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Britain's Got Standards

Not really AI news, but related: I finally got a chance to catch up with Susan Boyle, the dowdy middle-aged churchwoman who blew the living shit out of the competition on Britain's Got Talent. The woman's got pipes straight from Heaven, no doubt about it, the kind of voice that can make you tear up just by hearing it. But a big part of the pleasure in watching her was seeing how the audience and the judges -- who were obviously laughing at her, rolling their eyes and sneering at her goofy demeanor and frumpy appearance -- instantly galvanized from negative to positive the first few notes of her performance. The judges, including the ever-unflappable Simon Cowell, were absolutely dumbstruck and the audience went from openly sniggering at her to cheering her like she was the second coming in the space of a minute.

I think the press is highly overselling the idea that she represents some kind of sea change where the general public is suddenly going to stop being shallow and obsessed with looks, but it's definitely good to see, every once in a while, someone who's genuinely rewarded for their abilities despite their appearance or circumstance. Boyle gave the performance of a lifetime, cramming an ocean of sadness into an already sad song and then delivering it with unfettered joy -- it's truly one of the great pop moments I've ever witnessed, and knowing that mainstream audiences can still respond to that in massive numbers is a good sign.

Comments

ludickid
Apr. 20th, 2009 05:13 pm (UTC)
Weird...that was me. I dunno why it signed me out.
mckennl
Apr. 20th, 2009 06:41 pm (UTC)
Also, if you watch Potts' first time on the show, there's no derisive wolf whistle, no eye-rolling, none of the "not cute" shaming that Boyle got. Also, I am the only person on the planet who doesn't think she is particularly "fat." I mean next to Paris Hilton, yeah, but ... no.

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flavored with age
ludickid
Gun-totin', Chronic-smokin' Hearse Initiator
Ludic Log

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Leonard Pierce is a freelance writer wandering around Texas with no sleep or sense of direction. If you give him money he will write something for you. If you are nice to him he may come to your house and get drunk.

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