After eight weeks since beginning my two-year journey in writing on Jan 1st this year (2021), I have finally found a poetry contest I am willing to enter… not that I have been searching hard for it. I’ve been relying mostly on my local writers’ federation newsletter to introduce me to writing contests to enter, which I work on like writing assignments in a course, and this was the first one for which I qualified and was interested in. By qualification, I mean from not having self-published poetry in the past. By interest, I mean with a very low entry fee because I have no fucking clue what counts for good poetry these days.
Was it unexpected? The odd makers say it was! Susan Boyle was the favourite going in. Aidan Davis was second. The others were too far behind, it seemed, to give realistic consideration to the crown. But the Diversity Dance Troupe (already with their own Wikipedia entry I see) won Britain’s Got Talent 2009! They got the people’s vote, as well as judges Simon Cowell and Amanda Holden‘s votes, by the sounds of what they said at the end of the video. Piers Morgan did not agree, and I’m with Piers there, but not on Flawless being better than them. Just that there were better acts than Diversity.
Diversity’s winning performance breezed through a range of movie and dance songs for music and choreography. They included Transformers, Superman, and some dance songs of the 90s. I especially liked the touch where they created the table with the judges and threw in three buzzes. Very clever and fun, talented and creative. They also did not use their semi-final routine so they brought something new. That was more than Aidan Davis could claim, I’m afraid. Aidan used his audition routine in the finals, on a grander and glitzier stage that added the technical background effects of his semi-final routine. Unfortunately, special effects don’t count for votes, and it was also a routine which I actually thought was inferior to his semi-final performance. However, I think I’ve seen too many good dance routines to be nearly as impressed as the people of Britain and judges. They might not have seen moves like those in Britain, but in America, I’ve seen better in just about everything from break dancing to tap dancing. Even Irish dancing! However, the good thing about Diversity winning is in their name. It left Britain’s Got Talent a show about diversity, not predictability. They had an adult singer, a child dancer, and we were heading there again with either Susan Boyle or Aidan Davis. Even Hollie Steel wasn’t a big stretch in a child singer, of which they’ve had a strong past contender in six year old Connie Talbot (2007, absolutely adorable audition video).
Susan Boyle came in second despite regurgitating her audition number of I Dreamed a Dream from Les Miserables. There was no drama, no crowd energy, no surprise or anything like the audition. I would even say it wasn’t say it wasn’t as good as her audition. For that reason, I’m only including a link for anyone who wants to watch. Not worth the blog real estate for an embedded video. I’d highly recommend her audition video if you haven’t seen either. THAT, was a magical moment!
Unlike Susan Boyle, though, Hollie Steel came out with an angelic, heart wrenching and professional rendition of Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again, from Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s Phantom of the Opera. It was just beautiful! She sang it like she meant every word of it, and justifiably so given how appropriate the lyrics were! I bet Hollie wished the crowd would be there again for more performances. The whole experience definitely taught her how to live, and what it means to forgive (reference melt down and comeback in the semis). Even the line about “then my world was shattered” became prominent given what unexpectedly happened in the semis. Then, of course, to end with “no more memories” and “help me say goodbye”, was absolutely appropriate for the occasion. Whoever thought of it couldn’t have chosen a better song.
It was also a new piece for Hollie. You’d think if a child could come up with three songs to sing that someone like Susan Boyle could have as well. As I had speculated in my previous post, Susan is a one trick pony who can sing the grand songs, but that there weren’t many and many of the grand songs aren’t grand all the way through. I thought Hollie would have to do something a little faster and more mature if she were to win, but will put that thought aside to complement her in surprising with a soft, dramatic and loving piece that was difficult to sing. On top of that, she added a few touches of her own and also acted out some of its emotions! And no nerves, either, despite the semi-final breakdown that would still be on her and everyone else’s mind! Fourth time she’s made me cry in BGT! Just lovely!
I don’t know if that second chance she got last night affected Hollie not getting second place over Susan Boyle, given the British were going for dance and not singers. However, she should have gotten second in my mind, and just confirms my belief that Britain is not a land or a people of second chances. They probably gave Hollie a second chance because Simon led the charge to give her a second chance.
