It seems like every contestant they show on competition reality shows have some sort of tragic backstory. They faced some sort of adversity to get where they are. While some people roll their eyes after a while, I think these are the people we need to see.

As an avid watcher of the plethora of competition reality shows out there, I've caught onto the pattern. If they show a contestant before they go on with sad piano music in the background as they sit in the holding area looking off into the distant, 99.9999% of the time they will make it through the audition round. Whether it is the teenager that lost their parents at a very young age, the child with some sort of incurable disease, or an adult that has raised their children working three jobs struggling to get by, these contestants you know will make it even before they audition.

I've sat with people who have said they are tired of all of the sad background stories. They say things like, "the show isn't about who has the saddest backstory, it is the talent that matters."

I find this quite cynical.

While yes, the judges and audience shouldn't allow themselves to be swayed by emotion, there is something meaningful about these contestants.

They bring hope to others.

These days it is hard to turn on the television or logon to Facebook without being bombarded by negativity. Whether it is a tragic news story or a Facebook friend complaining about some meaningless thing, it is hard to escape the negativity.

We need people like Mandy Harvey.

Who is Mandy Harvey?

She is a contestant on this season of America's Got Talent and the one who inspired this post. Mandy Harvey is a 29-year-old woman who lost her hearing at 18 due to a connective tissue disorder. Guess what Mandy's talent is? Singing. Yes, this 29-year-old singer has been deaf for over 10 years and yet she sings. Quite beautifully I might add. She uses muscle memory and digital tuners to sing and feels the rhythm of the song through her feet.

Mandy was going to college for music when she lost her hearing.

Can you imagine at 18-years-old losing something so vital to your dreams and future? Mandy had to drop out of the program.

Rather than throwing in the towel and saying, well life's not fair so why bother trying, Mandy did the unthinkable. She sang.


Why do we need contestants like Mandy?

Sometimes we need to see people prevail against all odds. Throughout our lives that thing called life will throw us curve balls and shove us off the easy path. Sometimes it feels like we are endlessly falling into a never ending pit with nope hope of seeing the sunshine again. But guess what? We will. No matter what life throws at you, people prevail. People like Mandy are proof of that. Hope is never lost even in the darkest of hours.

Reminders of this as we try to escape the pressures of life while watching mindless television programs can help you realize that no matter what there is always a way to persevere. There is always a way to strive forward. There is always a way to survive.

So, for all of those who roll their eyes at the "sad/sappy" backstories remember this post if you made it down this far. These are the people that can give those hope, who otherwise thought all hope was lost.

So, thank you Mandy and all of those like you. The ones who looked life straight in the eyes and said bring it on and shared your story with the world. Thank you.

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