Idol Chatter

truebeautypic.jpgMaybe it’s the current melancholic climate in the country, but I found “Superstars of Dance,” NBC’s Eurovision-esque dance competition, to be far more engaging Monday night than the “inner beauty pageant” of “True Beauty.”
Now I have nothing against the concept of testing the ethical attractiveness of ten of America’s hottest men and women, but having to live through an hour of declarations of supreme beauty and rivers of conceit to get to the final twist was rather beastly. And, it’s not just beastly for the viewer, but for the contestants as well: After learning that they are not just in a superficial beauty competition and that they have, in fact, been judged on the goodness of their actions as well, the loser is told that they basically aren’t a good person. Double devastation!

Produced by Tyra Banks and Ashton Kutcher (think pretty in”Punk’d”), the eight episode series is hosted and judged by Vanessa Minnillo (“TRL,” “ET”) with Cheryl Tiegs and Nole Marin (“America’s Next Top Model”, E! Television) as her co-judges. I’m not sure how those three were selected as judges, maybe Randy Cohen was too busy, but boy did the producers choose a group of folks the audience will readily agree are ready for judgment.
Take for instance CJ, a coffee barista who compares the looks he gets when walking in to a room to those Michael Jordan gets walking on to a basketball court. And then there’s Chelsea, a model/singer, who declares that she really likes that the contestants’ pics adorn the walls of the mansion they live in, “…because I’m kinda conceited and I can admit it.” And even the fact that both claim to have been picked on for their looks in their youths doesn’t mitigate the nausea-inducing pomposity.
Monday night’s loser, Hadiyyah-lah, who modestly declares herself on the ABC website to be “a twenty out of a ten,” was ejected not only because she had the least symmetrical features and therefore was considered the least attractive according to a plastic surgeon’s equation, but also took a languid look at the other contestants’ folders while waiting for the doc. She threw a temper tantrum in front of the judges for being one of the bottom two and topped if off by failing to hold a door open for a man carrying a dozen cups of Starbucks.
Hadiyyah-lah did seem to have a bad attitude and behaved rudely. But, even so, is it fair to judge a person’s inner beauty based on viewing only a few hours of their life? Inner beauty is complex and complicated, that’s why we deem it to be the opposite of so-called superficial outer beauty. I find the conceit of the show to be, dare I say it, a bit mean.
The show was not very engrossing in its own right, but I think watching it against “Superstars of Dance” illuminated such a dramatic disparity between the two different groups of contestants–dancers with thousands of hours of practice under their belts to develop and perfect their talent and people whose only reason for working out, or, apparently, doing anything, is to be told they “look good naked”–that I didn’t really care if the good looking people were good people.
True Beauty at

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