LOS ANGELES – 2012 was a bumper year for one of America’s favorite guilty pleasures – reality TV. We bid adieu to “Jersey Shore,” welcomed “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” and gorged ourselves silly on everything from “Toddlers & Tiaras” to “Duck Dynasty.” Here then are our dozen contenders for the craziest reality show moments of 2012. Go to the FOX411 Facebook page to tell us your #1 pick.
“Dance Moms” topless tweens
Lifetime’s “Dance Moms” got many parents in a rage after Pittsburgh dance instructor Abby Lee Miller ordered a troupe of near-nude tweens to strut the stage while projecting, “I’m hot! I’m mean! You can’t have me! You can’t afford me!” Miller defended her vision of pint-sized feathered showgirls by explaining, "I like to push the envelope – and this is taking it right to the limit." Miller wasn’t kidding. The episode was yanked by Lifetime after only one airing.
Nicki Minaj threatens Mariah Carey on “American Idol”
Fox's “American Idol” served up a pretty ho-hum season in 2012, but thanks to new judges Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj, it looks as if 2013 promises to have plenty of divalicous drama. Rumors of unrest between new judges Carey and Minaj, who replaced super-nice judges Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler, have been brewing since filming began last summer. But in October, TMZ obtained video evidence of just how nasty the superstar catfight had become, where the strawberry-maned Minaj allegedly threatened to “knock out” Carey in a foulmouthed tirade. For the record, the pair have since reportedly made up.
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Following the success of “Extreme Couponing,” TLC went back to the well with “Extreme Cheapskates.” The premiere episode featured Kate Hashimoto, an otherwise finically solvent New Yorker who combs the city’s garbage cans for food to serve to friends, doesn’t use toilet paper, and rinses her clothes out in the shower instead of doing laundry.
Courtney Stodden takes over “Couples Therapy”
Technically still newlyweds, fiftysomething Doug Hutchison and his teen bride Courtney Stodden joined the ranks of troubled D-listers on VH1’s “Couples Therapy” in 2012, hashing out their marital woes on camera with Dr. Jenn Berman. But the underage Stodden seemed more interested in parading around in skimpy attire than improving the relationship with her husband. Eventually, Stodden was briefly bounced from the house for "refusing to adhere to a demure dress code," but not before recording some ridiculous reality moments.
Britney Spears makes former backup singer cry on “X-Factor”
Fans of Britney Spears are known to be a pretty devoted bunch (remember Chris Crocker’s 2007 plea to “Leave Britney Alone?”), but Don Philip, a former backup singer for the pop tart, made the mistake of thinking he could somehow impress Spears ten years later by auditioning for Fox's “X-Factor” with his warbling vocals and trumped-up tales of woe. Instead, it became a VERY awkward moment for both Spears and her former colleague turned flipped-out fan. Yikes.
"Extreme Cougar Wives" featuring hot-to-trot Hattie
Thought “cougars” were simply sexy, single fortysomethings? Guess again. The casting director of “Extreme Cougar Wives” deserves some sort of award for discovering Hattie, a 76-year-old granny on the make. “If I see a man who turns me on,” explained the elderly Manhattanite, “I get wet."
Tripp Palin curses out his mom and aunt on “Life's a Trip”
Sarah Palin’s daughter, Bristol Palin, faces some challenges as a single mother, documented on her reality show, “Life’s a Trip.” While on a trip with Tripp to Phoenix, Palin’s admittedly “rowdy” son called his mother and Aunt Willow a naughty word, reported by some outlets to be the OTHER “F” word. For her part, Palin claims that Trip uttered the original “F” word and that she was "not proud of what he did say."
“Small Town Security”: Bodily functions
It may not be the critically acclaimed scripted series “Mad Men,” but AMC has, um, something with “Small Town Security,” a reality show that explores the life–and bodily functions–of a motley crew working at a private security company in Georgia. In one memorable episode, Irwin “The Captian” Koplan discusses a unique solution to his evacuation problem.
Real Housewife Lisa Vanderpump's Beverly Hills house burns down
Between cheating, lying, name-calling and a electronic cigarette smoking psychic, the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” has plenty of drama going on when the cameras are rolling. But 2012‘s most dramatic moment happened away from the Bravo cameras, when Lisa Vanderpump’s former multi-million dollar Beverly Hills mansion burned down. The restauranteur should rebound nicely–she has her own reality spinoff in the pipeline.
Kim Kardashian muses mayorhood
Between “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” and “Khloe & Lamar,” there many, many moments of inanity, but perhaps the most absurd moment of 2012 was when Kim Kardasian announced to her sister Khloe that she was planning on running for Mayor of Glendale. Too bad no one told her that mayorship is not an elected position in Glendale...
“Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” weighs in on gay rights
Characterized by one Internet pundit as “the Shirley Temple of our generation,” Alana Thompson, perhaps better known as Honey Boo Boo Child, made a splash in 2012 with her own self-titled reality show. The series averaged 2.4 million viewers for TLC during its eight-week run, beating viewership for the Republican National Convention and tying viewership for the Democratic National Convention. Thompson, ever the ambassador for tolerance, spoke out on gay rights. “Ain’t nothin’ wrong with being gay,” said the sage seven-year-old. “Everybody’s a little gay.”
Pick any moment from "The Houstons: On Our Own"
Possibly the worst idea for a reality show in 2012 (and in this field, that is really saying something) is Lifetime’s “The Houstons: Own Our Own.” Whitney Houston hasn’t been dead yet a year, but execs and producers thought it was a dandy idea to document Houston’s teenage daughter, Bobbi Kristina, and her relationship with reported fiancee/adopted brother Nick Gordon. Some things are better left off-camera.