American Idol producer says judges don’t “[have] that much of an effect.”

American Idol producer says judges don’t “[have] that much of an effect.” points out that the judges on American Idol 3 have been relegated to repeating the same clichéd reactions over and over again, “whether it’s Jackson’s ‘yo, dawg’ lingo or Abdul’s clapping,” or Simon’s pseudo-insulting recycled insults. So at this point in the contest, are the judges worthless, neutered participants? Executive producer Ken Warwick says yes, and no: “It would be wrong to say that the judges’ opinions on the show, when it’s right in front of peoples’ noses, don’t have an effect, because they do. But generally speaking, I don’t think overall it has that much of an effect.” That clears things up. Past and booted contestants say that the judges advice is valuable; Tamyra Gray says, “If you want to be in the industry, you should take the constructive criticism they give you, because that’s it. After that, you’re not going to have too many people say, ‘You sucked,’ to help you.” Ryan Seacrest weighs in and sets himself up for Botox jokes, saying, “And being able to develop thick skin early, I will tell you from experience, is a good thing.”
+ also: manicure sends Paula to the hospital.

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.