American Candidate is Park Gillespie.

American Candidate is Park Gillespie.
Conservative Park Gillespie defeated progressive Malia Lazu, and Park was named the first American Candidate. Shockingly, Montell Williams, perched behind a lame fake anchor desk, did not announce the number of votes cast, nor the percentage of votes that each candidate actually received. The “address to the nation” part of Park’s prize was dispensed with during the show, thus giving Park an audience of the same segment of the nation that has watched him all summer; he’d better check to make sure that his $200,000 isn’t actually Monopoly money. His speech (here’s a transcript) came just short of endorsing George W. Bush for president (“…if it was not for the Bush administration’s tax cut…”); in a complex example, he compared the US now to the UK before WW2, calling Chamberlain an “appeaser” and Churchill a “warrior,” and said that it was lucky that the warrior prevailed. Is this what they refer to as a “thinly veiled metaphor”? He reached out to those with different beliefs and backgrounds (“we need to work with each other”), although his conservative ideology was never far from the surface (“…the family is in danger of being radically redefined…”), nor was his faith (he referred to himself as “a child and disciple of my precious lord…”). The final episode included the obligatory montage of applicants who didn’t make it on the show. Judging by some of them (“As a short Jewish lesbian who looks like Bart Simpson…”) and others (one woman, who said her cat was her “soul mate,” donned a leather glove and proceeded to torment the cat, who she then called a “dumb animal” who was just like “most Americans”), producers were smart to cast mostly politically savvy people, even if it was controversial.

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.