Thursday, May 29, 2008

So You Think You Can Dance - 5/29/08

It's time for Charleston, NC! On the judging panel is Tyce Diorio (I'm sure I spelled that wrong). His routines are really neat.

Sheila Kaiser is the first up. She's a biological engineering major, and her daddy doesn't want her to audition. She looks a little like Brittney Murphy - circa Clueless - to me. She's a really cute girl, and she knows how to move. She has a special something to her that I like. Nigel regarded her with a very raised eyebrow, and that's apparently a good thing - he loved her. Mary gave it a scream. Tyce also thought it was amazing. He said that he gave dancers an education. She's on to Vegas.

Skelatal looking Erin Mansour and John Tabakian are delisional. They are terrible. Like the kind of couple that you avoid on a wedding dance floor. Erin is apparently a dance teacher, but she says she's only been doing it for 8 hours. "But he's really good," she says. Mary says "No, he's not." It's dreadful. Good bye, horrid couple.

Jerimiah Hughes is next, and he does contemporary, starting out facing the back. He's got bandaids all over his fingers, and I'm not sure what that's about, but his dance is very emotional and he almost fell on his face during a "bad improvisation." Nigel says even with that, he is one of the most exciting people he's seen this season. The others really liked him, and Nigel gave him a ticket to Vegas after he promised to do his shirt up (he did his routine with it unbuttoned).

Syiddah King is next, and she has Shirley Temple hair (Nigel said "cue Shirley Temple's Music, please.") It's a terrible attempt at hip hop dancing. She's all technicolor. Nigel asks her how long she's been dancing, and she says "If you want to call it dancing, well, forever." That's not a good answer. She says "I'm just me, it's like whatever, so you think you're doing your job." I hate people like her. Why did she even audition? She said she doesn't even want to learn. She leaves before the end of the critique is over, it's bad.

Shamika Robinson is worse if possible. She looks like she's auditioning for a strip club. Nigel said it wasn't dancing, and she said "You just don't know that style of dancing." Um. Right. People who are so overconfident in themselves bug the crap out of me.

The Hart Twins are up next. Anthony is up first, and he is better than I expected him to be. It's a kind of cool style. Very full of energy. The judges say he's kind of one feel throughout, and that he needs more training. I can see that. He gets a no all around. Antwain is up next and he does some crazy flips. He's much better than his brother, and the judges think so, too. Anthony gets to come back to do a routine with Antwain. They are great together, in sync and moving well. Maybe Anthony was just nervous before. They are both going on to choreography. I think that's deserved.

After choreography, Antwain is through to Vegas, and so is Anthony, along with 31 others from Day 1.

Day 2 time.

Abigail Therman is up first. Her moves look like something kind of out of a bad 80's music video to me. The transluscent blue tights don't help her cause. She was messing with her bangs during her audition. Not good. Nigel called her on "doing the breast stroke." She does teach swimming, but that's not a dance move. The judges all agree she is a cute girl with a good personality. She has a good attitude. "It's true!" she smiled, "I suck at dancing!" and she left the stage smiling.

BJ Harris is up next, and he has some seriously interesting moves. He's self taught, and he works at a performing arts school. He looks like he is on wheels and made of rubber. It's amazing. I cannot imagine how a person can move like he did. Mary said he was utterly fascinating and looked like his bones were gone. She then screamed for him. He is through to show what he can do with choreography.

Courtney Galiano is Italian to the core, and really pretty with a fantastic body. She does a contemporary routine, and it is very engaging. Everyone loves her, and she's on to Vegas. Her grandparents are with her, and they are adorable.

Jason Looney is aptly named, and he flails about on the stage to Paula Abdul's Straight Up. He's utterly terrible. Nigel calls him a disgrace to dancing, and a disgrace to transvestites. He calls himself Betty Wallace. The judges all think he is disrespectful, and I agree. Mary calls him Bull*beep*, and says that he makes her sick. Nigel says he is the reason fathers don't want their sons to dance. Horrible.

Enter montage of awful dancing to Thriller, including the Vincent Price part, which is my favorite.

