The sadness of Boyle in BGT aftermath

The aftermath of Britain’s Got Talent or BGT as it is now to be forever known (and going on the ratings for this season it really could go on forever) has perhaps been more eventful than the show’s finale itself.

This morning Susan Boyle checked into The Priory, the home of celebrities with issues or ”exhaustion” in Boyle’s case.

It has been said more than once that here in Britain we love to build someone up only so we can knock them back down again and that is no more true then in the case of poor Boyle in the week leading up to her defeat to the marvelous Diversity last Saturday night.

And in the aftermath the grim reality that awaits the lonely Boyle once she emerges from her spell in recovery has been revealed as she is ferried from pillar to post to satisfy the needs of Simon Cowell and his insatiable appetite to turn raw talent into money makers.

Except Boyle is not raw talent, she is troubled talent. A person whose learning difficulties and loneliness for much of her life have left her very vulnerable to the extreme dangers of being a world reknowned star as she now is, like it or not.

The best thing for Boyle is not to fast track her from the sheer madness of BGT to the show’s tour circuit to the solo album to a likely worldwide tour. Instead let her return to her home, her family, and her dear cat in West Lothian. Let her live the normal life she needs to live for the next few months in order to recover from a period in her life she could never have imagined nor did any of we when we were first introduced to her.

Let Diversity take all the limelight, their incredible performances deserve it and let Boyle rest, recuperate and in a few months perhaps she can return.

She is troubled person, a vulnerable person and she needs time to recover in order for herself and the rest of the world to appreciate her amazing talent.


Britain’s Got Talent fools us again!

Following on from this blogs most read post so far about Susan Boyle, I thought I’d give a few thoughts on the rise of Jamie Pugh, Britain’s Got Talent’s latest hero.

Last Saturday we were presented with an ordinary looking, pizza deliveryman who was riddled with nerves and stage fright. We were told he had never performed before a large crowd before so he had the sympathy of everyone before he launched into an extraordinary rendition of ‘Bring Him Home’ from Les Miserables that so far has over one million hits on YouTube. It’s not Susan Boyle but it’s not half bad either.

After this extraordinary performance we had the emotive background music, the scenes of applause all around the arena, much gushing from the judges (For once Amanda Holden didn’t cry though!) and then three, suspense filled but entirely predictable ‘Yes’ votes that sent our Welsh hero on his way.

And then during the week The Sun discovered that Pugh in fact performed as part of medley at 1,200-capacity West End venue in 2006 where apparently stage fright wasn’t an issue for the man in the pizza delivery van.

Far from being, in his own words, “a simple bloke from The Valleys” Pugh is a performer with experience and Simon Cowell and co probably knew this but the chance to portray Pugh in an entirely different light for a ratings boost was too good to resist.

The dishonesty is perhaps not as galling as the deceit with which Boyle was presented to us but it’s another fine example of how reality TV isn’t really reality, it’s just whatever Simon Cowell and co decide it should be.

Susan Boyle and the myth of ‘reality’ TV

So you all know who Susan Boyle is. Britain’s Got Talent‘s singing sensation now commands over 40 millions hits on You Tube less than a fortnight after her appearance on the show that had audience members weeping and judge Amanda Holden on her feet applauding. She probably cried a bit as well, she tends to cry a fair bit.

It was a performance that took the world by storm. Boyle has been on morning television in the United States, Larry King Live and is slated for an appearance on Oprah. It’s a real 21st century rags to riches story in that it has happened in a ridiculously short amount of time.

When Boyle was first introduced to us, you, like me and all my friends, no doubt thought that this dowdy looking, 47-year-old, Scottish virgin was a bit of a joke. Then she opened her mouth, sang beautiful things and we all felt a little crap for having pre judged her.

But at the same time we were uplifted by this small town girl who proved us and everyone else wrong. The scowls and derisive laughter turned to tears of joy and the smirking from Simon Cowell and his fellow judges turned to admiration and high praise.

There was only one problem with it all. It was fake, all so fake and that’s what bothers me. Once again reality TV failed to live up to its name. It was reality but with a caveat in that everyone on the production team at Britain’s Got Talent knew how good Boyle was but rather than present her as such they decided to trick us all into thinking she was crap then unleash this beautiful singing voice on us.

Great TV of course but my issue is with honesty and transparency and on the very shows where this should be most evident it is not. Instead we have pre packaged, pre determined and pre judged ‘talent’ forced upon us because this is how Simon Cowell says it should be.

I’ve been told more than once before that Cowell and his team are in total control of everything that happens on his extensive catalogue of ‘reality’ TV shows and that’s a dangerous trend to a genre that has dominated the screens for the last ten years. 

Susan Boyle is a fantastic singer and her story is a fantastic one. I wish her every success but I worry for her too in that the extent to which her short career has been managed so far will only increase over the coming weeks and months and she becomes no longer the modest, unglamorous small town girl we were initially presented with but yet another pre packaged, soulless, singing talent for Cowell to make obscene amounts of money from.

UPDATE: As if the media frenzy surrounding Susan Boyle wasn’t manic enough, she’s now even been mentioned on South Park of all places!