Internet sensation Boyle bids to win TV show final

Fri May 29, 2009 6:34pm EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - Internet singing sensation Susan Boyle bids to justify her favorite tag on Saturday when she competes in the final of "Britain's Got Talent", a show which turned her from dowdy, unemployed church volunteer into A-list celebrity.

Boyle, whose performance in the first round of the popular talent contest was downloaded more than 150 million times on the Internet, is the bookmakers' tip to take the title when she competes against nine other finalists.

Television talent shows have produced countless stars, but Boyle's transformation has been unusual both in terms of the amount of interest she generated around the world and how she overcame an image seen as the antithesis of celebrity.

In the days following her rousing rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream" from "Les Miserables" in April, camera crews camped outside her home in rural Scotland and she has appeared on U.S. chat shows hosted by Oprah Winfrey and Larry King.

Boyle, 48, who lives alone with her cat and jokes she has never been kissed, has been described in the British media as "frumpy" and a "hairy angel".

She overcame derisive sniggers in the audience before she first performed, and Britain's Got Talent judge Simon Cowell apologized on air for underestimating her.

A fan site dedicated to Boyle is titled "Never judge a book by its cover".

CAUTIONARY TALE   Continued...

<p>"Britain's Got Talent" contestant Susan Boyle gestures to onlookers in Blackburn in West Lothian, Scotland April 21, 2009. REUTERS/David Moir</p>