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How much do Idols spend on clothes?

We answer questions about the "American Idol" clothing budget and the true identity of "My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss."
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Reality TV contestants just can't seem to stay out of trouble. Recently, Scott Savol of "American Idol" was on the hot seat when it was revealed that he'd .

And this week, it was Chris from "The Apprentice"'s turn. He was after a fracas at a Florida hotel.

What's next, will Ozzy and Sharon hold up a bank?

On to your questions.

Q: Do the Idol contestants really get $450 per episode for their outfits? —Christy

A: “American Idol” finalists do receive a clothing allowance, which allows them to reinvent themselves on a weekly basis, or at least give themselves a new look for the duration of the contest.

Last year, for the third season, finalists each received $450 to spend before each week’s performance. They went “shopping with stylists Miles and Kristen Siggins on Friday afternoons,” MTV reported.

During the first season, Kelly Clarkson, Justin Guarini, Tamyra Gray, and other other seven finalists each received $2,000 to buy new wardrobes for the final rounds. Clearly, things have improved for the finalists — those first-season finalists who lasted for more than four weeks must be jealous of the weekly allowance.

So how much are this year’s contenders receiving to deck themselves out in the hippest (and if they’re Constantine or Bo, buttonless) clothing? We checked with FOX, but they’re not releasing the clothing budget. However, we can safely assume that it’s at least equivalent to last year’s budget. With some of their wardrobe choices, though, it’s sort of hard to figure out where that money went.    —A.D.

Q: Whatever happened to “My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss”?  It was horrible, but it's even more horrible when they quit the series halfway through.      —Jenny

A:FOX pulled the plug on "My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss" halfway through its scheduled 10-week run, replacing it with "Family Guy" reruns. From day one, the show had been promoted for its ultimate twist in which the actor playing the Obnoxious Boss (dubbed Mr. N. Paul Todd, which is an anagram for "Donald Trump") would reveal the identity of the real boss.

After "Boss" was pulled from the schedule, FOX's Web site started putting the unaired episodes online, one a week, with the dramatic conclusion appropriately made available April 1st. (They did a similar thing with the bi-sexually titillating "Playing It Straight," but charged $1.99 for each episode downloaded. Some shows don't get no respect.)

BIG FAT OBNOXIOUS SPOILER FOLLOWS: After surviving more humiliating contests involving Mr. Todd's "family," an unethical ethics expert, bad t-shirts and live chickens, the final two players go to the fictitious boardroom for the last time. They are Annette, the blond business-development executive and Mike, the bearded liquor-distribution executive, coincidentally the youngest female contestant and oldest male — as if it matters.

Surrounded by two other  managing partners of the fake company (probably there just to protect the Boss from disgruntled contestants), Mr. Todd reveals that he's an actor and his company doesn't exist. He brings out the rest of the actors involved in the hoax and without breaking character, tells them the whole staged show was designed as an "ultimate extreme business competition" and praises the two of them on getting to the end of the game (this guy is quite an actor!). Instead of a job with the non-existent company, the grand prize is $250,000 cash, which he then increases to $350,000 in a dramatic moment for no apparent reason.

Then he takes the two players in to meet the real boss who made the boardroom decisions. It's a small chimpanzee named Mowgli, who wears a business suit and spins a casino wheel (this is consistent with a common rumor, except Mowgli does NOT wear a Donald Trump wig). The Fake Boss explains that one of the most important things a person needs to succeed in business is luck, then Mowgli spins the wheel and Annette is declared the winner. In a final act (probably designed to prevent Mike from going medieval on the entire show), The Boss gives the runner-up $200,000. 

Then he tells everyone to "Get the hell out of my office." I couldn't get out fast enough. —Wendell Wittler, guest expert

Q: Has anyone heard if the selection process has started yet for the Amazing Race 8 (family edition)?

A: While the application for "Amazing Race 8" from the CBS site, it looks like it's too late to apply. The document states that applications must be received by March 11 and March 15 (the March 15 deadline is only for applications in conjunction with a local casting call). Semifinalists are being interviewed this month.

This round of "Race" should be interesting. Instead of two-person teams, the show will now feature four-person "family" teams. That doesn't mean the teammates all need to be related by blood, "non-traditional families and families-in-the-making" are also welcome.

Competitors can also be younger this time around. Some can be as young as eight, although at least one person must be 21, and a team with competitors under 18 must also have at least one parent or guardian. And as continues to frustrate the many Canadians who write in to this column, the requirement that all contestants be American citizens still stands.    —G.F.C.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper is's Television Editor. is a writer and teacher who publishes , a daily summary of reality TV news. Wendell Wittler is a writer living in Los Angeles.