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Author Topic: Amazing Performance: Susan Boyle
Leonide
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quote:
Yes, talent isn't directly linked to appearance or how much effort is put into appearance. Maybe we should have blind singing competitions more often?
This starts to touch on something that's been bothering me since I originally watched the clip. I'd drafted a few responses and ultimately decided not to post, but basically the gist is this: no, talent isn't directly linked to appearance, but it is in the same vein: that is, people with talent have as little control over that ability as people with good looks have over their appearance. Boyle's singing ability is natural and no more a product of her own creation than if she were naturally beautiful.

I have a talent for singing, and it's always been something I've fixated on and used to help define myself: who I am, what I have to offer in this world has been inextricably tied to the natural abilities I'd always had. More and more recently I've become uncomfortable with compliments about my voice: isn't it the same as complimenting someone on their looks? Something outside of my control, that I've always had -- why would you compliment someone on that?

"Good on you for waking up this morning!" "Well done on being born!" "You are such a wonderful blinker and breather!" It feels like "Congratulations: you've done nothing and for some reason I think that's awesome!"

I'd rather be acknowledged for the things I work for and cultivate.

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Launchywiggin
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The question that's been on my mind: If Susan Boyle had been a partially trained 20-something with a great body and a pretty face--and gave an identical performance, vibrato and all...would anybody care? If we went on just the recording (without the audience screams), how many people would be impressed?

Here we are talking about how sad it is that so many people judged her on her appearance, but the only reason this is popular is because of her physical appearance. We wouldn't be watching this video otherwise.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
People with talent have as little control over that ability as people with good looks have over their appearance. Boyle's singing ability is natural and no more a product of her own creation than if she were naturally beautiful.
I fundamentally disagree. A natural gift may be necessary to be great at anything, but whether its music, dance, art, writing or mathematics true greatness requires a lot more than natural talent. We are talking about years of dedication and hard work.

Based on what I've heard, Susan Boyle's singing is only partly natural ability. Yes, I'm sure that is an important part of it, but the rest represents years of dedicated work. Assuming that the three recordings that are out there are legit, Susan has a very versatile voice. She has a great range, excellent control, dynamics and the ability to sing well in several different styles. That isn't a natural gift, its the result of hard work. I think the same can be said of any great singer, artist, scholar or person. It is not simply a matter of what we have been given but what we do with it.

Oh, and I think that is fundamentally different from how we look . Certainly there are those who make the most of their natural beauty and those who don't, but I'm pretty confident that if I spent an afternoon in the hands of a great beautician, I could look as good (probably better) than if I spent two hours every morning grooming myself.

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TomDavidson
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No. I used to date a couple professional models, and they definitely took their appearance seriously in a way that, at the end of the day, mattered. They would spend hours on the upkeep of their bodies, their wardrobes, and even their expressions; they regarded their physical attributes as tools to be kept in top condition.

It is, I think, dismissive of their efforts to suggest that a couple of hours with someone who knows how to apply makeup might somehow be the equivalent.

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scholarette
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With looks, one thing that is very important (in modern society) is physical weight. Keeping your body in shape takes a huge amount of work. Also, things like skin quality can be affected by your choices. I think I am blessed with good looks, but I can definitely tell the difference between when I work at it regularly and when I just go with it. It also takes some knowledge to know the right color schemes for face and all the tricks of makeup application. And clothing styles- knowing what looks good on you is a skill a lot of people lack. For me, I have trouble because I want to look good in certain colors, but I don't.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
With looks, one thing that is very important (in modern society) is physical weight. Keeping your body in shape takes a huge amount of work.
I keep my weight down for my health. I keep my body in shape so I can do the things I like and feel good doing them. I think one of the most screwed up things about modern American culture is that so many people see weight and fitness as being primarily about looking good when there are so many more important reasons to stay fit. At any rate, I strongly object to calling time spent on staying physically fit part of the time one spends on grooming.

quote:
Also, things like skin quality can be affected by your choices.
No nearly as much as the cosmetics industry would have us believe.

quote:
It also takes some knowledge to know the right color schemes for face and all the tricks of makeup application. And clothing styles- knowing what looks good on you is a skill a lot of people lack.
Those are things I think you can get in an afternoon with a talented beautician. I'm not saying you can learn them in one afternoon, I am saying that in an afternoon someone who knows those skill can make you look like you knew them. I think that any woman who is healthy, physically fit and blessed with a little natural beauty could spend several hours with a good beautician and look as good as the super model who spends hours on her looks every day. I believe that because I have observed it. Of course if you want to look that way every day, you'd have to spend those hours every day, but you can look that way for a night without doing it every day.

