Chasing History – Murtz Jaffer’s Attempt To Attend Every Reality Show Finale Live In 2017

When I was 6, I remember my parents asking me what I wanted to do when I grew up. My answer: I wanted to watch TV all day.

Thirty-one years later, I call myself the world’s foremost reality television expert, accurately predicting the outcome of every major reality show. Along the way, I hosted my own reality show called Reality Obsessed, which aired on TVTropolis.

When my show had run its course, I found myself searching for an encore and decided to set a Guinness World Record by attending and covering every major reality show finale . . . live. In 2013, that added up to 13 finales for which I was in the audience, on the red carpet or hosting the finale party (and usually all three). This year, I wanted to break my own record. What follows is my diary of the 2017 pursuit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big Brother Canada, Toronto, May 19
The latest season of what is undoubtedly the most popular Canadian reality series is one of the few shows that I have been able to attend since its inception. This season pitted first-time players against a select group of all-stars. In most seasons where this occurs, one of the returning players is almost always the victor. While this principle seemed in doubt in 2017, Kevin ultimately proved the theory by winning over Karen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Voice Season 12, Los Angeles, May 22-23
The next finale on the docket was The Voice. In a particularly predictable season, the last contestant chosen from the live rounds, Chris Blue, was clearly the best vocalist on the season. The R&B season provided coach Alicia Keys with her first win on the NBC series.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Survivor Game Changers, Los Angeles, May 24
The Survivor Game Changers was the 27th finale that I have attended live in the show’s 35 season history. I had previously attended Survivor Marquesas, Survivor Thailand, Survivor Amazon, Survivor Palau, Survivor Guatemala, Survivor Cook Islands, Survivor Fiji, Survivor China, Survivor Micronesia, Survivor Gabon, Survivor Tocantins, Survivor Samoa, Survivor Heroes vs. Villians, Survivor Nicaragua, Survivor Redemption Island, Survivor South Pacific, Survivor One World, Survivor Philippines, Survivor Caaramoan, Survivor Blood vs. Water, Survivor Cagayan, Survivor San Juan Del Sur, Survivor Worlds Apart, Survivor Cambodia, Survivor Koah Rong, and Survivor Millennials vs. Gen X. The season was capped off with former Cagayan first jury member Sarah taking the win over Brad and Troyzan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Amazing Race 29, Los Angeles, June 1
This past season of The Amazing Race helped breathe new life into the series. For the first time, the show cast a series of singles who then had to choose their partner to race around the world with. While the show has received critical acclaim and has won the most Emmy’s in the reality competition category, it has seemed to be mired in a stagnant state in recent years. The new season put a new twist and things and made the show a contender for the top series of the year. Scott Flanary and Brooke Camhi were named the victors. I was able to talk to scott and Brooke after the show and they were completely gracious in victory. They added a lot of entertainment to the series and embodied ‘what strangers racing around the world would look like’ which is definitely what CBS was going for.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Amazing Race Canada, Toronto, September 12
Prior to their finale, I had a chance to catch up with the teams from The Amazing Race Canada’s fifth season. Dating couple Sam Lambert and Paul Mitsokopoulos were the winners and I was able to talk to them the day after they crossed the finish line in first place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big Brother 19, Los Angeles, September 20
Next up was the Big Brother U.S. finale. This season featured a cast of new players with one exception. Paul Abrahamian, last season’s runner-up returned to the house to complete alongside this year’s newbies. Incredibly, the lone returnee was able to make to the end where he lost for the second season in a row. This time, he was bested by Josh Martinez. The after-party for the show was awesome and I spent quite a lot of time with many of the houseguests. I spent the most time talking to Elena, Mark, Matt, Raven, and Jason and it was interesting hearing them detail the rationale behind their votes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So You Think You Can Dance 14, Los Angeles, September 25
