Losing is hard. It's even harder when you do it on primetime television. Sometimes it's best to just stay out of the limelight....
The Laughing Stock Of American Idol
“A kid that was in my grade at high school was on American Idol and juggled while singing horribly. When the judges didn’t like it he broke out in a dance. After the negative reactions from the judges, he burst into the hallway crying and making a big scene.
Prior to the airing of the episode, he was telling everyone to watch it. He was so proud he was on TV. They even announced he was going to be on the show on the school announcements.
When we came back to school the next day he got made fun of pretty mercilessly but he was quick to tell everyone that it was all staged. He was socially never able to recover from that one though. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if it was staged or not, you’re going to catch a lot of flak for it.
I felt really bad for him and eventually, he ended up switching schools.”
They Crushed This 13-Year-Old
“A while ago when I was 13 years old, I was chosen to pitch my ‘science for kids’ company on Shark Tank Season 5. I was SO excited. I had already been on every local news channel numerous times here in Phoenix and had published 5 science books for kids on Amazon. I went on there to ask for $10,000 to do a fun science DVD series for elementary schools. All I wanted in the world was to be the next Bill Nye the Science Guy and show millions of kids how awesome science is. Anyway, there I was, 13 years old standing all by myself in front of Mark Cuban, Kevin O’Leary, Robert Herjavec, Barbara Corcoran, and Lori Greiner. I dressed up as a mad scientist and did a couple of really cool science demos while I was saying my pitch. I was SO nervous and my pie tin hit the floor really hard and made the loudest noise ever. I did everything I could to mentally recover from it. They started peppering me with questions and I thought for a moment ‘yes, I’m so walking out of here with a deal and all the kids in my school are going to wish they never made fun of me for being a science geek!’ Anyway, Mark was the first one out. Then Kevin told me that I was dead to him (he never even offered me a deal so I’m not sure why he said that to me). Barbara said no. Robert and Lori were still onboard with me. Then Robert asked me ‘how many Youtube subscribers do you have?’ Ugh, I couldn’t lie. I only had like a 100. That’s when Lori said no because she didn’t know how to build up a Youtube channel (which I wasn’t asking for) and Robert said no because no one uses DVD’s anymore. I walked out of there so humiliated. A few months later I got an email from the producers letting me know that my segment wasn’t even going to be aired. I pretty much gave up after that. It was too much of an uphill climb trying to get anyone to care about getting kids to love science.”
“A few years ago I was on Wheel of Fortune. I got to the final puzzle round but didn’t get the puzzle correct; the envelope revealed I would have won $30,000. It was shot a month previously and basically, everyone just congratulated me for what I did win when it aired. Except for my friend Bob.
Bob: ‘So you missed out on $30,000.’
Me: ‘Yeah. I went in with nothing though and had a great time and won those trips!’
Bob: ‘Still though. $30,000 would’ve been nice. What a shame.’
Also, forget taxes. I paid a little over $4300 in taxes for all the trips and cash I won. Plus you have to pay to get to California and for your hotel room too. Not a lot of people realize how expensive the experience can be! Since not everyone can afford the prizes, we were told right away that we can decline the prizes up to a few months before they are delivered.
At least my trips were amazing. Only one was all inclusive, but the second one had a fantastic breakfast buffet so I only was responsible for lunch and dinner. At a resort that’s pricey though. Still, I got $1000 for each trip for incidentals like transport to the resort and food and both trips have free airfare.”
What A Consolation Prize!
“My older brother was on The Dating Game in the 1980s. He lost. The reason he lost was that the winning guy answered every question in French. No one there understood a word the winning guy said, but every time he said anything the females in the audience would swoon:
‘Bachelor Number One, describe your ideal date with me.’
‘Mon aéroglisseur est plein d’anguilles.’
Anyway, losers on The Dating Game would receive ‘consolation prizes.’ These were typically whatever stuff the sponsors provided to the show for free. To keep this stuff from cluttering up the studio, they foisted it off on the losers.
Several weeks after the taping of the show, my brother received a package with his prize: A lifetime supply of Lee Press-on nails. He sat with the box and stared silently at them for a long time.”
