LONDON (AFP) - Scottish singing sensation Susan Boyle has considered quitting the British TV talent show that has rapidly brought her worldwide fame, show judge Piers Morgan said Thursday.
Morgan said the 48-year-old spinster, dubbed the Hairy Angel, was struggling to cope with the pressures of fame after she reportedly unleashed a foul-mouthed tirade at the hotel where the contestants are staying.
He said Boyle had even packed her bags Wednesday in preparation to quit ahead of the final of ITV's "Britain's Got Talent" show Saturday, before relenting.
"Yesterday she was actually going to leave the show, packed her bags to go because she couldn't see the point in going on if all she was going to get was all this sniping," he told ITV News.
Writing on his blog earlier, Morgan -- a former tabloid newspaper editor -- described Boyle as a "frightened rabbit" and called for her critics to "back off."
He said that reading personal comments about the spinster who claims she has never been kissed had made him feel "very, very angry."
He wrote: "Susan is finding it very, very difficult to cope, and to stay calm.
"She has been in tears many times during the last few days... she's had to read stories and columns, and listen to radio and TV phone-ins, calling her arrogant, insincere, spoiled, fake, mad and so on.
"Now, I have been called all that and worse in my career, but I spent 20 years in Fleet Street and know how to deal with it.
"Susan Boyle has never experienced anything like this and is like a frightened rabbit in headlights."
Morgan said Boyle had shown the weight of expectation on her shoulders during a wobbly performance last weekend.
Describing her as "an incredibly sweet, nice, gentle person" who had turned into "the biggest star on the planet," he said: "Anybody who has gone through that... transformation is going to be feeling the most unbelievable pressure.
"You could see the nerves almost crippling her on the semi-final show and I just think it's time that everyone slightly backed off," he told LBC radio.
Boyle went from obscurity to international stardom with a soaring version of "I Dreamed A Dream" from musical "Les Miserables" in the show's auditions.
That clip has attracted some 100 million hits on YouTube, brought her celebrity fans including actress Demi Moore and rock star Jon Bon Jovi, and seen her feted in the media from the US to China, Japan and Australia.
But some fans on YouTube have questioned whether she has what it takes after she produced a shaky rendition of "Memory" in the show's semi-finals last weekend, singing occasionally out of tune and out of time.
Media reports say she spat out a string of abuse and made an obscene gesture at the television after Morgan, with whom she has flirted on screen, praised a rival during another a different semi-final show Tuesday.
Police were called to her London hotel the next day after she repeatedly swore at two strangers who were taunting her, the Sun newspaper said.
But despite the reports, Boyle, whose world has turned upside down in just over a month, insists she can keep her feet on the ground.
Asked by US talk show host Larry King if fame would alter her, she demanded: "Why should I change?" adding her celebrity meant "I certainly won't be lonely any more."
Despite her newfound fame, unemployed Boyle still lives in social housing outside Edinburgh with only her cat, Pebbles, for company.
Boyle was reportedly starved of oxygen at birth and bullied at school. When she first stepped up to the microphone on the show it looked like the jibes would continue as the audience and judges laughed at her frizzy, greying hair and thick eyebrows.
But she silenced them all when she started singing -- and has not looked back since.
Boyle is bookmakers' favourite to come out top in the final. The winner gets to perform for Queen Elizabeth II, plus a cheque for 100,000 pounds (S$231,510).