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A Little Too Real for Reality TV?

In a matter of three days, two "reality TV" contests draw to a close. Last night, the final of the fourth (for some odd reason, I thought it was the fifth) series of Australian Idol drew to a close, with Irishman Damien Leith pipping Territory lass Jessica Mauboy for the crown. This has been the first season where I've been interested enough in the talent to watch through since the Top Twelve was finalised (although I did miss an episode or two). The contestants were good all round, with, perhaps, the exception of Lisa Mitchell; I just couldn't quite hear what Mark, Marcia and Kyle heard when she sang. She had the kind of voice that would probably go over well with the alternative crowd who'd like Kasey Chambers if she weren't so country, but to my ear, she just jarred. On the other hand, I was sorry to see Bobby leave - <bitchiness>at least, before Lisa, anyway.</bitchiness>

My take on the winner? Frankly, I thought both of them deserved the nod, and I was definitely not unhappy to see Damien get the vote.

And tomorrow night, it's the end of the suddenly-controversial fifth season of Dancing With The Stars. After last week, Vickie and I were of the opinion that Arianne will probably get a strong sympathy vote, and I doubt the recent "revelations" about her past dancing lessons will be enough to sway it. Still, for the first time, I find myself actually wanting to not watch the show.

For our overseas readers and those locals who don't watch, lemme try and explain. This little drama is all about two people: Todd McKenney and Arianne Caoili. But for his personality and great (if at times risque) sense of humour Todd would be the Simon Cowell of the judging panel; he calls performances as he sees them, even though he does so with a smile most fo the time. Most of what I could tell you about Arianne is summed up in her biography (click on the link prior); I'd add that she's the "cute" one of the contestants, in looks more than manner, and she's been consistenly good, if not great, on the dancefloor.

The judges have regularly commented on her skill, but the lack of emotional "story" in her dances with partner Carmelo Pizzino (the professional dancer with whom a particular fifty percent of Australia fell in love last season), and her seeming inability to improve on that side of her dancing came to a head last episode, when Todd commented on her ability to hold professional lines in her dancing. He asked Arianne whether she'd had any dance training. She said she hadn't, and Todd replied, "I can't believe that." There was a little more back-and-forth during the show, but nothing heated, although the show went to break for the first time in memory with the dancers walking over to the judging panel for further discussion with Todd.

Since then, there's been some media fluff over the incident; varying reports have surfaced about Arianne's ballet classes when she was six (before moving into the international chess circuit full-time) and three or four salsa classes in her recent past. McKenney has also apparently commented on radio and to news reporters that Arianne could step down "if she wanted to be fair". As of this writing, the media has not reported any indication that Arianne is planning to do so.

Now, while I think the whole thing is a storm in a teacup (Dancing With The Stars is more geared as a popularity contest than Idol, with lack of talent not stopping dancers such as Ian Roberts ascending to the season final), there is a very real, very basic conflict between two people here. Todd seems to believe Arianne shouldn't in fairness be returning for the grand final. Arianne believes she should be there. I doubt a comfortable compromise coudl be reached. While I'm more than willing to watch a fictional basic conflict between two people (see my continued interest in the re-made Battlestar Galactica) I really don't want to spectate on a real life one, even if Todd and Arianne are civil on camera.

I think that's why I stay away from the directly competitive reality shows like Survivor.

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You're watching Shite-dol?


All that Queensland sunshine and fresh air has fried your brain hasn't it? Am I going to have to arrange an emergency shipment of Doctor Who DVD's or what? :)

You're only saying that because they used to warm up outside your office at your last job! :-) Hold the Doctor Who DVDs - I've seen them all anyway!

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