Record labels desperate for an appearance on Idol, which is “giving something back” with artist visits

American Idol has become “a coveted booking for established artists looking to return to the mainstream or maintain their public appeal,” the New York Times reports. It’s also a great way to show off your new facelift, not that I’ll mention any names.

Record labels and music industry people are interested because “the songs performed on the show — either by established artists making guest appearances or by the contestants themselves — receive a sales boost in some cases.” Thus, “as the stature of ‘Idol’ has increased, so has the eagerness of record labels hoping to place their artists on the show,” according to the paper. Since there’s so much desire and demand, producers can be picky; Universal Records President Monte Lipman says, “They’re holding all the cards.”

Why do producers encourage this? Shockingly enough, they say it’s entirely altruistic; they’re using their power for good. Executive producer Nigel Lythgoe says, “We realized we had this influence as well. We’re giving them something back. They’re not just coming on this corny American show.”

Elsewhere, the LA Times asks a varied group of people why the show is popular, and thus attracts the attention of everyone from recording artists to high schoolers. On the panel: Kurt Anderson, Bravo’s Lauren Zalaznick, and others. Zalaznick says it is “a phenomenon” that “is not reproducible.” Historian Neal Gabler says the show is “about our empowerment,” while Anderson says he watches for “the really terrible people and watching Simon Cowell telling them they’re rubbish.”

Music Labels Jockey for ‘American Idol’ Exposure [New York Times]
Our ‘Idol’ obsession [LA Times]

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.