Susan Boyle Cracking Under Pressure

UPDATED 06/15/2009 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 06/15/2009 at 01:00 AM EDT

When Susan Boyle dreamed her dream, this wasn't how it was supposed to be. Fifteen minutes before her appearance on Britain's Got Talent, the Scottish sensation was feeling ill and agitated. "Susan said she felt nervous," remembers judge Amanda Holden. "She kept saying she felt sick." Her sequined dress reportedly came just minutes before showtime, and 19 million people tuned in for her repeat performance of "I Dreamed a Dream." But later, during the telecast, when BGT's Piers Morgan picked her to win, some audience members booed.

Suddenly Susan Boyle learned just how rough the spotlight can be. After graciously losing to dance troupe Diversity, Boyle—the favorite for the BGT title—apparently crumbled back at her hotel. While police would not directly name Boyle, a statement said that "doctors [assessed] a woman under the Mental Health Act" at a London hotel, who was then taken voluntarily by ambulance to a hospital May 31. Boyle's brother Gerry confirms that she is at the Priory, a private psychiatric hospital in north London, for treatment of exhaustion. (A Priory spokeswoman had no comment.) "She had a really tough time dealing with [it all]," says Morgan of the speed with which the shy Scottish singer, 48, rocketed to fame. It's not the first time stress has affected Boyle. "Susan does suffer a wee bit from anxiety," says Gerry, 55. "She gets herself all keyed up to the pinnacle of things. The difficulty is she's been in London surrounded by strangers." For now, Boyle's recording career is on hold. "What's needed is making things happen as gently as possible and in the most protective way," says Max Clifford, the rep for show cohost Simon Cowell. Yet one thing remains unchanged. "Susan loves to sing—always remember that," says Boyle's former voice coach Fred O'Neil. "Let's just hope that she manages to cope a little bit better."

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