- 1 Meet Susan Boyle
- 2 Simon Cowell on “Britain’s Got Talent” (“BGT”)
- 3 Had public meltdowns
- 4 Simon Cowell’s Change of Heart: His True Thoughts on Susan Boyle
- 5 Update on Susan Boyle
Susan Boyle, a middle-aged unemployed woman, became a star literally overnight, after her breathtaking audition in the reality show “Britain’s Got Talent” was aired. Her remarkable voice, combined with her humble personality captured the hearts of millions worldwide. Simon Cowell, known for his role as a shrewd judge with a sharp tongue, had first misjudged her, but had been rendered speechless after her performance.
Meet Susan Boyle
Susan Magdalane Boyle was born in 1961, the youngest of eight children to Patrick and Bridget Boyle. She grew up in a town called Blackburn in West Lothian, between Edinburgh and Glasgow in Central Scotland. She had a learning disability due to oxygen deprivation during birth, and had been nicknamed “Simple Susie.” For much of her life she’d been told that she had ‘brain damage’ and was bullied for being different from her classmates; a lady at school even stubbed cigarettes on her.
After seeing a specialist sometime in 2012, she was diagnosed as having Asperger’s Syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism, a condition that affects a person’s ability to effectively communicate and interact with others. She said she was relieved that she finally understood what was wrong with her, and why she behaved the way she did at times. Susan had thought that she was seriously ill, and was quite anxious that she was unable to function properly or deal with situations that others had no problem with. However, her test results also revealed that she had an above-average IQ.
Simon Cowell on “Britain’s Got Talent” (“BGT”)
The talent competition show “BGT” was created by Simon Cowell, and premiered in 2007. Anyone, regardless of age, could participate and showcase their talents, and a panel of judges would cast their votes based on if they disliked a performance or deemed it worthy to move on to the next round of the competition – each judge would give an opinion on the act. Simon, one of the judges, was known for being blunt and making snappy wisecracks, insults, or controversial comments about the performance of almost every contestant.
Why Susan Boyle joined “BGT”
Susan sang in school productions and local shows, and had appeared in ITV’s comedy show, “My Kind of People,” in 1995, performing “I Don’t Know How To Love Him” from the musical “Jesus Christ Superstar”, but was mocked or made fun of by its presenter, Michael Barrymore. She stopped singing for a while, as she took care of her mother who passed away in 2007 at the age of 91. However, upon seeing that the first winner of “BGT” went on to become an opera star, she was inspired to take a chance, and auditioned in season three of the show.
Susan Boyle’s unforgettable audition
At Glasgow Theatre, Susan Boyle, a woman in her late 40s was looking forward to singing in front of a large audience; it had been her dream since she was 12. She was brimming with confidence while she was being interviewed by Simon Cowell, telling him that she wanted to become a professional singer, but had never been given a chance; she was hoping that things would change for her that night. It was clear from everyone’s reactions that they were waiting for her to fail; she had been judged unfairly because of the way she looked.
However, once she belted out the opening line of “I Dreamed A Dream” from the musical, “Les Miserables,” the judges and the crowd were shocked. They never expected that she would have a wonderful voice and could sing that well. They were clapping and giving her a standing ovation even before the song was finished.
For Piers Morgan, he considered it as the biggest surprise he’d had in the three years that he’d been with the show. He said that as Susan stood there with a cheeky grin saying that she wanted to become as successful as the English singer-actress Elaine Paige, everyone was laughing at her, but she clearly changed their minds after that stunning performance. Amanda Holden felt privileged to have heard her sing and said, ‘I am so thrilled because I know that everybody was against you. I honestly think that we were all being very cynical, and I think that’s the biggest wake-up call ever.’ Simon teased Susan that he knew the minute she walked out on that stage that they were going to hear something extraordinary. In all seriousness, though, he told her that she could go back home to her village with her head held high as she got three yeses. Once backstage she was emotional, as it all felt surreal to her.
Almost quit the show
Right after Susan Boyle’s performance was aired, she instantly became the talk of the town, becoming a phenomenal hit. Within a week, the video of her audition on YouTube was the most-watched globally. Her story was inspiring – a woman in her 40s without movie-star looks could still get her break and make her dreams come true – it struck a chord with a lot of people.
