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I just finished watching the Tivo'd broadcast of the final performances on America's Got Americas Got Talent: My Guilty Pleasure images Talent. I suppose there was a time when I would have not admitted that out loud, much less in the blogosphere, but now, reality TV has become a part of my life and is no longer a "guilty" pleasure.

I was recovering from a serious illness during the season that David Cook won American Idol and I still clearly remember the impact of those weekly performances.  I experienced the whole range of emotions watching those courageous young people lay their hearts and talents on the line.  When each contestant was voted back for the new week, it was physically thrilling for me.  Waves of goose bumps and shivers accompanied THEIR successes.

What was it in the performances and the judges that reached through the TV and moved me so much? It was if they were my own children.  I was moved to tears week after week.  I would watch my Tivo'd Idol performances anytime I needed a lift to my spirits.  David Cook winning was the culmination of a long season for me.  When I found out his brother was ill during the filming, his performances were all the more remarkable to me.  Courage under fire.  It strengthened me in every way.

Back to America's Got Talent.  Sure there is some real talent in the crowd, but truth be told, most are average performers on the national stage enjoying their fifteen minutes of fame.  So why am I drawn to it and why does it raise my self esteem?

It is the judges.  Piers Morgan might be a bit of a meanie from time to time, David Hasselhoff is delightfully over the top and Sharon has the great earth mother energy that loves everyone no matter what.  It is the whole hearted PRAISE that these three very different people lavish on the contestants that feels so good it reaches right out to me here in my living room that feels SO good.

Recognition for hard work and achievement is a rare commodity for some of us.  Disconnected from family and friends, many of our proudest moments go unnoticed these days.  I love the glow on the faces, even in the face of a rough critique from Simon Cowell or Piers.  I can always count on Paula Abdul or Sharon Osborne to shower LOVE on those courageous contenders.

Whether it is Kevin Skinner or Recycled Percussion (my favorite), these are ordinary people laying their hearts on the line for a dream and personally, I admire that with every fiber of my heart.  Living for a dream, holding the vision and pressing on no matter what is awe-inspiring. Guilty pleasure?  Maybe it used to be, but no more.  I am inspired and energized by America's Got Talent and I am not afraid to say it out loud!!


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