Claire Calloway is back. She is the one who hurt her foot in Vegas in Season two. I loved her. She had a baby between then and now, and her daughter is really cute. Her body is fantastic for having a baby. She is only 20, so that helps one bounce back well. She's still fantastic, even though she had to take some time off from dancing when she was pregnant and after she had the baby. Tyce says that she is a one trick pony, and both Nigel and Mary are disappointed in her, and she breaks down in tears, but she's through to choreography. I hope that she makes it, because I see potential in her. She is really emotional. See, I don't hate her, even though she is completely in pink (and so was her daughter). It's really just pageant girl who I couldn't handle.

In choreography, BJ had troubles, but I think Claire looked good. BJ does not go through, and it's rough for him, because he worked really hard to get there. Claire is through, and I'm glad. So is she. 17 others go through from Day 2.

And on to DC! They do a little segment of several people dancing in front of the White House. Dan Carrity joins the judges today.

Megan Campbell is up first. She's doing something that looks like it might be contemporary, but she is kind of heavy in all of her movements, where I like contemporary to be more loose and light. Nigel loved her, though he wanted her hair to be back. Mary said she was pure joy, and Dan said she left it all on the floor. Ok, I was wrong. She said she has not auditioned for anything before. She is through to Vegas. Nigel likes to psych people out.

Derrick Bradley auditioned last year and almost passed out (medics were called). He's been taking African and Jazz classes since then. His routine looked more like charades than dance, and the judges were treating it as such. He also scrunched up his face the entire time. Maybe he was trying to do the Mia Michaels Stank Face, but he missed it. Derrick said that he was trying to keep people involved with the music by doing the weird moves. He defends himself by saying that he is not a professional dancer. Umm. Well. Nigel says he doesn't get it, and he is gone.

Markus Shields is wearing a big t-shirt with his late mom on it, and it is actually one of the most moving hip hop routines I have ever seen. If course, I am easily sentimental about such things. He is a very nice mover and seems like a nice guy. Nigel says that he is a really good dancer, and his only problem was that he showed that Markus showed that he was disappointed. Mary is at a loss for words, and I like Markus even more. Dan loved him. He is through to choreography.

There's a montage of strange auditions - some good, some bad. There was a group of hula dancers. There was a girl with bright red hair who I kind of liked. She made Mary cackle.

Markus Smith and Deonna Ball bring DC Swing to the stage. I am glad they did! It's an interesting style - a mix between hip hop and swing. Neat. Nigel said it was cool. Mary said it was groovy. Dan said they made it look easy, and they are through to choreography.

After choreography, Deonna Ball is not going to Vegas, but they loved her DC Swing. Markus Smith, her partner, is also not going through. Markus Shields is through to Vegas, though, and he gives a smile. Only 9 others got through from Day 1 in DC. I did not see Miss Bright Red Hair in the montage. Oh well.

Day 2, and first up is Brandon Bryant. He auditioned in Season 1, but he was only 15 so he fudged his age, so he couldn't get through. Now, he's 18, and he's back. He's got a great body and an expressive face and great control on his body. His tiny shorts were a bit distracting, but only a little. I loved him. Nigel says he is a pleasure to watch, and Mary busted my ear drums. Thanks for that, Brandon. Mary then threatened to spank Dan if he didn't send him through. Dan commended his flexibility and his strength, and Brandon is through to Vegas.

Phucdat Nygen aka Atomic Goofball is up after the break, and he is a pretty cool mover. He busted out of his black over-clothes halfway through and went into some crazy breaking moves that were cool. He did a chin crawl that was weird and kind of cool. The judges say that his routine got very entertaining after he shed his outer clothes. He is through to choreography.

Mariyah Primyak does a rhythmic gymnastics routine. She can twirl a ribbon, but I wouldn't call it dancing by any stretch of the imagination. Nigel said it would have been more interesting if she had dropped something. She's wearing a dreadful gold bathing suit.

