Personally, it's none of my business what you do in the privacy of your home, but chances are you're watching "American Idol" or "Dancing With The Stars," or both.

While we want people to think we're tuned in to educational television or reading the classics, if we could peek inside your house we'd probably see the two of you slouched on the couch eating dinner on folding trays while watching the latest in reality shows -- dancing and singing.

Because what great fun it is to put amateur singers and dancers on display for us to make fun of!

Not only do they give us an entertainment alternative to the NCIS/CSI blather that passes for drama, it's live television the way it used to be, warts and all.

Buzz and Cloris

While both "Dancing" and "Idol" originated in Europe and were retooled to fit the American market, they've become staples in our lives.

Who can forget former Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith dancing his way to the championship? Or Donny and Marie Osmond hoofing it on separate shows?

And what about Susan Boyle, the amazing singer who was discovered on the English version and became an overnight, international sensation?

Granted, we could do without aging astronaut Buzz Aldrin's attempts to waltz his way into our hearts. The same goes for legendary actress Cloris Leachman and former U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, whose efforts were embarrassing, if not gallant.

And as the show grows whiskers, the level of stardom goes downhill, what with publicity hounds like Kate Gosselin passing themselves off as "stars."

That said, the level of competition on "Dancing" is such that you would have to be quite fit and very daring to place yourself on that dance floor.

Simon the terrible

As for "Idol," it simply reminds many people of those old "Ted Mack Amateur Hour" days when people could walk in off the street with a chance to become the next Frank Sinatra.

The amount of talent that exists in this world is absolutely astonishing. It is only diminished by the number of people who think they have talent and don't.

But the best part is the cast of characters who make up the judges on these shows.

The entertainment value of "Dancing" is enhanced by the wit and wisdom of Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli, who understand their role as judge, jury and jester in the entertainment equation.

The ultimate emperor of evil, of course, is Simon Cowell, "Idol" judge and producer, who chops people up with a proper British send-off to obscurity where they belong.

Thus we find ourselves pulling for and against certain contestants, picking favorites, booing the bad guys and wishing it would last a little longer.

Because, as they say, that's entertainment.

Reach Ken Burger at kburger@postandcourier.com or 937-5598.