As I’ve mentioned before, I’m definitely not a closet reality TV fan. But if I were, I might note that tonight is the finale of So You Think You Can Dance, a Fox gem by the creators of American Idol, except, you know, with dancing. (I mean, I assume.) Why am I mentioning this here? Well, the winner of tonight’s show will go away with a grand-prize package that includes, in addition to a year’s contract as a dancer with Celine Dion’s Vegas show, a brand-new hybrid SUV.

That’s right. A hybrid. Now, you wouldn’t know this from looking at the SYTYCD website. And in fact, they hardly even make note of it on the show. (Or so I’ve heard.) It’s kind of mumbled every so often. Here’s the thing: I’m psyched that a hybrid vehicle (albeit an SUV) is considered cool enough and flashy enough to be a grand prize for a show with a very-middle-America demographic. But why no hype?

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Not that I’d know from ever having watched them myself, but most of these shows featuring contestants vying for a prize focus a lot of attention on the prize. Heidi Klum mentions it every week before “Auf’ing” a contestant on Project Runway; Tyra Banks repeats the same tired script about the prize package week after week on America’s Next Top Model; and CBS’s Survivor shills for their grand-prize offering throughout the series, even incorporating the vehicle into the show. And if you think about any game show you’ve ever watched (if, you know, you watched game shows), the prizes are a big deal. So why shouldn’t the same apply when the prize is a (somewhat) eco-friendly set of wheels?

I guess I’ll those silly people who watch this crap will find out tonight if the hybrid SUV plays a bigger role in the finale — perhaps a shot of the winner in the car would be in order? And in the meantime, I wonder how long it’ll be ’til the grand prizes start making the shift from fossil-fuel sucking vehicles to electric cars and fancy-pants bikes. Let’s let the earth win one for once.

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