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TV special on surprise star Susan Boyle debuts

Susan Boyle sings, and Simon Cowell and other celebrities sing her praises in a weekend TV special about the Cinderella story that has made her a best-selling recording artist.
View taken on November 20, 2009 shows the US Senate and Capitol Dome where the Senate will be in session tonight and all day tomorrow on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Senate will vote on Saturday night on whether to move to debate on the health care reform legislation, the first key procedural hurdle for the Senate plan and one that requires 60 votes from the 100-member body. AFP PHOTO/Tim Sloan (Photo credit should read TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)TIM SLOAN / AFP
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Susan Boyle sings, and Simon Cowell and other celebrities sing her praises in a weekend TV special about the Cinderella story that has made her a best-selling recording artist.

All that's lacking is a prince, but she says romance has to wait.

"Och, there's no time for that now. I'm far too busy," Boyle said. "There was a TV company that wanted to set me up with a man. Apparently he was a nice man, but I've got my living to do now. I don't mind being friendly, but no marriage plans as yet."

"I Dreamed a Dream: The Susan Boyle Story," debuting at 8 p.m. ET Sunday on TV Guide Network, details her sudden burst of fame and includes performances by Boyle from her new CD and with Broadway star Elaine Paige, the London West End cast of "Les Miserables" and others.

The hourlong show also airs Sunday on ITV1 in Britain.

Boyle, 48, stole the spotlight on "Britain's Got Talent" last spring, although she lost out on winning the contest. She has had an at-times bumpy ride, including a brief hospitalization for exhaustion after the show's season finale.

But her "I Dreamed a Dream" CD debuted last week at No. 1 and her record label, Columbia Records, said that gave her the best first week sales of 2009 and the best-selling album debut by a woman in the Billboard SoundScan era.

From dowdy to downright glamorous
In comments released by TV Guide Network and in an e-mail exchange with The Associated Press, Boyle said she's delighting in her unlikely journey from a quiet Scottish villager to a star, but remains unaltered.

"No, I am still the same person I always was — the wee lady from Blackburn. I still live in the same house, I still like the same things," Boyle said. "I have never wanted to change, I have only ever wanted to be a professional singer, and perhaps that's the only way in which I think differently of myself now: I feel like a professional."

Her image has certainly changed, with Boyle downright glamorous as she performs in the TV special. It's different from her original look that was routinely characterized as "dowdy." (She admits to "mad hair" and "bushy eyebrows.")

"Well, it wasn't very nice," Boyle said of the description. "But then I had never really thought about how I looked until I saw myself on television. I think I scrub up quite well now!"

Boyle sings "Cry Me a River" and the Rolling Stones tune "Wild Horses" in the TV special that includes interviews with her as well as Cowell, the "American Idol" judge who is executive producer of "Britain's Got Talent," Donny Osmond and others.

Her dreams now don't include a success-fueled shopping spree, Boyle said, but she is thinking of helping others.

"I will probably be able to buy the house I live in, which was my family home, which is fantastic. I don't have any other big ambitions really. I have bought some new furniture. You've got to keep your house looking nice, haven't you?

"I would like to do something good with the money — be useful to other people, help them. I have a few ideas in mind," she said.

Singing sensation Susan Boyle says she's untroubled by people drawing contrasts between her angelic voice and dowdy image after she was thrust into the international spotlight.

The unlikely star, who sprung to fame after her appearance on a British televised talent competition became an online hit, said she loves the attention and isn't bothered by those who poke fun at her unpolished appearance.

"It goes with the territory," Boyle told the Associated Press on Friday. "It doesn't bother me."

In a telephone interview from her home in the Scottish town of Blackburn, Boyle did express some impatience with questions over her love life: The 47-year-old Scot raised eyebrows when she told a British television audience on Saturday that she'd "never been kissed."

"It was said as a joke, not an advert. Can we move on?" Boyle said, laughing. And as for the flood of attention — with fans and even competition judge Piers Morgan offering to give her a peck — Boyle said she's flattered, but isn't letting herself be carried away.

"If people want to kiss me, it has to be controlled," she said, still chuckling.

Morgan took part in an interview Boyle did via satellite with U.S. cable channel CNN. He asked her to have dinner with him in London — and she accepted — according to a transcript released ahead of her appearance Friday night on "Larry King Live."

The talent judge, speaking separately via satellite, also apologized to Boyle not giving "anything like the respect we should have" until she began to sing. "I had never heard a more surprising, extraordinary voice coming out of somebody so unexpected," Morgan said.

Boyle, on CNN, asserted that she wouldn't be opting for a new look. "Why should I change?" she said, according to the transcript. But she conceded, when King mentioned that she's been receiving a lot of fan mail: "I certainly won't be lonely anymore."

The massive media attention being lavished on Boyle virtually guarantees her a spot in the final rounds of "Britain's Got Talent," the U.K. version of "America's Got Talent."

Bookmakers are betting on it: Ladbrokes slashed their odds from 11/10 to 1/2 that the Scottish chanteuse would make it out as the eventual winner. Paddy Power cut their odds on a Boyle victory to 5/6.

Simon Cowell, who judges the show alongside Morgan and actress Amanda Holden, had to go on British morning television to remind viewers that the competition wasn't a "one horse race."