Singer’s appearance shouldn’t outweigh her talent

If the name Susan Boyle is not already familiar to you, you are not one of more than 30 million viewers that have been touched by the pure voice of this 47-year-old Scottish singer.

Boyle stepped onto the stage of the TV show “Britain’s Got Talent” with the audience laughing at her appearance as she introduced herself and her dream. As the camera panned across the audience, people could be seen snickering as she told the judges that she wanted to be as successful as singer Elaine Paige.

It became apparent that everyone had their doubts as to how she would perform.

But when Boyle began to sing “I Dreamed a Dream” from the musical “Les Miserables,” even Simon Cowell, best known for his incredible cynicism on “American Idol,” could not stop smiling.

“I honestly think we were all being very cynical, and I think that’s the biggest wake-up call ever,” said Amanda Holden, one of the judges on “Britain’s Got Talent,” after the audition.

Her appearance, slightly disheveled, is now a big controversy.

In an ABC interview with Boyle conducted by Diane Sawyer, Sawyer brought up the idea of a makeover for Boyle. Sawyer talked about the possibilities “when (she’s) blonde and wearing red leather,” and I could not get over the fact that this is the impression that Americans leave on people. Are we really obsessed with whether she becomes a beauty queen overnight?

She sang, and the whole audience got up on its feet. The audience didn’t do this because of how gorgeous she looked, but because of how fabulous she sounded. Her voice made millions fall in love with her, and it is unfair for society to send the message that it cannot accept talent unless it is made up nice and pretty.

Watching her sing literally brought me to tears. It was a pleasant surprise, and I think that’s why so many Americans are flabbergasted. Keep in mind that the media in America are not so quick to recognize talent like this if it isn’t in a blonde-bombshell casing.

Everything about Boyle is memorable — her appearance, her humble attitude and awe-inspiring voice. It really says something about our society if we are so willing to judge talent by the packaging in which it arrives.

But perhaps talent like Boyle’s serves as that catalyst to bring us back to Earth. Making her over would just be another Hollywood dream story, and Boyle is no Hollywood girl.

In the Sawyer interview, Boyle did not confirm or deny whether she would accept a makeover. It’s one thing to look one’s best, but completely another thing to fit the mold society expects to be filled.

Ashley Tambunga is a junior English major from Fort Worth.