I didn't see a thread covering this issue so I decided to start one.
One of my biggest gripes about reality shows is the emphasis on the sob story. From American Idol to So You Think You Can Dance, they spend so much of the audition focusing on the hardships the auditioners have gone through and when they're chosen for the show, we have to endure pity parties from them every week and contestants pleading to the judges to keep them because they really need the money/the chance/a life, etc.
Maybe I'm hard-hearted but I think contestants should win a talent competition because they have the talent and they earned it, not because they need the money and feel entitled to it for that reason. Who doesn't need the money?? Who hasn't had a hard life?? Heck, I could tell my own sob story and if that would entitle me to a million dollars on some reality show, why shouldn't I get it??? Who cares if my singing is only average and I'm not a pro dancer? I deserve the money because life is hard!!!!
I wouldn't mind the shows giving us some background on the contestants so we can get to know them but I don't need to get hit over the head every week with woe-is-me tales. I'd rather hear about what inspired them, what positive influences they had in life, what training they've done, what their greatest accomplishments have been, etc.
Give the whiney-baby contestants with average talent a therapy buddy doll like the one from American Inventor and save the big prize for the contestants with the most talent.