James Durbin’s exit helps American Idol march toward an even more mediocre finale

James Durbin was voted out of American Idol 10 last night in what has been compared to a shocker on the level of Chris Daughtry’s elimination, but is really just the elimination that elicited the biggest shrug.

James’ exit leaves bland Scotty McCreery, bland Lauren Alaina, and bland Haley Reinhart, who received some of the judges’ only criticism all season on Wednesday, which probably helped save her.

I’m totally uninvested in this season at this point, so I’m not as outraged or saddened as some people are, but it is clear that James was the most interesting singer left, if only because his screams have been accompanied by some decent performances and theatrical presentations, which are good at least for a laugh, and sometimes genuine entertainment.

James, however, was hurt and upset, perhaps in part because the audience reacted to Scotty’s safety (cheering and applauding) rather than his elimination (there were no audible boos or verbal expressions of shock). He was even kind of bitter. “I did so much stuff that’s never been done on this show before,” he said through tears. “I did what I came here to do, which was give metal a chance.”

Meanwhile, the results show featured a number of performances, including duets with the four finalists that highlighted one of the ways American Idol is inferior to The Voice. Oh, and Ryan Seacrest fell off the stage trying to slap one of Enrique Iglesias’ balls.

The Quest ends its journey stronger than it began

Verlox from The Quest

A review of the finale of summer's best reality series, which wasn't always perfect but was thoroughly entertaining right down to the finish, which included phenomenal challenges and special effects. Will ABC give it a second season?

Plus: an interview with the actor who played Verlox and the ogre.


Shark Tank is getting a spin-off

Shark Tank

Companies that get deals on the show will be followed for this new spin-off.

Also: Before the show began, Shark Barbara Corcoran was cast and then replaced--but then she sent this amazing e-mail and won the job.

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.