Back in season one, Anthony Bryant did a rhythmic gymnastics routine and was rejected. He has now graduated from Juliard in three years, which is impressive. He's dressed in fatigues, to show how masculine he is. He looks like he's doing a gymnastics floor routine, not a dance audition. Nigel says a spark is missing, and he's a good technician, but there was something missing. Mary says that he has changed a lot since season one. Dan says that he doesn't seem unique. He is on to choreography to show if he can bring that something something to the stage. He is changing out of the fatigues before choreography, which is a good idea.

Choreography time. Phucdat is not doing very well, but Anthony looked cool. Come judging, Phucdat is gone, and Anthony is really really sweaty and is not going on to Vegas either. Wonder if he will be back. Cat gives Anthony a big hug and some love, and he flips out when he doesn't have his shoes, and then starts crying. Then he gets some attitude about how he suffers for the show and he doesn't know why. I think he's annoying and I'm glad he's not going on. He swore as he walked away. Boo to him. 9 people with hopefully better attitudes are going through.

Next week is the final set of auditions before Vegas. Can't wait.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Top Chef - 5/28/08

Top Chef starts with Stephanie talking about how cool it is to have more women in the end than ever before. The chefs starts out going to a huge meat plant, and as their Quickfire Challenge, they have to butcher up some dry aged long boned rib eye into frenched ribeye chops/steaks. Spike is really confident, because he comes from a butcher-filled family. They have 20 minutes to cut seven chops. Many have a really hard time with the dry aged meat, which is thick and hard to deal with. Spike takes off with real skill, and I am impressed. Though the quality might not be the best for everyone, they all get their steaks cut. After the butchering, they pack up their meat and head back to the Top Chef kitchen, for the next leg of the quickfire challenge. Rick Tramanto is a guest judge, and they have 30 minutes to cook a Tomohawk steak for Rick, to medium rare. The taste really doesn't matter here, it's all about cooking it to the right doneness and making it look good more or less.

All the chefs have a wide array of techniques for cooking their steaks. Spike grills it with rosemary on each side for the same amount of time, and then pops it in the oven. Richard bemoans the lack of souve (I know I have spelled that wrong). Stephanie grills hers in oil and lets it rest. Antonia sears hers, then pan fries it in butter, and bastes it continuously. Lisa cooked hers in the pan.

Stephanie's butchery is not up to par, and the steak is not cooked enough. Richard also is uneven in his butchery, and the steak was underdone. Lisa gets props for both doneness and butchery, as does Spike, and Antonia got compliments for her perfect seared crust on the steak. Spike wins the challenge, which I pretty much expected.

The Elimination Challenge involves taking over Rick's steak restaurant the next night. Each chef is responsible for an appetizer and an entree, using items in Rick's kitchen. Spike has first choice for protein for each because he won. Let's see if he is as much of an ass about it as he was last time.

Back in the Top Chef apartment, filled with Glad branded products merrily displayed, Spike talks about butchery being in his blood, and how he likes the potential battle of the sexes.

The Elimination Challenge brings them to a gorgeous restaurant with a fantastic kitchen. Spike picked the Tomohawk steak and frozen scallops. Others question his choice of frozen scallops.

Stephanie is making a sweet bread appetizer. Hmmm. Lisa is making peanut butter mashed potatoes, which sound really gross, but I will give her the benefit of the doubt. While they are cooking, Lisa again accuses (though jokingly) Stephanie of sabotaging her by having the sash to the fire open and burning her back. Yipes. Paranoid much?

When Spike's scallops thaw, he sees that they are pretty damaged, and therefore soaked, so he tries to dry them by blotting them on paper towels. Wonder how that will work out.

Tom shows up to chat with the chefs, and thinks that Richard's menu is not ambitious enough, and Lisa is doing a steak with an apple caramel sauce (yuck), and the peanut butter mashed potatoes. Sounds dreadful overall. Tom is disappointed that Spike says that he doesn't mind using frozen scallops. So am I.

Spike gets a bunch of cans of something out - they look like shrimp maybe. Hmm.

The VIP guests are the former Top Chef winners, Hung, Harold, and Elan. Nice.

Lisa's Appetizer is Grilled & Chilled Prawns, lemon zest & tomato salad, and crostini. The lemon gets good reviews, but they question why she chilled it.

