- The Washington Times - Monday, June 1, 2009

LONDON | Unlikely Scottish singing sensation Susan Boyle was plotting her future Sunday after her defeat in the “Britain’s Got Talent” television show, which made her a worldwide star thanks to Internet exposure.

Miss Boyle, a frumpy, 48-year-old church volunteer, will reportedly earn up to $13 million in the next year from a record deal, a book about her life and even a film.

She is set to start rehearsing for an album of show tunes this week and will fly to Prague next month for recording sessions with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra, British media reported.

Miss Boyle’s career looks likely to reach new heights even though she lost to the multiethnic street dancers Diversity in a public vote after the live talent show final late Saturday.

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Despite winning praise from the audience and the judges, she was forced into second place. The “best people won,” she said, wishing the dance troupe winners “all the best.”

After the contest, “Britain’s Got Talent” judge Piers Morgan called her “the greatest discovery the show’s ever found.”

He added: “I’m only sorry that the extraordinary tidal wave of publicity she attracted meant so many people got either bored or irritated by Boyle mania and decided not to vote for her as a result,” he wrote on his blog.

Miss Boyle has enjoyed a meteoric rise to fame during the past two months after video footage of her audition piece for the show, “I Dreamed a Dream” from the musical “Les Miserables,” was posted on YouTube.

It has had at least 100 million hits and brought her celebrity fans including actress Demi Moore and rock star Jon Bon Jovi, who embraced the dowdy spinster from small-town Scotland with a voice worthy of Broadway.

Bookmakers made her the favorite to win, but after an unconvincing semifinal performance, there were fears that Miss Boyle, who was starved of oxygen at birth and has mild learning difficulties, was suffering under the pressure.

She was spoken to by police after an outburst at the London hotel where she was staying, and Mr. Morgan described her as “a frightened rabbit in headlights” and said she had considered quitting the contest.

But in a live performance in the final Saturday she proved the critics wrong and repeated her audition piece with gusto.

After her performance, Miss Boyle — wearing a gray-blue, long sequined dress — was asked if it was worth all the media pressure, she replied: “Well worth it! … I really feel at home onstage. I’m among friends.”

As for her future plans, she added: “I hope to get an album out — I’ll just play it by ear. What a journey — unbelievable, and very humbling.”

A total of 19.2 million people watched the show in Britain, making it the most popular television program for five years.

Just under 4 million people voted, broadcaster ITV said, with 24.9 percent backing Diversity and 20.2 percent Miss Boyle.

Miss Boyle’s performance was also watched by hundreds of fans in her home town of Blackburn, outside Edinburgh, where she lives in social housing with only her cat Pebbles for company.

“She told me that after the final, she wants to come back and resume her previous life,” one of Miss Boyle’s neighbors, 24-year-old housewife Vicky McLean told the Mail on Sunday newspaper.

“She doesn’t want to make millions and go to America, she just wants to sing. I think all she really hopes to have out of it is enough money to buy her house.”

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