But being a great singer just isn't that way. Even a person with oodles of natural singing ability couldn't spend one afternoon practicing with a voice teacher and go on stage and perform like a star. I am reminded of a story

quote:
A man once heard of a violinist who was supposed to play beautifully so he decided to go hear him. At the concert he was amazed at how this man played the violin and so he had to find him after the show and tell him how impressed he was. He went backstage and found him and complimented him and told him "I'd give my life to play the violin like that" to which the violinist replied "thank you, I did".

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scholarette
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Actually, with music I am much more willing to concede that point. Music takes a huge amount of work. I usually argue against intelligence being praised heavily. [Smile] In my experience, being intelligent takes little to no work, but being pretty takes a lot. In high school, I would show up for class and get an A and then be praised. Several of my friends would show up for class, study several hours every day and get a C. I always found it strange that I got praised, even though I did no work. And then when I put in effort to look pretty, people would say I was being shallow because pretty is just something you are born with. The contradiction of being praised for something that took me no work (getting an A) and being slammed for something that took a lot fo work (looking good) always confused me.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
I think that any woman who is healthy, physically fit and blessed with a little natural beauty could spend several hours with a good beautician and look as good as the super model who spends hours on her looks every day. I believe that because I have observed it.
You pick the woman with a little beauty, the beautician, and the day. I'll pick the supermodel. We'll let jebus judge the winner.
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Kwea
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I'd say both musical talent and intelligence are similar, in that it's not just what you are talented at but how much you put into it.

Smart is a relative term. I know that one of the only times I got really, really mad at my dad was when he claimed I never excelled at anything I wasn't already talented at. He used both reading and music as examples....and completely missed the fact that I use to read 3-4 hours a day on my own, and I also practiced playing my flute 1-2 hours a day. Above classes in both.


I some company I seem really smart. In others, while I am not dumb I am not even close to being the smartest person in the room. I have known a lot of really smart people who went into difficult fields only to find out that they were only average in their field.

A lot of it is relative.

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Teshi
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quote:
I have a talent for singing, and it's always been something I've fixated on and used to help define myself: who I am, what I have to offer in this world has been inextricably tied to the natural abilities I'd always had. More and more recently I've become uncomfortable with compliments about my voice: isn't it the same as complimenting someone on their looks? Something outside of my control, that I've always had -- why would you compliment someone on that?
You think a professional singer or someone like Susan Boyle doesn't put a lot of work into his or her voice?

By this logic, nothing is worth complimenting them for, because, after all, Einstein simply had a "talent for math".

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Leonide
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quote:
Whether its music, dance, art, writing or mathematics true greatness requires a lot more than natural talent. We are talking about years of dedication and hard work.
I'm not talking about greatness. I'm talking about natural ability.

quote:
Based on what I've heard, Susan Boyle's singing is only partly natural ability...She has a great range, excellent control, dynamics and the ability to sing well in several different styles. That isn't a natural gift, its the result of hard work.
I wasn't talking about "Great" anything. Susan Boyle is not a "great" singer -- she has tremendous natural ability, the potency of which is heightened (apparently) when directly compared with her physical appearance. She was straining for a lot of those higher notes. Her breath support was spotty. Her diction was poor, and her vibrato forced, and she couldn't hit the lower notes of the song.
NONE of this lessens the impact of that performance, and none of it is real criticism on my part -- but it is pointing out the fallacy in assuming she's put a lot of technical work into her voice.

