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Susan Boyle: Sudden fame ‘like demolition ball’

In her first interview since she became an instant global phenomenon, singing sensation Susan Boyle said that her sudden fame “was a lot like a giant demolition ball.” The exclusive sit-down talk will air on TODAY, with an extended interview as part of a special edition of "America's Got Talent" Wednesday, July 22 (9 p.m. ET on NBC).
/ Source: TODAY contributor

For 23 years, Susan Boyle waited for fame to find her — and when it did, the impact was “like a giant demolition ball.”

Relaxed and seeming as at ease with herself as she has been since her remarkable voice catapulted her from obscurity to international sensation on “Britain’s Got Talent,” Boyle told NBC News’ Meredith Vieira about the shock of becoming a star. She also spoke about how pleased her mother would have been to see her amazing talent recognized by the world.

The exclusive interview, Boyle’s first since she became an instant global phenomenon, will air on TODAY Wednesday, and as part of a special edition of “America’s Got Talent” Wednesday, July 22 (9-10 p.m. ET on NBC).

‘I brush up well’
Boyle sported a new hairstyle — short, brown and frisky. Her distinctive dark eyebrows, trimmed and tamed, framed soft eyes.

“You look gorgeous,” Vieira told her.

Boyle smiled and replied, “Thank you, very much,” adding with a mock fluff of her hair and a self-deprecating laugh, “I brush up quite well.”

She admitted it wasn’t easy leaping into the cauldron of acclaim and fame after so many years of obscurity spent with memories of being mocked as a child. After she skipped several scheduled appearances immediately after her “Britain’s Got Talent” run, there were questions about her health.

“Was that overwhelming for you, because, as you said before, you come from basic obscurity?” Vieira asked. “It is a dream you've wanted. But in a matter of days, because of the power of the Internet, people know your name. People are talking about you.”

“It's a lot like a giant demolition ball,” Boyle replied in a soft voice. “The impact — like a demolition ball. And anyone who has that kind of impact finds it really hard to get a head around it. I've got to be honest here. I guess I had to get my head around it, but through the guidance of a great team — and they are very good — I was able to see that in perspective and really turn that around a little.”

‘I don’t want it to end’Boyle left no question that her struggles have been worth it. She has, after all, been dreaming of being exactly where she is now for more than two decades.

“It's a long time — 23 years,” she told Vieira. “I don't have to dream anymore, and I'm glad to be given this opportunity to get back into practice.”

Time and again, Boyle was at a loss for words to describe exactly what her journey has been like.

“It’s just been unbelievable; it’s indescribable,” Boyle says to Vieira of her meteoric rise. “Being plucked from obscurity is a bit like going on a long journey, really; you don’t know what’s going to happen. You don’t know how it’s going to end.”

“Are you having a good time?” Vieira asked.

“I’m having a wonderful time,” Boyle, dressed in a simple purple dress, assured her interviewer. “I don't want it to end. It’s just incredible. It’s indescribable, really.”

Meredith Vieira’s full interview with Susan Boyle will air on TODAY Wednesday (7-9 a.m. ET) on NBC and as part of a special edition of “America’s Got Talent” Wednesday, July 22 (9-10 p.m. ET) on NBC.