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It's the calm before the storm. Reality shows are chugging along as usual this last week of April, but come May, the finales will hit with a vengeance.
We're hearing that "The Amazing Race" finale is May 10; the "Survivor Palau" finale is May 15; "The Bachelor" finale is May 16; "America's Next Top Model" finale is May 18; "The Apprentice" finale is May 19; the "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" finale is May 22; the "Fear Factor" finale is May 23; "The Contender" finale is May 24; and the "American Idol" finale begins May 24 and ends May 25. Whew!
Q: On the April 12th episode of "American Idol," Constantine sang a song from 1975, supposedly the year he was born. Wouldn’t this make him at least 29, if not 30? I thought the age limit was 28. —Jessica
A: You have to be 28 when you audition. As of this year, "American Idol" upped the age limit so singers aged 16-28 could audition for the show. (Past years required that contestants be 24 and under.)
But once singers are chosen, they don't get kicked out for having a birthday. Constantine, Bo Bice and the recently voted-off Nadia Turner are all 29 now. We don't know their birthdays, but from the astrological sign show, we know that Bo is a Scorpio (mid-October to mid-November) and Constantine is a Virgo (mid-August to mid-September), making Constantine's 30th birthday just 4-5 months away. Nadia is a Capricorn (mid-December to mid-January), so she turned 29 more recently than the two men.
I would argue that the raised age limit has improved the show, allowing experienced singers who are practiced performers to compete. Sure, it's fun to root for the teenagers, but a mix of ages keeps the show lively. —G.F.C.
Q: On the show, "The Amazing Race", do first-place teams always get a prize? They didn't announce what prize the POW and beauty queen received (if any) when they arrived as the first-place team but yet Rob and Amber (and all other first-place teams)win a prize every time. —Jennifer
A: Teams don't always win prizes. In fact, although those who are new to "The Amazing Race" might think of prizes as part of the show, but there haven't always been rewards for landing first on the pit stop mat. This season, we've seen teams win cash, not just sponsored trips, so producers have definitely increased the rewards over the past few seasons.
Still, there is no guarantee of a prize. Thus, when boyfriends Lynn and Alex showed up first at a pit stop and received nothing, it seemed unfair.
To some, it seemed like a conspiracy, since Rob and Amber won trips for their first-place wins, which ironically came immediately before and after Lynn and Alex's win. Alas, it was just the unlucky roll of the dice for Lynn and Alex — and very lucky for Romber. —A.D.
Q: What happens to the money earned by the “Apprentice” teams in some of the tasks? Does it go to charity or into Trump’s pocket? —Michelle
A: We asked NBC what happens to the cash earned on those money-making tasks where the teams sell products or services. A spokesperson said that, unfortunately, “behind the scenes information such as this is confidential.”
He noted, however, that several tasks throughout the show’s three seasons “have dedicated funds to charities,” such as the charity auction on Fuse this season that raised money for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.
During one episode last season, we saw money that wasn’t part of a fundraising task go to charity. During the task, one team pledged a percentage of their team’s earnings to charity as a way to help rake in money. During the boardroom, future apprentice and project manager Kelly asked Trump if all of the team’s entire earnings could be donated to the charity, and Trump agreed. —A.D.
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper is MSNBC.com's Television Editor. is a writer and teacher who publishes , a daily summary of reality TV news.