LONDON – Britain’s unlikely singing sensation Susan Boyle, the frumpy church volunteer who wowed the world with her angelic voice, was on Saturday voted into the next round of a TV talent show that propelled her to global fame.
The 47-year-old, who lives alone with her cat Pebbles in one of Scotland’s poorest regions, will perform in a live show today, weeks after her surprising performance of “I Dreamed a Dream” from the musical “Les Miserables” shocked judges and charmed tens of millions of people worldwide.
Boyle’s performance last month on the “American Idol”-style show “Britain’s Got Talent” has been viewed almost 60 million times on YouTube, and saw the shy Scot feted by celebrities, including Oprah Winfrey and Demi Moore.
The awkward-looking Boyle was greeted with giggles from a skeptical audience and eye rolls from the show’s famously sardonic judge Simon Cowell when she appeared in April – but startled viewers with her soaring voice.
In an update on her Web site, Moore wrote that Boyle’s voice had “made me teary!”
Cowell and his fellow judges said Saturday that Boyle is among 40 performers they’ve selected to advance in the competition.
Bookmaker William Hill makes Boyle a runaway favorite to win the final on May 30.
“She had a tremendous reaction because of the phenomenon that is YouTube – it’s now all over the world and she’s coping rather well,” said the singer’s brother, Gerry Boyle.
“But I think some of the reality is now starting to sink in.”
Sara Lee, a spokeswoman for “Britain’s Got Talent,” said that Boyle’s performance today will be available almost instantly on Internet.