56 voters

The Most Exciting Reality Competition Shows Ever Made

Updated May 20, 2021 1.8k votes 56 voters 1.2k views74 items

List RulesThe competitive reality television series that historically have kept you on the edge of your seat as the contestants compete to win.

The best reality competition TV shows ever aired are some of the most exciting and competitive series to watch on television, but which are the most exciting of all time? Determining which competitive reality series is the most exciting isn't an easy task given the plethora of options available, but this list might make it just a bit easier. These days, with the use of digital streaming, more and more shows people have forgotten are being rewatched, checked out for the first time, or even remade into new classics for new generations to enjoy, but which of these reality competition shows is the best of them all in terms of excitement?

Would something newer like The Masked Singer land higher on the list than a classic reality competition series like the original American Idol or The Voice? For a reality competition series to be truly exciting, it has to be the kind that depicts a competition with dire consequences for failure, or a seriously huge prize for the winner. The only way to find out which is the most exciting series is to vote up your favorite reality competition series below, but remember, this list is all about excitement! Which series is more exciting than the one below it?

Don't forget to add your favorite reality competition show to the list if it's missing and vote for your favorite below!

  • 1

    PremieredAugust 15, 2010

    The Great Food Truck Race is a reality television series that originally aired on August 15, 2010, on Food Network, with Tyler Florence as the host. It features competing food trucks. The fourth...  more
  • 2

    The Amazing Race

    Phil Keoghan

    PremieredSeptember 5, 2001

    The Amazing Race (CBS, 2001) is a reality competition tv show created by Elise Doganieri and Bertram van Munster. Teams of two people race around the world in competition with other teams....  more
  • 3

    The Voice

    Adam Levine, Blake Shelton

    PremieredApril 26, 2011

    The Voice (NBC, 2011) is an American reality television singing competition hosted by Kelly Clarkson, John Legend, Nick Jonas, Blake Shelton, and Carson Daly. Based on the original The Voice of...  more
  • 4

    PremieredJanuary 2, 2019

    The Masked Singer (Fox, 2019) is an American reality competition series based on the South Korean show King of Mask Singer. Hosted by Nick Cannon, the show features celebrities singing in a...  more
  • 5

    Beat Bobby Flay

    Bobby Flay

    PremieredMarch 3, 2014

    Two talented chefs go head-to-head for the chance to Beat Bobby Flay. To get to Bobby the chefs must first face off against each other, creating a spectacular dish with a secret ingredient of Bobby's...  more
  • 6

    Hell's Kitchen

    Gordon Ramsay, Jean Philippe Susilovic

    PremieredMay 30, 2005

    Hell's Kitchen (Fox, 2005) is an American reality competition television series based on the British series. World renowned chef Gordon Ramsay puts aspiring young chefs through rigorous cooking...  more
  • 7

    American Ninja Warrior

    Matt Iseman, Jenn Brown

    PremieredDecember 12, 2009

    American Ninja Warrior is a sports entertainment competition spin-off of the television series Sasuke, in which competitors try to complete a series of obstacle courses of increasing difficulty...  more
  • 8


    Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot

    PremieredJuly 27, 2010

    MasterChef (Fox, 2010) is an American competitive cooking reality show based on the original British series. A nationwide search for the best home cooks in America where one of 50 hopefuls will...  more
  • 9

    Iron Chef

    Masaharu Morimoto, Hiroyuki Sakai

    PremieredJune 21, 1997

    Iron Chef is a Japanese television cooking show produced by Fuji Television. The series, which premiered on October 10, 1993, is a stylized cook-off featuring guest chefs challenging one of the...  more
  • 10

    Britain's Got Talent

    Anthony McPartlin, Declan Donnelly


    Britain's Got Talent (ITV, 2007), often abbreviated to BGT, is a televised British talent show competition, and part of the global Got Talent franchise created by Simon Cowell. Contestants audition...  more
  • 11

