The Sanest Days are Mad…

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I didn’t want to join the ‘talk about Susan Boyle’ blogger bandwagon, but ever since I read this morning that she had been taken to The Prior suffering with mental exhaustion, I have had song lyrics in this blog title going around my head, and the urge to put my 2 pence worth down in words.

A couple of days ago I read an interesting blog post on No Damn Blog about whether there should be a minimum age limit for talent shows such as Britains Got Talent – arguing that the youngsters involved are not ready for the pressure of such a competition. 

I agree with this sentiment, but I also think that producers of these shows should be accountable for the emotional support for all acts involved.  

The example of the treatment of Susan Boyle by the media and her subsequent breakdown is the most obvious (and publicised) example to draw upon.

By her own admission, Ms Boyle is unemployed, a spinster, and has never been kissed.  From a tiny Scottish village, effectively she was a ‘no-body’ in the grand scheme of things. 

She entered the Britains Got Talent competition because of her love of singing, her extraordinary talent, to fulfil a wish to her mother and to see if she could finally make something of herself.  

She captured the heart of everyone watching because she represented every single ‘ordinary’ person with a dream.  The fact that she was ridiculed when she first appeared on stage by the public and also the judges served to enforce this, as did the song she chose to sing – ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ from Les Miserables. 

I doubt that I was alone in getting goosebumps when she sang;

I had a dream my life would be
So different from this hell I’m living
So different now from what it seemed
Now life has killed the dream I dreamed

But the way that Susan acts on TV – when she isn’t singing – is slightly uncomfortable viewing.  She is someone who is clearly not comfortable in her own skin, but suddenly she has the world’s media attention on her – and she doesn’t know how to act. 

Every action she has made since her debut has been documented by the media – from discussions about how she dyed her hair, to condemnation because she swore at hotel staff.  It appears fame does come at a heavy price to some. 

But the shows producers – Simon Cowell et al – who are set to make millions out of all of the contestants on the show via the live tours, media interviews, record sales etc…could they not do more to support these individuals (on both an emotional and a practical basis), who are thrust into the limelight like this? 

Do contestants on these shows get access to counsellors or experts in careers guidance?  Do they have access to media training? 

It just seems that they are so ill prepared to cope with the sudden pressures that fame brings, and personally, I do not want to see the publicised mental decline of anyone – regardless of who they are.  

I wish Susan Boyle, and everyone else involved, the best.


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