Former Trainee Exposes The Favoritism On Survival Shows That Happens Behind The Scenes

He picked up on it pretty quickly into filming.

While the public wasn’t aware that survival shows were rigged until police charged the Produce 101 series with manipulating votes, the contestants see it happening in real-time.

“Produce 101” contestants from season two.

Alfred Sun, a former contestant on the Chinese survival show We Are Young, revealed the favoritism that happens behind the scenes.

Alfred Sun | @sealfred/Instagram

Like many survival shows, We Are Young initially ranked every trainee into teams A, B, C, or D based on their skills and experience. Although Alfred was part of team D for being a newcomer, he quickly noticed something unexpected about the highest-ranked teams. He explained, “But when I saw teams A and B— supposedly people that are very, very good—they didn’t really perform as well as I thought.

Because Alfred had years of experience in dancing, he was confident in ranking at the top. Unfortunately, the show wasn’t basing its rankings on dance skills alone.

Based on the dance skills itself, I was confident that I was going to get the spot. But when they started announcing who was going to stand in the spot, I was like, ‘Okay, this is not right.’

— Alfred Sun

The survival show had instead chosen the popular trainees first, using the remaining spots to squeeze in talented dancers like Alfred.

Although Alfred “felt very humble” standing on stage with such well-known artists and trainees, he picked up on the favoritism from the very first mission.

When I looked around, everyone was either from a big company, or they debuted before, or they’ve joined previous seasons of the show.

— Alfred Sun

While viewers might think someone’s ranking is based on their skills, staff might’ve increased their ranking for other reasons behind the scenes.