Reality Rocks - Archive

Will Reality TV Save Jewel’s Soul?

Lyndsey Parker
Reality Rocks

I'm beginning to realize that Jewel has an almost Madonna-like ability to reinvent and re-reinvent herself. I mean, I've barely gotten over her bizarre, seldom-discussed 2003 foray into Britney-esque pop (remember her song "Intuition"? It was in an overplayed commercial for a razor by the same name, if that jogs your memory). You know, when she suddenly went from strumming an acoustic guitar at Lilith Fair festivals to tarting it up in glitzy music videos while wearing stilettos and pleather miniskirts. It was a bit of a credibility-killing career move, one she quickly and probably wisely backed away from. (Nelly Furtado, Vanessa Carlton--if you're reading this, that could be you in a few years.)

But now, Jewel is all over reality TV. Will this professional strategy prove to be just as ill-advised?

First Jewel appeared as a guest judge on American Idol, where she not only had to keep her cool while watching the female answer to William Hung yodel her way through a tone-deaf Jewel impersonation, but--according to rumor--had to contend with queen bee Paula Abdul, who reportedly was none too pleased to have to share screen time with a prettier, younger, less doped-up female panelist.

Then Jewel was the hostess of Nashville Star--since, you know, as she points out in her folksy ditty "Stephenville, Texas," she is now shacked up with her cowboy husband Ty Murray in, um, Stephenville, Texas. This apparently makes her a country chick by default. (FYI: I was no more convinced by her John Rich-produced Nashville album, Perfectly Clear, of her authentic country-ness than I was by the dancey 0304 of her pop-ness.)

But hey, if Bret Michaels can go country for Nashville Star (he was a judge on the show, before his Rock Of Love days), why not Jewel, right? Jewel even later returned to the Nashville Star in 2008 as one of its judges, sharing the panel (and barbs) with John Rich and Jeffrey Steele.

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Jewel also did a stint on a third reality series, Fast Cars & Superstars, which was basically like a very boring version of Skating With Celebrities, except with racecars instead of iceskates and William Shatner instead of Todd Bridges. I have to say, Miss Kilcher didn't fare too badly in this competition--she even made it to the finale, so that at least means she's a better driver than she is, say, a poet. And I have to admit she looked pretty foxy in that fitted, Danica Patrick-esque racing jumpsuit, and she seemed quite at home behind the wheel. (One of the show's commentators remarked, lamely, "She looks happy out there; she looks like she's going off to buy some guitar picks!") But that makes sense, since--as Jewel has mentioned in just about every interview she's ever done since 1995--she used to actually live in a car. 

Anyway, this week Jewel was supposed to return to the small screen on Dancing With The Stars, battling for that coveted DWTS trophy alongside fellow pop stars Belinda Carlisle and Lil' Kim as well as her aforementioned husband, Ty Murray. Sadly, she's had to drop out of the competition at the last minute after being diagnosed with a fractured tibia in both legs, but once she's healed, it's probably only a matter of time before she gives reality TV another ago.

So, what's next for Jewel's reality career? Will she go on Extreme Makeover to finally get those snaggleteeth of hers fixed? Will she be a contestant against Gwen Stefani on Yodeling With The Stars? Will she become the host of season 2 of Bachelorettes In Alaska? (Note when Jewel's not reminding us that she used to live in her car, she likes to mention that she's from Alaska. We know, Jewel, we know.)

I'm not really sure if any of these options are advisable. Sure, in the short-term, all these television cameos will boost her points in the Yahoo! Buzz Index, and will help the public remember that she still exists and occasionally makes albums that sell about one-tenth the number of copies that Pieces Of You did. But in the long-term it will probably hurt her cred more than that aforementioned cheesier-than-Cheetos "Intuition" video, in which she regrettably shimmied in a bustier top with a bunch of Federline-esque backup dancers.

That being said, chances are the Fox Network will probably run Yodeling With The Stars during the post-Idol off season, and if that happens, I'm soooo gonna watch.

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