I've sung that particular song many times, so I know the range and the feel of it. I've never had steady voice lessons in my life, and I've never taken my voice seriously as an instrument. I don't really want to get too much into the dynamics of my own relationship with singing, but suffice it to say the compliments I receive on my voice are not because of all the "hard work" I've put into my talent. It is this phenomenon that I'm railing against -- the idea that I could wake up in the morning and sing that song and have everyone tell me how tremendous it was when I wasn't doing anything special.

edit: I can tell I'm ticking people off, so I'll just add that I DO think there are great singers, and great thinkers, and great people in the world. I am concerned with the trend I have seen of appreciating those that DON'T put any time or effort into their gifts, that are just "doin' what comes naturally", myself included in this category. Again, I am not criticizing Boyle's performance, good on her! I'm speaking about the response to it. Please don't misunderstand my intent.

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Teshi
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I think you give her too little credit. The thing I notice most about her singing is she tends to modify the vowels of her long notes. Her diction was otherwise decent, but not great. Her vibrato is not at all unusual for her age and a rich musical theatre sound. Some people have a lot of natural vibrato.

As for the low notes, she was bottoming out-- something that is to do with your natural voice (it's also about where I bottom out). On the top notes, she was doing as well as many belters would do. It wasn't out of tune.

She had a very slidey slight pitch issues at the end, but I would expect that with someone who doesn't have someone telling them how to sing.

As for breath support, sounded pretty solid to me. There was one time early one when her voice died away, but I'll put that down to nerves. It takes pretty cultivated guts to sing like that.

People aren't born singing like that. They practice. If you've sung I Dreamed A Dream "many times" then you have practiced.

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katharina
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quote:
If you've sung I Dreamed A Dream "many times" then you have practiced.
Exactly. If you sang it like that the first time you opened your mouth and gave it a shot, then it's nothing but natural ability. If you sing like after years of singing, even if done without a teacher, then it's after practice.
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scholarette
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quote:
Originally posted by Kwea:
I'd say both musical talent and intelligence are similar, in that it's not just what you are talented at but how much you put into it.

I have no problem with praising people for intellectual accomplishments, I just don't like when people get praised for simply being smart. For example, my friend is a math genius. In playing games with him and talking to him, that is obvious. But I wouldn't praise him for being a genius. I would praise him for the years he spent actually developing that intelligence though, the time he spent educating and expanding himself. Whereas I have met some Mensans who are unemployed (and kinda unemployable) and basically sit around complaining about how stupid everyone else is. The annoying guy is also actually very intelligent, but he hasn't developed it into anything useful.
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Leonide
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I guess I just have a different definition of practice than y'all. Singing along with a CD multiple times in my car, and once or twice in maybe a recital or something, is not "practice" -- practice, to me, indicates specific intent. I don't warm up. I don't practice individual lines or notes. I just sing the song, maybe to remind myself of lyrics, but not focusing on form or support. If merely singing a song multiple times constitutes practice, then okay, I agree with you both.

I think you're giving me too little credit -- I'm not trying to drag her down or belittle her accomplishment.

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The Rabbit
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Leonide, If you really aren't trying to drag Susan down, I am totally missing your point. You posted.

quote:
I wasn't talking about "Great" anything. Susan Boyle is not a "great" singer -- she has tremendous natural ability, the potency of which is heightened (apparently) when directly compared with her physical appearance. She was straining for a lot of those higher notes. Her breath support was spotty. Her diction was poor, and her vibrato forced, and she couldn't hit the lower notes of the song.
NONE of this lessens the impact of that performance, and none of it is real criticism on my part -- but it is pointing out the fallacy in assuming she's put a lot of technical work into her voice.

You've pretty much said straight out that she has only natural ability, that she hasn't put much work into it and that natural ability shouldn't be considered an accomplishment. If you didn't intend that to belittle her accomplishment, what was your intent because I missed it entirely.

Aside from the fact that I disagree with some of your critique, it is very presumptuous of you to think you can determine based on one performance that she hasn't put much work into her singing ability.

The fact that you can get compliments for singing this song without practicing does not qualify you to determine how much work another singer has put in to developing their voice.

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Leonide
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I must not be expressing myself adequately, and for that I apologize. I brought my personal experiences into the equation because I've been wrestling lately with (like I said) concerns over being appreciated for things I had not worked to attain. This actually ties in with scholarette's point about commending intelligence; it was a school award that first started my navel-gazing, and I started to expand it to include my singing experience as well.

