This year’s televised “A Capitol Fourth” fireworks show might seem a bit different – more in touch with “reality,” one might say. That’s because this year’s celebrity roster includes a record number of singing, dancing reality stars. This is no coincidence apparently. TV stars from scripted and reality programs have been an increasingly important part of the festivities for the past several years, but this time around they took center stage. According to the show’s producer, Michael Colbert, it’s the people’s will.

Candice Glover, Crystal and Luci Awards
Candice Glover is among this year's reality reps.

“Today, these [TV stars] are so popular. You’re able to have a real connection with them as amateurs-turned-stars,” said Colbert, who has produced the Fourth of July special for more than 20 years with his father, executive producer Jerry Colbert, the man who founded “A Capitol Fourth.”, for the Washington Post “People really love it . . . and one of our goals is to try to get something for everybody.”

Darren Criss, Fox Upfront Presentation.
While Darren Criss held the fort for scripted TV.

The reality invasion began in 2004, when Idol runner-up Clay Aiken was featured in the show. Since then, the PBS special has featured at least one American Idol representative each year - David Archuleta, Taylor Hicks, Jordin Sparks and Phillip Phillips, among others, have graced the stage on the West Lawn. This year, the roster included “Idol” champs Candice Glover and Scotty McCreery, along with “America’s Got Talent” prodigy Jackie Evancho. As for scripted TV faces, Darren Criss, who plays the dreamy Blaine from Fox’s “Glee,” and Megan Hilty, the Marilyn Monroe wannabe on NBC’s “Smash” all made an appearance.

Jordin Sparks, Essence Black Women In Hollywood Luncheon.
Jordin Sparks has also performed at the celebration before.