Anticipation over the Nov. 23 release of Susan Boyle's debut album has reached a fever pitch in the United Kingdom, where the Scottish singer shot to stardom after a video of her "Britain's Got Talent" audition was posted on the Internet.
While fans still adore her - her "I Dreamed a Dream" album has become Amazon.com's most pre-ordered CD in history, Boyle has taken some lumps recently.
"America's Got Talent" judge Sharon Osbourne told a U.S. radio station that Boyle "has a voice, yeah, but, boy, has she been hit by the ugly stick."
It was a rather injudicious remark for someone who shares the same boss as Boyle - music and TV honcho Simon Cowell. And insiders say Boyle was devastated by it.
One source told me, "It just shows the insensitivity of Sharon, really...were all stunned that she has remained a judge on the show and it will be interesting to see if she is kept on when the new season returns."
Boyle also took some harsh comments from music critics because she made her first TV performance in the United States. A leading music critic said, "Let's not forget it was the British public that put Susan in the spotlight by thousands of votes...a huge mistake to turn your back on those that have paid good money to make you a star..."
Boyle herself has begun to open up about her loss of the "Britain's Got Talent" title.
"I was shocked," she said of the outcome of the televised talent show. "Sure, I mean, I am thrilled for Diversity; they deserved it. But I was working so hard, lost in the midst of all the excitement and yes, I felt the dream may be over after not picking up the winner's prize. Who would not?"
Soon after the show ended, Boyle was briefly admitted to the world-famous rehab center The Priory in London amid speculation - all dismissed by her label - that she was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Boyle herself refuses to discuss the incident, brushing it away as "a nice rest."
BY NEIL SEAN