05/24/2009 11:46 PM | AP
Britain's unlikely singing sensation Susan Boyle, the frumpy church volunteer who wowed the world with her angelic voice, has been voted into the next round of a TV talent show that propelled her to global fame.
The 47-year-old, who lives alone with her cat Pebbles in one of Scotland's poorest regions, will now perform in a live show, weeks after her surprising performance of I Dreamed a Dream from the musical Les Miserables shocked judges and charmed tens of millions of people worldwide.
Boyle's performance last month on the American Idol-style show Britain's Got Talent has been viewed almost 60 million times on YouTube, and saw the shy Scot feted by celebrities, including Oprah Winfrey and Demi Moore.
In an update on her Twitter website, Moore wrote that Boyle's voice had "made me teary!".
Cowell and his fellow judges said on Saturday that Boyle is among 40 performers they've selected to advance in the competition.
Bookmaker William Hill makes Boyle a runaway favourite to win the final on May 30.
"She had a tremendous reaction because of the phenomenon that is YouTube, it's now all over the world and she's coping rather well," said the singer's brother, Gerry Boyle. "But I think some of the reality is now starting to sink in."
Boyle, who had learning difficulties as a child, was bullied by other children. As an adult, she's struggled for work but had been a regular on her local karaoke circuit and performed in church choirs.
In an interview at her home last month, she said the death of her mother had inspired her to enter the TV talent show. "I wanted to show her I could do something with my life," Boyle said.
Sara Lee, a spokeswoman for Britain's Got Talent said that Boyle's performance will be available almost instantly on internet, allowing her international fans a chance to watch the singer's latest appearance.