Teenagers win: American Idol heads into its bland teen country finale

American Idol has its final two, and they are the youngest finalists in the show’s history. Congratulations, teenage voters and old people with bad taste: You have given us a country music-heavy finale and two finalists with the stage presence of paper bags.

Yes, Lauren Alaina, 16, and Scotty McCreery, 17, are the final two, making this two weeks in a row now where the strongest performer and musician has gone home, as Haley Reinhart, 20, was eliminated. And it’s not because people stopped caring or voting: About 95 million votes were cast, which Fox says was “the highest number of votes ever for a non-finale episode.”

Next week, the final two episodes move to Tuesday, when the final two will each perform, and Wednesday, when we’ll gather for the traditional two-hour live blog/support group to make it through the parade of post-apocalypse horror that awaits us.

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.