For competitive reality shows like Top Chef, Project Runway, Survivor, The Apprentice etc. who has come in and been so clearly above and beyond their competitors that it was clear from Day 1 that they would be the winner and proceeded to sail through every challenge like it was no big deal?
I’ve been told that Boston Rob was pretty dominant in Survivor, but I didn’t watch much of either of his seasons. However, Tom the fireman from season 10, Vanuatu, was amazingly solid. He only lost one challenge in the entire season. It wasn’t clear from the start, because he started out trying to fly under the radar, but the tribe needed leadership so he stepped up, and they proceeded to stomp The Little Tribe that Couldn’t.
On the book-smarts-vs-street-smarts season of THE APPRENTICE, Kendra never even got sent to the boardroom: starting with the first episode, when she was the only one to not join in the pile-on the easy target, but to single out someone else – who promptly got fired. She then earned three wins as Project Manager during her team’s streak of nine consecutive victories (before she won a 10th in a row for the finale).
The gold standard (literally) has to be Kristi Yamaguchi in season 6 of Dancing With The Stars. Usually when someone’s established as a strong favorite in the first week, he leaves the door open at some point…there’s a fan backlash, fatigue sets in, the pressure of being on top week after week gets to him, he pushes too hard and gets injured, the judges ride him endlessly about “not improving” and it wears on him, what have you, to the point where someone else winning is…if not likely, at least within the realm of reality. Yamaguchi had the grace of a butterfly and the stamina of an elephant; she rocketed straight to the top and never looked back. She did not get a single score under 27 the entire competition. This wasn’t a curbstomp, this was eleven teams getting blasted into vapor by a death ray. Along with the curb.
Although not quite as dominant (who could be?), J.R. Martinez in season 13 also deserves a mention. He was an Iraq veteran injured in action, but said injury not hampering his physical skills in any meaningful way. To his credit, Rob Kardashian (of all people!) made it a semblance of a contest, but there was no way in hell he was beating that.
And since I need to bring up American Ninja Warrior everywhere (:D), I’ll also give a shout out to Brian Arnold in the first Team Ninja Warrior. Let’s just recap:
vs. Jamie Rahn: Pulls away in the final section and wins decisively.
vs. Abel Gonzales: Trails for a while, blows him away in the final section, easy win.
vs. Kevin Bull (1st): Gets tied up a bit at swing jump and ultimately loses by the closest margin of the entire competiiton, .07 second.
vs. Kevin Bull (2nd): Leaves no doubt this time; stronger from start to finish and cruises to the buzzer.
vs. Joe Moravsky: Falters at Swing Jump, stays in it, and takes a huge lead in the final section, leaving no doubt.
So that’s one extremely tight loss, two solid wins, and two blowout wins. And in all three team finals, he completely outclassed who he was matched up against. He was so dominant in the championship, Matt Iseman was close to tears. Pretty much the only other competitor who could have bested him was Daniel Gil, and that was far from a given.
Had to look his name up, but Alexander in the 1st season of MasterChef Jr. He was so far ahead of the other kids I figured something would have to happen to him. And it did - he won.
Top Chef Season 6 was dominated by three players:
Between the three of them, they had every win but one (Jen, who was similarly dominate until the end). Michael and Kevin were only each on the bottom once (and Bryan never), and both times only as part of a team challenge.
There have been other players who have been great at Top Chef, but I remember this being the first season where it was so clearly lopsided towards the final three.
This happened a few seasons ago on Face/Off (on Syfy).
You could tell from the first challenge that a guy was virtually perfect on his designs. He went the entire season never being on bottom looks and eventually won it all.
Boston Rob was on twice, on the first go round he was arrogant and did not come close to winning. In the All-Star season he was very good but ultimately came in second to his fiancee.
The most dominant survivor I ever saw was Brian Heidik of Survivor Thailand. He or his team won 11 challenges and he never had anyone vote for him to be gone. He was the unquestioned leader of his team and after the merge he was the unquestioned leader of the new tribe. When it came to the home stretch he won the final three immunity challenges. He then won after two different people he had betrayed voted for him to win. I watched the first twelve seasons of survivor and he was head and shoulders above anyone else I ever saw play.
I also used to watch Top Chef and the two best performers were Hung in season 3 and Richard in All Stars.
Boston Rob was on 4 times, he won the fourth time. I wouldn’t say he was ever dominant, more that he understood the game better than anyone else.
Bianca Del Rio was pretty much the dominate player on RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 6 - she blasted the competition away (though she often helped out weaker players when required) and was just heads and tails about everyone else that season. She only semi-flounded in one challenge (the craft Challenge that Adore won). Plus she had major public love as well which Ru would require for a win (as so not to repeat another Tyra Sanchez disaster).
Boston Rob also dominated the season he and his wife were on The Amazing Race. He convinced several other teams to sit out one task and take a major time penalty so that he and his wife wouldn’t be the only ones not to complete the task.
I don’t remember him so much. How did he compare to J.T.?
J.T. won his first season easily (though to be fair I wouldn’t say he had much competition, remember Coach?) but he bungled badly in Heroes vs. Villains at the merge.
It took Boston Rob four times to win (and they truly put him up against idiots in his winning season) but he really pulled off a lot of great moves both in the social games and challenges. I still remember the one team challenge which he basically won single-handedly - team members were supposed to cross a balance beam one at a time, with the next person taking a turn if they fell off. Rob convinced them to all just immediately jump off and let him take every turn, and they won because of it.
Seems like an odd bit of casting - she’s literally a Olympic-class dancer. It’s like having Michael Jordan join a round-robin amateur one-on-one tournament.
This is why Survivor is a different animal than many other reality competition shows. On shows with a judge or panel of judges, a contestant who is clearly the most dominant will often win because the judges are there to choose the best contestant each week.
On Survivor the players themselves make the decisions, and very often strong players get voted out because the others feel threatened. The dunderheads on Rob’s winning season had many chances to get rid of him (and as I recall often talked about doing so), but ultimately doomed themselves by keeping him in the game.
I agree. You could see that Brian was playing a much better game than his competitors. He didn’t form a general alliance of a group of players. He instead formed one-on-one alliances with several different players. This meant that Brian controlled a majority but nobody else did - he didn’t have to worry that his allies would turn against him because they had no agreements with each other.
And they only lost because the producers convinced American Airlines to let Uchenna and Joyce onto the same flight, even though the door was closed and the plane had started to pull back from the gate. Otherwise Rob & Amber would have had a several hour lead at the final leg destination.