Feature

What happened to Susan Boyle?

Why the Internet sensation lost on <em>Britain's Got Talent</em>, and how she ended up in a mental-health clinic

“Worldwide phenomenon” Susan Boyle was expected to win the finals of Britain’s Got Talent on Saturday night, said Alan Cowell in The New York Times. But when the 47-year-old singer lost to dance group Diversity, she reportedly began “to behave erratically” and was taken to a private mental-health clinic. This shows what can happen under “the intense pressures that build on contestants in talent shows” like Britain’s Got Talent and American Idol.

Susan Boyle's fall is yet another “cautionary tale for the celebrity age,” said Mike Collett White in Reuters. Boyle had a "giddying rise from unemployed Scottish church volunteer to global superstar"—online video of her debut performance was downloaded 200 million times, paparazzi camped outside her home, and Oprah and Larry King begged for interviews. It's understandable that she cracked.

It’s hard to feel too sorry for Susan Boyle, said Lea Lane in The Huffington Post. She “chose to play it safe, repeating the same song that she performed at her audition, ‘I Dream a Dream’ from Les Misérables.” And all the time that Boyle “spent talking to fawning reporters, and fending off fans, could have been spent learning a new song, and adjusting to the realities of what was ahead.”

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