The Secret To “Idol” Popularity? Humiliation

American Idol has become a phenomenon. “You should be watching “American Idol” because not only is it riveting television, but it’s also one of those rare amalgamations that taps into the American imagination — there’s the dire need to be famous, the longshot-dreamer feel-good story, the bitter infighting and, most successfully, the idea of public humiliation. Make no mistake about it — “American Idol” succeeds primarily on its rampant, painful-to-watch, grounding down of wannabe stars.”