Reality Television

Following the format of the very successful American Idol on FOX comes their latest Skating with Celebraties. That follows last summer’s hit Dancing with the Stars. What makes American Idol go is the fans voting on their favorites and the comments of the three judges: Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, and Paula Adul The biting comments of Cowell tend to put off first time viewers, but soon you begin to appreciate that he is more on target then the other two. Most of the time he tells the truth, the brutal truth. But he can be very unkind too. And I find that unnecessary at times.

The fifth season is under way with the very funny and sometimes sad auditions. It is hard to believe that some of these contestants actually believe they can sing.

Several past winners and finalists are doing quite well commercially with first years winner Kelly Clarkson being the gold standard, followed by second seasons runner up Clay Aiken, who even has a book out. Last years winner Carrie Underwood and runner up Bo Bice seem to have bright futures also. Bice is by far the best on stage performer with a very exciting style and a go for broke attitude. Two of the past winners Ruben Studdart and Fantasia, have not done as well and Studdart seems headed for the bust catagory.

I like American Idol for two reasons. I like the music, and I like to watch the contestants grow and improve.

I started watching Dancing With the Stars last summer because one of the contestants was Evander Holyfield, and I was curious to find out if the former heavyweight champion could dance. He could but not very good. This program also had three judges, and they were all tough. Kelly Ann Anabe, Len Goodman, and Bruno. Kelly was very Simonish.

But what got me watching the show to it’s conclusion was the judging of one of the contestants. In last place the first week was Kelly Monaco and her professional partner. I watched them thinking they must be terrible. But Kelly, who is a soap star on General Hospital, had a sort of kick ass attitude and I’m doing my best, working my butt off, and I don’t give a crap about the judges, I’m having fun. Well I watched her dance and thought I must not have any idea of what’s going on because I thought Kelly was as good as any of the rest of the dancers and maybe better then most, plus she had a killer body, and almost lost her top. Plus she was so personable that I started rooting for her, and in the end she won. So this year I’m back because of Jerry Rice, to see if he can dance, and he’s pretty good, better then Evander at least. But again, a female dancer has caught my fancy. Stacy Keibler is 6′ tall and a professional wrestler. Think she looks like a man, grunts, and stomps around the floor. Wrong! She looks like a ballet dancer. Just gorgeous and very good.

Now here comes my complaint against all the shows that have fans voting. There is no doubt that the contestants pick up a following. Some of them don’t deserve the following they develop because some very good talent gets put out, and some lousy talent doesn’t. Idol has had several really talented singers out early. Case in point the first season the early departure of Tamara Grey, who was probably the top talent that year, and the third season early departure of LaToya London who was also the best singer of that year, or at least the equal to the winner, Fantasia.

I mention this because on Dancing with the Stars this week, it is apparent that two contestants have distanced themselves from the group: Stacy Keibler and Drew Lachey. Now Stacy was the top vote getter, but Jerry Rice was next, and Master P, who is aweful, was fourth vote getter, while Lachey, who should win this, was almost put out. At times like this it seems ridiculous. Are people really trying to judge these dancers fairly. NO!

Finally on Skating with Celebrites the draw was the awesome crashes on the teases run to publicize the show. But on the first night no crashes, at least during the competition. This one is decided entirely by professional judges including my all time favorite, Dorothy Hamil. Bruce Jenner skating. Yikes! He survived and even got in a couple of little jumps, and I mean little. One contestant who should be familiar to all NFL fans and should keep the men watching was Jillian Barbarie. Jillian is one tough babe. She had some wild crashes in her practice sessions, and her coach kept trying to tone her down saying if you get hurt bad enough you’ll be out. Her answer, “I only know one way to do things, and that is to go all out.” And she did. She obviously was a former skater because she looked like one of the pros. She’ll come out of this as the star of this show by her athletic ability and toughness. And she seems like a nice person.

I guess my last comment is I find these three shows as good entertainment and lot’s of fun. Give em a look see and let me know what you think.

About Fred

I am the running coach of Quest Club of Arizona, an adult running club. Formerly coached at Phoenix College for 18 years, and have coached a number of elite runners including Trina Painter and Lisa Weidenbach. Most recently coached Priscilla Hein, graduate of ASU and Olympic Trials semi finalist. In addition to coaching I am the sports publicist for the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference in track and field, and the Meet Director for the NJCAA Region Championships in Cross Country and Track and Field.
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4 Responses to Reality Television

  1. jdeso says:

    I’ve never watched the shows you mentioned, but I have seen Survivor. I don’t like the way they stage everything – makes it not very real. I think I’ll give Dancing With the Stars a try. And maybe Skating With Celebs.

    Great idea, starting this blog.

  2. soul4real says:

    Wow! What a process just to leave a few words. First, I must say I am impressed Coach Moore. Now, about Ruben and Fantasia. You mention that they have not done very well. But you have to remember that both fall into a category of music that has a very small market: R&B. Pop, Rock and Hip Hop are huge, but the R&B market only caters to a small group of people. So it might appear that both have not done so well, when in fact they have done very well in that market. Ruben has just released a new album and has gone in a different direction, unfortunately into another small market category: gospel. It’s a good album, but most people probably won’t hear about it. You can listen to it at:

    As for Fantasia, she had a couple of Hip Hop songs on her first album that did very well, and I think her next album, once she rids herself of the Idol producers will be all Hip Hop and she will do better. But not doing well? She was nominated for 4 Grammy’s:
    Best Female R&B Performance for “Free Yourself,”
    Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance for “Summertime,”
    Best R&B Song
    Best R&B Album
    She was also nominated for a few Vibe and American Music awards. And she too has a book out: Life is Not a Fairy Tale. I don’t know if she won any of those awards, but to be nominated on your first album is huge.
    My 2 cents.

  3. Fred says:

    Thanks for your reply. I stand corrected. Obviously I do not travel down the path that Ruben and Fantasia have followed. I don’t listen to hip hop, and R and B. No question of their talent, but I didn’t realize that they were doing so well.


  4. Zorba says:

    Could you be more specific. What more do you want to know? Reality TV has taken a large position on television because it is popular and the costs are far less then putting on a situation comedy, and a dramatic show like Law and Order. As usual the TV folks always over do something the public likes so we get a number of copy cat shows that aren’t very good. Look at all the talent shows on TV after the success of American Idol. Personally I don’t watch the copy cat shows.

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