Clay’s book debuts at #2 on bestseller list, holiday album debuts strong; Fantasia at #8.

Clay’s book debuts at #2 on bestseller list, holiday album debuts strong; Fantasia at #8.
Tomorrow, American Idol 2‘s Clay Aiken will be in the company of former President Bill Clinton, Daily Show host Jon Stewart, and irrational nitwit Ann Coulter as Clay’s book enters the New York Times nonfiction bestseller list at number two. Learning to Sing: Hearing the Music in Your Life, which Clay “co-wrote” with Allison Glock, “tells the story of how his faith was integral to him learning valuable life lessons during his meteoric rise from life as an aspiring educator in Raleigh, North Carolina to instant stardom on American Idol,” according to the book’s description. As if that debut wasn’t enough, Clay’s new album Merry Christmas With Love debuted on the Dec. 4 Billboard 200 at number four, but dropped to 11 this week. Still, the debut “ties Celine Dion’s These Are Special Times as the highest-debuting holiday album of all time,” according to Reuters. And Christmas is being renamed Claymas after him.

All is not happy in Idol-land, however, as American Idol 3 winner Fantasia’s album Free Yourself sold fewer than a quarter million copies, landing it at number eight. As E! Online points out, that’s “the first time an Idol champ’s debut failed to open atop the album charts, as previous winners Kelly Clarkson and Ruben Studdard did in 2003.”

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.