Ryan Seacrest encourages Lil’s kid to punch Randy as contestants fumble iTunes songs

Forced to pick current, relevant songs from iTunes, many of the American Idol 8 finalists fumbled Tuesday night–except usual fumbler Scott MacIntyre; judge golden boy Danny Gokey; rocking but wardrobe-challenged Allison Iraheta; bangable hottie Kris Allen; and of course, funky, musical white boy Adam Lambert.

Seacrest stumbled, too, at least at one point. After Lil performed, he went up to her two small children in the audience and asked them what they thought of the judges’ criticism. Brilliant. After getting no response, he asked her other kid, “He was kind of mean to mom, do you want to go punch him?” She said yes, but instead of punching Randy, leapt into Randy’s arms and hugged him, as if to say, “Get me away from this creepy man with the mic and tweezed eyebrows.”

While there was no screwing around by Simon or Paula, there was some judges’ table drama. Kara seemed thrown when, while criticizing Megan’s Bob Marley song, a random audience member screamed “broken record.” After even more boos, she said, “All right, you get up here and do it then.” Simon then admonished Kara, saying something like, “Don’t fall out with our audience.”

The judges were all pretty harsh, including even Paula, to the contestants who sucked. Megan Joy missing last name’s performance was “like watching paint dry,” Randy said, and so was the song by the guy they anointed a front-runner last week, Matt, who performed surrounded by what appeared to be a group of people on a middle school field trip. Maybe they could take a few contestants back on the bus with them and save us some time over the next six weeks.

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.