Reality TV looks less and less like anything resembling reality, so it can be a welcome relief when a show veers off script or a truly surprising character emerges.
Last week, a highly unlikely suspect took Israel by storm by winning one of Israel's top TV singing competitions. Rosa Fostanes, a 47-old Filipina caregiver who is just 4-foot-11 tall, won Israel's X-factor with a moving performance of Frank Sinatra’s "My Way." However, Fostanes' future appeared unclear after her win, as her restrictive visa didn't allow her to earn money by singing in the country. Luckily, the Israeli Interior Minister stepped in on Monday and gave her special permission to work as an artist, the AFP reported.
In the wake of Fostanes' victory, HuffPostWorld takes you on a tour around the world of surprising reality TV stars.
PAKISTAN: The couple who couldn’t have children.. and won a baby girl
Riaz-ud-Din and Tanzeem Riaz had been trying to conceive a baby for 14 years. Then they became instant parents in 2013.. on a TV show. NBC explains that the couple was invited to attend one of Pakistan’s most popular TV shows, Aman Ramadan, a blend of quiz show and religious discussion forum aired during the month of Ramadan. Riaz and Tanzeem were one of two married pairs who were offered an abandoned child to adopt on air during different episodes, according to the BBC. The couple became the parents of a baby girl.
THAILAND: The woman who revealed she was transgender by switching key mid-song
Bell Nuntita’s debut performance on "Thailand's Got Talent" in 2011 started out as a girly rendition of a Thai pop song. Midway, she stunned audiences by switching suddenly to a masculine tenor, revealing herself as a male-to-female transgender. The Bangkok Post reports that she went on to star in a movie and released several records.
GAZA: The guy who had to bribe his way across a border and sneak into auditions
Mohammad Assaf became a sensation after he won regional singing contest Arab Idol in 2013. But the road to glory was not a smooth one. Trying to reach the auditions in Cairo from his home in the Gaza Strip, Assaf was turned back at the tense border three times and ultimately paid more than $600 in bribes to get across, the New York Times notes. When the singer finally arrived, the auditions had just closed. Determined to get in, Assad scaled a wall at the hotel where the auditions were held, but was caught by security guards. However, once Assaf started to warm up, another Palestinian contestant surrendered his spot, according to NPR.
INDIA: The "Bandit Queen" who got out of jail to go on the show
Indian gang leader Seema Parihar, nicknamed the bandit queen, spent 18 years on the run before surrendering to authorities. According to the BBC, Parihar faced 29 counts of murder and kidnapping from her outlaw days, some of which were later dropped. She applied to join the Indian reality TV show Bigg Boss while still on trial, and lasted several weeks in the house, according to the Indian press.