As we plow through more seasons of "Big Brother," "So You Think You Can Dance," and "The Bachelor" this summer, it's hard not to ask what the merits of winning a reality competition are. Do we applaud manipulative prowess? Sheer talent? Sheer watchability? Every show is different, but -- with the exception of the last couple seasons of "SYTYCD" -- one thing is certain: There can only be one winner. And fans usually bathe that winner in a glorious light for eternity.
We got to thinking about our favorite reality shows and the winners who made them great. After narrowing down the options and reducing reality TV to its most phenomenal victories and players, we came up with this Top 11.
11. Sharon Needles - RuPaul's Drag Race
Sharon Needles, the first winner of "RuPaul's Drag Race" to feel like the undisputed champ, defined charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent but also brought an undervalued fifth element to RuPaul's glamordome: unpredictability. She was not only "beautiful, spooky, and stupid" (as she famously defined herself), but a provocateur who could deliver ferocity and a joke. Who can forget her bawdy, perfectly cuckoo impersonation of Michelle Visage in "Snatch Game"? If only her ex-beau Alaska Thunderf*ck could've won season five, we'd have a droll, dangerously sultry dynasty on our hands.
10. Danielle Evans - America's Next Top Model
It's easy to pick Danielle as the greatest "ANTM" contestant because she was damn funny ("I'm about to regurgitate on someone's face right now," she said of her elephant ride), cool, and just a striking model with the most expressive eyes in the show's history. Her post-show career speaks for itself, but she blew us away first with how should could work menthol-induced tears on camera.
5. Dr. Will - Big Brother
Dr. Will Kirby combines the most beloved two character traits of a "Big Brother" houseguest: shrewdness and egomania. He warned his competitors that he was a born liar, but that didn't stop him from dominating his season with brutally condescending wit. Kirby subscribed to the idea that the bigger the lie you tell, the easier it is to believe -- and that clearly worked considering how flawless his duping powers were. And though he didn't win season six, I am a big fan of how he correctly predicted Janelle would fall in love with him.
3. Christian Siriano - Project Runway
Season four is definitely not my favorite year of "Project Runway" (My top five in that respect: 2, 3, 1, 5, and 8), but Christian Siriano can't be faulted for confidently pumping out a near-flawless stream of looks during his season. He could churn out looks that were both voluminous and sleek or dreamy and fierce -- often all in the same look. His frilly, outsize collaboration with Chris March? His devastating denim ensemble? His jarringly hot final collection? The through-line of his work is incredible execution, and you have to give the then- 21-year-old designer for knowing it. Props to him. And nothing is funnier than when he'd call Tim Gunn "lady."
1. Kelly Clarkson - American Idol
Kelly Clarkson, to this day, is the reality TV winner who makes us love reality TV. She was thrilled to participate in such an experimental spectacle and completely willing to blow us away with unexpected power every single week on "American Idol." Her performance of "Stuff Like That There" is still so zesty, her "Walk On By" is still so heartfelt, and her version of "A Moment Like This" made you believe in the power of a single victorious performance. Carrie Underwood may have been a fabulous talent, but Kelly was a fabulous talent and a legendary charismatic reality TV star.
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Who is your favorite reality show winner ever ontd?