My initial point, which I thought I spelled out pretty clearly, was pointing out a trend, or a fear I have of a trend, of complimenting people for things they do naturally: i.e. talent, beauty, intelligence, etc.

quote:
You've pretty much said straight out that she has only natural ability, that she hasn't put much work into it and that natural ability shouldn't be considered an accomplishment. If you didn't intend that to belittle her accomplishment, what was your intent because I missed it entirely.

I said it was a fallacy to *assume* she had put a lot of work into her singing, just because she sounds good. That was exactly what I said and exactly what I meant to say, and I'll thank you not to put words in my mouth. [Smile] My entire point in critiquing her singing was to provide evidence that she may not have had training, or worked to get where she is. I obviously have no idea whether or not this is the case.

quote:
The fact that you can get compliments for singing this song without practicing does not qualify you to determine how much work another singer has put in to developing their voice.
I didn't do that. I commented on the weaknesses I perceived. I was not trying, as you so generously insinuate, to pat myself on the back -- in fact, I took great pains to avoid comparing my talent with hers. That wasn't the point of my posting at all.

I guess I should've gone with my initial instinct and not chimed in. [Smile]

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The Rabbit
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Susan's gone and had a make over . Not a major one, she reportedly spent 35 pounds on it (plus the cost of new clothes I presume).

I think she looks great.

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Lyrhawn
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Sell out!!

Just kidding, I think she looks good, and damn, she got a decent looking leather jacket and a new hairdo for $50? That's pretty thrifty.

I think she looks great, and that she should look like whatever she wants to look like. That "makeover" isn't really that dramatic.

I'm watching the third episode right now of BGT. Can't wait for the semifinals.

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The Rabbit
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I don't think the $50 included the cost of the leather jacket. I think that was the price for the hair cut and dye. That's still pretty thrifty. I don't know how prices run in scotland but you'd have a hard time get a cut and dye for that price in the states.

[ April 27, 2009, 05:25 PM: Message edited by: The Rabbit ]

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scholarette
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I paid $90 for my last haircut, no dye job. Of course, my husband paid $10. I also cut off 6 inches (pretty dramatic change) so I went to a much nicer place then I normally would.
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Lyrhawn
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Yeah that's what I was thinking, in regards to the price of the styling. I just figured the wardrobe was part of the makeover, and maybe she went to a Scottish thrift store or their version of the Salvation Army or some such.

You might say "who gives a leather jacket to a thrift store?" But I'm thinking of doing it. I bought a nice jacket last year, but we get a free leather jacket at work after being there 5 years, which sadly, I have been as of last month, and I'm thinking of donating it. They're really nice jackets, but I don't need two.

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ambyr
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Yeah, not remotely uncommon to find leather jackets in thrift stores. I have one I picked up for $5 at the local Christian Ministries place across the road from my office. (Of course, it then cost me $35 to have it professionally cleaned. . . .)

Leather in general tends to be in overly plentiful supply at thrift stores. From the number of leather pants and skirts I turn up at even the most hole-in-the-wall places, I tend to hypothesize that an astonishing number of women dream of wearing leather only to realize they're too shy to wear it in public once it's been bought.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
I tend to hypothesize that an astonishing number of women dream of wearing leather only to realize they're too shy to wear it in public once it's been bought.
Or like many of the things you find in thrift stores, the original owner gained weight and couldn't wear it any more. That's particularly likely with leather since it lasts forever.

My husband rode a motorcycle for many years. He bought a leather jacket from a thrift store back in about 1980. He put in over a hundred thousand miles on the motorcycle wearing that jacket and its still in fair condition.

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The Rabbit
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I suspect that she's made a bit of money either from her television interviews or an advance on a recording deal and so she's spending money treating herself to some of the things she's done without for years. She's been unemployed and so probably hasn't had money to spend on nice clothes or a trip to the beauty parlor. Many women would do exactly that.

It's not so much a make-over as it is finally having the resources to do things for your self you couldn't really justify when you were unemployed.

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katharina
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I pay about $50 pre-tip to get my hair dyed. It's actually $60, but that's with the long-hair charge, which she wouldn't have. I cut my hair myself because it's long, a simple cut, and paying to get it dyed every six weeks is a bit daunting.

I think she looks great, and, more importantly, she looks happy. More power to her.

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Lyrhawn
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Okay...

