The Last Perfect Winning Moment on Reality Competition TV

Ever since The Voice season 15 ended and I watched the winning moment out of curiosity, I’ve been thinking about winning moments on these shows. And frankly, it’s been a long time since we’ve had a perfect one. And that was in 2008, when David Cook won American Idol.

Why is it perfect? Several reasons.

  1. Ryan announces the result relatively quickly.
  2. Once the result is announced, the judges aren’t the first cutaway shot. We see David’s family in the audience first. He is the focus of the winning moment, as it should be.
  3. David gets to give a speech. He doesn’t succeed at delivering it without crying, but he at least gets time to try. Phillip Phillips, for example, didn’t get a chance at all.
  4. David’s family joins him on stage mid-speech. Kudos to the producers for timing it so that David sees his family and breaks down again.
  5. Despite the winner’s single being terrible, David gets to sing the whole thing. Not 2 minutes, not 30 seconds, the whole song. If you want a winner’s single to do well, you have to let people hear the whole thing.
  6. The other contestants are with David on stage as he sings the song.

To sum it up? It’s not rushed. A great winning moment takes time. The Voice is the worst offender today, with AGT also being pretty pathetic. American Idol got some things right last season with Maddie, but it was still way too rushed – she didn’t get to say anything outside of her performance. The X Factor is the last show that takes its time with the winning moment, and I really appreciate that.

If I root for a contestant all season and they win, I want to see them celebrate. That’s the payoff for the entire season. It’s a shame that none of the American shows realize that anymore.


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