British Spinster Becomes Instant Star
In what appeared to be the fastest-spreading viral video ever, a clip from Britain's Got Talent featuring the electrifying performance of Susan Boyle, a Scottish, middle-age spinster, has been viewed by more than 15 million people on YouTube in four days. (In the U.K. it has been viewed by more than 1 million people on the ITV website.) The list of record holders for YouTube videos is considered suspect since it includes commercial music videos whose viewing numbers have been boosted by fans using software that "refreshes" their YouTube feed every few seconds. (The actual champ is believed to be comic Judson Laipply's video, "Evolution of Dance," which has recorded more than 100 million views.) What is clear, however, is that the clip from a U.K. TV show has already been seen in the U.S. by more people than tune in to the average American TV show. And the numbers are escalating. One viewer who received an email with a link to the clip replied that she had received the same link from everyone she knows. Portions of the clip were carried on the nightly newscasts and cable news channels. British newspapers reported that she was an odds-on favorite to win the ITV talent contest and nearly certain to be cast in the West End productions of Les Miserables . (She performed "I Dreamed a Dream" from the musical on the show. Producer Cameron Mackintosh issued a statement Wednesday saying, "Vocally it is one of the best versions of the song I've ever heard. Touching, thrilling and uplifting. I do hope she gets to sing it for the Queen."