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Giving in to the dark side #045; and loving every minute

Just call me Darth Vader. I have officially gone over to the dark side and there is no coming back.

While I don't plan to don a big black helmet and breathe really creepy-like as the infamous "Star Wars" movie villain did, I have slowly been corrupted by an evil force that has infiltrated our society - the Fox reality show "American Idol."

Yes, I have become and "American Idol" fan. There, I said it.

I feel dirty and embarrassed even typing it.

OK, so the ultra-popular show may not really be evil, but it is certainly mindless entertainment. And I just can't get enough.

The show is definitely not aimed at almost 30-something males such as myself, but nonetheless, I have become thoroughly addicted to the weekly exploits. It wouldn't be so bad if I hadn't always loudly and proudly proclaimed my disdain for even the most popular of reality TV shows.

What about "Survivor?" Ugh, it is just a glorified way to get men and women to run around mostly naked and fight. If I wanted to see that I would just go on a family vacation to the beach.

"Fear Factor?" Don't make me laugh. There is no fear involved because nothing can really happen to the contestants. Who cares if you fall off a building if you aren't really going to hit the ground. Now if they called it "Gross Factor," the title would be far more fitting.

And all those glorified dating games such as "The Bachelor," "The Bachelorette" and "Average Joe" are about as far from reality as the aforementioned "Star Wars."

But something about "American Idol" has me hooked and I'm not sure what it is, but I blame my wife for getting me started. She asked (read: forced) me to watch the show with her a few seasons ago. I became mildly interested through the first three seasons and by this year's fourth go-round I have become an Idol addict.

Like anything else in life, the show is about people - and people are interesting. If it was just about singing, I wouldn't care at all. But it isn't.

The show is really about watching these young men and women give their all week after week.

It is kind of like life. Since I am also a non-repentant sports junkie, I can see some parallels. The contestants use their skills to play the game as best they can. Win or lose, good or bad, many of them have to lace it up and come back for another week.

I can respect that and find myself rooting for certain people just as I would an athletic team.

But if you get right down to it, why do I find myself scrambling to be in front of the TV each week? I have no idea.

Maybe I should just blame it on the Force. Look at what it made Darth Vader do.

Michael Caldwell is managing editor of The Ironton Tribune.

To contact Mike, call (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail at mike.caldwell@irontontribune.com.