Producers told singer to lie after he was removed from Idol before Hollywood

An American Idol 6 contestant who was sent to Hollywood (and once pled guilty to marijuana possession) was removed from the competition, and producers suggested he lie to “protect [me] and protect the show.”

Akron Watson, who appeared in last night’s show, tells Pegasus News that, late in the week before the Hollywood round began, producers called. “They said we’re not gonna let you go. And I asked ‘why?’ And he said ‘Well I’m not really sure’ … and then he gave me some alternatives for what I should say to people if they asked why I was kicked off … He told me to tell people that I was now an alternate … That would protect [me] and protect the show.”

His 2003 arrest and eventual guilty plea for marijuana possession was likely the reason. But as Pegasus News reports, “others have made it all the way to the finals with felony arrests,” and Watson “told Idol all about his past when they sent a crew to interview him, so they obviously knew about that already.”

After being interviewed and filmed in Dallas, “he received numerous e-mails from producers at American Idol with information regarding his trip to Hollywood for the next round of auditions.” Later came the call telling him he was eliminated–or, as the liars reportedly told him to say, became an alternate.

UPDATED: DFW native booted from American Idol days before Hollywood round [Pegasus News]

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.