How The Guilty Pervails
“I was on Judge Judy. They contacted me because the person who sued me called the show (I damaged someone’s property on purpose and there was video if it – made for good tv I guess).
I was absolutely, positively, without a doubt guilty.
You see, a woman who loved children, but had a substance and drinking problem continued to go near my child after I repeatedly asked her not to.
My daughter came home and told me ‘pearl smokes something weird and stinky.’ Right then I knew it was pot, which whatever, but DON’T do it in front of my kid.
So I went to her house but she wouldn’t come outside, so I took my tire iron and broke every one of her car windows. Then I popped all her tires. She was moving at the time and had most everything she owned in her car so I pulled it all out into the street, put my truck in 4-wheel drive and ran it all over. Then I backed up and did it again. Then again. Then again.
I told both the criminal court judge, and Judy, that I was not sorry at all, and every time she came near my kid, we’d have the same problem or worse if I got my hands on her.
My crime was caught on the neighbor’s security camera, so, it was shown in court. But, the guys whose camera it was was beaten to death before court, so he couldn’t testify. So I think between the video, the crime, and the murder of the neighbor, my case probably seemed pretty interesting.
Criminal judge gave me 1 hour of community service and a $20 fine (she said she believed I was trying to protect my child) and Judy called me a spoiled brat.
For the Judge Judy version, I was being sued for $3900, which the show paid, plus I got them up to $1000 for my appearance fee (normally $200) AND I got them to pay for 4 days at a hotel instead of the normal 2, and 4 days of food and car service. I just turned it into a paid for vacation basically.
I got recognized at a bar the day after it aired. That same night, I ran into a guy that I had seen that same night on a dance competition show. (He was wearing the exact same outfit he wore on the show) So that was weird.
I was like: ‘I just saw you on ‘whatever’ show!’
He says ‘yes, that’s me!’
I say ‘my episode of judge Judy aired today too! We were both on tv today!’
We bought each other drinks, and then that was it. Not further contact, not recognized after that, life was normal.”
He Never Knew How This Would Come Back To Haunt Him
“I briefly dated a guy who was the first person to appear on a British show called How Clean Is Your House? He didn’t think it would be a big show at all, and basically just wanted a free house cleaning. Apparently when he got selected, they told him to just not clean up after himself for the 2 weeks or so until taping, so of course, his flat was just disgusting by the time of filming.
Fast forward to a few years later when a) he’s now a high school teacher, and b) YouTube exists. I think every semester, it’s a rite of passage for his students to see him being The Most Slovenly Person In The UK.”
It Ruined Their Friendship
“My best friend was on MTV’s Made back in 2005. She wanted to be Miss Ledyard Fair, which was the town’s annual town fair. It was basically a beauty contest, and my bookish friend wanted to break out of her bookish mold.
So the show producers got her a bunch of new fancy clothes, hired a beauty contest winner (Miss America or something similar, I don’t remember), had her work with a personal trainer, and had her walk up to random people to try to strike up a friendship or something stupid like that. One stunt involved her giving all of her favorite books to the owner of a tattoo shop. The owner was instructed to try to make my friend as uncomfortable as possible.
After all this ‘work,’ she lost the beauty contest but won Miss Congeniality. Also, they cast me as the jealous backstabbing boyfriend stealing friend, which was obviously false. The few weeks after the show aired, it was pretty bad at school, more for me than her. We were in high school and our classmates were idiots, so everyone thought I had betrayed her because of how the show edited things together. She walked away with a ‘This was a positive experience’ attitude while I walked away with an ‘I want to murder MTV and all of my idiot classmates for believing that bull’ attitude.
That lasted a few months, and by the next year most people had completely forgotten about it. All of the popular girls who had befriended my friend in order to get on the show ignored her again, she and I were still best friends, and she went back to her bookish ways.
Ten years later, both she and the guy I supposedly stole have come out as gay. She also stabbed me in the back in about the most selfish way possible, which brought up all the nasty memories of how she didn’t quite stand up for me when our classmates thought I betrayed her (and she also provided the voice over for the episode that suggested I betrayed her), so now she’s number 1 on my hit list, but for the most part that has little to do with the show and more with what she did to me many years later.”
