. Perhaps as you say, she is not one of the "pretty ones" and unfortunately that could be a detriment, but that would be a shame.

Hopefully she will get a chance to prove herself. Hope all is well with you and your crew!!

About Tony Handler
Tony Handler isn't supposed to be alive. In 1983 he was diagnosed with a rare form of pancreatic cancer. His doctor told him had two years to live. Despite this news he continued training. He's had a number of major health challenges since, but steadfastly refuses to let them be the focus of his life.

Joe Neal Joe Neal
I am not a music person, but did have a chance to see Susan Boyle on YouTube. I thought she was fantastic.

I don't even know Clay Aiken or Lily Allen. My feeling? Just let her sing!

I'm sure all of us have encountered arrogant people all caught up in themselves who feel they are superior! My internal response is that I feel sorry for them because they are so insecure and jealous of me or whoever!

About Joe Neal
Triathlons are difficult enough, but imagine competing against your spouse! Carol and Joe Neal have been married for over 40 years and their relationship is as strong as their bodies. A former college athlete, Joe now relishes the opportunity get out and test himself in as many triathlons as he and his wife can enter!  

Susan Silver Susan Silver
She's still MY darling! I loved her first song...which brought chills to me. 

I actually got teary listening over and over. And now that she's had her little taste of fame, and her tiny makeover, she still is a winner to me. 

Her voice is pure and comes sort of as a surprise from her physical presentation... but hey... remember Kate Smith? (I'm sure most people under 50 don't.) 

Seriously, it was a huge hit because it was real and heartfelt and people responded from their hearts. 

Are we so cynical that we can't enjoy this wonderful little experience without tearing it down? 

Go Susan! And not just because we share a first name!

Give her her moment in the sun.

About Susan Silver
Susan was a writer for many of the greatest TV shows of all time, including "The Bob Newhart Show," "Mary Tyler Moore," and "Maude." These days, she writes a hilarious relationship column called, "The Search for Mr. Adequate." She is a frequent guest on NBC's Today Show whenever the subject turns to relationships! 

Swimmer Karen Einsidler
If you have talent it shouldn't matter what you look like but we know that isn't true. 

I can't name many female singing artists who are unattractive and successful. 

In fact no matter how talented they are as soon as they start putting on weight that is what makes headlines not their latest album. 

So I find it amusing that there are so many people on Susan Boyle's band wagon which I think is failed attempt at pretending that we aren't a narcissistic society. 

When you try out for most symphony orchestras to prevent discrimination you play behind a curtain so they can't see who is playing. 

The public isn't there yet relative to the stars they want to idolize.

About Karen Einsidler
She was leading what appeared to be a storybook life until she was diagnosed with cancer. The mother of triplets was an attorney and active in the master athletes world when she underwent a double mastectomy. Rather than quitting, she dove back into competitive swimming and bounced back to return to the World Masters Championships. To Karen, giving up was never an option. 

Sherrie Mathieson Sherrie Mathieson
We are a culture held captive by the media and advertising that plays into our fears of unpopularity and rejection--based on our looks. 

For many there is an underlying resentment of this unfair world -- never really acknowledged. 

There are many (especially women) who connect emotionally to the underdog--the woman who may not be so "beautifully perfect"-- as most are not. 

This is the "silver lining" for those less-than-perfect competitors in all walks of life. 

Part of Oprah's incredible success is that ordinary women connect with her. She shares her weight problems and other personal challenges with the world--and she wins the love of her adoring audience. 

Shawn Johnson won the "Dancing With The Stars"competition-- pitted against two beautiful people with gorgeous bodies who danced incredibly well. Shawn was excellent too, but less than ideal physically. Was it her "ace"? 

Rachel Ray is another woman that women connect with because she seems just like them --whereas Martha Stewart had to overcome her perfection. 

Yes, the pendulum easily swings the way of the one we identify with--and we cut them some slack. It's human nature.

About Sherrie Mathieson
Sherrie has worked in film, television and commercials, and she has clientele of all ages and all personal styles. But it’s her unique way of looking at baby boomers that sets her apart from all the rest. And now, she has done it again. She’s followed up her first book, "Forever Cool" with the must-read, "Steal This Style," which is full of ways women can borrow cues from the younger generation in a flattering way.

Marilyn DuBois Marilyn Dubois
Being a singer myself, I find that Susan Boyle has a tremendous quality that you just can't get with all the training in the world. 

It is a natural voice of great depth. I enjoyed her performances very much!!! 

In my time as a gospel singer I traveled all around the country. It was a 12 year time period where I went from Phoenix to Long Island; from Minnesota to Florida and all states in between! 

I hope Susan Boyle gets a similar chance. 

About Marilyn Dubois
Marilyn started a new career at the age of 80, and apparently, she was pretty good at it. Because at the age of 83 she was promoted to Regional Vice President of American Reverse Mortgage, one of the top reverse mortgage lenders in the nation. It was quite a change for a woman who spent more than a decade traveling the country along with her husband in a motor home. The couple traveled around singing Gospel music at churches and festivals everywhere. 

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