April 22, 2014

Within ten minutes of walking into my parents’ house last week, my mom sat me down in front of the computer to see “this great video” of a granny dancing. I recognized the title because it’d made its way around social media but I hadn’t yet watched because really – a granny? Dancing?  If you haven’t seen it, I present eighty year old, Paddy, who challenges your preconceived notions of age, rocks the stage, and gives you an eye twitch picturing broken hips and concussions! As Simon says, “It was all kind of like, slow and normal, and then it all went ballistic.”

When the video finished 6 minutes later, a crowd had gathered around the screen and everyone was smiling. What is it about these not-what-you-expect successes that lift our spirits? My theory is that even as we participate in the generalizations of society, we all secretly want everyone to look past our style or niche or struggles and discover a treasure.

This video reminded me of so many other performances out there. Remember Susan Boyle, who gained fame when she appeared as an average middle-aged woman on Britain’s Got Talent, earned a few smirks from the judges, then blew them away with her voice? Yeah, she’s famous now.

These success stories make us smile. It might even make us tear up. Because in the end, we all have beauty underneath the shell. So, to bring you that lightness and put a smile on your face, I have found four more videos where people are judged by their outside but vindicated by their inside.

Here are Jonathon and Charlotte, also from Britain’s Got Talent. These two high schoolers begin their performance to eye rolls and heavy sighs of resignation from everyone watching. They end with tears and a standing ovation.

The Australian X Factor judges seem like they want to talk fourteen year old Shiane off the stage. Everyone greets the news that she will be singing Duffy’s “Mercy” with grimaces and giggles … until she starts singing.

On America’s Got Talent, Andrew de Leon walks on with a distinct look and tells them he’s never sung front of anyone, even his parents. In his words, “I’m just so used to being rejected.” It isn’t until the music begins to play that people raise their eyebrows. This is not what you expect when you look at him but the crowd goes wild. The best part – his parents nearly burst with pride.

Just in case you missed it, no list of unexpected hits would be complete without this recent viral video, from The Voice of Italy, featuring Cristina Scuccia, the singing nun. Watch the judges’ faces as they turn around!

So, take that smile out into the world today. Let it be a reminder to look past the outside because people aren’t only what they seem.

And, that includes you!