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 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.