.- A middle-aged Scottish woman who sang in her Catholic parish’s choir for decades has become an internet sensation after a stunning performance on a British talent show. Susan Boyle, 47, appeared on the show Britain’s Got Talent before judges and a live audience skeptical of her ambition, her age and her plain appearance.
The audience laughed derisively when she said she wanted to follow the example of West End star singer Elaine Paige.
However, Boyle’s rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” from the musical Les Miserables won over the crowd and the judges.
Her performance was broadcast on April 11, the day before Easter. A video of her performance posted on YouTube on the same day had received more than 13 million views as of Thursday afternoon.
Boyle, reportedly a devoted Catholic from Blackburn in West Lothian, was born with a learning disability but dreamed of becoming a professional singer, the Times Online says.
She credits her mother for advancing her musical education.
“I was always musical - yelling when I was a baby, singing into a brush and singing in the shower,” she told Deadline Scotland.
“It was my mum who got me into singing properly - she knew I had to do something with my voice because she knew I was talented.
“She was the one that pushed me into joining a choir all those years ago, when I was about 12. I remember she told me to start with the choir and just see where it took me,” she added, saying it was hard to believe her success.
Boyle limited her singing to church choir and karaoke in order to care for her aging mother, the Times says. She stopped singing after her mother died two years ago.
“I thought I would take a break - it seemed appropriate,” she told the Times.
Boyle, one of eight siblings, has never married and claims she has never been kissed.
Discussing the Britain’s Got Talent audience’s initial hostility, she said “Modern society is too quick to judge people on their appearances.”
“There is not much you can do about it; it is the way they think; it is the way they are. But maybe this could teach them a lesson, or set an example.”
According to the Washington Post, Boyle received a standing ovation at her parish’s Easter Sunday Mass.
"We let out a wee bit of a cheer for her. We are quite proud of her," Boyle's parish priest, the Rev. Ryszard Holuka, said in a telephone interview. He described Boyle as a "quiet soul."
"At gatherings and anniversary parties, she'd stand up and give a song," he said. "She never flaunted her voice; this is the first time it's been publicly recognized."