Phillip Phillips had eight surgeries during American Idol

American Idol 11 winner Phillip Phillips’ win is a bit more remarkable when you consider that he had eight separate operations for kidney stones during the show. Eight! No wonder he was excused from participating in those awful Ford music video shoots.

Phillip, who’s 21, will have yet another operation to have his kidneys reconstructed, but will recover in time to join the tour when it starts on July 6. That’s according to his dad, also named Phillip Phillips, who told People, “The recovery’s probably two to four weeks. He’s healthy, he’s good. His kidneys are good. I can’t wait for America and the whole world to see him [after his surgery], because he’s a big cut-up. He’s going to have some fun.”

He also said Phillip has “been doing [well], but it’s just grueling hours and it’s just amazing what he’s done through the journey. Eight operations since we started American Idol … He’s hitting 50 percent, but he’s still up there swinging away. … They’ve just seen a glimpse of what Phillip can do. We can’t wait to get him well and 100 percent and really see how he can perform.”

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.