Monday, May 25, 2009

Susan Boyle in Semi-Finals on "Britain's Got Talent"

After weeks of anticipation, the world got to hear made-over singing sensation Susan Boyle vie for the semi-finals of "Britain's Got Talent" with a shaky rendition of "Memory" from the Andrew Lloyd Weber musical "Cats" last night.

Her voice cracking in the opening notes, the 47-year-old spinster was understandably nervous as she started, the performance sounding rushed as though she just wanted it to be over. But as she continued, Boyle gradually relaxed and found her footing, hitting all of the high notes, ending in a standing ovation.

After wowing the judges and the world last month with her moving rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream" from "Les Miserables", much was made of her dowdy appearance and predictably some stylista got ahold of Boyle. I was relieved to see that although the grey is gone, there are now two eyebrows and the moustache is now clinging to a piece of waxy tape in a land fill somewhere, the Internet's favorite cat lady hasn't gone Hollywood just yet.

But now that the novelty has worn off, does the frumpy YouTube singing sensation have what it takes to go all the way?

What made Susan Boyle so great in her debut last month was her humble back story and universally lowered expectations, as people judged her on her appearance. But as they say in show biz, you're only as good as your last review. While her future may be secure, with recording contracts being thrown at her from every angle, if this week's performance is any indication, taking the grand prize and performing for the queen is by no means guaranteed.

The first thing that came to mind as I listened to Boyle last night was that she really needs some vocal coaching to fine tune her natural talent. (As someone whose high school boyfriend was a singer, I consider myself somewhat of an expert on these things.) Singing well is all about breath control and a really great singer can overcome the worst stage fright by focusing on the basics of her vocal training. Boyle has had some training in the past, but with so much on the line, working with a good coach would do her some good now that expectations are so much higher.

See for yourself in this clip:

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