Amazing, but suspicious: He’s doing perfectly well with the first song when Cowell inexplicably stops him and switches to a new track which, coincidentally, is much better suited to letting him show the audience what he’s got. Nothing wrong with showmanship, but it does lend credence to the accusation that Susan Boyle’s “surprise” performance was much less of a surprise to the judges than it seemed.

This clip’s already doing brisk business at YouTube, although given that Boyle’s now officially the biggest phenomenon in Internet video history, it’s got a ways to go to catch up. Stroking his chin, Spengler looks upon Boylemania and sees … the decline of western civilization:

There is an undercurrent of self-worship in the aptly-named American Idol and its British knockoff, which lifted Boyle to stardom. As I wrote some years ago (American Idolatry Asia Times Online, August 29, 2006), at some time during the 20th century, the people of the West elected to identify with what is like them, rather than emulate what is above them.

Churlish resentment of high culture comes from the slacker’s desire for reward with neither merit nor effort: the sort of artistic skill that requires years of discipline and sacrifice is a reproach to the indolence of the popular audience of the West. Better voices than Boyle’s can be found in a thousand choirs and amateur theatricals, but the crowd has embraced this late-hatching Scottish songbird as a symbol of its own aspirations…

The day is gone when a smile and a shoeshine will get you a shot at the American dream, but a smile and a song still will get you a chance at instant stardom. That is the message of hope that Susan Boyle bears to the beleaguered audience of the Anglo-Saxon world. In fact, her own little corner of Britain is living proof that hope may be entirely in vain. Whole parts of the industrial world never will come back. Nothing can resuscitate the north of Britain from industrial ruin, and portions of the United States appear likely to follow.

Turns out little Shaheen’s number is a dirge, I guess. Exit question: Anyone not think Cowell’s deliberately setting up a Boyle vs. Jafargholi finale blowout? 100 million YouTube views or bust!

Tags: China