American Idol: Haley Scarnato's legs ultimately let down by Haley Scarnato's voice
It's a sad day when the last bastion of eye candy is eliminated from a reality TV show.  In Survivor, it's always devastating when that last “hot” contestant is voted off the island.  Same goes for Big Brother, The Amazing Race, and The Apprentice.  The difference between American Idol and those other shows is that looks often play an active part in a contestant's longevity on American Idol, whereas on the other shows it is almost never an issue.  When America is voting, it helps to be attractive. 

Haley Scarnato wasn't, by any means, a terrible singer.  She was okay, and I still maintain that she was better than she let on, but we can never know that for sure.  However, what is abundantly clear is that Haley's strict adherence to a mini-skirt only wardrobe helped her  advance to the American Idol top 8. 

I always find the importance certain reality shows place upon attractiveness when casting to be interesting.  American Idol, of course, can't as blatantly cast hot people as a show like The Real World, since Idol is supposed to be a singing competition.  They do get around that, however, by making dubious decisions on who they let through to Hollywood and into the top 24.  Case in point: Antonella Barba, Alaina Alexander.  I'm hesitant to place Haley Scarnato with those two girls because Haley actually had a couple of very solid performances.  Overall, though, she was not able to come close to competing, singing-wise, with girls like Melinda Doolittle and Lakisha Jones

The real question, I suppose, is this: should reality shows cast good-looking people and is it integral to their success?  I like attractive ladies as much as the next guy, but I actually think reality TV places too much of a premium on style over substance.  I like to look at Survivor as a reality show that has actually learned its lesson about casting good-looking people.  Now fourteen seasons into its run, I think we can agree that Survivor is a well-oiled machine.  One noticeable pattern in their casting recently has been the lack of excessively attractive people, compared to some of their early seasons.  Everyone is, for the most part, normal looking. 

This makes for better, and more natural, reality TV, which is something the Survivor producers have realized.  What tends to happen with the “hot” reality TV cast members is that they are mostly wannabe models and actors, so they use their time on whichever show they're on as an audition, rather than just trying to win the game. 

I suppose you could make a case that Haley Scarnato was “auditioning” for her future as of late, evidenced by her skimpy outfits.  There's a good chance that she'll be able to parley her mini-skirts into a recording contract.  Can't really blame her for that.  However, those same skirts couldn't save her from elimination on American Idol.  As with most aspects of life, substance usually prevails. 

You hear that, Sanjaya

-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer