America's Got an Upset (and a New Star!)

It was fitting that Susan Boyle -- one of the world's most famous runners-up -- made her Stateside singing debut at last night's America's Got Talent finale, which saw the classically trained favorite being handed a surprise upset by a more modern contender.

In the end, the voters chose Kevin Skinner, the humble Marlboro-Man country musician over Barbara Padilla, the classically trained opera singer and cancer survivor. Much as Susan Boyle took the world by surprise for her rendition of a Les Miserables song, Padilla seemed a lock for the win after showing the country how good opera can sound. But it was not to be.

The finale featured performances from an array of established artists, including X-Factor winner, Leona Lewis and country band Rascall Flatts, but it was Susan Boyle's performance of The Rolling Stones song "Wild Horses" that nearly outshone the competition itself. The performance was pre-taped, but was no less highly anticipated. Her rendition of the song was slower, more sincere, and with less flash than Mick Jagger might bring to it, but the critics seem to like it.

Today's Los Angeles Times review of Boyle's performance was titled: "Time to take Susan Boyle seriously," and in it critic Ann Powers said: "Boyle has something Americans have sought in popular music for more than a century."

The numbers are on Boyle's side, too: Her debut album, "I Dreamed A Dream," has remained on top of Amazon.com's sales chart for weeks -- even though it's not out 'til the end of November.

If Boyle is just an internet sensation, the real-world facts have yet to prove that theory. Maybe Susan Padilla has a similarly happy road ahead of her.

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