Idol 4 finalists visit their hometowns.

Idol 4 finalists visit their hometowns.
The three American Idol 4 finalists visited their hometowns over the weekend, and local media was there to capture their visits. Coincidentally, all three made appearances at local Wal-Marts. In Checotah, Okla., Carrie Underwood was cheered on by kids skipping school and the Wal-Mart cheer squad, KOTV reports; the Muskogee Phoenix says she also went to a Wal-Mart. In Alabama, Bo visited a Wal-Mart, performed with Lynyrd Skynyrd in front of 5,000 people, and had the day named after him in Helena (“Bo Bice Day”). He also used up all of Helena’s fossil fuels as he traveled around “in a black Ford Excursion stretched and customized as a limousine,” according to the Birmingham News. In Fort Myers, Fla., Vonzell also appeared at a Wal-Mart, and then performed in front of 2,500 people at a park, The Naples Daily News reported.

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.