They are trying to sell us a bill of goods, they want us to pay triple the amount listed on the 'Total' line, and they want us to smile when we do it and ask for more. The audition phase is the setup: this is who you will love, this is who you will vote for, and you will not ask why. Now let's start casting for sob stories!
Of course, this does occasionally backfire spectacularly. But let's not tell them that.
Any early hyper-pimping trends go here. (Look for the feathers.)
Last year: 'Who's Kris?'