The Reality TV Veteran
“I have lost on many reality shows as I try to be on at least one a year.
I lost in round 2 Americas Got Talent (I was the human tack board), I lost on Wipeout, Ninja Warrior, Rock Band 2 – The Stars and more. The worst was when I lost on Solitary You are under24-hour surveillance with very little food or sleep, They were constantly messing with us, like they played babies crying for hours, gave us no showers, it was really hot in the room. It was a nightmare, and I suggest everyone go through it so you can appreciate how good normal life is. But the upside is that I got to come back and be a writer on the 3rd season!
It all started with MTV True Life being brought to a backyard wrestling event by a friend. I’ve always been big into wrestling, so this show was my first taste, and I was ready for more.
I’ve lived in Los Angeles my whole life, so it was easy to get to auditions. After many many failed ones, I’ve learned what most reality shows want in a contestant and try to wow them in the audition. Like for Wipeout, I took their stapler and stapled my arm, just to be memorable! Now shows come to me and ask me to do something crazy on their show.
Anyways, being on reality TV is weird and hard for many people to handle. You get a taste of the celebrity life, people running up to you for photos, tons of people adding you on social media, lots of chatter about you, it’s awesome!
However a week or two after it airs, you are replaced by new people, and the drop off is fast, and if you aren’t ready for it, it’s a bit shocking.
I know some people who hold on to their brief experience with fame and can’t move on. When I did MTV – True Life back in 2000 and people soon quickly stopped caring about it, it was awkward. I didn’t know how to deal with it at first.
So for all the shows I do now, I know I’m just going out there to be an idiot, make for some entertaining tv, and then move on with my next thing. However, when I moved on to the next round on America’s Got Talent it made me feel great. I felt like I was on borrowed time during that second episode because moving forward was never the plan.
It was awesome though, tons of people reached out to me on Facebook and Twitter, lots of people I haven’t talked to in years were sharing my posts and saying words of encouragement, and it was great!
Then I got eliminated in a montage in round 2, and all that fanfare and craziness is gone. While I wish I was there with all those super talented people doing the live shows, I have to remind myself that I got some great footage out of the show, more followers to check out all my performances, and tons of great memories.
I still like to be on camera whenever I can, and am an extra as often as I can be on movies and tv shows. I can’t really make a living off any of this, it’s just for fun. When I’m not on camera I am a pro wrestler, I do stunts, I work as a full-time video editor for an animation studio, I am pitching two cartoons there, and I do improv comedy shows. Life is great!”
Who Is Really The Biggest Loser?
“I was on The Biggest Loser. At my heaviest, I was 460 lbs and at the finale of the show, I was 253 lbs.
Family and friends seemed a lot more bummed out and depressed that I did not win any money. That sort of shocked me, as the money was the last reason I was there really.
But for me, I was happy for the experience, knowledge, networking, and it was great for my kids who got to be little movie stars for a few months. Right now I am in the 290’s (8 years later) so I have gained some back – but nowhere near my highest. I knew I would gain some back as it was impossible to think I could continue the workout regiment that we were used to. And yes, while I lost quite a bit of weight, there were still lots of gimmicks, drama, you name it – for the ratings. I feel like the worst aspect is that they don’t prepare contestants well enough for the mental aspect of losing weight. When you are obese a lot of peoples mindset is ‘If I lose weight everything will be perfect.’
But then you are faced with things like loose skin, medical complications from losing that much weight that fast, attraction from other people (yes, that can be a harsh mental impact when it hasn’t been an issue in a long time), etc. It can be easy to fall back into your comfort zone that you had built around you. Luckily we receive support from former show alumni as a lot of us communicate still (from all seasons).
I still want to get back down to finale weight – but a blown out knee has really limited me this year.”
Is That Your Final Answer?
“I have a friend who was on ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire’ back when that show was big-time popular. He went on the show, answered two questions correctly, and missed on the third question, something very simple he should’ve gotten correctly. He was so embarrassed, it practically devastated him. Though hardly anyone knew he had been to the taping, he came home and was depressed for months, knowing it would be airing soon. He was inconsolable, wouldn’t socialize with anyone for a while, and went into a deep depression. He eventually got over it, but it really took a toll on him for a while. We all tried to tell him it was no big deal. He definitely took it way harder than he should have.
