Here's some anecdotal conversation about strange relationships created by the medium of television from the perspective of some recent American Idols (via Newsweek).
Hicks: I've had an older couple come up to me and ask me for an autograph and say their phone bill is $400 to $500, voting and texting for Idol. When people say they invest in your career on the show, they invest their time. But they also invest their money. Even younger people come up to me and say, "My cell-phone bill is $200 extra this month."
Sparks: Sometimes people feel like you owe them something. I love meeting them, but sometimes it gets scary when they get angry at you when you make them wait. The Idols all have a different relationship with our fans. They all feel like they know us, because they grew with us on the show. You have to be careful with what you say or how far you let people in.
Archuleta: I don't think they realize it's a one-way thing going on. You're not getting to know them.
Sparks: Do you get people coming up to you and giving you a hug?