Each Idol judge will pick two top-36 contestants for Thursday’s wild card round

The rumors, speculation, and contradictory information about American Idol 8‘s wild card round has been cleared up, mostly.

During Thursday’s results show, Simon Cowell said, “We’re going to bring back a selection of people who we think deserve a second shot–maybe they chose the wrong songs. I think we’re all in agreement, maybe a couple even from tonight you’re going to see again.”

Earlier, after talking to a show rep, MTV News reported that “each judge can pick two contestants from the top 36 — from which everyone is eligible — and those eight (or possibly nine) singers will perform a song on the one-hour March 5 show, with three advancing into the top 12. … The same rules apply as during the audition phases, with majority picks winning the day and judge Simon Cowell casting the tie-breaking vote should there be a 2-2 deadlock.”

That will all happen next Thursday. And yes, skeptical people who have e.mailed me from anonymous e.mail addresses, the wild card episode (singular) does air next week, the same week as the third and final semi-final round. The semi-final performance episode will air Tuesday, results come Wednesday, and the wild card round airs Thursday–with performances, judging, and selection apparently taking place in a single hour. Crazy. Then again, I bet they’ll still find time for some filler.

How Will The Wild-Card Round Work On ‘American Idol’? [MTV 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.