Your daily Susan Boyle

The "Britain's Got Talent" star gets a controversial "new look," inspires biopic and potato recipe.


Judy Berman
April 22, 2009 8:16PM (UTC)

On Monday, Broadsheet brought you Chapter 2 of the Susan Boyle chronicles: T-shirts and Facebook groups and demo tapes, oh my! Two days later, Boyle-mania is still raging, and it's beginning to look like the newest British Invasion may have some staying power. For one thing, there's talk of Boyle joining forces with Paul Potts (a former "Britain's Got Talent" sensation who also combines plain looks with powerful pipes) for a duets CD. And a biopic of the English-speaking world's favorite 47-year-old virgin may also be in the works.

Simon Cowell (who's currently at work on a film about Potts' life) is, of course, behind both plans. "I'm thrilled to bits for her," he told TV Guide. "I love it. And that’s why I love making these shows -- something completely unexpected, something you couldn’t predict. You can’t plan for it." This from the "American Idol" judge famous for trashing contestants' looks!

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But even if Cowell has seen the light, Boyle has begun to draw some criticism of the mind-your-own-damn-business variety. Photos have surfaced of Boyle at home in Scotland on Tuesday wearing a stylish dress, leather jacket and one-inch heels. Asked about the contestant's "new look," "Britain's Got Talent" judge Amanda Holden told MSNBC,

People want the average woman who shows you dreams are still possible and that hopes will still happen for you.... If we made her with big toothy grin or bouffant-y hair, it would kill who she is standing for. Whether she knows it or not, she is standing for the average person in the street. I am sure she will comb her hair and have a bit of [lipstick] on. But she won't be going under the knife or anything like that!

Personally, I think Boyle (who hasn't changed her hair and doesn't seem to be wearing makeup) looks quite nice -- the dress is flattering, the shoes are understated and what unemployed lady doesn't daydream about a brand-new leather jacket? Well, New York Press disagrees. In a quick, breezy blog post titled "Susan Boyle Cashes in on Fame," the publication's editors describe her as "wearing a foxy new leather jacket and a trampy, low-cut dress." Really? If that dress is trampy, then I'm the Whore of Babylon.

But what bothers me a bit about all this frivolous debate is the assumption that anyone besides Susan Boyle should have a say in Susan Boyle's wardrobe or grooming (not to mention whether she'll get plastic surgery). Could it be that we'll only love her as long as she remains a mythical, sexless fairy godmother type? Are we going to flip out if the newly famous Boyle finally gets some?

But enough with the deep thoughts. Let's talk about Susan Boyled Potatoes. That's right: The Amateur Gourmet has devised an ingenious little dish inspired by our heroine. What looks like a plate of ho-hum boiled potatoes turns out to conceal a delicious surprise: "That, Simon Cowell, is no ordinary potato: that potato is filled with a luxurious mixture of pancetta, garlic, wine and Gruyere cheese. It is, in other words, a Susan Boyled potato: seemingly plain on the outside but on the inside an embarrassment of riches."

It's a much sweeter tribute to Boyle than MTV's snarky suggestion that she ditch her Elaine Paige duet for a Sapphic collaboration with Katy Perry, of "I Kissed a Girl" fame. And, of course, what is a pop culture zeitgeist without some input from Rosie O'Donnell? Boyle, she blogged, is like "Shrek comes to life." And while Rosie doesn't always choose the best words to express herself, she meant this as a compliment. In fact, Boyle put the comedian in such a good mood that she even had some nice words for Cowell: "He showed his humanity, and I actually liked him."


Judy Berman

Judy Berman is a writer and editor in Brooklyn. She is a regular contributor to Salon's Broadsheet.

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