It was a big year in reality TV — a three-person alliance made it all the way to the finals on “Big Brother,” an all-girl team finally won “The Amazing Race” and “Undercover Boss” brought the world an accidental fecal release. Let’s relive some of the best and worst moments of 2010 in reality TV.
“American Idol”: Worst season ever? We didn’t think so, but a lot of the fans did. One thing’s for sure — Season 9 certainly highlighted the voting demographics of the show, as the women were put down like dogs in favor of less talented (but cute, squee!) male singers.
“MasterChef” – Super young Whitney dropped her chicken in the 11th hour of the final and had only a handful of minutes to recoup and fry another piece of meat. Was it raw? Did she risk salmonella poisoning the judges?
“Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains”: The granddaddy of reality competition shows celebrated its 20th season with an all-star season of sorts, bringing back famous heroes and infamous villains from past seasons. It was fun to watch, to be sure, with a controversial final three in Russell, Sandra and Parvati. And controversy is the bread and butter of reality TV.
“Dancing With the Stars”: The spring season had an incredible cast. The final four of Erin Andrews, Evan Lysacek, Chad Ochocinco and Nicole Scherzinger might be the best final four ever. The fall season? Not so much. We enjoyed watching Jennifer Grey, but if she whined one more time about her back, we were going to throw a shoe through our TV. And don’t even get us started on Bristol …
“Big Brother”: The Brigade alliance of Enzo, Hayden and Lane made it all the way to the final three, a feat never before achieved on the summertime guilty pleasure show. For our money, we thought Britney was the highlight of the season, though Rachel and Reagan’s fighting was pretty epic.
“Top Chef: DC” – Ed had a English pea puree planned, but the next day, he couldn’t find the puree he had pre-made. Competitor Alex, however, who admitted to having no idea what to do with his peas the night before, turned out a pea puree that won praise and ultimately won him the elimination challenge. Was this a case of the purloined pea puree? The Bravo cameras never caught the puree-making in action, so they could not definitively say.
“Top Chef: DC” – Angelo falls ill with some mysterious illness during the finale in Singapore, which sucks because he specializes in Asian-style cuisine. He’s laid up and and a local doctor predicts a really long bedridden time, but after giving him a shot in his butt, Angelo’s able to compete to a lesser degree the following day, thanks to former champ Hung as his sous chef. Some think the illness is why he was off his game and didn’t win.
“America’s Got Talent” – In a first, the final four acts on the show were (gasp) actually talented. We were surprised when Michael Grimm beat out the theatrical Prince Poppycock, the visually fun Fighting Gravity and the adorable opera singer Jackie Evancho. But it was a satisfying ending nonetheless.
“Project Runway” – On the runway during judgment, Mondo comes out as HIV-positive, a secret he’s been living with for the past 10 years. It was a brave and cathartic moment, coupled with the fact that the textile he made to represent his secret — a graphic plus sign bounded by lavender and yellow — won the challenge for him.
“The Bachelor” – Jake Pavelka’s season became a battle of good vs. evil when his frontrunners became Vienna Girardi (hiss) and Tenley Molzahn (yay!). We thought there would be rioting in the street when he chose Vienna, but it ended up being all for the best when Tenley met and fell for “Bachelorette” cast-off Kiptyn Locke.
“The Bachelor” – When Jake and Vienna started having their public break-up, it seemed like more famewhoring, particularly when they got a special segment on the latest “Bachelorette” show to talk about their problems. But when Jake got mad at Vienna on-camera, the mask slipped ever so slightly and Jake was revealed as the angry crazy guy Vienna had claimed he was.
“The Bachelorette” – Ali Fedotowski made an adorable bachelorette and her choice came down to two wonderful guys in Chris Lambton and Roberto Martinez. Call us crazy, but we think Ali and Roberto might just be the real deal.
“Bachelor Pad” – This was at the same time ridiculous and awesome. Cast-offs from “The Bachelor”/”Bachelorette” made to live in a house “Real World”-style and compete in challenges, all while going on dates and voting each other out? Yes, please. We wonder if they’ll have enough interested parties to do it again …
“Project Runway” – In the finale, Gretchen’s earthtone-y boho designs
prevailed against Mondo’s fashion-forward contemporary brilliance,
causing many fans of the show to vow never to watch again. Even the
judges were incredibly split at the end.
“Sister Wives” – Where have you been all our lives? This real-life “Big Love” was a fascinating look inside a polygamous family living in Utah. We found ourselves thinking on several occasions, “That doesn’t look so bad.”
“Sarah Palin’s Alaska” – Ugh. This show is part Palin campaign video, part Alaska tourism shill. It’a also boring as hell. Reality TV has to be interesting to work. Watching the Palins hunt, fish and mountain climb does not qualify.
“So You Think You Can Dance” – Ballerino Alex Wong wowed
the judges and audience and even himself with his first attempt at
hip-hop, a partner dance with tWitch, choreographed by Nappy Tabs. This
killer performance pushed him to the forefront of the competition, but
unfortunately, a week later, he suffered a split Achilles tendon, which
pulled him from the show and changed the face and spirit of the
competition for the remainder of the season.
“Top Chef: Just Desserts” – During a Quickfire Challenge, Seth gets a wee bit too involved, and after his concoction doesn’t quite meet his standards, he freaks and starts bawling, weeping and proclaiming, “The Red Hots are for my Mommy!!” No huge surprise in a later episode that he gets sent home for having an anxiety attack.
“Survivor: Nicaragua”: The Heroes vs. Villains season was followed up by one of the worst seasons in the show’s history. There weren’t a lot of bold moves or likable people or interesting alliances. Ho hum.
“The Amazing Race” – Finally. Finally an all-girl team, doctors Nat and Kat, won the million dollar prize. It only took 17 seasons.
“Millionaire Matchmaker” – A delusional and creepy serial killer, er, we mean millionaire, decides to test his lady on the first date by seeing if she’ll eat balut. Um, hey creepazoid, duck embryo is not tasty eats for the majority of the population, no matter how open-minded. Plus, what’s this testing on the first date business? You’re lucky to even get a date.