In ancient times they sent youths and maidens to be sacrificed to the Minotaur. Today they send them on American Idol. This "contest" is a modern analogue to ancient fertility rites and human sacrifice rituals, an American secondary orality cycle of death and resurrection reenacted each year around the Spring solstice and Easter.
Using our sacred talismans, our cell phones, we "vote" for (or pray to) the best candidate. The losers are cast into the pit. Like Heracles, the winner of American Idol has his/her mortal part burned off to ascend to Olympus as a god or "idol" in its original sense.