50 cities will host pre-auditions for American Idol 6

Embarrassing yourself as part of American Idol‘s audition episodes will soon be a lot easier. For next year’s edition of the show (not this year’s fifth season), the show is adding 50 cities — yes, 50 — as part of “The Idol Auditions Tour.”

They won’t be true auditions in front of Simon, Randy, and Paula, but a sort of screening process in malls, organized by Glowcast Ventures. Those who make it through in those cities will still have to travel to one of the major cities to continue the American Idol 6 audition process. As Brandweek explains,

The first 500 people to arrive at each audition site who meet Idol’s contestant requirements can perform in front of an audience to vie for the chance to gain access to one of the show’s primary audition sites. Winners from each of the 50 audition sites will then be fast-tracked through the stadium audition process in their region, having pre-cleared this preliminary round.

The tour kicks off in August of 2006, and “will allow an estimated additional 20,000 people to try out,” according to a press release.

Fremantle Says, “Hello Cleveland! Scranton! Schenectady!…” [Brandweek]
American Idol Auditions Coming to a Town Near You with the Idol Auditions Tour [Business Wire]

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.