OFF THE GRID

Susan Boyle Has Plenty of Reasons to Be Pissed

May 28, 09 | 12:56 PM   byCaroline Miller
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Susan Boyle has got a mouth on her. Not just a spectacular set of pipes. For someone who's been living at home with Mum all her life, the frumpy British singing sensation—dubbed the Hairy Angel by indelicate Brits (they meant it as a term of endearment, really!)—may not be quite the angel she’s been made out to be. Thank God.

Tuesday night she lost it in a hotel lounge when she heard her favorite judge, Piers Morgan, say on TV that her 12-year-old rival on Britain’s Got Talent put in the best performance of the second round. She flashed what was confusingly referred to as a “rude two-fingered gesture” (could someone please explain what’s indecent about a V-sign?) and told more than 100 gathered fans of the show to “fuck off” before retreating to her room. She followed that act yesterday by roaring obscenities at some strangers who confronted her in the hotel lobby, and then verbally assaulted the cops who tried to calm her down.

Critics say it’s the diva kicking in, and sympathizers say it’s the pressure becoming intolerable. More likely, it’s that she’s a coarse, working-class girl who’s got a short fuse and was raised with a passel of brothers. Indeed, the Sun says she’s famous around Blackburn, Scotland, for her temper, which has earned her the nickname Rambo. She looks perfectly capable of throwing a punch, too. Good for her.

A healthy temper doesn’t quite fit into the Cinderella story that the show is promoting; Piers Morgan is portraying her as a victim of UK media jackals, saying “the increasingly unpleasant bitching and carping” is driving the sensitive songbird to tears, and issuing a treacly call for everyone to give her a break. “My heart absolutely bleeds for the poor woman,” he intones, adding condescendingly, “Susan’s just a sweet, middle-aged lady from a Scottish village who can’t really comprehend the sheer scale of what’s happened to her.”

Yeah, well, I doubt that incomprehension is the problem. She’s an ambitious, frustrated singer who’s made a number of runs at a professional career and couldn’t get arrested until Britain’s Got Talent—a forum in which her awkward, glamourless appearance is actually an asset—came along. Her video’s gotten 200 million hits on YouTube and she hasn’t made a dime off it, and now she has to compete with 12-year-olds and wacky dancers to win this thing, or be perceived as a loser, even though she’s already much bigger than the show itself.

It’s gotta be, well, pretty fucking annoying.

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OFF THE GRID is about why the news is the news. Here are the real motivations of both media and newsmakers. Here's the backstory. This is a look at the inner workings of desperate media, the inner life of the publicity crazed, and the true meaning of the news of the day.