Susan had suddenly become the center of a media frenzy as journalists and TV crews from around the world came to her small town seeking interviews. This was something she never expected, saying that it felt weird at first, but thought that she could get used to it as she liked the attention she was getting, but that she’d just take everything in her stride.
However, before she advanced to the finals, she wanted to quit the show as she struggled in coping with the pressures of fame. The paparazzi hounded her, and there were negative press reports about her; it seemed that because of this, the country’s opinions about her had changed. Simon, Piers, and the production team had to reassure her and somehow convinced her not to miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
During the finale, the judges talked about the pressure that she’d been under, and were quite supportive of her. Simon said that he’d known the real Susan Boyle and it was not the one that was being portrayed in the media. He further said that he absolutely adored her, and that win or lose, she could hold her head up high. Susan Boyle, affectionately known as SuBo, wasn’t crowned the champion of the third season of “BGT,” but her journey to stardom was far from over.
Had public meltdowns
Susan suffered from mood swings and depression, admitting to not being strong enough on her own, and in need of support to cope with everything that was happening in her life. Not many knew that she didn’t really want to be famous, despite wanting to become a singer. Some believed she wasn’t ready for a life in the limelight, as news came out that she experienced a meltdown in 2009. However, Simon Cowell corrected that misconception, explaining that Susan was just quite overwhelmed when it dawned on her that the American audience also loved her. Apparently, some fans had flown in just to meet her, and had gifted her with a quilt that they’d made – she was so touched by the gesture that she cried, but they were tears of happyness.
Susan suffered a breakdown after her loss, as she was alleged to have ‘run amok backstage’ and shouted, ‘I hate this show.’ It was said that she even threw water at a floor manager who was trying to calm her down. After acting strange in a hotel room, she was taken by ambulance to The Priory Hospital, and was assessed under the Mental Health Act. According to Piers Morgan, who had a chance to talk to her, Susan was fine; she was just ‘emotionally drained and exhausted,’ which was understandable, as she had been under a tremendous amount of pressure. She just needed some time to herself, away from the media and the public, to rest and recover.
In 2016, Susan had another meltdown at Heathrow Airport as she was seen yelling at complete strangers, so the police were called in. It seemed that it was triggered by a friend who left her for a couple of minutes to check out the shops. Those who knew Susan said that she was under a lot of stress at that time. Her sister Birdie, the one she called her rock, who had helped her throughout her life and in her career, died from cancer the previous year, and she was grieving for her still. On top of that, she had a falling out with two of her brothers – her eldest brother John left her at Derry Airport after their holiday in Northern Ireland. She was said to be screaming for help as she was unable to return to her home without assistance. Her brother Gerry allegedly threatened that he would kill himself if she wouldn’t give him $60,000.
Simon Cowell’s Change of Heart: His True Thoughts on Susan Boyle
Susan Boyle’s audition on “BGT” is a moment that will forever be etched in the memories of viewers. Not only did it unveil an incredible talent, but it also left the infamously harsh judge, Simon Cowell, at a loss for words. Here’s what Simon really thinks of Susan Boyle and how their relationship has evolved over the years:
I was absolutely thrilled when I was invited to perform on #AGTChampions. The crowds reaction was unbelievable and to then have the golden buzzer from Mel B.. I was speechless!
I had the time of my life being back on the stage singing Wild Horses after all these years! @AGT pic.twitter.com/PBvT8cJEH6
— Susan Boyle (@SusanBoyle) January 8, 2019
From skeptic to superfan
During the audition, Simon recalled not wanting to be there, as he was tired and irritable due to jet lag. He was getting frustrated after listening to people playing bagpipes, so when a woman walked toward the microphone with what he described as a funny walk, he assumed that she was an aspiring comedienne. She couldn’t answer his questions well, and he felt that the audience was becoming bored. When she said that she wanted to become a singer, he dismissed her as just another hopeless dreamer, and thought that this would all be over in five seconds. Within moments, however, she shattered his preconceptions.
