Susan Boyle, the YouTube sensation, is no longer the clear front-runner to win the third season of "Britain's Got Talent." The live final — with 10 acts culled from five semi-finals — airs tomorrow night in Britain. The winner will be chosen by a public vote via telephone. And, unlike "American Idol," each telephone ballot cast costs money — 50 pence or about 80 cents.
Susan Boyle won the first semi-final last Sunday with her pitchy performance of "Memory." Since then there have been strong showings by other contenders. The first place finisher each night gets a guaranteed place in the final with the last semi airing tonight. The other three acts to top the public vote so far are street dancers Flawless, father and son comedy dance team Stavros Flatley, and saxophonist Julian Smith.
Though these three are all now proven fan favorites, the act that reportedly got Susan Boyle riled was 12-year-old boy singer Shaheen Jafarghol. He did not rank first in his heat on Tuesday, but his performance of "I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" earned him enough votes to come in either second or third.
At that point, it was up to the three judges (Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, Piers Morgan) to decide whether to put him or the other runner-up — dance troupe MD Showgroup — through to the final. With Piers Morgan calling him "'the best singing performance we have heard in the semi-finals so far" Jafarghol earned a slot in the final and a spot on Boyle's list of serious rivals.
As the public has to spend money to vote in "Britain's Got Talent," the winning act has to earn their respect. And these reports of bad behavior by Susan Boyle will not help her cause. While the world took to her last month when they saw her as a humble Scottish spinster, any diva-like outbursts will lose her votes and perhaps even the final.