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"Are You Hot? The Search for America’s Sexiest People" Review

By Shawn McKenzie 02/22/2003

ABC doesn’t seem to learn from its own mistakes.  They find a little success with something, and then they run it into the ground.  In 1999, they had overnight success with “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” and quickly proceeded to run it into the ground by playing it too often.  It almost managed to bury the network.  Now, with the recent successes of reality shows (including its own “Bachelor” shows), ABC is filling its schedule with more reality shows than any other network.  Part of the problem is coming up with something original.  Its latest competitive reality show, “Are You Hot? The Search for America’s Sexiest People,” is an original concept, but it is pathetic how they boast their differences with other reality shows.


The way the show works is that thousands of good-looking men and women compete for the crown of the sexiest man or woman in America.  Talent, personality, and strategy were not required, just physical beauty and inherent sexiness.  TV viewers at home get their chance to vote on the Hot Zone/Round One Participants from each of four regions as they face a celebrity panel of experts, including supermodel Rachel Hunter, fashion designer Randolph Duke, and actor Lorenzo Lamas.  In the first episode, they showed the audition process that took place in many cities where they had casting calls and viewed audition tapes.  The producers then divided the country into “Hot Zones” that included every state.  From the thousands who tried, only 32 people from each zone made the cut.  They are then judged by the celebrity panel and, at the end of each episode, viewers are invited to vote for their favorite male and female contestants.  The following week they reveal whom America chose and repeat the whole process for 32 candidates from Hot Zone 2, and so on until one man and one woman are crowned “The Sexiest People in America.”  The whole thing is hosted by JD Roberto.


The show prides itself on being purely superficial.  While I don’t mind it doing that, and even commend it on the honesty of the show’s intentions, it gets a little annoying hearing the show brag about how different it is from the other competitive shows.  I realize there is no talent required by the contestants…but do they have to keep bringing it up?  The judges are obviously trying to copy the “American Idol” formula of having the good guy judge (i.e. Paula Abdul), the bad guy judge (i.e. Simon Cowell), and the middle ground judge (i.e. Randy Jackson.)  Rachel is clearly playing the Paula role, but Randolph and Lorenzo seem to be sharing the Simon and Randy roles.  In week one, Lorenzo played the Simon role, especially with his laser pointer, which he uses to point out the flaws of the contestants.  In week two, Lorenzo seemed to back off, and Randolph was the nasty one.  These two need to make up their mind which judge they want to rip off (I would vote for Randolph, because like Simon and his music industry credentials, Randolph is in the business of dealing with good-looking people.)


There is just not enough in “Are You Hot? The Search for America’s Sexiest People” to keep me interested on a weekly basis.  The show doesn’t have original judges, and I need more than just good-looking people to root for something.  As I have stated in previous reviews, I love reality shows, but ABC should learn from the past and not allow them to become a crutch.  Scripted shows are the programs that last in the end.

Ratings System:


Try to catch this show every week...

If a better show is on, tape this one...

If nothing else is on, maybe this will be good...

If this show is on, change the channel immediately!


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