American Idol 4 cuts called “cruel.”

American Idol 4 cuts called “cruel.”
New York’s tabloids have twin stories today detailing the cruelty of American Idol 4‘s first four eliminations. As the New York Daily News reports, “Judd Harris, a 27-year-old NYU student, was led to believe he was safe, only to be axed.” And Ryan Seacrest “appears to be channeling ‘Project Runway’s’ Heidi Klum when he tells contestants, ‘You’re out!'” Some fans are revving up their keyboards to express their disappointment online; The New York Post reports that one fan wrote, “I felt it was extremely mean, and while I’m sure they were going for the dramatic effect, these are young people with hopes and dreams. To crush them like that was abominable.” And the Post calls this “the show’s suddenly cruel turn,” titling its piece “How can Idol be so mean?” All of this begs the question: What were these fans and journalists thinking as they watched with furious onanistic delight as a parade of delusional singers are humiliated during the audition rounds?

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.