3. 'American Idol'
(March 27, 2007)
It wasn't just that Sanjaya kept getting enough votes to stay on "Idol" last season. It was that he became aware of himself as a novelty act, and began to parlay that for votes. His singing didn't matter, and he knew that, so he came out wearing a hairstyle — a row of ponytails — that he knew viewers would talk about. From that point on, we could no longer deny that the contestants were paying far too much attention to their own press. "American Idol" became terminally self-conscious.