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"Idol" An Exercise In Humiliation

This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.
I'm not a fan of "American Idol." Call me snobby, but I just don't think many of the people who compete have that much talent — surely not enough to win recording contracts or enough that you or I would spend money to see them perform.

I know — it's not really a talent contest. It's a reality show, and in a reality show, people are tested in unusual ways and how they respond to those tests determines how far they get.

Since most people in America will do anything to become a celebrity, I suppose we shouldn't be surprised that people who really don't have much talent at all show up to audition for "American Idol."

Most humans take delight in other people's little miseries — we snicker when we see someone slip on the ice or drop a tray of food. But the early "Idol" shows are exercises in humiliation. No one made those people audition, you say. It's all innocent fun, isn't it? But there's something terribly sad about us if we find it all so amusing.

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on many CBS Radio News affiliates across the country.