April 26, 2009 in Features

People: Sing like a bird and flaunt your feathers

Gregory Katz Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

Susan Boyle
(Full-size photo)

What’s next, a fake tan?

Britain is buzzing over singing sensation Susan Boyle’s mini-makeover, with some worrying that her new look may cost her some support in the “Britain’s Got Talent” competition that catapulted her to international stardom.

Boyle, 47, became an instant YouTube and Internet celebrity after appearing on the British TV show with gray frizzy hair, bushy eyebrows and a jowly face above an unflattering dress.

The contrast between her looks and her angelic singing voice endeared her to viewers around the world.

Boyle’s performance of “I Dreamed a Dream” from “Les Miserables” is believed to be the fastest-growing viral video of all time

But on Friday, Boyle appeared on the cover of The Sun tabloid sporting freshly dyed and styled brown locks and newly shaped eyebrows.

The Sun, which had dubbed her “Hairy Angel,” this time headlined: “Brunette’s Got Talent.”

“I assure you it’s not a major makeover,” her brother, John Boyle, insisted. “She is still the same Susan.”

While no one could accuse Boyle of turning into a WAG – as the highly stylized Wives and Girlfriends of England’s wealthy athletes are called – the difference was shocking.

“Compared to what she had, it’s a 200 percent improvement,” said Toni Jones, assistant fashion editor of The Sun.

“But our readers think this is as far as she should go. We want her to stay one of us, not get hair extensions and a fake tan.”

Jones praised Boyle for getting a 35-pound ($51) hair cut at a local salon near her home in Scotland rather than trekking to London for a 200-pound ($295) cut at a celebrity salon.

But Max Clifford, Britain’s most prominent publicist, called the makeover a major risk because it could jeopardize the phenomenal connection between Boyle and her audience.

“Keep her as natural as possible for as long as possible,” said Clifford. “It’s more about protection than promotion.

“She’s got the voice. She has to make sure that the person people all around the world fell in love with remains the same.”

In addition to the new haircut, Boyle has also upgraded her wardrobe. Instead of the plain beige dress she wore on her first TV appearance, she was recently photographed wearing a stylish black leather jacket and what appeared to be a Burberry scarf.

Judges of “Britain’s Got Talent” will decide May 23 whether Boyle gets through to the next round. British bookmakers have made her the firm favorite.

The birthday bunch

Actress-comedian Carol Burnett is 76. Guitarist-songwriter Duane Eddy is 71. Singer Bobby Rydell is 67. Singer Gary Wright is 66. Actor Giancarlo Esposito is 51. Actress Joan Chen is 48. Actor-singer Michael Damian (“The Young and the Restless”) is 47. Actor Jet Li is 46. Actor-comedian Kevin James (“The King of Queens”) is 44. Singer T-Boz (TLC) is 39. Actor Jason Earles (“Hannah Montana”) is 32. Actor Tom Welling (“Smallville”) is 32. Actress Jordana Brewster (“The Fast and The Furious”) is 29.

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