Well, the final "real" Reality shows came to an end last night with the crowning of the new American Idol, Carrie Underwood. I have to say that for the first time in my Reality history, I would have been happy for either contestant to win. But, I'll admit as an American Idol geek, I voted quite a few times for Bo (and once for Carrie, just because I liked her).
The interesting thing this season is that the Pop and R&B genres really didn't dominate. We had a season of country and rock and roll, and, as Ryan Secrest would say, "America, you voted." And vote we did - 500 million votes across the entire season. A little country girl from Oklahoma beat out a southern rocker from Alabama named Bo Bice. The future for both of these southerners is quite bright it seems. Carrie would do well to include a duet with Bo on her first release because their harmony together is almost better than their vocals individually.
Pondering the success of this show, given that the best singers aren't always the ones to win, why is it so popular? Aside from the normal Reality show hook, I think the participation factor is huge. I'd love to have a seat in Trump's boardroom. Or vote off someone on Bora Bora from my living room. Only Idol gives us that ownership. Second, I think Idol does something few Reality shows do now -- only have one season a year. What a concept? Sitcoms do it, dramas do it, but most Reality shows squeeze in two or three "seasons" every year. The idea wears thin, and then the thrill is gone. Let's hope the Idol producers keep the thrill going.