paid audience was told Superstar USA contestants were terminally ill patients.

paid audience was told Superstar USA contestants were terminally ill patients.
Monday’s Superstar USA will show talent-free contestants in a singing contest advanced while those with skill will be booted. The show also features an audience that was paid to be there. Still, at least one producer was worried that advancing the worst singers would bring out true reactions from the audience. So, they were told that the contestants were terminally ill representatives of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. A statement from the show’s production company said, “One of the producers ad-libbed something to the audience–who had been paid to be there–that may have offended someone in the audience, and for that we sincerely apologize.” The seven-episode series debuts Monday and Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET.

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.