The whole Susan Boyle scenario makes me shudder like I've got cooties.
First of all, I must say that I have never, as an adult, watched a 'talent show'. I find them nauseating. It's the sheer fakery that really gets to me.
To be honest, I haven't even been able to watch this clip on the news, on account of that twat Simon Cowell (whom I'd never heard of until he appeared on Top Gear, at which point I said to the DH: who's this tosser?). Anything he's involved with would be something I'd avoid.
But anyway, back to Britain's Got Talent. Are people, really, in this day and age, gullible enough to think that all of these competitions aren't rigged? That the 'judges' on this programme hadn't heard this singer before? Or that the backstage costumiers and makeup artists, whose job it is to make performers look glamorous, had somehow managed to overlook her?
Every moment of this performance is choreographed, from the silly hip wiggle and thick eyebrows to the gosh-shock-amazement of the judges. Hazarding a guess, only the audience were not in on it.
The way these things work is this: Susan Boyle approaches the organisers with a demo video tape. Because they listen to all demos, they realise they have a beautiful voice on their hands, but clearly her image doesn't fit the accepted norm for popular music, where it's better to be 20 and have tits coming up to your ears.
Deciding it will elicit more shock, surprise and audience sympathy if she plays the underdog and then emerges triumphant as a housewife superstar (how very zeitgeist in a recession - you can almost hear Ruby Keeler crying: "I can't go on, I can't, I can't..."), they send her out in an unflattering outfit and with no make-up, estimating that there will be a remarkable turnaround from the audience when they actually get to hear the voice. And lo, it comes to pass. Tears all round.
It is all such bollocks. And the main reason all of these programmes are a waste of fucking airspace.
Anyone who really appreciates singing goes for the voice above all, in any case - the whole 'controversy' over Boyle's looks and whether she should have a makeover is cobblers. If those of us who like opera sat around waiting for our singers to be beautiful, pickings would be pretty thin. I accept quite readily that Joan Sutherland and Cecilia Bartoli and Monserrat Caballe and Luciano Pavarotti and - perhaps the greatest voice of the 20th century - Ella Fitzgerald- are all old boots. Just shut your eyes and listen, for God's sake.