I no longer have any doubts about whether or not she was the voice of that "Cry Me a River" track. She was rather sensational, and I don't think that's changed much. Talk about a diamond in the rough.

She still has some serious competition. There are a couple good child singers, a couple good adults singers, a bunch of really impressive dance acts, and a lot of crap too. But I don't think she'll get lost in the shuffle.

Sue Son playing the electric violin

Callum Francis being infectiously adorable (and singing)

James Pugh also singing Les Mis, though reservedly, still well.

And the dance acts are really, really impressive. I love this show, though I feel like it's time to get past the auditions and on with the real thing.

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Lyrhawn
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Susan Boyle is through to the semi-finals of Britain's Got Talent. She'll sing first off in tomorrow night's first semi-final. The format is that people call in for their favorite, who advances to the final round, and the judges pick their favorite as well, who advances to the final round.

She's up against:

Faces of Disco, a sort of comedy dance act.
Natalie Okri, an adorable 10 year old soul singer.
Diversity, an amazing street group with a great story.
Sue Son, an electric violinist.
Nick Hell, a weird sort of street performer.
Julia Naidenko, a belly dancer, and one of the most gorgeous women I've ever seen.
Darth Jackson, a Darth Vader and Michael Jackson impersonator.

From what I've seen, I think Sue Son, Susan Boyle, and Diversity will be the three big ones. Okri is a cute little girl and a halfway decent singer, but not as good, and Julia Naidenko is hot beyond belief, but hotness isn't a talent.

I was seriously disappointed that acts like Darth Jackson made it through at the expense of some other really, really great acts that I would have liked to see more of. There was a four man African themed dance act that was stunning, but lost to that guy. I understand the whole thing is, to a degree, fixed, but it was still disappointing.

Edit to add: Simba wa Africa is the four man African group that didn't make it. It's really too bad, I wanted to see more. Maybe they'll try again next year. I thought they were really, really impressive to watch.

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Corwin
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Susan Boyle and Diversity got through to the final.
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The Rabbit
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Any videos up yet?
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ClaudiaTherese
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Edited:

this link has it (i.e., Susan Boyle with "Memory")

[ May 24, 2009, 06:14 PM: Message edited by: ClaudiaTherese ]

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Lyrhawn
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I think they audience and the judges got it right, given the performances.

This link has all eight performances in order of appearance in HQ on Youtube, plus the results.

I thought Boyle started off weak, but was better than her competition. Diversity was great. Natalie Okri really did pick the wrong song, Sue Son was pretty decent, Julia Naidenko is one of the most beautiful women I've ever seen, and I wouldn't be surprised if she's just fine despite her loss. Darth Jackson, as expected, sucked. Nick Hell got buzzed off, and Faces of Disco was meh.

Preview for tomorrow (for anyone interested in the show beyond Susan Boyle):

Shaun Smith, a 17 year old singer.
Merlin Cadogan, an escape artist.
DJ Talent, a sort of DJ/rapper sort of guy.
James Pugh, a singer.
Peter Coghlan, a sort of comedy cross dressing dance act, I guess.
Hot Honeyz, an all female dance act.
Gareth Oliver, a ventriloquist comedy act.
Flawless, a street dance group along the lines of Diversity.

I think there is more talent in this group than the last. Flawless is amazing, like I said along the lines of Diversity, and stand a great chance of advancing. James Pugh and Shaun Smith are both really good, but totally different singers, which makes me wonder how much of it will depend on their song choices and performances. DJ Talent and Peter Coughlin are awful and don't stand a chance in hell. The Hot Honeyz weren't one of the better dance groups, so unless they have something amazing planned, they're out too. Gareth Oliver is funny, so I'd call him a wild card, as is Merlin who might wow people if he comes up with something really shocking or amazing.

I still think the top three will be some combination of Flawless, James Pugh and Shaun Smith, maybe with Merlin and Gareth lurking behind them.

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Dogbreath
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I thought her rendition of "Memory" last night was really good... I was worried for the first 10 or 15 seconds that she was going to choke (started off pretty weak), but then she gathered herself and did magnificently.
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Lyrhawn
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Shaun Smith and Flawless went through to the final round. I'm glad Gareth Oliver came in third, he was really good. I think I was right about Smith and Pugh as far as song and performance go. Pugh picked the wrong song and sang it poorly, Smith picked a pretty good song and really ran away with it.

