American Idol 4 up four percent from season three; Carrie and Bo land on Billboard charts.

Over the 20 weeks that it aired, American Idol 4 dominated in the ratings, even improving upon itself. The show “finished up 3% in adults 18-49 and 5% in total viewers compared with the show’s third season, which crowned Fantasia the winner,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. The final week was no exception: The Tuesday and Wednesday night episodes were the week’s top two shows, as 28.1 million watched Bo and Carrie perform Tuesday night, and 30.3 million watched the Wednesday night finale.

Both of the show’s finalists are also doing well, hitting the Billboard charts before their first post-Idol singles and albums are released. Carrie Underwood, who just officially signed her $1 million contract with Arista, is on two charts, according to Billboard: “On the Hot Country Songs chart, her version of Rascal Flatts’ ‘Bless the Broken Road,’ featuring the group, is new at No. 50. On the Hot Digital Songs tally, her track from the album ‘American Idol Season 4: The Showstoppers‘ (RCA), a version of Martina McBride’s ‘Independence Day’ (Arista), enters at No. 63.” And things are even better for the runner-up, as Bo “Bice’s track from the same compilation album, his take on Gavin DeGraw’s ‘I Don’t Want To Be,’ bows at No. 60.”

Still, as Billboard notes, both Carrie and Bo were bested by an eliminated finalist: “Constantine Maroulis beat them to the charts with his band Pray For The Soul Of Betty.” The band is definitely milking Constantine’s fame as much as it can; its self-titled album now sports a gigantic logo or sticker announcing the group’s connection to Constantine, and Amazon now says the album is by “Pray for the Soul of Betty Featuring Constantine Maroulis.”

‘Idol’ hands Fox weeklong, season wins
[Billboard]
Arista Records Sign American Idol 4′ Champion Carrie Underwood
American Idol Season 4: The Showstoppers
Pray for the Soul of Betty

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.