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A method of eliminating contestants in a Reality Game Show which does not involve subjective voting by other contestants, judges or the viewers. Contestants are eliminated simply by their showing in an objective contest, with the last-place finisher eliminated.
In sports, this type of contest is called "last man standing". A few informal "shootout" golf events use some variation of this.
Sometimes a round is announced as a surprise "non-elimination," in which the losing contestant remains in play, but is given a new handicap. Often that handicap results in their elimination at the next opportunity-- but sometimes, they overcome the handicap and return to a competitive position in the pack. And that's the kind of drama that reality show producers just love.
Contrast Voted Off the Island, where you are eliminated by your fellow contestants in a vote.
- The Amazing Race, the Trope Namer, eliminates the pair of racers who finish last on each leg of the race.
- The Mole gives contestants a test of their knowledge about the Mole. The contestant with the lowest score (or lowest score and slowest time, in case of a tie) is eliminated.
- This trope actually predates competitive reality shows, having been in use on Adam Wade's version of Musical Chairs, if not earlier.
- Estate of Panic has a double-elimination each round; the last person left in the room being searched, that round, is trapped there, while the player among those who escaped who found the least amount of money is sent home.
- The Biggest Loser has a variation; the two contestants who lose the least weight are voted on by the others to decide who goes home (with least weight lost as a tiebreaker).
- And the occasional red line thrown in, which is an auto-elimination instead of a vote. This is usually coupled with a yellow line like above.
- The latest season is a team competition, wherein the team that lost less weight is forced to vote one of their teammates home (with the team member who lost the most weight safe from elimination).
- Solitary plays this a different way. Elimination challenges (or "Treatments") push the contestants to physical, mental, and emotional extremes. When the contestants have had enough, they quit. The first player to quit is sent home, the rest get to stay.
- The second season of American Ninja Warrior uses a variation; the losing team nominates two people, who are pitted against each other in a rope climb contest, with the loser being the one to go home.
- On Golf Channel's The Big Break, there are no votes. Each show ends with an elimination challenge, where the golfer who finishes last is eliminated. A golfer won an exemption from an elimination challenge by winning the skills challenge.
- Fear Factor had this as part of its structure. In the initial six person set up, the men competed against each other in the first stunt and likewise with the women with one of each being eliminated. On the second day all four would be against each other sometimes with one being eliminated that day and others would have all four advancing to the final stunt.
- The later seasons with pairs had a variation. The worst pair would initially be eliminated the first day with the remaining three surviving the second day (usually with another prize up for grabs for the best team) and going onto the final stunt. This then changed to something where the team that did the best on the first stunt got to eliminate a pair of their choosing, and they almost always pick the second best team.
- In the earlier rounds, Top Shot uses a variation similar to that of American Ninja Warrior above. The losing team nominates two people, who are pitted against each other in an "elimination challenge" loosely related to the main challenge; the loser of the elimination challenge goes home. Played far straighter once the teams merge; the lowest performer in a challenge is the one to be eliminated (in one case, the bottom two).
- On the short lived late 70s revival of Jeopardy!, the contestant with the lowest amount of money at the end of the first game was eliminated and only the other two went on to the "Double Jeopardy" round.
- Win Ben Stein's Money eliminates the lowest-scoring contestant after the first round and puts their "winnings" back into Ben's pool for the next round.
Live Action TV
- On ESPN's sports-talk show Around the Horn, host Tony Reali awards points to the four sportswriters on the panel (or subtracts them, if he finds their replies lacking). As the show progresses, the lowest-scoring panelist at each of several cuts is "muted" for the rest of the show, eventually leaving the last panelist standing 30 seconds to pontificate on any topic (s)he wishes.