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October 4, 2015

The Twelve Days of Festivus: One great TV moment

by Joel Keller, posted Dec 23rd 2009 11:12AM
Susan Boyle on Britain's Got TalentOn the first day of Festivus, TV gave to me... one great TV moment.

Unlike last year, which had a ton of major TV moments to choose from, this year had a whole roster of moments that seemed major at the time but ended up being minor in retrospect. Obama's inauguration feels more like a leftover moment from 2008. ER's finale would have been huge if it aired in 2004 instead of 2009. Letterman talking about his affairs and the corresponding blackmail incident would have been huge if Tiger Woods didn't run over that fire hydrant. Balloon Boy was a hoax, and Jon and Kate's divorce announcement had more of a rubbernecking feel than one that was communal.

No, the only TV moment that seemed to give us all a reason to talk around the Keurig machine (no one talks around watercoolers anymore, do they) was a moment that a) didn't even happen in the US, and 2) the vast majority of people discovered via YouTube.

Yep, I'm talking about Susan Boyle. The famous video is after the jump.

Think about what you felt the first time you saw this video as it rocketed around the interwebs. Even if you knew what was going to happen in the video, even if you came into it a bit skeptical that this was a set-up, the minute Boyle started singing and wiped the skeptical looks off both the Britain's Got Talent audience and eternally-snide judges Simon Cowell and Piers Morgan, you knew you had a great moment in the making.

It felt like one of one of those sappy movie endings where the underdog shows 'em all and goes on to success. It had all the ingredients: Boyle came from a small Scottish village and sang in her church. Her previous attempts at a singing career failed. She was middle-aged, frumpy, with bushy eyebrows. She dressed more like a housekeeper than a singing diva. She was even a bit of a goofy flirt when the judges interviewed her. There was nothing that would lead you to expect that such a wonderful voice would come from someone like Boyle.

Then she started singing "I Dreamed A Dream," and the whole crowd exploded. Even a cynic like me had a huge smile on his face as he was watching it unfold. This was more than a musical version of Rudy; it was real life, with someone who could have been in the supermarket line with us becoming a star in front of our eyes.

Britain's Got Talent has seen this before with Paul Potts, so when the producers came across Boyle, they might have accentuated her frumpiness for effect. But I don't think they made her that much plainer than she already was. She truly was a find, and the career explosion she's had since that moment (her album is currently #1 on the Billboard charts) has been nothing but remarkable.

We'll explore that explosion, and the path that she took from that video to now, later this week. For now, just watch the video again and see how you feel. If you have even a little smile on your face -- even after seeing video a dozen times -- you'll know that we made the right choice.

Twelve shows a stinkin'
Eleven babes worth watchin'
Ten shows on DVD
Nine on-air breakdowns
Eight stars a'shinin'
Seven shows a'thrivin'
Six shows you should be watchin'
Five cancelled shows
Four webby series
Three reality disasters
Two series finales

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I have watched the video much more than a dozen times and I still get a smile on my face and then a tear in my eye when Susan does her "victory dance", so full of joy and life.
I have followed every step of her journey since that time with a mixture of joy, sadness, anger excitement and awe. How blessed we are that Susan found the courage to take that bus to Glasgow 11 months ago, face a skeptical audience and sing her heart out!

December 24 2009 at 12:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's just brilliant that this year's moment is someone deserving's dreams coming true, rather than some horrible disaster or tawdry scandal.

We need more of this in the media and less blanket coverage of who slept with whom when.

December 23 2009 at 1:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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