A dance group called Diversity was the surprise winner Saturday of the television contest “Britain’s Got Talent,” beating favorite Susan Boyle, who became an Internet phenomenon and global celebrity after appearing on the show.
The troupe from southeast England, which includes three sets of brothers, won about $160,000 and the opportunity to take the stage at the annual Royal Variety Performance before Queen Elizabeth.
Of the 10 finalists, Diversity was the bookmakers’ sixth favorite going into the show, but their acrobatic performance choreographed by 20-year-old Ashley Banjo was described by judge Simon Cowell as “utter perfection.”
Boyle was runner-up, but so overwhelming were the betting odds in her favor that the result after viewers voted by phone was seen as a major surprise.
The 48-year-old Boyle is the antithesis of what many expect in a celebrity. The unemployed church volunteer from Blackburn, a small town in Scotland, once joked that she had never been kissed and she has been described by newspapers as “frumpy” and a “hairy angel.”
Yet her rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” from the musical “Les Miserables” for her audition in April was viewed on the Internet more than 150 million times and made her a household name. Film crews camped outside the home where she lives alone with her cat, tabloid reporters followed her every move and she appeared on “Oprah” and “Larry King Live.”
Boyle sang “I Dreamed a Dream” again Saturday, and while her rendition was well-received, it was not enough.
She had said earlier that the whole experience had been “well worth it.” Boyle is widely expected to land a recording contract as a result of her fame and impressive voice.