Katy Perry auditions for Simon Cowell’s job as Daniel Franco shows up on American Idol

Occasionally, American Idol‘s audition rounds include one auditioner who’s semi-famous yet not acknowledged on screen. The first one I can remember is when actor/comedian Chris Wylde auditioned during season four.

Last night during the Los Angeles auditions, there was a fleeting cameo by crying girl Ashley Ferl, who was again crying after apparently being dismissed from the auditions early, but the really weird appearance was by Project Runway seasons one and two designer Daniel Franco, the first person to every be eliminated from the show. He appeared as part of a collection of singers who were supposed to look like Adam Lambert but, you know, didn’t really at all. Daniel joked that he’d be the product of Adam Lambert and Susan Boyle having sex, but we didn’t him sing.

Meanwhile, guest judges Avril Lavigne and her animal ear/devil horn hoodie was pretty good, especially with making faces at contestants. But Katy Perry was great, thanks to her attitude; she wasn’t one of those demure guest judges who seems embarrassed by what she has to do. Instead, she seemed to be auditioning for Simon Cowell’s job, from her quasi-conflict with her friend Kara DioGuardi (which was highlighted in a montage) to her critical takedowns of the bad–and even not-so-bad–singers. If only she’d asked Daniel Franco what the hell he was doing there.

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.