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Susan Boyle Britain's Got Talent Setup

The Setup of Susan Boyle

Yesterday the New York Times rounded up sociologists, anthropologists, and other -gist types to explain the science behind our love affair with singing sensation Susan Boyle. Why did we fall so hard? Because we didn't expect it.

The more I read, the more annoyed I became. It lists stereotypes that Susan challenged: unattractive women are not engaging; age stereotypes are harder to change than racial; people who try to be accepted and fail breed contempt; preconceived notions are disregarded until contradictions are too striking to ignore; and discrepancies of stereotypes create instant arousal. They release dopamine and make us happy. It made me happy the first time! Why so angry now? To find out,


Because it's become so apparent that these stereotypes were used in the making of Susan Boyle. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if a similar group of social scientists were consulted to ensure her debut was dramatic and its YouTube clip viral.

From Simon Cowell's sneers of doubt — as if he hadn't heard her sing in a prescreening — to the perfectly cut shots of audience-member eye rolls, the orchestration was as pitch perfect as her voice. I would even wager that Boyle's wag of her hips, her claim that she'd never been kissed (which she later retracted), and the walk off stage before the judges could respond were all part of her performance.

New York Post columnist Maureen Callahan called it a week ago when she wrote this:

The clip itself, suspiciously ready-made for online consumption: A seven-minute movie, slick and pithy in its perfect execution of the underdog narrative. . . . There is the classic David vs. Goliath subplot, the primal satisfaction of seeing the bully (Cowell) slain by such a seemingly inferior force. And there is the profound desire for this entire thing to be authentic, which in and of itself suggests that it probably isn't.

Since the show aired, Susan has said yes to Oprah, been on morning and late-night shows, and now her life will be turned into a movie. She had a makeover. And, she'll probably get a record deal signed by dear, old (older than her!) Simon himself.


jdmxrain jdmxrain 8 years
I don't care for her that much actually. Do I care if it was a setup? No. Imagine how they'd have reacted if she hadn't had a great voice. I imagine she would have been shunned. Society has a tendency of doing that. I used to be really overweight in high school. I was like a size 14. Wore braces and glasses. I was a mess and I wasn't included in high school. When high school was over, I threw away my diploma and my yearbooks, they didn't mean anything to me when all I got in high school was bullied and shunned by everyone. People don't like to admit it but at the very end appearances do matter.
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 8 years
You know that this wouldn't have happened if she wasn't such a hot mess. I've been saying that you either have to be gorgeous or completely unattractive to get attention, if you're in the middle you're ignored in Hollywood.
wednesday_adams wednesday_adams 8 years
Bottom line, the woman has talent. And because of how our society reacts to 'unattractive' women, I wouldn't be surprised or offended if there were some creative editing involved in the clip. If there hadn't been, would we have given her a second look?
sparklestar sparklestar 8 years
She has learning difficulties. I really hope somebody is looking out for her. She is going to be made very vulnerable by all what is going on.
dm8bri dm8bri 8 years
Whatever people want to do with their time is fine, but I never get "taken" by reality show contestants. I'm sure (in fact, I know) there are plenty of "dowdy" people who have great talent. Who cares?
bleached bleached 8 years
I don't care what the studies say, or if the show was fixed. I love the video and I am rooting for her just like I rooted for Paul Potts in 2007. I'm a big fan of Les Miz and "I Dreamed a Dream" was always one of my favorite songs from the musical. I think Susan Boyle sang it beautifully and setup or not, she deserves all the accolades she is receiving
amers230 amers230 8 years
I don't get why they needed to bring in analysts to discuss this. Everyone loves an underdog story, why do you think there are so many sports movies lol.
Jazz-Z Jazz-Z 8 years
Honestly, it doesn't take rocket science to figure out why Susan Boyle's performance was touching. The judges comments alone explained it very clearly. Holden reiterated his feelings later on the Early Show as well. ~ "I mean," said Holden, "it's a very shallow thing to say but, obviously, the minute she walked onstage we all, and the audience, completely judged her on her appearance and everything else. And I hate saying that. But, you know, that true cliche, we judged a book by its cover, unfortunately, and we're all very cynical. The audience was jeering and booing and it was just really uncomfortable, wasn't it? And we were, 'Oh, just please be good or just get off. Because it's just -- we just need you to do something here,' because we were so dying for her." Those who feel a need to analyze to understand it are my opinion. :oy:
margokhal margokhal 8 years
She wasn't all that remarkable to me in the first place, to be honest. And I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of what she said before wasn't actually true - it's hard to break into the biz, and you have to be a little stranger/weirder/better than average to even make it to the taped portion of a reality show, particularly these "Idol" shows. I'm not really sure she broke any stereotypes...or maybe I've just been around too many people to be surprised by much anymore...*shrug*
hartsfull hartsfull 8 years
Is that supposed to read singing sensation? For many people no matter how gorgeous they look or how much talent they have, it takes years to get noticed. There's just so much competition. People are always changing their mind on what they're into.
Chrstne Chrstne 8 years
I am on the fence on whether this indeed was a setup. Even if it was, I wouldn't be angry, because I think everyone needs to take a good look at the way society behaves, and why we do the things we do or act the way we act. If it was a set up and if scientists or what have you really were involved, we have to say they did a good job at capturing what we are really all about. Judging the people who we find insuperior to ourselves more than anyone else.
skigurl skigurl 8 years
i don't doubt this was a set up either...i'm impressed by her but i'm not nearly as crazy for her story as other people have been...and i find her personality annoying...she's a weird lady
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