By Leah Greenblatt
Updated April 13, 2009 at 12:00 PM EDT
Credit: Michael Becker/Fox

If a 47-year-old in a putty-colored housedress can knock Simon Cowell’s snarky socks off on Britain’s Got Talent, is it time for Idol to drop its Logan’s Run age limits?

Obsessive YouTube spelunkers (or regular Popwatch readers) may have already come across the hugely popular viral video of Susan Boyle, the sweet, gray-haired lady in question, whose mumsy exterior belied the choir-angel pipes she displayed in her version of Les Miserables‘ “I Dreamed a Dream” (the clip isn’t embeddable, so view it here).

In her performance last week, Boyle turned the room from sniggers and eye-rolls to honest, heartfelt amazement on a three-minute dime, prompting judge Amanda Holden to proclaim: “I honestly think that we were all being very cynical, and I think that’s the biggest wakeup call ever.” And Simon, who actually called her extraordinary (“Susan, you’re a little tiger, aren’t you?”),let his face split open into a wildly unfamiliar expression one can only call genuinely joyful.

Idol‘s age-range limits, now stuck at a solid 16-28 since being expanded in 2005, would put Susan a good two decades out of the running, but as the small-town single lady (she reportedly has never been kissed, and lives at home with her cat, Pebbles) would likely be the first to admit, she’s kind of a late bloomer.

And if the show can go for other so-called gimmicks (Legally blind! Dreadlock-y! Bikini auditions!), why not take a chance on a more mature contestant? Would it be so different from America’s Next Top Model planning a full season of shorties? Or is this silver-haired slope just too slippery?

addCredit(“Michael Becker/Fox”)