Opinion: In reality TV and sports, fans would win with fairer competition


David Vega; courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Among reality television shows, nothing grasps viewers’ attention like Dancing with the Stars.

Grace Spozarski, Multimedia Editor

Among reality television shows, nothing grasps viewers’ attention like Dancing with the Stars. The fast pace, the element of competition, the audience involvement, and the live television: Everything keeps the audience tuned in. 

As this current season has continued, though, a pattern in eliminations has become more evident. While there have been only 10 eliminations thus far, most who have been eliminated have been over the age of 40. With other dancers in the competition being as young as 17, it does not come across that this competition can be completely fair. 

Charlie’s Angels star Cheryl Ladd is 71 years old, and competed on this show with Charli D’amelio, who is 17. Biologically, 17-year-olds just have more endurance than someone who has gone through 71 years of life. Although Ladd is rather fit, the abilities of a younger individual would be superior. 

Fans enjoy watching this show, and while they want to be immersed in the series, sometimes they cannot help but think about the contenders themselves. Week by week, contestants get eliminated, and each week, the younger the team of contestants gets. 

It seems like the reason that older contestants are put on the show is for ratings and views specifically, rather than the true and fair nature of a good competition. 

Similar patterns can even be seen in sports. For example, in football, the University of Alabama has been known as a Division 1 power for years, with a record of 7-2 this year. Yet they played Vanderbilt and Louisiana-Monroe this year, rather than more fair competition in each game.

Fans come together to watch to see if the underdogs can pull off an upset in both sports and reality TV. Ratings, reviews, money, and marketing drive these productions.

However, if competitions were played on a more even playing field – such as dancers in the same age range or football teams of the same skill level – then both wins and losses would mean more to the competitors themselves.