Ruben and Clay both disqualified.

Ruben and Clay both disqualified.
A day after Corey Clark was removed from American Idol 2 because of his prior record, finalists Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard have both been disqualified and removed from the competition. Producers cited Ruben’s continued unauthorized promotion of Birmingham’s area code, which is not a paid sponsor of the show, and Clay’s flirting with host Ryan Seacrest, which distracted from Ryan’s flirting with Simon. “Ruben was warned at least twice that only sponsor-related shirts would be permitted,” a producer said. “And Clay just wasn’t willing to go along with the natural banter and persona that we scripted for him.” They’ll be replaced on tonight’s show by Justin Guarini and Kelly Clarkson, who will only sing songs from their upcoming movie. Asked for comment, Paula Abdul said, “This is wonderful–just, wow–those guys are great! The camera loves them. Can I have more NyQuil?”
+ plus: The Smoking Gun reveals that one of the cast members is actually not a criminal.

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.

A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.