Here is an abridged version of the second semi-final on Youtube.

Preview for tomorrow night:

The Barrow Boys, a wheelbarrow farmer dance act. Kind of a comedy dance act.
Ben & Becky, a brother/sister ballroom dance act.
Floral High Notes, a husband and wife singing flower arranging act.
Harmony, a two girl singing act.
Kayode Oresanya, the "human saxophone."
MD Showgroup, a dance group.
Shaheen Jafargholi
Stavros Flatley, a father/son comedy dance act.

Off the top of my head, Kayode Oresanya is absolutely awful. He sounds sort of like a cross between a saxophone and someone killing a cat. The Barrow Boys are kind of funny but very plain.

Shaheen Jafargholi is the obvious odds on favorite. The kid is really good, and short of picking an awful song or really just bombing it, I think he'll win the public vote into the next round.

Everyone else...it's a weird mix. Floral High Notes is a ridiculous act. Like Ant and Dex said, it's like arranging flowers with the radio on in the background, but the women is actually a really, really good singer. If she dropped the flowers, she'd be great. It just doesn't make a lot of sense. Ben and Becky were maybe a little blah, but ballroom dancing can be really explosive. Harmony was okay. The girls are cute enough, and they sing quite well together, but what song will they pick, and can they do something big? MD Showgroup were pretty cool in the audition, but compared to Diversity and Flawless, it was a little plain. I think they'll have to really put on a show.

Then there's my personal favorite; Stavros Flatley. Those two are hilarious, and I wonder what they'll come up with next. If it's clever and funny, I could see them going on, but it can't just be a rehash of their audition.

I see Shaheen in the finals, with any combination of MD Showgroup, Stavros Flatley, and maybe Harmony. It'll be interesting tomorrow.

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Strider
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quote:
Off the top of my head, Kayode Oresanya is absolutely awful. He sounds sort of like a cross between a saxophone and someone killing a cat.
A friend of mine does a really crazy mouth trumpet. No matter how many times I hear him I'm always astounded at the sound. He even works in a beatbox sometimes which I'm not exactly sure how he does without breaking the laws of physics.
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Lyrhawn
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That guy is 100 times better than Oresanya. Did you watch the link?

I play the saxophone, and they even had a guy playing the sax on there as well, and he sounds nothing like anything I've heard. And that's not a good thing. I don't have a problem with the idea of people mouthing instruments, but they actually have to sound like the instrument they are impersonating.

That guy doesn't.

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Strider
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oh yeah, sorry I didn't really make my intention clear. That Oresanya guy was terrible. I was providing the link to show that people can do mouth instruments, and sound good doing it.
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Lyrhawn
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Ah, gotcha.
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Lissande
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I was a little surprised that Stavros Flatley made it to the next round, but I liked their act tonight. It's sweet how you can see how much they love each other and how happy they were at the end. *sniff* Also, how funny is it that their backup dancers were employees at the family restaurant? (I think)

I agree that the Floral High Notes thing is kind of random. I have to assume that it's something the husband and wife can do and practice together as a couple - otherwise why would you combine those two things?? I think they had a good point when whoever said that the queen would probably like it, though. The rest of the royal family (and country), maybe, not so much.

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Lyrhawn
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I was surprised to see Stavros Flatley go through too, based on that performance. I think their audition was better. I think Shaheen didn't pick the best song, and neither did Harmony. Oresanya was awful as predicted. MD Showgroup was pretty decent, but again, I liked their audition better. Ben and Becky were meh, the Barrow Boys were bad.

I'm hoping Stavros Flatley will put something really cool together for Saturday's show. A lot of groups do a repeat of their audition performance...and I think that might actually serve them well, or maybe doing something else Michael Flatley related and kicking it up a notch if they can.

To be fair though, based just on the performances, MD probably should have gone through over Stavros, but between Shaheen and MD, Shaheen might have had the edge.

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Lyrhawn
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The schedules are up for the last two semi-final performances. Tomorrow's looks pretty weak, again.

Fabia Cerra and Fred Bowers are both just awful. They have no business being there. Sugarfree is very middle of the road. Jackie Prescott and the Tippy Toes I don't remember seeing, but usually doggy dance acts don't do very well. The Brit Chix are also very middle of the road.