Richard's appetizer is Hamachi with Crispy sweetbreads, radish, avocado & yuzu. It gets wonderful reviews.

Spike's is scallops and roasted hearts of palm, and oyster mushroom. The hearts of palm were what came from the cans. The judges think it's kind of bland and boring

Stephanie's appetizer is sweetbreads with golden raisins and pine nuts. It is really pretty. The former top chefs like it a lot. It goes over very well.

Antonia's appetizer is Mushroom & artichoke salad with poached egg and mushroom vinagrette. It gets mixed reviews. The egg is cooked well, but "the rest of the dish fell apart."

Richard's entree is beef fillet, potato puree, turnips, red wine, and pickled brussel sprouts. It goes well together, but the plating is questioned, because he didn't put everything together.

Lisa's entree is up - it's the aforementioned NY Strip steak with apple caramel sauce and peanut butter mashed potatoes, and green beans. Or haricot vert if you prefer. The restaurant owner liked it a lot, but the others were mixed in reviews.

Spikes entree is tomahawk chop, sweet potato puree, brussel sprouts, and cipollinis. The sweet potato puree is too sweet for them, and it gets "it's ok." Not glowing.

Stephanie's entree is beef tenderloin with wild mushrooms and apple sauce. It is very nicely plated, and everyone loved it.

Antonia's entree is bone-in rib ete with fennel and cipollinis, and a shallot potato gratin. This is a very rich dish, but gets a lot of wonderful reviews.

The rest of the diners get food with no Hell's Kitchen-esque drama, and everyone seem to like it.

It's time for the last judge's table before the final four. Lisa enjoys a probably product placement beer, because she was sure that the label showed. Everyone else has drinks in red plastic cups. Probably Glad.

Everyone heads in to judge's table. Richard is up first. His appetizer goes over amazingly, but his entree is so so. Stephanie gets really good reviews. Lisa gets mixed reviews. The butter in the shrimp appetizer is called "congealed" which is never good. Her entree gets pretty good reviews. Antonia's entree was her strong suit. Spike gets blasted for using the frozen scallops. He defends his choice by saying that the frozen scallops were in the restaurant kitchen, so it wasn't his fault. Well, it was his fault for using them.

Back in the holding room, Spike can't believe that he talked down to Rick. Neither can I.

Stephanie gets the best overall notes from the judges during their deliberation, while Richard's appetizer gets wonderful reviews, though his entree is so-so. Antonia is called "insightful," and Spike is disappointing. Tom says it best when he said that Lisa just seems apathetic about everything.

Stephanie wins the challenge for being overall the strongest. She gets a copy of Rick's latest book, and GE monogram kitchen appliances, which is awesome. Richard is through to the top, with the favorite appetizer. Antonia is through with the favorite entree. I am pleased, because they are my favorite three.

It's down to Lisa or Spike to go home. Can we send both of them home? Lisa has been in the bottom five times, and Spike has been there seven times. Wow. That's ridiculous. Lisa looks pissed. What else is new? Everything about Lisa's body language makes me dislike her, but she is staying to go to Puerto Rico. Spike is gone, and I can't say I will miss him.

Lisa claims that she will "bring it" in Puerto Rico, and I will believe it when I see it. Spike leaves by saying no one can put him down. Nobody puts Spikey in the corner. Right? Um...

Onward, to the finals!

So You Think You Can Dance - 5/28/08

Cat Deeley looks mighty cold but cute all bundled up for chilly Salt Lake City auditions. Makes me happy it's late May now. There was some really lame attempts at Utah-White-Girl Rap (It's a good thing this is not So You Think You Can Rap - because these girls cannot. They wouldn't even get inside on that one. I would also not watch such a show.)

Joining the Nigel and Mary tonight is Mandy Moore - I think that is her name. Not the actor/singer Mandy Moore, but the one who choreographed the fabulous table/business deal routine last season. Loved that one.

Let's get on with the auditions.

