Top 5 Talent/Competition Based Reality TV Shows!

Today’s Top 5 is Talent/Competition Based Reality TV Shows. There are a TON of reality shows out there. They are fast, cheap and easy to make. With so many channels out there and so many hours of programming that need to be filled, it’s no wonder reality shows have taken over TV. But you know what? There is another reason they have…PEOPLE WATCH THEM! It is crazy how much reality TV people devour.

My guest lister today is someone who devours a ton of it. She is my good friend Tosha Herrman. Tosha and I met in college after sharing a TV related class. We both currently live out LA and both currently work for companies that produce reality TV. So yes, we help add to the filth that is reality  TV. But I think we would both argue that it pays the bills. Anyway, Tosha is one of the foremost authorities* in reality TV . She also is an operator of a blog for women that you can find here: and you can find out more about Tosha on her “about me” page here:

*I completely made that up.

5. America’s Next Top Model – Now, I know many people will scoff at this pick, but hear me out – I know Tyra Banks is not the best host, actually she is probably the worst host. Listening to her horrible put-on accents and dramatic results is like nails on a chalkboard. Luckily she is only a small part of the show, only appearing right at the end. My favorite part is the transformation process. I love to see average looking girls (albeit with above average height) go through hair, make-up, and wardrobe and come out looking amazing. Yes, I am a self-proclaimed girly girl, so I love the three aforementioned things.

4. Project Runway – You have to admit it – this show takes major talent! First of all, the designers are given sometimes impossible challenges. Here, use 250 bottle caps and make a couture gown. What?! Really?! Yet somehow the contestants whip out their sketch book and create crazy cool designs. Which takes me to my second point – sketching. Not only do these people know how to cut, sew, pin, and drape fabric, they know how to draw! I am impressed by that alone!! Finally – the clothes. Enough said.

3. The Amazing Race – I love the basic premise of this game – it’s a race! Hurry up or go home. Plus, it has some amazing (yes, as the name implies) challenges along the way. Plus, you are able to learn about different cultures through the multitude of challenges, as they are often based on traditions and daily routines/jobs of the people who live in the country the teams are visiting. In its early years, The Amazing Race would have been a true contender for the #2 or even #1 spot. However, they have not done enough to change up things up. It has a LITTLE stale. We all know that it doesn’t matter if one team holds a strong lead in the early stages of the race – the teams ALWAYS catch up with one another at the airports.

2. Big Brother – Coming up with the #1 and #2 spot was VERY difficult. I would say Big Brother and So You Think You Can Dance are definitely tied, but for sake of the list, I guess I will have to choose. Here is what tipped the scale for me. Since this is the Talent/Competition list…SYTYCD wins out. Those dancers are amazingly talented, but I will get to that. FIRST – BIG BROTHER. I am obsessed and have been for years. It doesn’t help that my entire family is a fan. My mom used to subscribe to the live feeds on her computer, my sister and I would talk for hours and fall asleep on the couch watching Big Brother After Dark on Showtime, I only order Showtime during the summer months and usually cancel when Big Brother wraps, I auditioned for this show and actually made it as a finalist for this season, and the list goes on. I love me some BB. It’s like the Real World (which I used to love to watch in my younger year) but with competitions and more back stabbing. Tasty TV. The show’s competitions rang from physical tasks to mind games and I love it all.

Cast of Big Brother

1. So You Think You Can Dance – As a dancer (I started taking classes when I was three years old), so I naturally gravitate toward this show. I am floored by how artistically beautiful each routine is. It’s more than just dancing – it’s costumes, lighting, props, music, CHOREOGRAPHY, and dancing technique. When those elements combine, the result is breathtaking. Dancing takes true talent.
This video has two of the most memorable dancers from SYTYCD, Melissa (A Milwaukee native – hooray!) and Ade. The routine is tells a truly touching story, which was choreographed by one of my favorite choreographers of all time – Mia Michaels.

Nice List Tosha. You have a much stronger grasp on the reality world than I do. I had trouble coming up with just five shows that I have ever seen. I don’t watch dance shows and I certainly don’t watch cooking shows so I am at a real loss here. Here is my list:

5. Storage Wars – This show is awesome for one reason: Barry Weiss. I still don’t know why Leinenkugel’s brewery hasn’t sent this guy a shirt or anything given his name, but Barry is the coolest dude on a show about people bidding money on abandoned storage lockers. Barry competes against idiots like Dave Hester and Darrel Sheets, and has to listen to Brandi complain to Jared all the time. But for him, it’s worth it if he can just find that one piece of treasure. Rock on Barry.

