In the last 13 years, Reality TV has conquered mainstream television.
While some viewers like watching Honey Boo-Boo, Keeping Up with the Kardashians and Cake Boss, performance-based competitive Reality TV shows have exponentially expanded since Survivor premiered back in 2000.
Shows like American Idol, Food Network Star, the Got Talent and X Factor franchises and Project Runway have turned ordinary people like Kelly Clarkson, Guy Fieri, Susan Boyle and Christian Siriano into household names and continue to show that people can achieve their dream if they work hard for it.
PopWrapped would like to salute the people who found the talent in the first place: the Judges. Each judge brought their own personality, compassion (and sometimes) controversy to their respective shows.
Here is part one of this countdown:
25. Nicole Scherzinger (The Sing-Off: 2009 to 2010; X Factor USA: 2011; X Factor UK: 2012 to present)
The former Pussycat Dolls front-woman kicks off our countdown! Ms. Scherzinger started her judging career when she joined Ben Folds and Shawn Stockman during the first two seasons of The Sing-Off. However, since she joined The X Factor family in 2011, Nicole remains the only female judge to have acts (Josh Krajcik, Jahmene Douglas and James Arthur) make it to the finals of two international versions.
24. David Walliams (Britain’s Got Talent: 2012 to present)
This cheeky British comedian’s bubbly personality entertained British Audiences for two seasons on Britain’s Got Talent. While he may have been the male equivalent of Paula Abdul and Demi Lovato (who each have a fascination with Simon Cowell), David’s supportive words helped opera duo Jonathan and Charlotte and rising comedian Jack Carroll reach the finals of their respective seasons.
23. Heidi Klum (Project Runway: 2004 to present; Germany’s Next Top Model: 2006 to present; America’s Got Talent: 2013 to present)
The legendary and feisty German supermodel is celebrating nine years on Reality TV. She has helped launch the careers of designers Christian Siriano, Nick Verreos and Michelle Lesniak Franklin. Plus, Klum has been often seen wearing pieces by many of the Runaway finalists. Currently, she is helping NBC find the next big thing as one of America’s Got Talent’s judges.
22. Adam Shankman (So You Think You Can Dance: 2007 to present)
Adam made his first appearance as part of the show’s third season six years ago, and brings with him experience by the bucket-loads; director, producer, actor, dancer and choreographer. Besides directing films and TV shows like A Walk to Remember, Glee and Hairspray, Shankman has helped shaped several SYTYCD alums’ careers including Lacey Schwimmer, Twitch, Kathryn McCormick, Kent Boyd, Melanie Moore and Cyrus Spencer.
21. Bruno Tonioli (Strictly Come Dancing: 2004 to present; Dancing with the Stars (U.S. Edition: 2005 to present)
The flamboyant Italian dancer and choreographer combines spunk and naughtiness through his wacky critiques that have baffled, praised and pissed off couples throughout his 24 total seasons on the dancing show franchise.
20. Jessie J (The Voice UK: 2012 to 2013)
For two seasons, Jessie J was the only female judge on the UK edition of The Voice. She was the “voice of reason” of the group and bluntly shared her honest opinion on how contestants will make it into the recording industry. While only Vince Kidd is making small rumblings in the British music industry, Jessie J’s brand of honesty will be absent for future seasons on The Voice UK.
19. Bob Tuschman & Susie Fogelson (Food Network Star: 2005 to present)
Ever since Wolfgang Puck, Emeril Lagasse and Julia Child embraced their respective celebrity chef statuses, every chef seems to think that they have what it takes to host their own Food Network show. Food Network executives Bob Tuschman and Susie Fogelson have helped narrowed the lot down for the past nine seasons of Food Network Star and had discovered some incredible talent including Guy Fieri, Melissa D’Arabian, Kelsey Nixon and Adam Gertler, who have worked on either the Food Network or the Cooking Channel.
18. Sir Tom Jones (The Voice UK: 2012 to present)
The legendary blue-eyed soul man from the Welsh valleys has over 50 years experience which provided the integrity and longevity that every Voice panel needs to have in order to be a legitimate show. The “Delilah” singer’s ear helped guided his contestants including Season One finalists Leanne Mitchell (who won the season) and Ruth Brown plus Season Two Runner-Up Mike Ward to a place in the Live Rounds.
17. Amanda Holden (Britain’s Got Talent: 2007 to present)
The British actress and singer has been the heart of the judging panel since 2007 and was a part of discovering international starlet Susan Boyle. She was also been instrumental in discovering Ronan Parke and duo Jonathan and Charlotte. Her sweet and honestly personality made her the perfect balance to fellow judges Simon Cowell, Piers Morgan, David Walliams and Alesha Dixon.
16. Mary Murphy (So You Think You Can Dance: 2005 to present)
Mary Murphy has been sending dancers to ride the “Hot Tamale Train” for the past nine seasons. With the perfect mix of honesty and emotion, Mary has been instrumental in the dance careers of Benji & Lacey Schwimmer, Travis Wall, Twitch, Kathryn McCormick, Kent Boyd and many others. The former ballroom dance champion and Ohio native has also appeared on international versions of the SYTYCD franchise including those in Canada and Australia.
Watch out for Part Two of our countdown coming soon!