Global interest in Boyle was triggered by the contrast between her powerful voice and her plain appearance on stage. The juxtaposition of the audience's first impression of her with the standing ovation she received during and after her performance led to an international media and Internet response. Within nine days of the audition, videos of Boyle — from the show, various interviews and her 1999 rendition of "Cry Me a River" — had been watched over 100 million times. Despite the sustained media interest she later finished in second place in the final of the show behind dance troupe Diversity.
Boyle's first album, I Dreamed a Dream, was released on 23 November 2009 and has become Amazon's best-selling album in pre-sales. According to Billboard, "The arrival of I Dreamed a Dream ... marks the best opening week for a female artist's debut album since SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991." The first single taken from the album is a cover of the Jagger/Richards song "Wild Horses". In only six weeks of sales, it became the biggest selling album in the world for 2009.