Also, I agree, if post-idol, a contestant is able to make a respectable living doing what they love, then being on the show was worth it. They don't have to be mega stars like Carrie to be successful. Lee Dewyse, for example. Is he earing his living now making music or working in a paint shop?
If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men. - St. Francis of Assisi