Oddly, he wanted to go back on the show for another chance. Thankfully he didn’t do that.”
Third Place Doesn’t Sound So Bad…
“I was on College Jeopardy! in 2013, and placed 3rd. Since it was a tournament and not a normal-style game, I won $25,000 for coming in third (instead of the normal $1000 3rd place participants get), which after taxes it was somewhere around $20,000 (it worked in my favor that I was a very poor student with little income at the time). While it was a nice chunk of change, I didn’t win first place and still kick myself a bit for wagering stupidly in the last final Jeopardy. I should have bet zero since I know I’m terrible at history. If I had bet zero and Trevor kept his same wager I would have ended up in second place and gotten $50,000.
When I got back home, my life initially was a little odd. People I hadn’t spoken to in years were contacting me and seeing how I’d been and such, which was pretty nice! Since I didn’t win the lottery or become famous or anything, it’s not like they’d have ulterior motives for getting in touch with me. I had a couple of random people stop me on campus (since I went representing my institution and there was a LOT of social media coverage by the school) and ask me if I was ‘that Jeopardy girl.’ But that was about it as far as abnormal things.
I got to pay off some of my college loans and all of my friends and family were really proud of me.
That was the one thing I was most surprised about in the whole experience was how nice everyone one. I went in expecting to feel really competitive with the other people and for them to be the same, but they were all really great! I’m still Facebook friends with most of them and I wish that we weren’t scattered all over the country, because that group had some of the most interesting, fun people that I’ve had the privilege to meet.
Overall, 10/10 would recommend to anyone.”
The Limelight Fades…
“My ex-girlfriend and I were on a television show on HGTV called ‘Flipping the Block’ and we ended up winning it.
From my experience, during the ‘post-production,’ when the commercials are all over, and through the airing of every episode, there is a lot of attention from EVERYONE, and then after the show is over the attention falls off almost completely aside from an interview here and there.
It can become quite addicting, and having even a minute taste of it makes me infinitely more understanding of how people could do anything to stay in the limelight. The feeling is weird. What people need to realize is that even though you rarely see a camera when you watch a TV show, my ex and I had a crew of 7-9 following us at any given moment, literally unless we were sleeping.
All of that being said, we did feel like losers on our show, because although we emerged victorious, a TV show offer was extended to another couple from our show, even though they lost, had a bigger budget than us, had more prep time for the show than we had, and are currently in construction management and run a very popular design blog. It just would not have looked good to give the ‘amateurs’ (us) a show because we just went out and won this on a whim.
My opinion is that the network hands down expected that couple to win, and this show was simply a vetting process for them to see how they would do on-camera. And when they didn’t win, the feeling in the room was very much ‘ohhhh no….what do we do now?’
Anyways, your ‘fame’ eventually fades away, people stop asking to take a picture with you at Costco or Albertsons or Home Depot, people stop asking you for money and favors, and you have to make a conscious effort to move forward and pursue other avenues.”
The Talented Doctor
“My brother made the top 15 in ‘America’s Got Talent.’ He auditioned for the show through MySpace with his band and was chosen out of a couple thousand videos. They were a percussion group but used buckets and kegs and other objects other than drums.
He actually skipped medical school so he could compete. I got to fly out to Los Angeles to see the show live which was pretty cool.
After his band got the boot he played a couple shows with his group then went on to medical school. Now he’s the chief resident in a children’s hospital in Orlando. He says it’s a nice addition to his resume. As expected, the band is completely done. Last time my brother played with them was at the all-star game in St.Louis.”
Could It Be Lisa Blank From Season 9?
“I randomly shared a 10-hour flight from Europe with a girl who just got kicked off The Bachelor: Rome (she was in the top 3). She seemed super embarrassed most of the flight. Of course, I ended up watching the series when it aired and she was the ‘witch’ of the group that none of the girls liked. She’s from my home city and lo and behold years later my sister ended up working with her at a corporate office and she said everything was just business as usual. Small world.