As an armchair critic, I’m always in awe of the contestants on American Idol, Canadian Idol and The X-Factor. The singers range from surprisingly talented to tragically self-deluded. What do these shows tell us about human nature?

We like to judge others. We would like to be direct and opinionated like Simon Cowell or we would like to tell the truth gently like Paula Abdul. We may have strong opinions about how the judges judge, but it doesn’t change the fact that we are twice the judges from our view in the living room.

 Some people refuse to accept the judgments given to them. Ever see the outtakes after someone is told that they are not coming back to the show or going on to Hollywood? Some graciously accept the judgment while others are convinced that the judges are idiots who do not recognize talent when they see it.

 Competition is emotional and life changing.  Winning, losing and awaiting judgment brings on tears, outbursts and elevated emotions. Contestants set everything aside for the chance to win. They quit their job at Burger King, break off an engagement, leave the baby at Grandma’s or graduate from rehab determined to come home with the title.

 Most will lose the contest.  Ultimately, one out of many thousands will finally win the contest. Everyone dreams and believes they can win, but the vast majority will not get past the auditions in their city.

Turn off the television and look at your life. What quality or talent do you have that you compete with? You may not be an entertainer or athlete, but most of us are competing in some way. There is a Simon or Paula in each of our lives that we perform for and await their judgment.

 Every child brings a scribble home to show the parent.

Everyone seeking a partner wants to impress to interested parties.

Teachers may want to dominate your ignorance.

Gossips want the inside scoop to shock others with.

Perfectionists fight against themselves endlessly without satisfaction.