The past few Reality Rants (check out the rest in my section of our Reel Critics page) have focused on various reality-related countdowns, and this one's no exception! For this week's column, in honor of this week's finale results show madness (American Idol and Dancing with the Stars in the same week!), I've decided to make note of the biggest contest show upsets ever. While this season's shows have really come down to the wire with pretty fairly-matched competitors vying for that last championship title, results shows of seasons past haven't always been so neck-and-neck, and the outcome hasn't always been quite what we all expected. And it's usually for the worst. Without further ado, here are my picks for the 7 biggest reality TV upsets ever:
1. Kris Allen beats Adam Lambert
American Idol is notorious for upsets -- including Chris Daughtry's premature elimination way back in season 4 (and what do we have to show for it? Taylor Hicks?!), and even earlier than that, Jennifer Hudson's boot in season 3. I guess such disappointments are to be expected when you give the audience full reign to decide. However, the winning round has never been quite as surprising (to the audience and to the contenders) as Kris Allen's win in season 8. Don't get me wrong, I was totally rooting for him by the time the championship rolled around, but did I actually think he had a shot? No way! I mean, let's be serious -- I don't even think he thought he did either. Yessir, that is some genuine surprise up there.^^
2. Evan Lysacek gets shafted
HA. I know, sore subject, but I'm in total disbelief that Nicole Scherzinger took the Dancing with the Stars title last night. Okay, I guess "disbelief" isn't the right word (perhaps "outrage"), but in seasons past, the voters have come to their senses to cast off the dancers with unfair advantages fairly early on -- like "Cheetah Girl" Sabrina Bryan, for example. It was already an upset that pro dancer Nicole Scherzinger was even allowed on the show to begin with, let alone received enough votes to win over hard-working Evan. & now Evan is the only Olympic champion contestant in DWTS history who didn't end up winning the mirrorball in the end. Ouch.
3. Jake Pavelka chooses... VIENNA?!
This outcome from the last season of The Bachelor still makes me chuckle out loud to this day. LOL. Vienna. Srsly dude? If you didn't watch the show, imagine the token "joke" contestant who has clearly been planted by producers solely for the sake of entertaining TV. Imagine her getting a rose, week after week, while you and the rest of the contestants are totally seething, waiting for the day when her jig is finally up and she has at last exhausted her role as the season's comic relief. BUT THEN SHE WINS. Like... what?! Did that really happen?
4. Russell wins So You Think You Can Dance
Okay, he was a likable dude, and I'm all for reppin' for the hip hop dancers... but I don't think he deserved to win, necessarily. Sure, season 6 was totally lame and slapped together and definitely subpar to previous summer seasons, but there were still other dancers in the final that were crazy talented (and super well-rounded) and definitely should have won over the krumper. Umm.. Jakob maybe? Ellenore?! Kathryn!! HEL-LO!
5. Joanie doesn't win America's Next Top Model
If you hadn't given up on Top Model yet by Cycle 6, you've got to remember blondie Joanie, who lost in the end to gap-toothed Danielle. Okay, that was mean -- I actually loved Danielle too, but let's paint a picture here. Joanie had the Top Model history record (and still does!) for most 1st-called-out photos during the elimination rounds, and was not once in the bottom 2 for the entire course of the season. Not once! If you were her, wouldn't you think you were going to win?! Especially over someone who had been doing significantly worse than you throughout the whole cycle? Though I guess that's how things are in Tyra land. Anything freakin' goes.
6. Tabatha Coffey gets eliminated from Shear Genius
While her too-early elimination from the first season ended up working out just fine for her (she's just about the show's only claim to fame and now has her own show, Tabatha's Salon Takeover), it was quite the shock to see her go. I don't know if it was just her know-it-all attitude or if she really does know it all when it comes to hair (my bet's on the latter option!), she seemed to be the only contestant who really knew what she was doing. Matched only by Brig's shocking win during the show's most recent season, Tabatha's farewell definitely goes down in history as one of the biggest Bravo show upsets.
7. Jeffrey Sebelia is suspected of cheating, & then wins Project Runway
Eh, you know how fashion is. One person's trash is another person's treasure, and one designer's disgusting plaid ballgown is the judges' favorite thing evarrr. Personally I think Jeffrey was totally overrated in his season (yeah, I said it!) compared to fan faves Uli and Michael, and when he got in trouble for a potential cheating scandal, everyone thought his incredible luck with the judges had finally run out. But then they "clear" his name and crown him the season 3 champ. Ugh. Whyyyyy? Never trust a dude with a tattoo choker -- that's what I always say.
Disagree with my picks or have another upset in mind that totally threw you through a loop? Share below in comments!