Three times in a row now, I've watched the season finale of an ostensibly talent based reality series - American Idol, Step it Up and Dance and Top Chef, and I've done so with a clear idea of whom I thought was the one who really deserved to win - the one who showed not only talent but also professionalism and a feel for their art. That is, *clear* winners.
David Cook understood the songs he sung, knew when the normal arrangements wouldn't work for him and found or made others, and knew when singing the song straight was the way to go. He never played upon his brother's illness, was kind to the other contestants without being cloying and he could just plain *sing*. He was, in fact, a true musician, which is not something one can say about most Idol contestants.
Cody Green was not only movement personified, he went out of his way to help the other contestants - wrapping Miguel's injured ankle, trying to keep Mochi from injuring herself without hurting her chances - and he NEVER once said a bad word about anyone - not even the woman who called him "snobby". He just disagreed with her choice of words. He made his partners look better and when he was by himself, he *flew*. Like David, he was just too good for the show.
And last night, it was Stephanie Izard who won Top Chef. She wasn't the most innovative of the chefs - that goes to Richard - but she was solid and professional. She came up with delicious, creative dishes and did it without drama or tears or tearing anyone else down. When faced with a twist or a disaster, she *dealt* with it. Last week, when Dale left meat out over night to go bad, she didn't yell or scream. She tossed out the meat and worked with him to find another dish they could make in the time they had - and had more time to do it because she didn't have hysterics. She's been solid and creative throughout the series, which was why she won and deserved to win. Now, unlike the other two, she did rate this show - Richard was the one who was above it, but he collapsed, by his own admission. The man was on Iron Chef America! But she very much deserved the win.
Now if only the Big Reality Show we're living in (or is it last season West Wing? I'm a bit confused) has a similar ending. :)