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Has Reality TV Turned Us Into Audition Daters?

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With the X Factor ending last week after four months on air, which in all fairness felt more like 10 months, and with the final of Strictly Come Dancing heading our way this weekend it looks as though the reality TV season is finally over for 2012.

However we don't have to wait long for it to start up again as I'm a Celebrity and Dancing on Ice will be back on our screens in the new year, that's if we survive the end of the world, but to be fair if 21 December doesn't kill us the monotony of C list celebrities eating kangaroo testicles and falling over on ice probably will. If we do survive this then we also have Britain's Got Talent, The Voice and more X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing to look forward to as the never ending stream of reality TV sets out to take over our lives again.

As a nation we watch these programmes religiously, I am no exception, as we get involved with the characters and storylines that the press and the shows themselves create. But one thing that has been niggling in the back of my mind for sometime is; have these shows changed the way we now live our lives?

This may sound like a strange question, but if I narrow it down to dating specifically you can see they have.

It appears that the days of meeting and dating are gone and the generation of dating auditions has begun, well it probably begun quite some time ago to be fair. The internet does play a large part in this with the huge rise in internet dating websites that now means it's easier to find a date. So you can get as drunk as you like on Saturday night as you could meet Mr or Mrs right tomorrow whilst online. Smartphones have also contributed as we can now date on the go, Grindr anyone?

But as I was saying it seems as though the X Factor audition process has seeped into the dating world, especially with online dating. Now people can spend hours trolling through thousands of profiles where they can decide if someone doesn't have the right hair, body shape or cloths size to go on a date with them, or they may decide that this person isn't right for the part after reading their profile, where they may find out they're a Satanist or maybe a little too obsessed with cats, either way this lack of sellable personality wouldn't get you through to boot camp on the X Factor or dating boot camp.

However a lucky few may make it to the online conversation where you can discuss yourself with one another, lets be honest many of those who make it to the online chat of internet dating are usually only there for the reason Jedward and Rylan got into the X Factor final, which is usually comedy value or just generally being bored.

Then if this person is lucky enough to go on a date it's like being at judges houses, where you decide to continue dating them the same way Gary would decide whether to put you into his final three. Here you can see if their personality matches up to what was online, or if the smoke and mirrors of the Internet made them appear to be something they weren't.

Either way dating in the digital age has got a set of rules, which coincidently or not mirror that of the X Factor auditioning process. Maybe this is how people have always dated, or maybe it's something we picked up because the formula worked and could be applied to other situations. Either way no matter how you look at it, Simon Cowell and all the other TV executives have changed more than just our Saturday night viewing; they've also changed our love lives.