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It’s been another crazy year in reality TV. The Giudices and Gorgas’ feud turned physical on The Real Housewives of New Jersey, Big Brother houseguests stirred up major controversy, and Survivor had only its second rock draw in history. The Hollywood Reporter runs down 10 of the most surprising moments from 2013.
1. The Real Housewives of New Jersey family feud gets physical. The feud between the Giudices and the Gorgas — spearheaded by Teresa Giudice and her brother Joe Gorga — came to a head during a retreat meant to bring peace to the family. The disagreement turned physical, with much of the family — including Joe Giudice and Melissa Gorga — coming to blows (and tears). In one funny moment to come out of the altercation, everyone found what appeared to be black grease smudged all over their skin and clothes; it turned out that Joe Gorga sprays his hair to make it look thicker.
2. Big Brother housemates stir up controversy. GinaMarie Zimmerman, Aaryn Gries, Spencer Clawson and eventual winner Andy Herren shocked viewers with comments ranging from racist to sexist to homophobic. Zimmerman, who used the N-word and made other racially insensitive comments about fellow houseguests, while Gries said that a Korean-American housemate should “shut up, go make some rice” and called Herren a “queer.” Clawson sparked a police investigation when he made a joke about masturbating to child porn and made other remarks considered anti-Semitic and misogynistic. Among Herren’s comments were his use of the C-word when referring to fellow houseguest Elissa Slater. There were real-life consequences, too, ranging from getting fired from their jobs to public admonishments made by current and former employers.
3. Survivor tribal-council tie leads to rock draw. One of the final tribal councils on Survivor: Blood vs. Water resulted in only the second rock draw in 27 seasons of the CBS show. Hayden Moss make a last-ditch effort to plead with Ciera Eastin to join forces with him and vote against her alliance. Once she realized she was on the bottom of her alliance, she switched teams and forced a tie. Katie Collins drew the dreaded white rock and was sent to Redemption Island, thereby leaving Tyson Apostol‘s alliance intact and paving the way for him to ultimately win the $1 million prize.
4. The Amazing Race apologizes for using an anti-American memorial. In March, CBS and the producers of Amazing Race apologized for an episode that drew criticism for using a B-52 memorial in Hanoi, Vietnam, as a key part of a leg. The episode saw contestants go to the memorial, which depicts the wreckage of an downed American bomber plane during the Vietnam War, to find their next clue. Veterans of Foreign Wars, along with several Fox News anchors and viewers, complained about the usage of the memorial. “Parts of last Sunday’s episode, filmed in Vietnam, were insensitive to a group that is very important to us: our nation’s veterans,” an on-air statement read. “We want to apologize to veterans, particularly those who served in Vietnam, as well as to their families and any viewers who were offended by the broadcast. All of us here have the most profound respect for the men and women who fight for our country.”
5. Tierra LiCausi’s eyebrow upstages her on The Bachelor — not that she could do anything about it. Sean Lowe’s wannabe future wife got into a heated discussion with her fellow bachelorettes that led to a meltdown during which LiCausi accused them of trying to steal her “sparkle” along with her big revelation: “I cannot control my eyebrow!” Lowe came in to find LiCausi in tears and wisely chose to send her home without waiting until the rose ceremony. Not long after the episode aired, the twitter handle @TierrasEyebrow was launched, and it has nearly 21,000 followers despite not sending out a tweet since May.
6. Elizabeth Berkley is sent home on Dancing With the Stars after a perfect score. In week nine of the 17th season, the Showgirls star got the boot from the ABC competition over perennial low scorer Bill Engvall in an episode in which she had just scored perfect 10s from all three judges. (Clearly, the viewer vote wasn’t enough to keep her around.) After her fate was revealed, the studio audience booed.”I’m sad,” said Berkley. “There were more things we wanted to do. But I’m, honestly, beyond grateful for this.”
7. Blake Shelton is knocked out of The Voice finals for the first time. In mid-December, viewers were shocked to learn that the mentor’s final contestant, Cole Vosbury, was eliminated from the NBC singing competition — which meant that, for the first time in four seasons, Shelton would not be winning the show. “I’m bummed about it. I wanted that for Cole,” he later said. “He’s just a good dude, he truly is. But that’s not all it takes to win this thing. You’ve got to have something that none of us can figure out.”
8. Sandro Masmanidi has a massive meltdown on Project Runway. The designer became fed up with his lack of feedback from the judges on a bow-tie-inspired gown. While sitting in the waiting area, he got into a heated discussion with his fellow designers Helen Castillo and Ken Laurence, he stormed off while pushing past mannequins and crew members. The following week, he returned to apologize, calling himself a “crazy Russian.” “I want to say, if I’ve been difficult for somebody here, or make feel very uncomfortable around me, please forgive me,” he said before leaving the competition for good.
9. Frontrunner Angie Miller is eliminated from American Idol. The Massachusetts teen was considered a lock for the win — until she was voted out the week before the finale. When host Ryan Seacrest revealed her fate, the studio audience audibly gasped, and the judges seemed flabbergasted. The final two, Kree Harrison and Candice Glover, also seemed shocked. “It’s bitter and sweet,” Miller told reporters after the show. “I definitely thought that with the whole hometown visit and how huge social media has been … I did feel kind of confident that I was going to make it.”
10. Adam Levine declares “I hate this country” on The Voice. The mentor and Maroon 5 frontman lost two of just team members — Judith Hill and Sarah Simmons — in a May episode of the singing competition, after which he could be heard saying “I hate this country.” It sparked an immediate reaction from viewers on Twitter, whose comments ranged from a prediction somebody was likely to get fired for leaving Levine’s microphone to quips over whether he could be deported. Levine himself tweeted that the statement was a joke and defended himself in a statement to Us Weekly: “I obviously love my country very much and my comments last night were made purely out of frustration.”
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