The ''Britain's Got Talent'' contestant is one of 40 hoping to make it through the semifinals on May 24

By Tanner Stransky
Updated May 22, 2009 at 04:00 AM EDT

YouTube, prepare your servers. The live, five-day semifinals for Britain’s Got Talent begin May 24, and while 40 hopefuls will take the stage, all eyes will be trained on one person: frumpy singing sensation Susan Boyle, who logged more than 100 million YouTube hits when her first audition, to Les Misérables ”I Dreamed a Dream,” went viral. But phenomenon or no, Boyle will still have to claw her way into the top 10 to make the May 30 finale. ”In the States, I think everyone thinks she’s the out-and-out winner, but it’s not like that here,” a rep for Britain’s Got Talent tells EW. ”Susan has gotten more press over there.”

If Americans do love Boyle so much, the next logical question is, when will they get to watch her on Britain’s Got Talent at home? (Right now, only clips, not full episodes, are readily available online.) The answer, it seems, is never. ”Because of music clearance issues,” explains a BGT rep, ”it would cost any network far too much to cover licenses.”

Nevertheless, ”the Boyle effect” is already being felt in Hollywood. Sister show America’s Got Talent seems to have a new focus on Boyle-esque tears and feel-good stories in its early promos (unlike previous ads focusing on much-touted train wrecks and freaks). ”We loved Susan’s appearance,” AGT producers say, insisting that they aren’t drastically changing their production. ”[We] hope that many of our acts will garner equal attention.”