Chelsea Hightower is up first, and she's a pretty girl with five brothers and a gorgeous mother. She's got a sob story to boot. One of her brothers paid her dance school tuition, even when they were really poor. They don't go into why they were poor, and I'm good with that. She is dancing with someone else's partners, and she's sizzling. She has incredible legs and she is a wonderful mover. She has a certain something in her performance that is very appealing. Her "borrowed partner" is also not bad, but I wasn't looking at him. She is outstanding. Mary broke out the "hot tamale" cliche. It is a unanimous decision to send Chelsea through to Vegas, and deservingly so. She went running outside with her ticket in her tiny little dress, and she must have been so warmed by the good news that she didn't feel the freezing temperatures.

Next up is Brett Bandord, who has Down's Syndrome. He is there "to represent" according to his pre-audition interview. He moves well, and has a lot of martial arts moves. Nigel says that he is not going to patronize him, and says that he is a very good mover with musicality, and it would be great in a club, but not right for the show. He is given props all around by the judges, but they do not send him through, and he is ok with that. So am I. He seems like a great kid, but I don't know how he would have done with choreography, since he is all self taught, seemingly based on his martial arts.

Michael Moore is next. No, not that Michael Moore (but wouldn't it be hilarious to see him try to dance? I'm chuckling to myself here). His family is into Native American Dance routine, which he doesn't do. He's got a weird style of dance actually. It's like he wants to be a breaker but isn't quite there. It's all over the place. I almost think that he is a student of Jump Style. He's almost there in certain moves, but not quite. Nigel calls his frantic and hectic, and tells him he needs to calm down. Michael agrees that he was bad. Mary cackled. Mandy Moore calls him for doing most of his routine facing the back, and he said that it was a mistake and he wasn't sure how he ended up that way. He ended saying "Well, I teach dance....just kidding. I think it's hilarious when people do that." At least he has a sense of humor about himself.

Richard Casteneda is shown doing an absolutely dreadful hip hop routine. It's frankly embarrassing, and Mary looked like she was trying not to fall asleep. Robert Taylor fell flat on his face - literally - trying to do a move. And outside, Cat had a fall on the ice!

As an interesting looking performer is Gev Manoukian from Khazakstan. He's a breakdancing ice skater, and he has also trained in some jazz and ballet, after being previously rejected from the show. Even on the floor, he looks like he's skating. It's really quite intruiging. He did one move where he stopped his face from hitting the floor by about an inch, I swear. It was beautiful. I want to see more of him. He is on to choreography.
Lindsey Judkins is up next, and she started with a big pageant smile on her face, but she brought some more expression to it later. At first I wasn't sure, but she brought something really nice to the floor. Nigel called her on opening her eyes too wide and looking a bit cartoony (my words, not his). Mary complimented her ankles and called her cute. Mandy thought she might be one-dimensional. She is heading for Vegas, because Nigel said that he thought she would breeze through choreography. I think I would have made her do the choreography, but again, I am no dance expert.

There's a little montage about how many married people and mothers are auditioning. One guy has seven kids and forgot their names momentarily on the spot. Nicole Downer is a 27 year-old mom of four and is already planning ahead of what she will do with the kids if she gets to Vegas. Unfortunately, she is pretty dreadful. She looks like she is having fun on the floor, but I think I could dance better than her. Awkward. Nigel said it was fun, but something you would see in a sitcom or a commercial. Mary said that she could get the other moms together in the neighborhood and form a little troupe. Mandy told her to keep dance in her life. But not on this show. Buh-bye.

The last solo audition for day one is Kelly Baker, who was in High School Musical, and her mom won the emmy for the choreography in High School Musical - Bonnie Story. Wow. She dances a contemporary routine, and she has beautiful lines. She's a very pretty girl, too. I can see her going far. She's got an expressive face, and she gave the judges goose bumps. That's a good sign. Nigel says that Kelly is one of the best dancers he has seen this season. Mary calls her extraordinary, and the best dancer she has seen this season. Blessedly, she is too emotional to scream. Mandy says that she can tell that dancing is in her blood. She's on to Vegas. And I can't wait.

It's time for choreography with Travis. Gev is good, and Nigel says "will you carry on learning and come back another year?" Gev says "Sure," and is sent to Vegas. Nigel faked everyone out. I'm glad that he got through.

