Paige, who recently performed a duet of "I Know Him so Well" with Boyle, told the UK paper, "[Susan Boyle] was like a virus really that spread across the world in a nanosecond. She is a girl with no experience of anything to do with theatrics, the music business, or art in any way. She has done terribly well to be a major star overnight with YouTube."
Paige, however, says she meant no disrespect when using the term "virus." In a statement the former Evita star said, "I was dismayed to read the remarks attributed to me today in the Daily Mail which were incomplete and misinterpreted.
"I am a huge supporter of Susan Boyle and admire what she has achieved; she has handled the extraordinary situation of being catapulted to worldwide stardom with tremendous strength, charm and dignity and I thoroughly enjoyed working with her on the ITV special we recorded together only last month.
"I have always said it's very hard for someone to be fast-tracked to stardom without any prior experience – I know this as it happened to me when Evita opened and I found it extremely difficult in the beginning; today, of course, it’s much harder with the phenomenon of the internet – Facebook, YouTube etc – it seems it only takes minutes for fame to spread around the world – and that’s why I used the word ‘virus’! I wasn’t referring to Susan herself; I was referring to the speed of her fame spreading as fast as a worldwide viral marketing campaign."
Boyle, a single 47-year-old woman from Scotland, became an overnight sensation following her emotional performance of Les Misérables' "I Dreamed a Dream" on the U.K. weekly ITV Channel TV show "Britain's Got Talent." Boyle recently released her debut solo recording, which has sold millions. Elaine Paige was brought to the public's attention when she created the role of Eva Peron in the original London production of Evita. She then created the role of Grizabella in the original production of Cats and followed with a recording hit: "I Know Him So Well," with Barbara Dickson, from the concept album of Chess. Paige later starred in the West End mounting of Chess as well as London productions of Anything Goes, The King and I, Piaf and Sunset Boulevard. She repeated her work as Norma Desmond for New York audiences, and in 2004 she performed the role of Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd at the New York City Opera (and snagged a Drama Desk Award nomination for her work). She has recorded 16 solo albums and six cast albums. In 1995 Paige received the Order of the British Empire for services to Musical Theatre. Paige most recently starred in the title role of the London production of The Drowsy Chaperone and currently hosts a weekly radio program for the BBC.