In case you haven't noticed (and congratulations if you haven't), Colorado has made quite the contribution to the life-sucking force that is reality television over the past several years, and things around here just keep getting more real.
Louisville native Nicole Fox is channeling her crazy in the current cycle of America's Next Top Model; Showtime recently announced a new reality series, Lock 'n Load, that follows an Englewood gun salesman's quest to keep our fine state armed and dangerous; and while he didn't live here at the time, comedian Joe Rogan — former host of that weekly puke-inducing adventure we knew and loved, Fear Factor — now makes his home in Boulder and will do his first stint as a local at the downtown Comedy Works this weekend.
All of which got us thinking: Who are Colorado's greatest reality-TV stars? We ranked our favorites in the countdown below, but like reality itself, TV is subjective, so send your own list to firstname.lastname@example.org. The best entry will receive a free pizza. And by the time you finish this list, you'll know who's cooking it.
10. Charlie Price, Shear Genius
Single-handedly responsible for making all nine people who watch Shear Genius think Denver is full of ornery man-bitches, Price doubles as the owner of Cherry Creek's Click Salon. After making it to the final stages of the Bravo show's second season, he returned to Denver, where he continues to be bald and cut hair. How this is different from a fat drunk teaching yoga, we're not sure, but we'll give him a break because that frosty stare makes us think he'd shank us with his thinning shears if we ever saw him in Whole Foods.
9. Mark Huebner, The Bachelorette
While Huebner's time on the most recent Bachelorette was short-lived, and though he's admittedly a bit of an enigma (translation: He doesn't have a Wikipedia page), he makes the list because the cover boy keeps showing up at the Westword office with pizza from his Denver Pizza Company. It may sound shallow — no, it's definitely shallow — but if you had a slice of his double-meat in your hand and were staring into those oceanic eyes, you'd want him to keep coming around, too.
8. Ami Cusack, Survivor: Micronesia
Born in Golden, Cusack is living proof that if you pose naked for Playboy and then briefly pretend to be a lesbian to get on Survivor, you too, can...you know...do whatever it is she's doing these days.
7. Ace Young, American Idol
Along with that British opera-singing dude, Young is perhaps the only reality star who doesn't deserve to be punched in the face. A graduate of Fairview High, he spent his teen years volunteering at the Children's Hospital in Denver, working his way up the singer-songwriter ranks and being really, really good-looking. He moved to Los Angeles at 23, placed seventh in Idol and, as far as we can tell, did not turn into a total dick. And for that, we commend him.
6. Hosea Rosenberg, Top Chef: New York
Sure, Rosenberg, the chef at Boulder's Jax, cooked his way past a cadre of talented chefs to bring the Top Chef crown home to Colorado and further establish us as a hot spot in the country's culinary landscape. But what got him here, to this moment, to this somewhat arbitrary list, is the fact that he brought some Real World-style drama to a show that, unless you're a foodie, is face-stabbingly boring. To be specific, Rosenberg made out on camera with a fellow contestant, despite the fact that both were in committed relationships. Ruining your loved ones' lives for the sake of fleeting fame? That's a key ingredient of a reality star, and Rosenberg measures up.
5. Heidi Montag, The Hills; I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here; Celebrity Rehab: Vapid Reality-Star Edition (in development)
Experts believe that Crested Butte native Montag was one chance meeting with Lauren Conrad away from going down on the bartender at the Buffalo Wild Wings in Lakewood. Instead, she was on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Isn't that delightful?
4. Ryan Sutter, The Bachelorette
A Fort Collins native, Sutter is one half — okay, maybe one third — of one of the Bachelor brand's most famous couples. That he captured the heart of Trista Rehn is no surprise, as Sutter at the time possessed the two qualities most desired by dating show contestants and producers alike: a budding football career and a jaw the size of Zambia. The couple now make their home in Vail, where he's a firefighter, and she, still surprised at how much tax got taken out of that Dancing With the Stars check, is gently nudging him to give pro football another shot.
3. Daisy de la Hoya, Rock of Love, Daisy of Love, Faces of Death VII (2011)
Yes, you're right: Technically speaking, Daisy, who was raised in Denver, is responsible for one of the lowest moments in television history — the day a drastically hung-over Viacom rep accidentally green-lit a spinoff of a show about empty rock whores vying for the attention of the washed-up frontman from a band that sucked in the first place. But it's believed that the spinoff — in which the Men of Central Douche Casting vied for the attention of a girl who couldn't even land Bret Michaels — has helped experts make major strides in the fight against several sexually transmitted diseases. We thank you, Miss Daisy.
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2. Duane "Dog" Chapman, Dog the Bounty Hunter
If anyone's going to represent your city, you want it to be a 'roided-up convict who was catapulted to fame by court order. Chapman got his start on Denver's Bail Bonds Row after he told a judge he couldn't afford his child support. Because he looks like Hulk Hogan after a really awesome coke bender, the judge figured Chapman might have success reeling in a fugitive. The rest is history — history that everyone but three guys at A&E and Dog's nutritionist want to forget, but history, nonetheless.
1. The Cast of The Real World: Denver
You try to forget them, you really do. But you can't get hammered and bite into a half-frozen burrito on Market Street without staring longingly at their former house, which is now a swank bar called Thëorie — which is great, because there hasn't been an actual theory hatched on The Real World since 1995. And while your friends hold you upright outside the Cowboy Lounge, you can't help but wonder what would have been had your LoDo phase overlapped with theirs. Would you have knocked up Brooke? Been accused of rape by Jenn? Drunkenly made out with Davis, only to spend the next several months threatening the MTV legal department with various torts in an effort to get your face blurred from the telecast? We'll never know. And that, friends, is a cryin' shame.