The cameras follow a 48-year old unemployed woman onto the glitzy audition stage in a cavernous packed auditorium.
Her hair is short and frizzy, she’s wearing a shapeless dress. She’s never been married, has never even been kissed, and lives alone with her cat in a village in West Lothian, Scotland. In her youth she was bullied, she did poorly in school, her singing experience is limited to a church choir. Yet, she says that her lifelong dream was to become famous as Elaine Paige, the beautiful, polished, acclaimed actress and mezzo-soprano. The audience snickers, eyes roll, the camera catches one woman mouthing, ‘No way.’
Susan Boyle held onto her dream most of her 48-years, now she has raised the courage to audition for Britain’s Got Talent.” And now the judges; Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden and Piers Morgan look cynical.
Simon restrains his usual blunt insults and asks Susan why her dream of being a professional singer hasn’t been realized. She says she’s never had the chance and hopes to fix that tonight when she sings, “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserables, the popular musical based on Victor Hugo’s novel that is ultimately about redemption. “Big song” Piers says, suggesting that it’ll be like an arduous Everest climb.
The music starts and a spellbinding voice transfixes all.
The judge’s jaws drop, they are disbelieving and stunned.
The audience of hundreds are on their feet screaming, cheering, clapping.
Simon is rapt-as if he recognizes an angel for the first time. Piers swallows hard. Amanda seems bedazzled. You feel chills listening.
The audience is back on their feet screaming and astonished. She owns this song, and invests every syllable with meaning that she has experienced.
Every listener is blown-away. Her years of being belittled and alone have been redeemed. Her dream has materialized before our eyes.
The judges gush superlatives, the performance was extraordinary. Piers Morgan terms it without a doubt the biggest surprise I have had in three years of this show.” Amanda says it was a complete privilege to listen to her. Everyone was ready to write her off, and within seconds of her first notes were erupting into standing ovations. Piers says: “Everyone was laughing at you. No one is laughing now. That was stunning. I’m reeling from shock.” “Brilliant. Extraordinary. Incredible.”
Did you, like I, not feel ashamed, after judging a person, who goes through life in the shadows, and who now has entered the light.