Simon realized just how much of an impact Susan had while he was in Los Angeles. After the audition aired, the morning news was dominated by stories of Susan Boyle as people were blown away by her performance, and it was the same in every station.
A Champion’s Success
Susan Boyle’s chart-topping success was undeniable – the studio album, “I Dreamed A Dream,” became the world’s biggest-selling album in 2009. Her sophomore record, “The Gift,” continued to solidify her status as a force to be reckoned with in the music industry, reaching the number one spot on both UK and USA album charts. This remarkable achievement made Boyle the first woman ever to accomplish such a feat within a year. Simon Cowell couldn’t contain his excitement, and proudly declared Boyle his ‘superwoman.’
Simon felt responsible for Susan
Back in 2011, Simon revealed in an interview that Susan had been in a ‘very, very bad place’ for a while, especially when she didn’t win. He felt guilty because he didn’t know what the right decision was, if what they did was a good thing or a bad one; he just went with his gut instinct. Even with her condition, which required extra care and patience, Simon never had a doubt in signing her up and offering her a record deal. He said that Susan had every right to change her life for the better. He told her that making a record was quite stressful, but it was really something she wanted to do. Sure, she had her ‘down days,’ but she would have them regardless, he said.
Susan holds a special place in Simon’s heart
Syco Entertainment, which was founded and owned by Simon Cowell, managed Susan’s career. A clear indication of just how fond Simon was of her was the fact that she hadn’t been dropped from his roster of talents. Reportedly, they had a rule over at Syco that once an artist had album sales under one million, that artist would be dropped. However, even after her album “Hope,” which was released in 2014, had only sold around 300,000 copies, she was still with the company. Simon’s loyalty to her was said to have been brought on by the astounding success of her back catalog, and how she’d become a symbol for what the Got Talent franchise represented.
Update on Susan Boyle
For a time, Susan took a break and just spent much-needed time with family and friends. Many are curious as to what she’s been up to.
First romantic relationship at 53
Back during her audition, 47-year-old Susan revealed that she’d never been kissed, let alone married, saying that she lived alone with her cat named Pebbles. While she had a boyfriend when she was in her 20s, it was over before it really began; apparently, her father didn’t think she was mature enough to handle a relationship, and put a stop to it. Another man, an American doctor whom she described as ‘the perfect gentleman,’ came into her life, and she appeared to be smitten by him. They met at the hotel where she was staying during her US tour, and had a romantic dinner, then communicated mostly through emails and phone calls. However, nothing came of it as well, because she said that it wasn’t practical to continue.
“America’s Got Talent: The Champions”
Susan participated in the first season of “America’s Got Talent: The Champions,” which premiered in 2019, competing against previous winners and notable acts from the Got Talent franchise. Her performance of “Wild Horses” earned her the Golden Buzzer from judge Mel B. Simon said, ‘You know what Susan, I can’t think of any other contestant who has defined this show better than you…you’ve made a huge difference to a lot of people’s lives.’
Simon was again moved by her rendition of “I Dreamed A Dream” during the finals, and reminisced about their shared history. He was known for his no-nonsense demeanor and was humble enough to acknowledge how he’d misjudged Susan. He admitted that he’d been ‘disgusting’ in his initial reaction to her. Simon expressed deep remorse for underestimating her talent, but had since made up for it.
Back to where it all began
As she returned to the “BGT” stage in June 2023, she still left the audience in awe of her performance, giving a heartfelt rendition of “I Dreamed A Dream” along with the cast of the West End Production of “Les Miserables.” She felt great about being back to where it all began for her, and shared just how special it was for her that she was here to perform for everyone. She had a minor stroke last year and it affected her speech, so she worked hard to be able to sing again. ‘I have fought like crazy to get back on stage. And I have done it,’ she said.
Tonight I had the privilege of returning to Britain's Got Talent and performing with the wonderful cast of Les…
Susan Boyle’s life is a testament to the power of talent and determination. She once led a quiet and humble life in Scotland, but her amazing voice and indomitable spirit made her an inspiration to millions of people. Her Asperger’s Syndrome might have caused her to have off days, but as she had said before, she just had to work through it. As Simon Cowell continues to believe in her and manage her career, it’s likely that she can continue doing what she loves best.