All right, I admit it. I watch the low-brow reality shows America’s Got Talent, American Idol, So You think You Can Dance, and Dancing with the Stars.
I said low-brow, but not all of the material is low-brow. For instance, the dancers on So You Think You Can Dance are, for the most part, anything but low-brow. Most of them are trained in classical and modern ballet and are impressive artists.
I have gotten to where I watch very little of American Idol. All of that yelling they call singing turns me off. However, some of the young performers demonstrate their considerable talent when they perform standards.
Also, I don’t consider expert ballroom dancing low-brow, and a lot of the dancing on Dancing with the Stars is expert.
Some of the acts on America’s Got Talent are classy, also. Yes, there are sword shallowers, contortionists, magicians, and snake-handlers, but there are also impressive opera singers, symphonic-type orchestras, very talented dancers and musicians.
However, I was not at all pleased with the exploitation of young children being humiliated for the sake of money-making ratings. Brother and sister Ruby and D’Angelo were pitted against each other. D’Angelo and Amanda, incredibly talented ballroom dancers, won over Ruby and Jonas. The cameras took tight closeup shots as the results were given and lingered on Ruby bursting into tears. When asked how he felt about winning, D’Angelo said he felt terrible because his sister lost, walked over to her, hugged her and started crying himself. Before it was over, all four of the kids were crying. All of this in front of millions of viewers. A friend of mine said that incident represented the worst of human nature. I believe if not the worst, certainly close to it. And, as one commentator wrote, “The buck stops with the parents.”