Simon Cowell gives Adam Lambert a standing ovation after American Idol runs out of time

At the end of American Idol last night, Simon Cowell did something he rarely does: He stood up and applauded a contestant. After Adam Lambert performed his version of “Mad World,” Simon said, “Adam, the bad news is, we’re running out of time. The good news is, I’m the only one that’s going to be talking, and I think words are unnecessary but I want to give you a standing ovation.”

Many people missed that, though, and perhaps all of Adam’s performance, since the show ran out of time–even though it was scheduled to run until 9:01, it didn’t end until 9:08. I’m still not sure if that’s just utter incompetence or an ingenious ploy.

Anyway, Adam’s performance of “Mad World” is online if you missed it, and while it’s extremely strong, nothing beats the Gary Jules/Michael Andrews/Donnie Darko version.

Just as the episode went far past its allotted time, so has Scott MacIntyre, as his time on the show should end tonight if voters are rational, which they’re not. Even though Kris and Lil stumbled, they deserve to be around for another week, and Scott does not. Speaking of Kris, there was an amusing moment when he shared with Ryan Seacrest that on their day off, he was recognized by a ferris wheel operator, who didn’t care about Kris but instead asked Kris to say hi to Adam.

Since the contestants were performing songs from the year they were born, we got both baby pictures (including of the judges and Ryan Seacrest) and prerecorded packages about the contestants’ childhoods. The most dramatic moment in those came during Adam’s, when he said in an interview, “From an early age I think it was pretty clear that …” But then he completed the sentence with, “I wanted to become a performer. I liked putting on costumes and getting attention.” And the mystery of the not-so-secret secret continues.

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.