For weeks, Susan Boyle, the 48-year-old church volunteer from a tiny Scottish village, was the odds-on favorite to win the U.K. reality TV show "Britain's Got Talent." Now, with the final a day away, Boyle is no longer the sure winner.
Boyle now finds herself in a three-way race with a 12-year-old singing prodigy and a father-and-son duo that mash up "Zorba the Greek" with Michael Flatley's Irish dance extravaganza. Boyle's biggest challenge, though, may be herself.
"The tide has turned over here," British celebrity gossip guru Neil Sean told ABCNews.com. "The feeling over here is that we are over Susan Boyle. We're all a bit bored by her."
That sentiment often occurs in British culture, "Britain's Got Talent" judge Peirs Morgan said on "Good Morning America" today .
"I think in Britain, it's the classic British thing. Build them up, knock them down. And I'm not knocking that. It's kind of the British thing to do," Morgan said. "But I think in her case, you have to remember that she had a very tough life. Susan, when she was born, was starved of oxygen at birth. And that caused her severe learning difficulties. She was bullied at school."
Morgan said Boyle has had a taxing week and critics should realize she has become a global sensation in near record time.
"Everyone has to remember, it's been a hell of a week for Susan. I mean, she's gone in the last two months from total anonymity to becoming arguably the most famous person on the planet. And that brings with it some great stuff and some pretty ugly stuff," said Morgan, who admitted he felt "quite protective" of the potential superstar.
"She has found this week very testing. She's been in floods of tears. Two days ago, she actually threatened to quit the show and packed her bags. And I think the pressure's just been building and building and building. And after her semifinal performance, when she missed the first note and began getting a lot of criticism and people are having a real go at her, it's all been building up. The tension mounting and she finally has been finding it very difficult," he added.
Morgan said Boyle has been taken to a safe house to get "away from all of the melee" so that she can do herself justice in the competition.
Since Boyle's confident performance in the semi-finals last Sunday, when she was voted the viewer's favorite, she has weathered some bad headlines.
According to the British press, Boyle unleashed a four-letter tirade at a London hotel bar on Tuesday while watching Morgan praise her 12-year-old competitor Shaheen Jafargholi for giving "the best singing performance we have heard in the semi-finals so far."
Boyle reportedly stuck up two fingers at a television and shouted "f*** off," before stomping off to her hotel room.
According to Britain's Daily Mail, a spokeswoman for Boyle said she left the hotel bar before the video of her competitor was shown. And a spokeswoman told The Associated Press that earlier in the day Boyle lost her temper after being pushed "over the edge" by two journalists.
Sean said such behavior contradicts viewers' initial impression of Boyle as a naive amateur thrust into the spotlight.
"She is not what she seems," he said. "I think she's a hard-faced woman. You don't swear about a child."
He believes her true personality has come out now that she has sniffed the competition and realized she is not a shoo-in. The audience, through telephone voting, determines the winner.
Morgan: Give Boyle a Break
Morgan said the pressure definitely has gotten to Boyle and that he and others offered Boyle advice on how handle all the new attention and press headlines.
"A few people talked to her. I had a word with her at one stage saying, 'Look. I used to work in the newspaper business. It's cut-throat. You're the hottest story in town. They're doing their job. They want a story," Morgan said.
He added that he told the songstress, "'Don't watch the TV. Don't read the papers. Don't do anything because actually what is important to you now is this two-minute period, tomorrow night, Saturday night, when you sing for the world, in the final of "Britain's Got Talent." If you do a great job then, then all the critics will be silenced. And it doesn't matter, really, what people are talking about, because you're the hot story.'"
Morgan also defended Boyle on his blog.
"Susan is finding it very, very difficult to cope, and to stay calm. She has been in tears many times during the last few days, and even, fleetingly, felt like quitting the show altogether at one point," Morgan wrote on his blog Thursday. "Susan Boyle has never experienced anything like this and is like a frightened rabbit in headlights. I am calling today for everyone to just give her a break."