Saxophonist Julian Smith got third place with yet another regurgitation of an audition, playing Somewhere. That’s completely lame! Since he didn’t put an effort towards it, I won’t to put even a link to it, either. You can go find it if you want it to see it that badly. And I’ll also say that Britain, you should be ashamed of yourself for voting him in third!!!
For a 29 year old music teacher, you should expect him to have more songs in his repertoire. There are also many other challenging songs, and it’s not like he didn’t have the time to practice, either! Singers, like instrumentalist, have a much wider source of material than dancers have to draw upon, and likely something to showcase every strength they have as well as hide any weaknesses. To regurgitate, especially if you’re a music teacher, is deplorable!
Is this Britain’s Got Talent, or Britain’s Got Redundance?
So while the audience vote was:
- Diversity (24.9%)
- Susan Boyle (20.2%)
- Julian Smith (16.4%)
Full finals and semi-finals vote info here.
(courtesy of Commenter Steve, thank you!!!)
My vote would have been:
- Hollie Steel
- Aidan Davis
I think the Queen would have preferred to have seen Hollie as well, royalty being what it is in “properness”. But she’ll get to see Hollie soon enough, I’m sure, which is more than I feel I can say for Diversity’s long-term future. What do dance troupes do for shows? Could they dance for an hour? If they could, why didn’t they dance for like 3 minutes instead of 2, show more moves and more likely guarantee their win? And they are going to be in for a major reality check when they go international and see what the Americans, Irish, French, Koreans and so on can do with respect to real dancing!
My consolation with Hollie’s outcome, though, is that Hollie will be getting some very good recording contracts, as well as television appearances. In the long run, I think the public will be easily more enamoured with her than with Susan Boyle. There’s no more anticipation and no fairy tale ending to look forward to any more for Susan. She’s had a few blow-ups with the press already! Hollie, meanwhile, is just adorable and sings like an angel in every sense of the word. With the redemption she showed in the finals, people won’t be nervous about having her not be able to perform live again in talk shows and such, any more. So I say, Oprah and Ellen, Larry, Jay, David and Conan, bring on Hollie! Let’s once again prove America is the land of second chances, as Malcolm Gladwell documented in Outliers, so give the kid a second chance. But wait till summer when she’s done school, eh? 🙂
Hollie will be a full-fledged bonafide star by this time in 2010 that she won’t need to come back to BGT 2010 to try it again, either! “Failure” will do something for one’s resiliency for those who know how to handle it, and Hollie showed that admirably in the semi-finals. Remember, failure is not about falling down, it’s about not getting back up!
So I guess that’s it for now with Britain’s Got Talent 2009. I’m going to really miss it, but really look forward to the 2010 season. Meanwhile, America, as I said before, you’ve got to up the talent to match what they’ve got over there. And for the British, watch more American dance. You’ll really be wowwed by what they’ve got. As well, expect more, especially of singers and instrumentalists who have so much material to draw upon they shouldn’t have to regurgitate materials for the finals! That’s really sad! Maybe they should make that part of the show rules, about no repeats in the finals for musicians and singers cause it’s a boring show otherwise.
As for me being Canadian, I don’t even watch Canadian Idol, the closest thing we’ve got to these talent shows… and for good reason. However, I am comforted by how many professional singers, bands and such, of all genres, we have on the charts consistently these days. For a low population country, we sure produce our fair share of professional talent!
Two question to end.
- How would you have voted in the finals among the acts?
- How much do you think Christmas concert tickets at Hollie’s school will go for this year? 🙂
Nov 8 add-on. See George’s extensive comments below for a huge bunch of other insights and information that is a nice supplement to this post. Many others who have also comment also add to the value of this post, and I want to genuinely thank everybody for their insights and time.
