On America's Got Talent, a 42-year-old housewife named Cindy Chang performed the Puccini aria "O mio babbino caro," impressing everyone in the room (no one more than herself, though — she wept when she finished). That love has spread throughout the Internet, where Chang is being proclaimed "the next Susan Boyle."
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That description says far less about Chang than it does the people who are drawing it: What Boyle evoked was a person who shocks because her voice supposedly does not match her appearance. (It's not like Boyle sang opera — Jackie Evancho would be a more apt musical comparison.) But Boyle's hype was always kind of wrong-headed, as it is not unreasonable to expect a person who does not look like a star to have star-making talent. Newsflash to Earth: one's appearance does not inform one's larynx and vice versa! The fact that a reasonably attractive 42-year-old Asian woman could sing an aria should surprise only those who hold prejudices against 42-year-old Asian women. And it's nice to think that a TV show could make a viewer a little less bigoted, but coming to a place where you have fair and open-minded expectations about the ability of strangers is nothing to be proud of or scream about on the Internet. Do your evolving on your own time, in private!
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So there you go. Chang is a lovely singer and perhaps she can ride the hype from Wednesday's performance to deserved, yet unlikely, heights. (It's hard out there for an opera singer!) Maybe the biggest similarity between her and Boyle is that she's one step closer to living the dream she dreamed. But then again, that could be said for just about anyone on AGT, even the magician with a cat on his shoulder.
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Watch Chang's star-making audition: