It may get a bad rep and even though there are a gazillion different platforms and channels out there now, and nothing to watch at times, television allows us to collectively share experiences that can change our lives and perspectives.
On Saturday, April 11, 2009, a nervous (though you couldn’t really tell) Susan Boyle stood on the stage of Britain’s Got Talent and shared her dream of becoming a powerhouse singer on the global stage.
Simon Cowell rolled his eyes as she swung her hips and gave the world a cheeky grin as she prepared to sing “I Dreamed A Dream”, one of the biggest songs ever produced for the stage.
Piers Morgan adjusted himself in anticipation of a musical disaster.
The audience followed suit.
Everyone waited for yet another live flame-out, as that was once the biggest appeal of these talent shows; we all seemed to enjoy seeing people crash and burn in front of a live audience, didn’t we?
I know it’s unlikely but just in case you haven’t seen/experienced this moment, I’m going to allow you to see the results for yourself.
#23: That Susan Boyle Moment.
I once had a friend, a best friend, who wanted nothing more from life than to be part of a successful rock ‘n roll group that shook the stage to its foundations every night. Ronnie didn’t want his name in lights, he was perfectly content to be a wheel on a bus that traveled from town to town, giving citizens an escape from the tedium of their lives. Rockin’ did indeed rock the stage. He achieved a measure of notoriety; he was a mainstay of the region’s music scene and everyone loved him.
But he never had his Susan Boyle moment. The image of fame he nestled in his heart for a lifetime never materialized. He was a rock star to those of us who knew him best but the world didn’t know his name.
But I do.
Luke Skywalker blowing up the death Star. The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. Susan Boyle’s walk in the blinding sunshine of fame. These are moments that can have a profound effect on millions of people simultaneously while touching individuals… individually. Okay, that fell apart fast but let’s move on, shall we?
I often return to YouTube to relive this triumph of the human spirit (and pipes) and I still tear up as I think, “What Ronnie wouldn’t have given for this chance to shine bright.” But I don’t feel sad, I feel grateful for having known Ronnie and his gifts at all.
Fortunately, shows like BGT have shifted their focus to contestants’ triumphs rather than the missteps, thus giving the audience a more positive experience overall. So when you’re feeling subterranean and the light is a distant memory, you can always click on a moment preserved in time, a moment that serves to remind us that one person’s triumph is a victory for all of us.
We all want the same things.
We all dream a dream.
And it doesn’t matter if it comes to life or not, it’s the dream itself that’s worth living for.
So thank you, Susan Boyle of the village, you’ve gotten me though some dark days.
See you in the lobby and the dreamscape, kids…