Barry Weiss from Storage Wars

4. Kenny vs Spenny – Ok, this show isn’t on anymore and it only lasted MAYBE 2 seasons. But basically it was a competition show where every week two friends, Kenny and Spencer, would make a wager with each other for the rights to humiliate the other at the end of it. With competitions like who could produce the loudest fart, who could take care of a goat the longest, and who can gain the most weight, it always ended up being pretty entertaining. Whoever won got to humiliate his friend at the end of the episode. Well done guys on grossing us all the hell out. (Editor’s note: There are actually 6 seasons spanning 93 episodes of this show.)

3. American Idol – American Idol will always be a show that I loved to watch with a group of friends. Every year in college we would bet on the top 24 to pick a winner. I never won, but I did call the runner up 2 different years. Not as good, but to be fair, Adam Lambert still should have won. Kathrine McPhee probably should have beaten Taylor Hicks too but whatever (Perhaps that could be different top 5…biggest upsets on American Idol)…But still, for all of that, American Idol is responsible for flooding the music world with new talent that is still relevant today. I have not personally watched an episode since Simon Cowell left, but I am sure it’s still doing just fine.

Simon Cowell and the other judges from American Idol.

2. Wipeout/Fear Factor – What? Is it cheating to include shows that I worked for? Wipeout was certainly a lot better watching it happen in real time to real people. And Fear Factor was a lot scarier to be a part of for a lot of reasons, none of which I will discuss. Wipeout is still doing well and shooting new episodes and Fear Factor made a return to live TV this past year. Yes, I have tested the Wipeout course. No, I did not test anything for Fear Factor. I owe both shows a lot professionally, so maybe this spot on the list will help pay them back in some small amount!

Me hanging off the Wipeout sign.

1. Sports – Ok, maybe this actually is cheating on the list of top reality shows, but let me explain. Sports is reality. It is actually the definition of reality. It is not scripted at all. Two teams meet in a competition that is televised. That seems to fit the bill of competition based reality TV. Not to mention that certain sports tend to have way higher ratings than their “non-scripted” reality shows. For every athlete (and yes, they are athletes) that go on So You Think You Can Dance, there are 32 times that amount that go on a football field every Sunday for the NFL. Dancing is a profession. People go on SYTYCD in order to break into the dancing profession to earn money doing what they love to do. People do the EXACT same thing in the NFL for instance. You have to prove it every time out. If you are a QB and you stink and you are supposed to be good, you will get boo’ed out of town. Ask Jamarcus Russel next time you get your groceries at Ralphs. The Amazing Race isn’t what is happening on the show The Amazing Race, it’s what is happening in the standings of the MLB in the last month, week, or day of the season. Sports are the ultimate reality TV, with people choosing sides, cheering, laughing, crying, discovering  and having heart attacks over it. The first and only time I have ever heard my father swear was over a football game. I have never heard him have so much as an opinion over ‘reality’ shows. Still need proof? Here are some numbers; More people watched Lebron’s decision (9.95 million, AND THAT WASN’T EVEN A GAME!) or the first game of the NFL REGULAR SEASON last year (27.2 million people, over 17 million more than the next rated show that day…and obviously that doesn’t even compare to playoffs or the Superbowl) than any episode of SYTYCD (5.07 million on Wednesday 6/18) or even Wipeout (5.6 million on July 12th). So people seem to respond to the ultimate reality, and that is sports. Want even more proof? People cared about what was going to happen to this guy:

That does it for this list. What does your list for top 5 reality shows that are competition based look like? Let us know in the comments!

Leave a comment


  1. Reblogged this on Once a Month and commented:
    Tosha and our friend Jeff weigh in on their top five reality tv shows. Check it out!

  2. Joy Morris

     /  July 20, 2012

    I love reality T.V. Big Brother, So you think you can dance, The Glass House, The Amazing Race and Bayou Billionaires, Red Neck Island and of course Cupcake Wars, Wipeout and MANY more! Why do I love reality T.V.?…IT’S REAL PEOPLE DOING REAL THINGS IN A REAL WAY. Smiles…

    • You should come out to LA again…I will show you how loosely you must be using the word “real”. Thanks for reading Joy! Come back and read more lists!


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