    Top Chef

    Emeril Lagasse, Gail Simmons

    PremieredMarch 8, 2006

    Top Chef is an American reality competition show on the cable television network Bravo, that first aired in 2006, in which chefs compete against each other in culinary challenges. They are judged by...  more
  • 12


    Megan Thee Stallion, Law Roach

    PremieredMay 27, 2020

    Legendary (HBO Max, 2020) is a voguing competition television series hosted by Dashaun Wesley. Divas will battle on voguing teams called "houses," with the chance to win a cash prize in ballsy...  more
  • 13

    The Taste

    Anthony Bourdain, Nigella Lawson

    PremieredJanuary 22, 2013

    The Taste (ABC, 2013) is an American cooking-themed reality competition series. 16 contestants are put in team and individual cooking challenges with the help of mentors Anthony Bourdain, Nigella...  more
  • 14

    Food Network Star

    Bobby Flay, Giada De Laurentiis

    PremieredJune 5, 2005

    Food Network Star (Food Network, 2005) is a reality television series. A contest to find a well rounded great chef with a unique point of view and hosting type of personality to host their own show....  more
  • 15


    Ted Allen, Alex Guarnaschelli

    PremieredJanuary 13, 2009

    Chopped is an American reality based cooking television series created by Dave Noll and Michael Krupat, with executive producer Linda Lea, and hosted by Ted Allen that pits four chefs against each...  more
  • 16

    Fear Factor

    Joe Rogan


    And be sure to check out our list of all Fear Factor episodes, ranked.

    Fear Factor is an American stunt/dare reality game show. It originally aired between 2001 and 2006, when it was cancelled. It was later revived in 2011, only to be cancelled again on May 13, 2012....  more
  • 17

    Food Network Star Kids

    Tia Mowry, Donal Skehan


    Food Network Star Kids (Food Network, 2016) is an American cooking competition television series presented by Tia Mowry and food critic Donal Skehan. The series is a spin-off of Food Network Star....  more
  • 18

    Cupcake Wars

    Candace Nelson, Florian Bellanger

    PremieredDecember 27, 2009

    Cupcake Wars is an American reality competition series which premiered on June 13, 2010 and aired on the cable television network Food Network. The cooking show is hosted by Justin Willman and based...  more
  • 19

    The X Factor (UK)

    Simon Cowell, Sharon Osbourne


    The X Factor is a British television music competition to find new singing talent, contested by aspiring singers drawn from public auditions. Created by Simon Cowell, the show began in 2004 and has...  more
  • 20

    Cutthroat Kitchen

    Alton Brown, Simon Majumdar


    Just how far is a chef willing to go to win a cooking competition? Cutthroat Kitchen hands four chefs each $25,000 and the opportunity to spend that money on helping themselves or sabotaging their...  more
  • 21


    Rocsi Diaz, Simon Gibson

    PremieredJune 29, 2020

    Cannonball (USA Network, 2020) is an American physical competition television series starring Rocsi Diaz, Simon Gibson, and Mike 'The Miz' Mizanin. 16 larger-than-life personalities jump into the...  more
  • 22


    Crime Scene Kitchen (Fox, 2021) is an American reality competition baking series. Hosted by Joel McHale, bakers are tasked to recreate what type of dessert was made when all that’s left are the...  more
  • 23

    The Sing-Off

    Nick Lachey, Shawn Stockman


    The Sing-Off is an American television singing competition featuring a cappella groups. It debuted on NBC on December 14, 2009, and is produced by Sony Pictures Television and Outlaw Productions,...  more
  • 24

    Canada's Drag Race

    Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman, Brock Hayhoe

    PremieredJuly 2, 2020

    Canada's Drag Race (Crave/Logo, 2020) is a Canadian reality competition television series based on the American series RuPaul's Drag Race. Drag queens showcase their Canadian charisma, uniqueness,...  more
  • 25

    Blown Away

    Nick Uhas

    PremieredFebruary 20, 2019

    Blown Away (Netflix, 2019) is a competitive reality television series. Ten master artists turn up the heat in glassblowing sculpture challenges for the chance to win $60,000 in prizes and the title...  more