Susan Boyle Is Back, and We’re Crying Like It’s 2009 Again

The judges and location changed, but Susan Boyle’s ability to surprise a nation has not. Nearly a decade after finishing second as the reality television surprise of the century on Britain’s Got Talent, the vocalist appeared for the all-star version of America’s Got Talent on Monday night (Jan 7).

Simon Cowell and the three other AGT judges lit up with surprise when Boyle — looking fashionable and manicured this time around — walked onstage. OK, if you’re asking “Who?” that’s totally fair. The short version of the story is that Boyle was an unemployed, frumpy 48-year-old single Scottish woman who lived with her cat when she auditioned for Britain’s Got Talent in 2009. People laughed at her …. until she started to sing “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserables. Twenty million records later, her life has changed, but her priorities have not. When asked if she thinks she’s a champion, Boyle says:

“A champion for those who maybe don’t have the confidence to do things, for those who don’t have a voice, the ones who people tend to ignore, I feel like I’m a champion for them.”

There was a little catching up to be done, but eventually Boyle performed a slow version of the Rolling Stones’ ballad “Wild Horses” and people went nuts again. She started crying, viewers started crying, the judges dabbed away tears … then Mel B stood up and gave her something she deserved: a Golden Buzzer (that’s a good thing, just trust us).

Then everyone really started to lose it.

“You made a huge difference in lots of people’s lives and I’m absolutely thrilled that you’re here,” Cowell says, going to the stage to hug her.

“I’m very happy and very humbled,” she told host Terry Crews before her segment ended. America’s Got Talent: The Champions airs on Monday nights at 8PM ET on NBC.