Mandisa leaves, telling the audience, “I thank you and I bless you in the name of Jesus”

“Just under 35 million” votes were cast for American Idol 5 last night, according to Ryan Seacrest, but not enough of them went to Mandisa, who left in what may or may not have been a shocking result. DialIdol correctly predicted Paris, Elliott, and Mandisa would be in the bottom three, and the site even got the order correct.

Once considered a front-runner, Mandisa’s elimination proves that Idol “is a tough show to predict, because it depends on the audience’s willingness to pick up the phone,” MSNBC’s Craig Berman writes. Yesterday, before the results show, Nigel Lythgoe told reporters, “Every year we have a furor about something, [and] it’s going to happen tonight.”

Also surprising was Mandisa’s departing comment. She told the audience and her voters, “I thank you and I bless you in the name of Jesus.” Who knew she was ordained or capable of blessing us all?

The filler in the episode included a segment showing the contestants rehearsing with Queen, whose music they’ll perform next week. But really, isn’t having them sing Queen songs just an excuse for Ryan and Simon to say the word “queen” over and over again as they engage in more playful banter?

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.