More of our best of the decade coverage, which started on Tuesday. You can read the other posts at the link above. Here, we talk about a very aught-like phenomenon: the cult of celebrity.
There is no clearer metaphor for the concept of being a celebrity than the Hollywood Walk of Fame. You work hard to chase your dream and achieve a career for yourself by making your name known to the masses of the universe.
Then when you've grabbed that star and become a regular fixture in the flash bulb of the press' cameras, how does the public honor your tireless toil and efforts? They throw you down on a sidewalk and walk all over you.
In the Aughts, however, a new celebrity oozed out of the primordial muck. A celebrity that still suffered the slings and arrows of the tabloid press and a complete loss of the right to privacy, but achieved their stardom by simply cutting out all that pesky hard work and tireless effort nonsense. These are the celebrities who became famous by simply because they were famous.
It was clear she had, as they say, spunk, then the judges asked her age and she rolled her hips and said, "I am 47. And that's just one side 'o me." It was clear she had ambition and a theatrical bent when Simon Cowell asked her whose success she'd like to mimic, and she named English theater star and singer Elaine Paige. And when she said she was going to sing "I Dreamed A Dream" from Les Miserables, it was clear to the audience that she was delusional. That is, until she opened up her mouth to sing.
Boyle didn't finish the first verse, barely finished the first line, before the judges raised their eyebrows in surprise and the audience started cheering and getting to their feet.
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.
Susan Boyle's breakthrough performance on Britain's Got Talent garnered the most eyeballs on YouTube in 2009 with a whopping 120 million views.
Sorry, dog that's stuck in a toilet as cruel owner films you. Maybe next year.
The record keepers across the pond, the Official Charts Company, announced that Boyle's CD, also called I Dreamed A Dream, sold 410,000 copies since its release on November 23. That means it's not only the top of the chart, it's also the fastest selling album this year. It's even the most albums sold in the first week of a release for a British debut.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the network has purchased the broadasting rights to 'I Dreamed a Dream: The Susan Boyle Story,' a one-hour doc that focuses on Boyle's journey from a small village in Scotland to 'Talent' and beyond.
Boyle became an overnight sensation after her 'Dream' performance went viral in April. It has since been viewed over 300 times on the Internet worldwide.
Staying close to the Simon Cowell machine, FremantleMedia, talkbackTHAMES and Cowell's own Syco TV will produce the special.
Luckily for Susan, Sharon Osbourne will not be on the show. Or maybe it's lucky for Sharon because after the horrible things she said about SB, Susan would probably deck her if she had the chance. Last week, while on Sirius radio, Sharon was compelled to share her opinion of Susan's sudden success.
Mr. Methane, a familiar guest to fans of The Howard Stern Show, is the world's only (thank Holy Christ) performing flatulist and he took a turn at the mic on Britain's Got Talent. Anyone want to guess if he made it through to the final round? If you guessed wrong, please get out of the gene pool and take a shower immediately.
The appearance on America's Got Talent will be included in the NBC show's two-part finale airing September 14 and 16. And, they're calling this her "official" U.S. TV debut, but I think that's referring to singing only, because she's been on talk shows.
According to the UK Telegraph (and I always have trouble believing anything from the British media, but bear with me), none other than Robin Williams has offered himself up to play Susan Boyle in any planned movie of her life. Apparently, he's been doing impressions of the breakout singer for celebrity friends.
This could very well lead to Robin's second Oscar (his first for a non-supporting role). If he pulls this off, he could be as impressive as Meryl Streep playing Julia Child. Of course, if he can't pull it off, it would look like a sad attempt at repeating Mrs. Doubtfire.
However, unless they start work on the movie tomorrow, this will likely be chalked up as an interesting and amusing rumor. While her story is interesting, Susan Boyle's star has been dimming somewhat and it wouldn't surprise me if she was relegated to Celebrity Big Brother in the near future.
Here are the necessary ingredients:
- One national talent show where Joe Six Pack and Suzy Temp can reach for the polished brass ring of stardom.
- One cynical mob eager to tear down anyone who dares to stand up out of the crowd without meeting nebulous performance standards.
- One defective rube (either chubby, ugly, stupid or -- worst of all -- rural) who seems oblivious to the mob's hostility.
- Three judges who are in on the bit while acting incredulous.
Of course, the rube needs to have genuine talent -- as in the case of Boyle and singer Kevin Skinner from Kentucky from this week's auditions on America's Got Talent.
The U.K. and U.S. tabloid press reports that Cowell is negotiating for more than $140 million to return to Idol. That's just a slight raise over the reported $36 million he made for sitting on his backside and ridiculing warbling wannabes last year.
Who knew being aggressively obnoxious and judgmental could pay off so well? (In fairness, his very successful work as a record executive might have played a little part in his success, too.)
According to producers, they'd love Boyle to sing in front of millions of U.S. viewers. There's no word if they'd consider changing the name of the show to America's Got Talented, Frumpy 48 Year Old Scottish Women Who Had a Nervous Breakdown after Almost Winning the Overseas Show We're Ripping Off.
The self-confessed virgin had rarely stepped foot outside her village in Scotland before taking a shot at fame on ITV. But, her breakout performance made her an online sensation.
Producers denied the whole mess Thursday, but reports say YouTube clips made by Boyle's suddenly erupting fan base showed the voting phone numbers for her rivals. If Boyle fans called those numbers, she didn't receive the votes -- creating the possibility that she fell into second place behind the dance group Diversity by user error.
So, those fans are screaming McFoul and calling for everything from an investigation to a new vote. None of the above will happen, as producers already indicated the final result will stand.
According to multiple British news reports, Boyle suffered a severe anxiety attack after her internationally viewed defeat on the show. Police were called to Boyle's hotel this weekend and assessed the 48-year-old Scottish contestant under the U.K.'s Mental Health Act. She was taken to an area clinic for treatment.
At first glance, this looks like a simple instance of "too much, too soon" for an individual thrust into the spotlight before she was really ready for the attention. But, the case is getting serious now that British authorities are planning to investigate Britain's Got Talent's producers for allowing Boyle to perform in the show's finale when they allegedly knew she wasn't coping well.
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