Less than a week ago, she was just another 47-year-old Scottish single woman living with her cat.
Now, more than 13 million YouTube views later, Hollywood agents and talk-show bookers are jostling for a few minutes with Susan
Boyle, a stocky, beetle-browed woman they would not ordinarily have
given a second glance on the street.
Harry Smith asked her Thursday morning on CBS' "Early Show."
VIDEO: Watch Susan Boyle's wow judges as she sings 'Cry Me A River'
"It hasn't really sunk in yet," Boyle guilelessly replied from her
plainly furnished cottage in Blackburn, Scotland, which had belonged to
her late mother.
It may all add up to only a momentary big deal, but the case of this
previously unknown amateur singer is a compelling study in how viral
video can turn its subject into an international star within hours.
"Never been kissed," she confided on Saturday's season premiere of " Britain's Got Talent," a United Kingdom show in which "American Idol's" Simon Cowell is one of the judges.
"When she came onto stage the audience immediately started booing and
hissing her, based purely on her appearance," Amanda Holden, another
program judge, said Thursday.
Then she started to sing. Boyle, who had some limited previous vocal
training, mostly in church choirs, shrewdly picked "I Dreamed a Dream,"
a heartbreaking ballad about unfulfilled hopes from "Les Miserables."
A few bars into the song, as her earthy, pleasing voice took command
and soared over the auditorium, the crowd let out a collective gasp,
then cheered raucously.
"It wasn't singer Susan Boyle who was ugly on 'Britain's Got Talent' so
much as our reaction to her" was the title of a newspaper piece by
Guardian commentator Tanya Gold. "Why are we so shocked when 'ugly'
women can do things, rather than sitting at home weeping and wishing
they were somebody else?"
Giving Boyle staying power may prove challenging, but those who
discovered her are already at work, reportedly seeking a record deal.
The Internet and several celebrities have already delivered their verdict on her potential.
Boyle's is already the most-watched clip so far this month on YouTube, more than doubling the total views of its runner-up. Demi Moore is praising the singer on Twitter and Oprah Winfrey has reportedly invited Boyle to appear on her program.
Even Patti LuPone, whose version of "I Dreamed a Dream" Boyle closely
followed, is a fan. "Susan, you've got pluck, girl," LuPone told Boyle
on the "Early Show." Of the YouTube performance, she added: "It was
pretty powerful. . . . I started to cry."