1) They don't care who/how is selected. They just want someone. A popularity thing is a good way to have many contestants and make it viral, and show how cool their brand of whateveritis is.
2) Yes, the lesson aspect is a bit odd. "Look how, if you want it hard enough, you can be the one fulfilling your dream instead of the 35'075 other contestants who wanted it, uh, probably less". But is not incompatible with "see, if you wanted it enough, then you would have built a mafia network and fake websites and resorted to mass extorsion and strategic murders in order to achieve it".