Judges disagree on just how much American Idol men suck less than last week

The general consensus from the judges on American Idol 9 last night was that the men sucked less than they did last week. Considering Crystal Bowersox’s hospitalization–Ryan Seacrest said she “was taken to the hospital” and “under doctor’s orders will not be able to perform tonight”–meant that they found out only that morning that they’d be performing that night, perhaps their performances were slightly more impressive.

If the performances were a mess, so were the judges. There were a number of occasions where they didn’t agree, which is always interesting, though very confusing for the actual contestants and for us when they’re totally contradictory (instead of just, say, in disagreement). The big problem was their coherence; the judges just don’t seem to be able to articulate what, exactly, is wrong or how the contestants should adjust. It’s not that the judges are wrong, it’s just that they’re not doing their jobs very well.

During her critique of Tim Urban, Ellen told him, “I don’t think the strong point is the singing.” That’s pretty much true of this entire season.

Meanwhile, to kill time, the contestants had to reveal something about themselves that we didn’t know. Tim Urban revealed that he prays (there was lots of god talk on Tuesday’s episode), but he might have helped himself more by showing his shirtless photos, a few of which Vote for the Worst is using to encourage the teens and tweens to keep voting for him.

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.