Susan Magdalane Boyle is a Scottish singer who came to international public attention when she appeared as a contestant on the TV programme Britain’s Got Talent on 11 April 2009, singing “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Misérables. Her first album was released in November 2009 and debuted as the number one best-selling album on charts around the globe.
Global interest in Boyle was triggered by the contrast between her powerful mezzo-soprano voice and her plain appearance on stage. The juxtaposition of the audience’s first impression of her, with the standing ovation she received during and after her performance, led to an international media and Internet response. Within nine days of the audition, videos of Boyle—from the show, various interviews and her 1999 rendition of “Cry Me a River”—had been watched over 100 million times. Her audition video has been viewed on the internet several hundred million times. Despite the sustained media interest she later finished in second place in the final of the show behind dance troupe Diversity.
Boyle’s debut album, I Dreamed a Dream (2009) remains as the UK best-selling debut album of all time, beating previous record holder, Spirit by Leona Lewis. I Dreamed a Dream is ranked fourth in its first week sales according to the Official Chart Company in the United Kingdom. In her first year of fame, Boyle made a fortune of £5 million with the release of I Dreamed a Dream and its lead off singles, “I Dreamed a Dream” and “Wild Horses”. The success was continued with her second album, The Gift (2010), and was followed by Boyle’s third album, Someone to Watch Over Me, released on 31 October 2011. On 12 May 2012, Susan returned to Britain’s Got Talent to perform as a guest in the final singing “You’ll See”. The following day, she performed at Windsor Castle for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant singing “Mull of Kintyre”. Boyle’s net worth was estimated at £22 million in April 2012.