Producer “really mad” at Idol finalists’ song choice; Harry Connick, Jr., will mentor, arrange

On Tuesday’s American Idol performance episode, the finalists will perform Frank Sinatra songs and be mentored by Harry Connick, Jr., who Fox says “will be the first Idol mentor to arrange the songs, write the orchestrations for the contestants and perform.”

But those arrangements won’t include something we’ve seen a lot of his season: guitars. That’s because, as the L.A. Times reports, the guitar “was not allowed (per [executive producer Ken] Warwick),” because of “the Harry Connick Jr. big band thing, apparently.”

Speaking of Warwick, in late March, the theme for American Idol 9‘s changed from teen idols to Billboard #1 hits, even though a teen idol (Miley Cyrus) mentored them and teen idols performed during the results show. The reason, we’ve just learned, was because the show’s executive producer got pissed off at the finalists’ song selection.

After being voted out, Siobhan Magnus explained in an interview with the L.A. Times that executive producer Ken Warwick changed the theme:

“There was too many duplications of everything. Two people wanted Jackson 5, two wanted Michael Jackson, two wanted to do the Monkees. … [Warwick] got really mad. He was, like, ‘Never have I had so many people want the same thing!’ So after we’d been rehearsing all day, everything got halted everything, and we had to wait for a few hours while they made a new list of songs. It had never been done before, but the theme was changed to Billboard No. 1 hits.”

Siobhan Magnus explains the ill-fated ‘Teen Idols’ week, takes issue with ‘scream’ label, more at ‘Dream’ house [Los Angeles Times]

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.