As for the competition, Morgan said Shaheen Jafargholi had given the season's performance.
"What I was saying was I thought he had given the best all-around singing performance of the semifinals. The reason I said that, was not denigrate Susan, but because she obviously missed the big note at the start of her performance midnight," Morgan said. "I still believe that Susan is the red-hot favorite."
Susan Boyle's Competition
Morgan also spoke about Boyle's learning disabilities that stem from being oxygen-deprived at birth, the bullying by kids and the years she spent caring for her aging mother.
"She was called 'Simple Susan' by the other schoolchildren and she's had to fight her whole life. She brought up her mother when she got old and looked after her," Morgan said on "GMA." "I think this show, for her, has been the ultimate dream. But also, occasionally, the ultimate nightmare, where she's had to deal with this extraordinary world attention. And i think we should all just give her, now, twenty-four hours to cool down to relax."
Some of that heat is coming from her competition. ABCNews.com sized up the three front-runners and what their supporters are saying about them.
Moore and Kutcher first raved about Boyle on their Twitter accounts after seeing her first performance on YouTube.
"This just made my night," Kutcher wrote.
"You saw it made me teary!" Moore responded.
Now, the couple is reportedly on their way across the pond to watch the singing sensation from the audience after judge Simon Cowell offered them two first-class airline tickets.
Gossip guru Sean said should Boyle win, by fluke, he finds it hard to believe her career will have any sort of longevity.
"She wouldn't last more than three months," he said. "She's ugly, she's not marketable, she's not a pop star. What are you going to do with her? It would be like Roseanne Barr winning 20 years ago. I feel a bit sorry for her in a way. She's going to have to go back to live in her little Scottish village."
But Morgan still has his hopes pinned to the woman whose stunning voice captured the world.
"I've got all my money riding on a Susan Boyle triumph because I think that she kind of personifies the heart of 'Britain's Got Talent,'" Morgan said. "I really believe when the light goes down, and she sings 'I Dreamed A Dream," I think we're going to see her, I think the American phrase is, hit it out of the park."
Moore also is a fan of this 12-year-old from Swansea, Wales, who first wowed the judges and crowd when he ripped into Michael Jackson's "Who's Loving You" during his first appearance on the show.
Unlike Boyle, he's no stranger to the spotlight. He was picked to play a young Michael Jackson in a pop-concert-style show based on the songs of the King of Pop and the Jackson Five.
Who Will Get Lucky on 'Britain's Got Talent'?
"If I get lucky, I get lucky, if I don't ... I don't," Jafargholi told Britain's Wales Online following his performance. "I would love to be a big recording artist, and I'd love people to know who I am."
With British pop star Lily Allen among his supporters, people clearly know who Jafargholi is. Allen compared him with Boyle on her Twitter account last weekend.
"Susan Boyle is so overrated," she wrote. "Yes, she can sing, but it's not about talent with her is it? Listen, I'm allowed to have an opinion. I thought her timing was off, no control, and I don't think she has an amazing voice."
"She seems like a lovely lady but if it's about talent, that Shaheen kid should win," she concluded.
Sean believes he will be named winner.
"Shaheen is a very nice guy, very warm, and he's the most marketable."
This Greek father-son pair is the latest unlikely sensation to earn raves from the viewers and judges of the show.
Dimitris Dimitriou and his 12-year-old son Lagidance shirtless in a comic mash-up of the film "Zorba The Greek" and Irish dance impresario Michael Flatley's "Riverdance." Their semi-final performance had the audience howling and on its feet.
The judges were equally effusive.
Amanda Holden said, "I just love, love, love, love, love you. It is everything that this show should be about."
Even the acerbic Cowell praised them, saying, "It's sort of rubbish but brilliant. It is incredibly infectious. The final would be a worse place without you two there."
"I think they are really good, they are fun, they are different," Sean said. "They make you realize there's more to the show than a Scottish woman singing. I'm thrilled for them."
Sean thinks Stavros will come in second after Shaheen, and Boyle will be third.