Susan Boyle Cracks

The modern talent show format is the crack cocaine of instant celebrity status catapulting completely unknown individuals into the full glare of public scrutiny and criticism without the time and experience to deal with rejection that is inevitable in any popularity competition. This is a shocking situation which is unacceptably cruel to the vulnerable. 

Susan Boyle has finally cracked under the pressure. We learn that early this morning she was entered into a private clinic (the Priory) for assessment under the Mental Health Act. Despite what the press and public relations parasites are claiming, this means she has been sectioned. In other words, forcibly admitted for psychiatric treatment.

Is anyone surprised? The producers of these shows are shameful and we the viewing public are egging them on like the braying crowd at the Victorian insane asylums.


Filed under General Thoughts, In the News

14 responses to “Susan Boyle Cracks

  1. podblack

    You may be interested in this material that I used when teaching about reality TV shows – the original ‘Idol’ programs were excellent examples of using star-struck talented unknowns to sell albums – whilst their earning was comparable to little more than cash-register operators… it isn’t online, but an episode summary is here: One point was made about how the performers were contracted to only sing other’s material and never write their own, enabled them to be paid even less.

    We should also keep in mind, that everyone from Pink Floyd (‘Have a Cigar’) to NO FX (‘Dinosaurs Will Die’) have written about the music industry and how they are taken advantage of. Why should a reality TV show, which guarantees millions of viewers, world-wide, be that much different? And why should they feel themselves ethically responsible to those who don’t make it? :/

    What is a real shocker for students is to get a copy (usually an easy find online) of the contract you have to sign before auditioning for these sorts of shows. Everything you do is up for grabs by the company to use as they see fit. Wouldn’t be surprised if we see Ms Boyle’s backstage hysterics as a featured show. :/

  2. Could not agree more. Awful awful situation and horribly predictable.

  3. Jani

    It’s been obvious this was coming.
    When she wanted to go home they should have left her instead of sending her to a “safe house”.
    She went from a confident woman in her audtition to being terrified in the semi’s, and a zombie at the finals.
    She looked so relieved that she didn’t win, actually thrilled about it.
    I hope and pray that she’ll recover from this and finally have some happiness in her life.

  4. Very sad. I really liked her audition, and was thrilled with her initial performance.

    I don’t watch reality t.v., I caught her on YouTube. Reality shows make me feel as though I live in ancient Rome, with bread, circuses, orgies and vomitoriums galore.

    Being an American, I feel eerily close to the collapse of my society without adding reality t.v. to the mix.

    She was outside the normal dross. I hope she recovers and does well in her life.

  5. Being a raving cynic, I’m unsure whether or not this ‘voluntary admission’ is quite as it seems. It strikes me that a way had to be found to keep Ms Boyle (and the show….) in the spotlight after the voting had finished.

    Have you noticed who everyone is talking about today? It sure aint the winners of the competition…. whoever they are.

    Apologies for the blatant bit of self-promotion, but Duncan posted a bit about it in the MH earlier today….

  6. jacarandamimosifolia

    Absolutely agree with NobblySan on this point, I’m afraid. It’s important to realise that EVERYTHING about this show is very carefully controlled and manufactured by Syco Ltd (Cowell’s company) that own the show and the format. Did you really believe her initial performance was a surprise to the judges? That her subsequent fame via YouTube was simply driven by public appreciation? And, finally, that the Priory story isn’t the best way to get an even bigger advance for next year’s contest?

  7. brucehood

    Yes, I agree that this whole show is carefully orchestrated. The fact that the judges only see a subset of the contestants who are already screened by assistants proves there are no surprises and this is all faked. SB was also a habitual contestant on talent contests. But I do not thinking SB is faking her mental instability in this situation and this is something the producers did not care about.

  8. Arno

    Dear Gods, Bruce, this thing is almost your new number 1 top post! Quick, add a picture of Megan Fox in a sexy mini-skirt at the MTV Music Awards and you’ll be collecting billions of hits in no-time!
    But yes, you are right. Shows like this are spawning like malicious cancers, their value to mankind’s mental development as much as a rotting corpse. Unfortunately, we happen to be vultures.

    A Dutch tv station launched a new television show that almost seems like a parody if it didn’t take itself so seriously: girls can compete for stardom. The first stage is where each potential star is introduced while standing on a conveyor belt and is thus moved on a stage that looks like a butcher’s parlour. Once in the middle, a red light above the girl indicates that the conveyor belt stops, the girl gets off the belt and walks onto a dot for her interview. Appearing with as few clothes on as possible is a must. To finish it off, the website holds a database of all contestants where you can search on name (why you would want to do that is beyond me though), age, hair colour and the size of the “tieten” (I don’t think the word requires translation, though I could if Bruce wants the extra hits it will undoubtedly give him? ;)).

    Keeping in mind that other television shows try to present the idea that the stars are actual human beings to them, I am actually rather pleased with such a honest example of objectification. I cannot wait for a possible sequel, where participants will probably be hanging from a meat hook while inspectors in white coats will walk around the contestants first, prodding with sticks to see if everything is real. Then, once they would have passed this inspection and subsequent blood tests to see if they don’t have any scary diseases, would they be allowed to talk. It would be awesome.

  9. jacarandamimosifolia

    I have no doubt that Peter Bazalgette (Endemol, makers of Big Brother) and Simon Cowell (Syco) are considering this as we speak. IMHO, Bazalgette is the bigger villain as he really started the whole reailty TV thing. As ever, Stephen Fry put it best: “Bazalgette is the great-great grandson of Sir Joseph Bazalgette, a Victorian engineer who built the Thames Embankment and the sewers that suppressed cholera in London. His descendant has negated his achievement by pumping shit back into people’s homes”.

  10. Lu

    I’m writing about your book Supersense for my blog, Regular Rumination ( and I was wondering if you wanted to participate in an interview in the future?

    Please email me at if you’re interested!

  11. brucehood

    Jacaranda…. that’s hilarious… I never knew of this Bazalgette character. Seems like a real villian!

    Lu, of course

  12. Susan Boyle is a prime example of how we as a society feed on other people’s tragedy. That the show got stupendous ratings because of her is the only thing that matters to its producers. That she was truly out of her element is neither here nor there because that factor only added to the ability of the show to exploit her. To doubt that anyone would need some psychiatric care after an ordeal like that seems to me to be feeding in to the producers’ need to keep this woman in the spotlight in spite of her desire to retire from the limelight.

    I just think that it’s a shame that a woman with such talent was scorned initially because of her looks, then scorned because she plucked her eyebrows, then scorned because her voice cracked, and is now being scorned because she’s emotionally spent.

    We don’t just eat our young . . .

  13. Lynn

    Modern day talent shows like Britain’s got talent or American Idol are simply cake and circuses to keep us distracted from what our governments are doing in the global political scene. Sad about that woman with the beautiful voice of a song bird.

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