Reality TV Shows Taking Over the World

6 Dec

Rihanna performing on The X Factor

The UK is going reality TV crazy at the moment, as three of the biggest shows are all coming to their final weeks.

If you have moved to the UK recently, then you will almost certainly have noticed how newspapers, television shows and websites all get obsessed by reality shows around this time of year. In the last few months, The X Factor, Strictly Come Dancing and I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! have all been hogging the headlines, so we thought we’d do a quick round up to get you up to speed on them all.

The X Factor

The X Factor is all about creating pop stars and is the most popular reality show on British television. Contestants compete against each other by singing each week to try and stay in the competition. They are then voted for by the public, before the four judges choose which of the hopefuls with the least votes is knocked out.

The show can make or break music careers, and such is its popularity that ever since it first aired, the winner of X-Factor has had the UK Christmas Number 1 every year except last year (when a campaign to stop it was successful and rap-metal band Rage Against the Machine took top spot instead).

This year, the final four contestants have been decided and will face each other in the final next weekend. The four left are Matt Cardle (bearded, guitar playing ‘normal’ guy), Cher Lloyd (spoilt, ‘alternative’ 17 year old girl), One Direction (clean cut boys who the girls love) and Rebecca Ferguson (Liverpool girl with a great voice).

Strictly Come Dancing

Strictly Come Dancing has celebrities competing against each other through dancing. They are each given a professional dance partner to teach them and are then voted for by the public.

This year, there are five couples left after the star attraction- former MP Ann Widdecombe, was voted out this week. She was famous for being terrible and got the lowest marks from the judges every week, but the public loved her. However, now she is gone, the favourite to win is television presenter Matt Baker. The other contestants include rugby player Gavin Henson, comic actress Pamela Stephenson, and Eastenders actors Kara Tointon and Scott Maslen.

I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!

On this show, celebrities (though no one has heard of most of them) are made to live in a jungle in Australia and perform tasks in a bid to win a cash prize for charity. The public vote for their favourites and the celebs are gradually knocked out until just one winner is left. The tasks generally involve insects and bugs, which the celebs have to touch/let crawl on their faces/eat to gain luxuries for their camp mates. Above you can see an example of a task from this year.

This year’s series has just come to an end, with 2009 X Factor contestant Stacey Solomon winning it and 1990s singer Shaun Ryder coming second. Though officially the prize is money for their charity of choice, the real prize is a kick start for their careers in the UK, as the winners inevitably gain some much needed fame from their time on the show.

Whether you like reality TV shows or not, there is not much chance of avoiding them at this time of year, so the best idea is probably to choose one and start watching! After all, if you can’t beat them, join them.


If you don’t understand the British obsession with reality TV shows, or indeed, any of the other things that seem strange in the UK, then check out our Guide to British Culture.


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