I think it'll come down to Aidan Davis, since apparently pre-teen breakdancers are very in vogue in Britain for some reason. Julian Smith, and 2 Grand. The thing about those last two is, Julian Smith's audition was actually pretty weak. I seriously could have done that. My intonation might not have been quite as good, but it wasn't at all a hard song to play. Will he do something more impressive this time? And 2 Grand is a grandfather/granddaughter singing act, where the girl is actually really, really good, and the guy is just awful. If Floral High Note couldn't get through with a good singer, I don't think they will either unless they dump grandpa. I see Julian Smith and Aidan Davis going through, barring any surprises.

Semi-final 5 is going to be loaded with talent though.

Callum Francis , a young singer/theater performer.
Debbie Chapman Dancers, an all girl dance group.
The Dream Bears, I won't waste your time with a link, they're an awful all male comedy group.
Good Evans, a family singing act.
Gregg Pritchard, a male soprano.
Hollie Steele, a 10 year old singer.
Luke Clements, weird juggler guy.
Martin Macham, singer and guitar player.



If I were Callum, given his obvious penchant for theater, I'd do maybe something Gavroche related from Les Mis. The character lines up well with his personality, and he has a great accent and nice clear voice.

A couple people here just don't stand a chance, like Luke Clements and the Dream Bears, but the other six are either really good, or stand a chance of having a great performance. Martin Macham wasn't great in his audition, but I could see him picking a better song and coming up with something pretty good. Hollie Steele was adorable and great. If she picks a good song and nails it (unlike Natalie Okri), she could go on. Good Evans has a lot of good individual singers, like the mom (who despite the judges, I think is really good), and the kid, who is pretty good. The little girls are adorable, but they sing pretty badly together as a family. Gregg Pritchard is strangely entertaining, as you don't see many male sopranos, but I think he's good, and with a good performance could go on. Callum Francis is adorable and has exudes charisma. The DVD Dancers are compelling as well. If they dance well and don't just have gimmicky costume changes, they stand a chance.

Two of my major complaints about the show are that A. Great acts are left behind while utter crap makes it through. I can only imagine it's because it's rigged to a degree to send through certain acts that they favor. B. That there can be a night of crap, like tonight's, and like what night four looks like, and then have a night where several great groups (night five) are all clumped together and only two can advance.

I still like the show though, flaws and all. Even if parts of it are fixed and staged, and if talent scouts are combing the countryside to find these people instead of them randomly showing up (Susan Boyle, apparently), it's still largely about unknown people getting a shot at something bigger, and I've seen some crazy and impressive stuff. At the very least, it's entertaining, and it's not, mostly, low brow.

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Lyrhawn
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Wow those last few episodes were pretty cool and also a little sad.

Hollie Steel broke down crying in the middle of Edelweiss, and then asked to sing again. She was initially told no by the producers, at which point she really let loose, but then Simon told her she could sing again, and apparently the producers weren't happy about that (leading them to have Ant and Dec say before the Final that NO exceptions would be made), but they couldn't very well overrule him on live TV like that. So she tried again and did a really good, job, and they sent her through to the next round. For a ten year old, that was pretty impressive I thought.

The finals were pretty tight, lots of great performances. But Diversity won, with Susan Boyle coming in second.

I was rooting for Diversity, and I'm really glad they won. Their main competition was Flawless, but I think Flawless had a really, really weak final, though I think their Semi-final was really good. They're both amazing dancers, but I think Diversity is just so damned creative, I'm glad they won!

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Eaquae Legit
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From what I watched, it had to be either Susan Boyle or Diversity. Those two were on a level of their own. Everyone else was good (except that grandfather, who was merely sweet), and Stavros Flatley brought tears to my eyes, I was laughing so hard.

I would be sad for Susan Boyle, but she's probably already got a recording contract and she'll continue to have her dream of being a famous singer.

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Lyrhawn
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Yeah the grandfather wasn't that good. His granddaughter was pretty good though. It'd be interesting to have her come back on her own next season.

Stavros Flatley already has offers for a number of engagements. And apparently Prince someone of Monaco wants Diversity to perform at a Red Cross benefit. It looks like no matter who won or lost, most all of them will find a way to make their talent pay off in the near future.