On to Day 2 in Salt Lake City!

Naomi Christianson looks like she's going to be dreadful. She claims to be an actress, with a role as a warrior in an independent film. And, seeing her "dance," if you would call it that, I know I could dance better than her (and I am not a good dancer). She looked like she was walking with a slight drag of her feet. She claimed to be doing jazz, and then claimed that the problem with her dancing was the floor, and with her shoes it was too sticky, and with her socks it was too slick. Mary said that she needs a reality check, and that she was dancing like a three year old. "And you are looking there like I'm the crazy one!" Mandy is looking for Ashton Kutcher, sure that this must be Punk'd.

There was then a parade of nameless terrible dancers with good back-up plans - from marine biology to architecture to nursing. Yeah.

Strip Club DJ extraordinaire Ryann Race is up next, with distracting facial piercings. He is heartbroken because his stripper girlfriend left him, and he wanted to show his grief in his dance. Well, I don't know if I got that, but he is tall and lanky and moves weird, but in a musical and unique way. Nigel is jealous of Ryann's day job. He's going on to choreography.

Matt Dormane looks like an anime chracter, but he dances wonderfully. He has beautiful extensions and he is very flexible. He did a series of leaps (which I know have a technical name) across the stage and he looked incredible. Nigel criticized his shorts, but after praise from the other two judges, gave him a ticket to Vegas if he promised never to wear his "I'm about to go out for a quick game" shorts again. Matt agreed, and he is through.

There was a clip of Thayne Jasperson next, and he looked really unique. One of his pants legs was shorter than the other, and that was odd, but otherwise, gorgeous, and he was through to Vegas.

Courtney Pierson and Michelle Stringham are up next, and they are best friends. Both of them got married and divorced at the same time. Courtney has a 2 1/2 year old son (who is a cutie), and Michelle is a fitness instructor. Courtney's audition is first, and she has a great look. I don't know what I think about her fluffy scarf, but she is a pretty girl. She apparently hasn't danced for five years, because she "lost her passion." The judges say that she has good potential, and they send her to choreography. Michelle (aka Shelley) is up next, and I didn't find her to be as engaging a performer. She was praised by the judges, and she also hadn't had much dance in five years. The socks made her slip a bit, but they said that her dancing was good. She is heading on to choreography as well. I am jealous of her arms.

It's time for the choreography - Shelley is through, and Nigel criticized Courtney's weird scarf, which she ditched for the choreography, and she is through. Ryann crashed and burned during the choreography, but he is still through to Vegas. We'll see how he does there.

There were 16 who made it through on Day 2 who we didn't see. 42 people from Salt Lake total went through to Vegas.

On to Dallas! It's supposed to be warmer, but it's still pretty cold, and the contestants still can't rap. There was even a little blanket fashion show outside, before heading in for the auditions. Adam Chapman (director of Hair Spray) is the guest judge in Dallas.

Brian Davidson looked like a disaster waiting to happen. He claims to never get nervous, but has a disturbing habit of saying "period" at the end of each sentence and then slapping himself in the forehead. Yipes. His audition was stopped quickly, because he was not dancing, really only doing some strange boxing thing. He talks back to Nigel, saying that he doesn't care if he goes home. Yeah, cause that's the attitude that will get him through. Brian tried to redeem himself in his interview by saying that he knows he is not fluid or graceful, but he has groove. Yeah, whatever. Buh-bye. Good riddance.

Next is fight and ballroom dance, line dance, and hip hop instructor Chad Agnor- who tragically injured his hamstring while warming up! Yipes. He still wants to to the audition. Nigel told him that he shouldn't do the audition with his injury, but he decided to do it anyway. He did a country line dance, and I am not sure that is the best way to get through. He didn't do a good job, and he is told to come back next year. He's 29, and 30 is the cutoff. Good luck to him next year.

Paige Jones is a typical Texas beauty queen living in a pink apartment. I want to throw up. She is a business student with a perfect 4.0. Of course. She's wearing a rhinestone bikini top to stand out in auditions. She's got a pageant smile plastered on her face, and her balance looked a little off on one of the leg extensions. Nigel called her a pirouetting set of teeth, and called her a Stepford Dancer. Mary said that she needs to show more heart, and Adam said that she needs to throw out everything she knows and just dance. She's on to choreography.

