American Idol 5 finale begins tonight

American Idol 5 airs the first part of its finale tonight at 8 p.m. ET. Surprisingly, the performance show is only one hour long. Tomorrow night’s results show, however, will be expanded to two ridiculously padded hours.

Both Katharine McPhee and Taylor Hicks will perform three songs each, including a different brand-new song that will become their single if they win. Yesterday MJ’s Big Blog said those songs were “Make it Happen” and “Through it All,” although last night reported that “Katharine McPhee will be performing a new song on Tuesday’s performance show called ‘My Destiny’ by singer/songwriter Hanne Sorvaag according to Hanne’s website.”

As to tomorrow night’s episode, Entertainment Tonight confirms reports that Clay Aiken will appear, although doesn’t say if he’ll perform.

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.