Emmys 2012: The Reality-Competition Series Race in Review, Including Our Dream Nominees

Reality television, by its very nature, thrives on unexpected twists, shock eliminations, and upset victories. But the most surprising thing about the Emmy race for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program over the last five years has been the almost total stagnancy of its pool of contenders.

Indeed, from 2007-2011, the same five showsThe Amazing Race, American Idol, Dancing With the Stars, Project Runway, and Top Chef — have maintained a chokehold on nominations in the category. The sole exception to this five-member monopoly came in 2011, when Emmy added a sixth nominee — So You Think You Can Dance — to the mix.

More Emmy Races In Review | Outstanding Drama Series | Lead Drama Actor | Lead Drama Actress | Supporting Drama Actor | Supporting Drama Actress | Outstanding Comedy Series | Lead Comedy Actor | Lead Comedy Actress | Supporting Comedy Actor | Supporting Comedy Actress |Outstanding Movie/Miniseries

But wait. That “kerplunk” you’re hearing might just be the sound of a new contender (or two) dropping into the proceedings. Indeed, the 2011-2012 season found The Voice proving itself a genuine (and genuinely enjoyable) ratings force in its second season for struggling NBC, and Simon Cowell’s British import The X Factor storming the U.S. coastline with a combination of flashing lights, aggressive backup dancers, and Paula Abdul’s tears.

Will these newcomers force Emmy to redistribute the nomination wealth, or will 2012 be another case of same-old same-old?

Review this slideshow of the major contenders — including TVLine’s Dream Nominees — then vote below for who you think are the five best. 

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