I've seen two news reports that both Boyle and Diversity are set for film deals detailing their lives and rise to stardom.

Susan Boyle: The Musical!

Diversity as a movie might not play well in America. Too many dance movies here lately, especially ones that focus on street dance, but if they played themselves in the movie, I'd go see it. They're compelling, have a lot of charisma, and it's not some "rise from the hood" movie like everything has been around here lately. The kids are still in primary school, and everyone else is in various levels of college, or grad school, or tech school. They dance for fun, not to escape stereotypical poverty. So I actually think it'd be really interesting.

[ May 31, 2009, 07:17 AM: Message edited by: Lyrhawn ]

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Strider
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I am really really partial to Shaheen Jafargholi, I think he did an amazing job in both the semi and the final(not to mention his original audition), and personally think he out sang Susan Boyle on both of those occasions. I admit that Diversity's final performance was spectacular, and they probably deserved to win, but I think it should have been Shaheen standing up there with them.

Some stuff pre finals:

I think MD showgroup got robbed. Stavros is funny, and sweet, and entertaining but I thought MD showgroup put on a much better performance in the semis and I dug their message and it was sad to see Stavros breeze by on what is mostly a gimmick act. That's my personal opinion though, and Simon was right on when he said that what they do is make people happy, and there's nothing wrong with that. Shaheen breaking down when he got picked over MD was really touching.

I also think Callum Francis got screwed when they advanced 2 Grand. The girl is great, but the granddad is just wretched. And I think Callum(while not the strongest of singers) put on a few great performances.

Thank god for youtube, I just caught up on all the semi final performances over the last two days!

edit: oh, Hollie's breakdown was really difficult to watch.

[ May 31, 2009, 01:11 PM: Message edited by: Strider ]

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Shmuel
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I just watched the final, not having seen anything but a handful of YouTube clips (mostly Susan Boyle's) until now.

I loved, loved, loved Stavros Flatley. I was howling with laughter, and like Piers said, that was for all the right reasons. I totally would have voted for them had I been able to.

I agree that Shaheen was great, and that the grandfather in 2 Grand was the weakest link (but sweet).

That said, Diversity rocked. That win was well deserved.

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Lyrhawn
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I agree about Callum and about MD Showgroup. I thought MD was great, their energy was friggin amazing, and I liked their message.

I think Simon picked 2 Grand though because he felt that Callum was already good enough to succeed on his own, whereas 2 Grand would just plain be done if they didn't go on.

I was shocked really to see Diversity win. I thought that Flawless would split the dance vote, allowing a singer, likely Boyle, to win. I'm seeing tons of coverage in America of Boyle, and lots of comments saying she was robbed, but I think for anyone who watched it all the way through, it's hard to say that Diversity wasn't deserving.

I still think Stavros Flatley is hilarious, and the two of them are just infectious.

I'm glad they allow for entire episodes to be put up on YouTube, else people outside of Britain wouldn't be able to watch it. Simon remarked on the YT phenomenon and how the popularity of the show exploded, especially here in America, as a result. He plans to bring Susan Boyle over here because of her popularity, but I have to imagine he'll wait just a little bit. She still needs some polish, despite her naturally strong voice. She's still no Elaine Paige.

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Strider
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quote:
I think Simon picked 2 Grand though because he felt that Callum was already good enough to succeed on his own, whereas 2 Grand would just plain be done if they didn't go on.
Yeah, he explained why he picked them, I just still disagree. You're right though that Callum would not have won the competition, and will most likely be fine on his own from here on out anyway. He's got a really natural sense of performance, and if he improved his voice a bit(which is already quiet good) could be spectacular.
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Bella Bee
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Bad news today about Susan Boyle. I hope she recovers soon - between this and the little girl crying onstage, I'm starting to wonder what kind of presure this show puts people under.
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Lyrhawn
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I don't think this particular show puts people under any more pressure than any of the other copies of it do. There have been dozens of kids on the show of varying ages, some younger than Hollie, none of whom have broken down. And in other British shows like X Factor, or the American talent shows, I don't know of anyone who required hospitalization for stress.

I don't think the show puts people under any extra stress, but I do think the media and the public do.

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