Riding the 'American Idol' Gravy Train

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It is widely acknowledged that I am a nerd; the one who--when watching "The Terminator"--takes pause to wonder whose insurance, in the reality of the movie, covers all those stolen cars and smash-ups. Do aliens or cyborgs from the future fall under the "acts of God" clause?

To whit, when I watch a reality show, my eyes are not on the prize or the winners of it, but just how the hell everyone else managed to afford being stuck on an island/on a soundstage/in a house, whatever for 6 weeks or more. Obviously, somebody's paying their bills. And now I know who.

"American Idol" contestant, LaKisha Jones, has got a fan in her former employer. Recently, some of her former colleagues were in the audience holding up signs saying: "Provident Bank is banking on LaKisha to win." Provident's spokeswoman denied they were trying to get free publicity, but I think she should brush up on her jargon: it's called guerilla marketing.

Okay, so Provident is not paying LaKisha's bills and probably didn't even shell out for her friends to cheer her on and hold up the signs. But wouldn't it be more forthright if they did? Then again, Simon Cowell would have some contractual words to say about that, too.
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