So You Think You Can Dance remains one of the most consistently underrated reality programs. The show that sees amateur dancers compete for the title of America’s Favorite has seen perhaps the most changes to its original format. In past years, it has pitted street and studio dancers against each other and even once turned its format on its head by inviting kids to compete. This season, the show was dominated by previous all-star contestants getting to choose a new amateur dancer to compete with. Once again, there was a clear favourite from the start and the pre-show predictions proved to be on the money as Lex Ishimoto was able to pull off the win alongside partner and former champion, Gaby Diaz. At the post-show carpet, I interviewed the finalists and was even able to talk to Vanessa Hudgens who I ran into at the airport the next day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Launch, Toronto, October 3
This new original CTV series is the brainchild of Big Machine’s Scott Borchetta and has promised to rewrite the traditional concept of singing shows. Each week five artists audition for the opportunity to record and release a new original song. I was able to attend the live taping of the series and even know one of the singers that will be appear in the first episode. What will be game-changing about this show is that it shortens the usually unnecessary audition portion of these series and, to be frank, cuts straight to the chase. I believe it will be one of the breakout hits of 2018 and was excited about getting the chance to see it live.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bachelor Canada, Toronto, November 18
One of the few finales that I have never had the chance to check out live is The Bachelor. That’s why one of the highlights of this year’s attempts was getting to see the final taping of The Women Tell All and After The Final Rose. It was a pretty stunning finale as finalist Lyndsey Gavin chose to not pursue a relationship with Bachelor Chris Leroux before he offered his final rose the other finalist, Mikaela Wightman. Unfortunately Canada’s latest couple Bachelor couple revealed that they were no longer romantically involved on After The Final Rose.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Voice Season 13, Los Angeles, December 18 & 19
The next stop on my agenda was a return for the second Voice finale in 2017. This time around, Blake Shelton had two artists in the finale including Red Marlow and Chloe Kohanski. His artists were up against Addison Agen from Team Adam and Brooke Simpson from Team Miley. Just like Season 13, the winner seemed to be quite obvious as Chloe dominated the iTunes charts after nearly ever performance, making Miley’s decision to release her (and allowing Shelton to steal the eventual winner) even more curious.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Survivor Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers, December 20
The final finale of the year was another Survivor. Undoubtedly the most controversial final episode of the year, the last episode saw Ben Driebergen secure the $1 million prize over Chrissy Hofbeck and Ryan Ulrich. The finale drew a lot of attention after Ben was able to find hidden immunity idols at will and was on the verge of being voted off when Chrissy won the Final Four immunity challenge. That’s when producers rolled out a new twist that told Chrissy that she had a ‘secret advantage’ which forced her to only select one person to bring with her to the Final Three, resulting in the two she did not select to compete in a fire-making challenge. Weeks after the fact, I am still wondering how that was an advantage. In any event, there is no doubt that Ben deserved the win and the new twist did what it was supposed to do. Get people talking about the show that is now headed into its 36th season.

And there you have it. I fell three finales short to break my own mark of 13 finales in one calendar year. I am hopeful that 2018 will be the year that I am able to do it again. I have a positive outlook. This year will see the return of American Idol and the introduction of The Four which I am hoping to get to. The dates for Dancing With The Stars didn’t work out in 2017 and I also wasn’t able to get to America’s Got Talent or the U.S. Bachelor which are all goals.

Thanks to everyone who helped this year. From friends watching the record from afar, to the brilliant staff at the hotels I stayed at to the numerous publicists who assisted. It was another year that cemented my opinion that reality television isn’t going anywhere.

I am often asked why I do this and I don’t have a clear answer. Is there a difference between my pursuit of a reality television finale world record and TLC’s My Crazy Obsession ? To many, probably not. To me, there most certainly is.

After I graduated from journalism school, I knew that I wanted to be the best at writing and reporting about a specific subject. I wanted to be Roger Ebert of TV reviews and the Perez Hilton of reality dish. With a few hotel sponsor exceptions, I have financed this pursuit on my own and will continue to do so. If I exist only as a footnote when historians remember the reality television craze of our generation, I am OK with that. The contestants and concepts change, but I feel like I am the only constant.

Here is a link to the gallery:

 

To see the interviews, check out my YouTube Page.

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