men outsing women at San Francisco Idol auditions; Donnie Williams returning.

men outsing women at San Francisco Idol auditions; Donnie Williams returning.
After being arrested the night before American Idol 3 began, Donnie Williams was drop-kicked from the competition. But producers said then that he was welcome to try out again, and he did that in San Francisco, successfully advancing to Hollywood. Simon Cowell told the Oakland Tribune that “Donnie was chosen for his singing ability. All it took was the first few words out of his mouth, and I didn’t have to hear anything more.” Also at the American Idol 4 auditions, a producer responded to accusations from women that men were being favored, telling the paper, “It does look that way. But we were just going after the strongest singers, and in San Francisco, it turned out that the men were stronger than the women.” The Oakland Tribune also reveals what it says was “the most bizarre event of the day”: “a mock press conference to go in the clip reel for the series, which airs in January.” During that fake press conference, Extra correspondent and Simon “Cowell’s real-life girlfriend, Terri Seymour … proceeded to ask scripted questions to producers sitting in for the judges. The judges will be put into those seats when the final product comes out.”

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.