Reality Advice


I have a few words of advice for the coming season’s crop of reality TV show contestants:

1. Your few weeks on a TV show don’t qualify as a “journey,” so stop calling it that. A journey is more along the lines of 30 years of marriage to a homeless person, or starting a five-star window cleaning business, or creating a big cat reserve for the orphans of poached tigers, lions, and leopards. Making bad music videos for Ford commercials or practicing dance routines about a man who cheated on his wife who he loves and who loves him but feels so betrayed so they keep running together and then pushing off and running away from each other; those don’t count as journeys. They just don’t. I don’t know how else to put it.


Finally, someone giving voice to the unappreciated world of crash test dummy love

2. When you are done with your performance and are standing with the host and this host is telling people they can call or text to vote for you, don’t come up with a funny or charming routine for flashing your voting numbers with your fingers or pantomiming them with your mouth. This is lame and obnoxious 100% of the time, every time, all of the time, forever. The best thing to do is smile naturally into the camera and let Seacrest do the talking. Seacrest was created for this express purpose, in the same way that a shovel was made to dig. So leave the charming and the winking and the grinning to Seacrest.

3. Don’t pretend that you’ll be heartbroken when your acquaintance of 4 days gets eliminated. Also, when it’s down to you and one other contestant, don’t lie about it not mattering to you who wins because you both deserve it and you’ll be so happy either way. It doesn’t matter to you whether you become a multimillionaire international celebrity who goes clubbing with Jacob the werewolf, or spend the next 10 years performing at county fairs and high school reunions before finally taking that inside sales job at your uncle’s equipment rental store? Either one of those paths is just fine by you?

4. Don’t talk about the Hot Tamale Train like it’s a real train. It isn’t. The Heber Creeper and Santa Fe Express are real trains. The Hot Tamale Train is just an expression Mary made up that means you are really working it and doing a great job. So don’t talk about how bad you want to ride the Hot Tamale Train and how thrilled you are that Mary said you were on it tonight.

hot tamale train

My bad; I guess it is a real train

5. Don’t talk about other contestants not being there for the “right reasons.” This makes you sound very unintelligent and unoriginal. If you’re trying to find your husband on reality t.v., you are all, by definition, there for the wrong reasons.

6. Don’t do a joke or song when meeting the Bachelor to make yourself stand out. If you tell him a weird muffin joke, you will stand out, but only as the weirdo who told the muffin joke, so that doesn’t help you.

Just be yourself, do what the viewers expect you to do (sing, dance, make out with a stranger in a hot tub), and hope for the best.

What advice do you have for these contestants?

This entry was posted in American Idol, Reality TV, SYTYCD, The Bachelor. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Reality Advice

  1. Davis says:

    “Don’t do a joke or song when meeting the Bachelor to make yourself stand out. If you tell him a weird muffin joke, you will stand out, but only as the weirdo who told the muffin joke, so that doesn’t help you.”

    Totally, totally, totally agree. The best way to stand out on the first night is to be really hot. Just be really, really hot.

  2. Ryan says:

    Boy, you are right about that Seacrest fellow. No one can doubt that he is presently being put to his best and highest use. If you’re standing on a camera next to him, and he’s talking about you, that’s the very best you can do. That’s been one of my credos for the last decade or so.

  3. ron says:

    lolol. this may be my favorite post of yours yet kook. maybe because i secretly desire to be on one of those shows and openly desire to be on another one. i’m racking my brain to try to think of other advice i’d give, but i think you’ve covered it.

    i’ve often wondered why the producers don’t offer some of the advice you’ve given. i agree that no one finds it cute, funny or effective when the contestants “come up with a funny or charming routine for flashing their voting numbers with their fingers”. so after 8 seasons, why haven’t the producers put a stop to that annoying habit? no idea. which leads me to conclude that you and i should be running that show. i call seacrest’s job.

  4. Andrea W. says:

    Great advice here. I so wholeheartedly concur with the cutesy waving,wagging fingers when Deely or Seacrest says your number. STOP it! Here is one of my new pet peeves you don’t really see on Idol and SYTYCD but all the others and something I would definitely advise contestants not to say.

