Susan Boyle beaten in talent show final

Sat May 30, 2009 5:41pm EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - Street dancers Diversity were the surprise winners of television contest "Britain's Got Talent" on Saturday, beating favorite Susan Boyle who became an Internet phenomenon and global celebrity after appearing on the show.

The troupe, which includes three sets of brothers and comes from southeast England, won 100,000 pounds ($160,000) and the right to take the stage at the Royal Variety Performance in front of the Queen.

Of the 10 finalists, Diversity were the bookmakers' sixth favorite to win going into the show, but their acrobatic performance choreographed by 20-year-old Ashley Banjo was described by judge Simon Cowell as "utter perfection."

"If I had to give marks on that, that is the only performance tonight I would want to give a 10 to," Cowell said after their performance.

Boyle was runner-up, but so overwhelming were the betting odds in her favor that the result was seen as a major surprise.

The 48-year-old unemployed church volunteer from Scotland, who once joked she had never been kissed and has been described by newspapers as "frumpy" and a "hairy angel," was the antithesis of what many considered a celebrity to be.

Yet her rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream" from "Les Miserables" in April was downloaded on the Internet more than 150 million times and made her a household name.

Film crews camped outside her home in the small town in Scotland where she lives alone with her cat, tabloid reporters followed her every move and she appeared on U.S. chat shows hosted by Oprah Winfrey and Larry King.   Continued...

<p>Fans of television show "Britains Got Talent" singer Susan Boyle pose for photographers holding masks in their local community centre in Blackburn, Scotland after watching a broadcast of Boyle performing on the final of the show May 30, 2009. REUTERS/ David Moir (BRITAIN ENTERTAINMENT)</p>