Ukraine’s Got Talent winner creates art in sand; Italy’s Got Talent has its own Susan Boyle

This is stunning: it’s the winning performance from Ukraine’s Got Talent. Kseniya Simonova, 24, shows what happened in the Ukraine during World War II when Germany invaded (the The Great Patriotic War), and she uses sand to do it. Sand. It really has to be seen to be believed; watch it below.

Although it’s been on YouTube since June, I learned about it Friday night from Roger Ebert’s tweet, in which he called her “The Susan Boyle of sand animation.” It’s hard to disagree.

Speaking of Susan Boyle, Italy’s version of the show, surprisingly called Italy’s Got Talent, debuted last Saturday, and presented a contestant named Carmen Masola who sang opera–sound familiar? Variety reports that Italian critic and “Corriere della Sera columnist Aldo Grasso echoed many critics when he complained the talent show had ‘no experimentation, no research, no new ideas: They are just mechanically adapting this foreign format to an Italian context.'”

In other words, they understand one of the fundamentals of reality TV. Watch Carmen’s performance here and judge how Susan Boyle-ish she really is:

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.