    “I mean at the end of the day I’m here to win, not to make friends.” That is not an excuse to be the meanest, nastiest, most hateful negative person you can possibly be. Makes me CRAZY.

    Also, do your parents a favor and stop giving them “credit” for uprooting their whole entire family to move to LA or NYC so their 13 year old can take more dance/singing lessons. Perhaps, I’m unique but that just depresses me.

  5. Troy says:

    Girls, you have very limited one-on-one time with Jake, so don’t waste that opportunity to give him advice on how to handle other girls in the house, or tattle, or complain about how you feel like you haven’t gotten a fair amount of attention. Complainers, tattlers, and advice givers go home. Just stick to being cute, and easy. Remember this formula: Make out – drama + hottie – too much talking = rose.

    Jake, you sound like such an idiot when you say you’re “falling for all of you”. Even if that’s possible, which I doubt it is, not one girl wants to hear that, you moron. Did Chris feed you that line? Remember, his interest is vested in making the show look unpredictable until the Final Rose. He doesn’t care that you sound like you want to turn it into a Big Love episode.

    Idol wannabes, when the judges start to laugh, put their heads on the desk, swear, or talk and giggle amongst themselves during your audition…stop–just stop. Pick up what’s left of your dignity and walk away. DO NOT ask to do another song. DO NOT try to sing above Simon telling you that it was the worst thing he’s ever heard. DO NOT storm out cussing and crying. If you walk away quietly, you just might get lucky enough to end up on the cutting room floor and you’ll be saved a lifetime of embarassment. Dignified, good-but-not-good-enough auditiions hardly ever slip past the editors. You’ll have full deniability if anyone ever presses you on it.

    Side note: Carrie Underwood never did the vote-for-me pantomime with her fingers. It was one of the qualities that made me like her a little more than a friend.

  6. Rachel says:

    Don’t profess your love for the Bachelor/Bachelorette the first time you meet him/her.


    However, I do think you summed it up nicely when you said, “If you’re trying to find your husband on reality t.v., you are all, by definition, there for the wrong reasons.” Couldn’t have said it better myself.

  7. Rebecca says:

    amen, troy, about using your time “wisely” with jake. and about preserving any remaining dignity on AI by just walking quietly away after a bad audition. why do people insist on making complete fools of themselves? oh, maybe in hopes that they might get invited back for the show’s finale to walk out on stage in a skimpy bikini or their yellow Big Bird outfit…

  8. maweesa says:

    do NOT cry to the bach about how insecure you are when you see him with other girls. do NOT cry to the bach in general. DO be flirty and cute and try to have FUN. that’s all for now.. i’ll think of more later

  9. Erin says:

    I completely agree with #2. It’s hard to think of anything more obnoxious than fingers flashing and mouthing the word seven over and over and over again through a fake smile and oooh ahhh mouth.

    Come to think of it, there may be one thing more obnoxious…Mary on SYTYCD!

  10. Christian says:

    You guys all added some great ones, and I think they can all be summed up in Troy’s “Make out – drama + hottie – too much talking = rose.”

    Doesn’t matter what show you’re on. If you follow that formula, you will do just fine.

    Ron, there is no shame in secretly wanting to be on Project Runway, so I don’t know why you think that needs to be secret.

    And we do need to get rid of Mary, as long as the show can lease the Hot Tamale Train from her.

  11. Braden says:

    No one seems yet to have noted the best one here, which is not to call your stint a journey. Thank you, Kook, for skewering the absolute stupid, self-centered idiocy of that comment. And huge LOL on the dance description.

  12. Danica says:

    Aww man, this is when having a tv that works would come in handy. Ours right now is our second free tv and even the converter box has stopped working months ago now. The actual tv part has to “warm up” for anywhere from twenty minutes to infinity, and you should hear my three year old son when it finally does warm up so he can watch a show: “THE TV WARMED UP!!! THE TV WARMED UP!!!” like it’s Christmas. Poor kid. Or maybe it’s a good thing. I would watch waaaaay too much tv if we had a working one. Especially one with DVR. So instead I spend waaaaay too much time online and invade our neighbor’s house every Monday to watch 24.

  13. Ryan says:

    LOL. Watching a TV warm up must be really fun. That’s a great set you’ve got there.

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