Emmys 2013: The Reality-Competition Series Race in Review, Including Our Dream Nominees

Considering that upstart docureality series like Duck Dynasty and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo are dominating ratings and pop culture, reality-competition series have largely been overshadowed. NBC’s buzzy singing contest The Voice last year injected some fresh blood into the Emmy reality-competition field, which had mostly been filled by the same shows for the past decade. In fact, CBS’ The Amazing Race has snagged the Emmy every year but one since the category’s inception in 2003. However, The Voice is coming in strong in ratings and challenging Amazing Race’s hold on the title.

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

Review the following slideshow of the major contenders — including TVLine’s Dream Nominees — then hit the comments to vote for who you think are the six best.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Yibbet says:

    Why is FACE OFF (by far the best selection) not on this list?

    • Meghan says:

      I agree about Face Off. And where’s Master Chef?

    • karen o says:

      FACE OFF is underrated. Love that show.

    • Agreed! Face off does a great job showcasing real skill and craftsmanship without a lot of gimmicks or unnecessary or manufactured drama.

      Another that does much the same thing is Top Shot. That show focuses on skill – and pretty much skill alone (especially in this current season where they’ve done away with teams and voting someone into the elimination challenge.

    • mia says:

      Agreed! Its such a great show with legitimately talented people. It deserves a nomination

  2. Elena says:

    Is Chopped not eligible for this award? That’s always been one of my favorite competition shows.

  3. dude says:

    The Glee Project is a consistently amazing reality show and season two was even better than the first. I’m still bitter that Aylin didn’t win but Blake has proved to be a great addition to the cast and the only one that I can see staying on/continuing to be written for.

    • Mike says:

      While I completely agree, calling him a “triple threat” might be a slight exaggerating. And now that Ali has a small(yet possibly recurring) roll, isn’t it time to give Aylin the same? :)

  4. Karen says:

    Top Chef
    The Voice

  5. Mike R. says:


  6. JJ says:

    wait. we’re throwing The X Factor and Celebrity Apprentice up there and not Face Off? Seriously?

  7. j says:

    As a whole, the singing competition shows are so saturated today. American Idol fall in the ratings started when Simon Cowell left to do The X factor and both show are not that good anymore. The Voice still has some buzz right now, but after the blind auditions, the show goes down hill! And since Idol have more breakout stars like Clarkson, Hudson, Underwood, and McPhee, Idol hasn’t made any stars since. And for the Voice and The X Factor one question, where are their breakout stars? Dancing competition shows like Dancing With The Stars has be going down in the ratings with all the B,C,D to Z listers they keep recruiting to get on the show. And, its ratings is starting to decrease with each passing season. After its all stars season in which they brought back dancers that could dance turned off some fans. So You think You could dance? is noting more than an summer Reality show, its only purpose, it to find America’s best dancer. And you can go just so far in the show’s lifespan. Top Chef remains the only other Reality-Competition show other than The Amazing Race to win the Emmy. But more than 3 years later, Top Chef is a shell of its former Emmy winning self. The quality of past seasons is not what it used to be. Project Runway has gone downhill ever since the show’s move from Bravo to Lifetime and by now, everybody is getting tried of Hiedi klum’s act . Survivor is still the mother of all Reality TV shows. But stop bring back former contestants and give new people a chance. Jeff Probst may well will be nominated again and could back his reality host emmy, but some say they may reward Phil Kroeghan this year, just as they rewarded Tom Bergeron last year. Cat Deeley is a good host but not as good as Probst, Bergeron, or Kroeghan combine. The Amazing Race in my mind still was the goods in terms of production value, they busted their buts going around the world in tough envioments. getting to see all of the racers in action. and with that said The Amazing Race will win its 10th Reality-Competition Emmy Award this year!

    • JJ says:

      Disagree with you on a few thing here. SYTYCD is more than just a summer show. if you actually look at where their alumni are, they are in huge places in the dancing world. from professional realms to dancing on big time tours with major artists to TV and movie credits. are they mainstream like Carrie Underwood? NO. But that doesn’t mean it has no credibility.

      As for TAR, production value is still second to none with what they have to do. I agree there. but saying Cat Deeley isn’t as good as some other hosts is silly. she is more impartial and genuine than anyone in the business. So classy. Probst is more a producer now than host and plays host as a producer first. Phil is good but we dont see him enough to care, if you will. I don’t watch DWTS because I don’t like the concept but I hear Tom is great. Pulling for SYTYCD or The Voice in this category. The Voice saturated singing comps but it adjusted a very tired formula for entertainment.

  8. Richard says:

    What category does Shark Tank fall into?

  9. Scott says:

    “an unremarkable fans-vs.-favorites season”

    Really? I doubt whoever wrote that has ever watched Survivor. This past season was filled with drama and some of the best strategy ever. Season 25 was also very strong.

    I’d hate to see The Voice win, it hasn’t produced a successful artist yet, and the coaches don’t know what criticism is.

    • Drewer says:

      Yeah I hadn’t watched Survivor in years, but when I heard about what was happening this season I tuned back in, and I have to say it was probably the most entertaining season since the first All-Stars in what 2004? I was on the edge of my seat the entirety of the last 3 episodes-and the finale was really satisfying.

    • j says:

      The Voice is a Idol cheap knock-off copy! The X Factor too. Singing Competition shows have no value. What happens when the singers 15 minutes of fame are up?

    • j says:

      Amen brother! let the haters hate. This past season have a deserving winner. And hope its enough for Jeff to reclaim the reality host Emmy!

  10. dee123 says:

    TAR will win. TAR always wins.

  11. Tess says:

    I’d love to see both RuPaul’s Drag Race and The Glee Project nominated – both are such entertaining shows and had better seasons than most of the perennially nominated ones. Ultimately though, every single show that does get nominated, does have to measure up to The Amazing Race – there is a reason why it always wins and it comes down to the sheer logistics of putting that show together, planning out which countries to go to and what challenges to put contestants through as well as casting the right crop of people (just interesting enough to care about and root for). I think they have an even better chance of winning again if they submit a show from last fall rather than this past spring cycle, since last fall had the unlikely come from behind ultimate underdog win by the Beekman Boys in a gripping finale where any of the finale 3 could’ve won. I don’t know if any other reality competition show can measure up to that episode’s suspense and production value.

  12. Ladyhelix says:


  13. alexis says:

    Whatever. I’m waiting for Sing-Off Season 4 which is in the works right now!!!

  14. noa says:

    how very TVLine… American Idol (which i watch and obsess over and usually love) was terrible this year and Survivor had 2 great seasons (which hadn’t happened since S19 + S20. i would totally switch those 2- nominate Survivor and snub AI.

  15. Linderella says:

    The Glee Project or The Voice get my votes.

  16. Ashleigh says:

    Top Shot on History. Such a great show, highlights skill and talent, and has amazing challenges and great visuals and effects. Should totally be nominated. At least should be on this list!