Three of America’s Got Talent 5’s four finalists were discovered by producers online

Of America’s Got Talent‘s final four, three of them didn’t show up to the auditions: two were recruited by the show’s producers, who found the performers online, while one came from the YouTube auditions.

Only Michael Grimm stood in line to audition, having been rejected last year. Fighting Gravity “was discovered virally, after five original group members performed at a campus talent show”; Prince Poppycock, aka John Quale, was discovered after “AGT producers found a Poppycock performance on the Internet and encouraged him to audition”; and Jackie Evancho was one of “12 performers selected for an August show based on YouTube video submissions,” USA TODAY reports.

As to tonight’s finale, Prince Poppycock, who’s been a favorite of mine, really blew it with his performance. He sang opera and did basically nothing else, though his set had a woman chained up. So it looks like it’s between young opera singer Jackie Evancho and Virginia Tech students Fighting Gravity. They put on a great performance, though it wasn’t perfect and a screw-up near the end revealed some of how they do what they do. Hopefully, despite that, their decision to give up a semester of college will be rewarded by viewers tonight with $1 million (or, actually, $375,000), and the show will be stay true to its claim that it’s about finding a Las Vegas-style act.

Who’s got ‘Talent’? It could be any one of these four finalists [USA TODAY]

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.