It’s no secret that appearing on a reality TV show can be both daunting and very stressful for those who make it through the process of auditions.
In watching various reality shows over the years, I have seen contestants voluntarily drop out of the competition for a range of reasons.
Potential models on America’s Next Top Model for example have left because they cannot handle the stress. Last year, Australian Idol was rocked by the shock departure of Toby.
And now – in the new season of Masterchef, we have seen two contestants voluntarily leave – with the latest on Sunday night citing family reasons for her departure. The one that left last week, left during a team challenge that saw her partner Phillip complete both his own and her dish on his own. He went on to make the Top 24. Early in the top 50 eliminations, one girl had to be talked into staying to complete her challenge. She ended up eliminated in any case.
The question I have to raise is how fair is it to the thousands of other that apply for these shows for someone who has made it only to get up and leave of their own accord? Sure – there are legitimate reasons for a person to drop out of a reality competition show – such as an unforeseen family circumstance or health – as we saw in Biggest Loser where two contestants left due to health reasons – but to get up and leave because you can’t handle the pressure just seems unfair to those who did not make the final cut.
Surely these shows must have measures in place to psychologically analyse the suitability of their contestants to make it through the competition? In the case of Masterchef, just being able to cook well is not all you need to make it. You need to be able to handle the pressure of being away from home for up to three months if you do well, the pressure of the challenges, the pressure of receiving criticism as well as the pressure that other contestants may put on you. With so many people of different backgrounds brought together, there is always the chance of personality clashes somewhere along the line.
To me, seeing someone “give up” and leave a reality show of their own accord is simply unfair on both those contestants who did not quite make it as well as those in the final group who have had to perform challenges against those who have left. Had they not have been in the competition at all, the outcome could have been different.
Let’s hope that the Top 24 have been well chosen in the sense that the contestants will cook well and are all genuinely there to try and that none of them just give up.