Dancing with the Stars 5 finale starts tonight

Dancing with the Stars 5 ends its run over the next two nights. Tonight, the three remaining couples–Melanie Brown and Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Helio Castroneves and Julianne Hough, and Marie Osmond and Jonathan Roberts–dance at 8 p.m. ET for an hour. On Tuesday, the show concludes with a two-hour finale at 9, and it’s sure to be full of filler up until its final seconds, when the winners receive a crappy trophy.

Although all of the men except Helio Castroneves have been eliminated, some consider him the favorite to win. But he’s just surprised to still be in the competition. “I’m very shocked. It’s totally out of my territory. Racing, that’s what I’ve been doing all of my life. Performing, acting, I didn’t think I’d be able to do it,” he told the New York Daily News.

With American Idol off the air, Dancing with the Stars is not just the most popular reality show in the United States, but it’s also the most popular television show in the country. “What prompts millions to watch the waltzing?” The Washington Post asks. Judge Bruno Tonioli tells the paper that “It’s a combination of a great sporting event and beautiful, glamorous, all-time family entertainment. Every dance number has the same warm, embracing feeling of those classic Hollywood movies, and people love that.”

But others think it’s because the show “is as much popularity contest as dance competition,” as The Boston Herald’s Mark A. Perigard writes. Sabrina Bryan’s elimination seems to prove that. There is also plenty of non-dancing-related drama, from Marie Osmond fainting live to the deaths of two contestants’ mothers.

Clearly, it’s a combination of all of the above, from the dancing to the drama, all topped with the frosting and sprinkles that are Tom Bergeron and Samantha Harris.

Helio Castroneves on track to win ‘Dancing With the Stars’ [New York Daily News]
Keeping the Stars on Their Toes [Washington Post]
Can’t stop ‘Dancing’ [Boston Herald]

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.