America’s got another mediocre singer as its America’s Got Talent winner

There was just a 25 percent chance that a mediocre singer would yet again win America’s Got Talent, but the people who vote didn’t disappoint and cast aside acts that were actually interesting to watch and gave the $1 million prize to Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. He used to be homeless and has a family and seems like a very nice guy, so good for him for winning $1 million, but shame on viewers for consistently thinking they’re watching American Idol or for being incapable of voting for group acts because they are not as identifiable as individuals.

My favorite group, Team iLuminate, came in third place, which was perhaps a bit surprising, though their Tuesday night performance wasn’t as strong as their other work, and runner-up Silhouettes did a crowd-pleasing performance Tuesday–and technical difficulties that delayed their performance and didn’t show their phone number until well after the end of the hour (and post-DVR cut-off) did not hurt them at all. Poplyfe was, unsurprisingly, in fourth place.

The only real surprise was that, as the winner, Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. will only headline a brief run of a show that will feature other America’s Got Talent acts, including the three runners-up, at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas on Oct. 28, 29, and 30. Jerry Springer will host, and other acts from this year and previous seasons will perform, too.

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.