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 7.5
In under one week, a video of 48 year old Scots Susan Boyle singing I Dreamed a Dream (magnificent lyrics below) from Les Miserables on Britain’s Got Talent 2009 (April 11) became the most viewed YouTube video ever (Mashable.com)! A search of all the versions now, 8 days later on Apr 19 2009, show well over 50 million views among them! That’s a HUGE statement when you hear about all kinds of stuff that goes viral on YouTube, most of which is crap anyway. But best of all, Susan’s video and story is all real.
If you haven’t seen the video of Susan Boyle from Britain’s Got Talent 2009, have a look below and you’ll understand why. It is the BEST YouTube video I have ever seen, without a doubt… though it’s not like I watch a ton of YouTube compared to the average person. In the intro, the unemployed, self-proclaimed cross-eyed spinster who’s never been kissed said that “I’m going to make that audience rock!” And man, if you’ve never known what making an audience rock meant, this will be all you’ll ever need to see to understand that!
Vodpod videos no longer available.
I dreamed a dream in time gone by, When hope was high, And life worth living, I dreamed that love would never die, I dreamed that God would be forgiving, Then I was young and unafraid, When dreams were made and used and wasted, There was no ransom to be paid, No song unsung, no wine untasted
But the tigers come at night, With their voices soft as thunder, As they tear your hope apart, And they turn your dream to shame (5 note rising crescendo on a desperate word, beautiful!)
But still I dream he’ll come to me, That we will live our lives together, But there are dreams that cannot be, And there are storms we cannot weather
I had a dream my life would be, So different from this hell I’m living, So different now from what it seemed, Now life has killed the dream I dreamed
What lyrics!!! So that was the background on Susan. The idea I wanted to share came from BGT panel judge Amanda Holden (insert whistle here). She said people were being “cynical” of Susan based on Susan’s appearance, and that Susan’s performance was the “biggest wake-up call ever”. That spawned the literal idea in my head of using the video, with all its crowd energy, as either my wake-up alarm or something to listen to while I made and/or ate breakfast. I’ve started doing the former. So instead of hitting the snooze button or accepting whatever came across the radio as a wake-up call, which is often a mediocre to bad mood to start the day, I wake up with a build up that ends in a roar upon Simon Cowell‘s confirmation Susan was “in” at the 6 minute mark. Seriously, I get up near that point, turn to place my feet on the ground and get up to roar with the crowd!
And man, does it ever make me feel like I could do anything and handle anything that life throws my way!
The adrenaline that built up in the previous 6 minutes to that point in the video helps, I’m sure, even though I already know the story. Hey, people watch the same movies over and over again for the same reason. I’m sure this wake-up call using Susan Boyle’s video audio will lose its effect soon enough, but I’ll milk anything that lets me feel like I could do anything in life for all it’s worth. That’s not to say I’m a negative person or anything. No. I’m a very positive person. I’m just a very positive realist.
As an added note to Susan Boyle’s history, she is not an instant sensation. She’s been doing this for a long time, and others have heard her before. They just never believed in her and/or gave her a chance. This YouTube “video” below of just Susan’s picture plays rare recording of the Blackburn, West Lothian native beautifully singing Cry Me a River, from a charity CD in 1999 by the Scottish Daily Record newspaper. Only 1000 copies of that CD was made. Betcha it’s worth a ton now! It’ll be worth more after Susan appears on Oprah some time in the future! And she won’t be lonely any more, as she said on Larry King Live just last Friday. 🙂
Ah, yes. Don’t you love life stories like Susan Boyle’s? It further affirms my belief in my two biggest philosophies in life. The first is the best thing you can give someone, including yourself, is a chance. Susan gave herself a chance and so did Britain’s Got Talent. The second is failure is not about falling down, it’s about not getting back up. Susan gave herself many chances, in fact, despite people always blocking her way or ignoring her. She’s gotten back up about as many times as the number of people who have gotten up to cheer for her since her breakthrough, and remains “humbled” through it all as seen on this CNN interview.
Way to go, Susan, and may all your dreams come true!
By the way, who followed Susan on the show? Wow! If you ever want to know what a tough act to follow means, just imagine that scenario!
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 7.0