Joshua Allen is a popper and he's crazy. And I mean that in the Mia Michaels sense of the word. This guy has some cool moves - some are almost belly dance! Very neat. He threw in some Russian low squat kicks at the end, and then had an amazing leaping split. Wow. Nigel says he is the most exciting person yet in Dallas. Mary claims that he's got it fired up, and Adam says he has wings. He's on to choreography.

After a short break, Cassidy Corder is up. She is a former cheerleader, who realized that she liked the dance best of all. She's got some insane "Booty Popping," but some of her transitions were really weak. I think the only thing she really did well was the booty popping. She kind of moved awkwardly from one booty pop to the next. Mary said it was mostly throwing her hair about, and Nigel said that it was terrible. She claims that she freaked out, and should be allowed to go on to choreography, but it is not to be. She was really awful.

Brianna Gardner is next, and all she did was sit and shake her head to the rhythm. It was weird. Nigel said that she looked like a really bored stripper. Ouch. Kayleigh Darling also fails to impress.

John Dix and Arielle Coker are up next, and they move beautifully. He did a really nice series of lifts with her. She was really the standout to me in the audition, though. He was there to be strong and to let her show off her impressive lines. I really think I like her. Nigel said it looked like Beauty and the Beast, and also thought that John looked like the non-dancer. Adam gives John props for not dropping Arielle because the floor was slippery. John is through to choreography, and Arielle goes straight to Vegas. Nice.

There was a series of good dancers next, none of them named, but they were wonderful. Can't wait to see more of them in Vegas.

Steven Arner is last, with a chair dance and big afro pom poms. Weird. He didn't do much dancing at all. He looked like he was channeling a bad female stripper. Really dreadful. Nigel says that he ruined the Mickey Mouse Club for him, and Steven says he was good. Umm. no, you weren't. Mary said he was terrible, and Adam said that he looked like he was sleepwalking and didn't care about being there. Steven wanted to do the choreography, and thinks that he needs more training in ballet and contemporary, and Mary said that he needs hip hop training, and he is delusional. He swore at her, and kept saying he was good. Mary got really upset with him, and deservedly so. Yuck.

Time for the Dallas Choreography. John Dix is commended for being a great partner, but he's gone. Pageant girl Paige is through, as is Joshua, and 38 other dancers. And it's a strange montage of Happy Dances sponsored by Snuggle. That's going a bit too far. I missed that part last week due to the DVR cutting off.

I'm excited that there are more auditions tomorrow. It's going to be interesting! Can't see who gets to the show, so I can pick favorites. I really don't like Pageant Girl Paige, but that could just be my deep seated dislike of all things pink, and I think her sweat might just be pink. We'll see how she does in Vegas.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Hell's Kitchen 5/27/08

Matt starts off the night by sucking up to Corey, who says in a confessional that he might be a better used car salesman than a chef. Nice. I still am astounded by the number of the chefs on this show who smoke. I think that all of them that are left smoke. That messes with your palate so badly, I just don't get it. I really doubt Ramsey smokes.

The challenge is all about communication. Each chef will have 6 minutes to start a dish, then 15 seconds to communicate with the next person what needs to be done next, to finish three dishes on the menu. Jen hates Louross, who hates Jen, and he is pretty much forced into sitting it out. It's a relay race, kitchen style!

Matt started by poaching chicken, and then Cristina found raw chicken. Petrozza and Bobby seemed to be communicating pretty well, and Bobby seemed to do well with Jen. Corey did not seem to be doing as good a job with it. Louross wants Jen to prove that she is as good as she says she is.

First - scallops. Salad is missing on the red team, and eggs are overcooked on the blue team. The scallops taste good on the red team, and the blue scallops are raw in the center. That goes to the red team. Jen got defensive and claimed that her scallops were cooked perfectly, and she had no idea what he was talking about. I'm pretty sure I trust Ramsey to know if seafood is cooked.

Next is jandoori (?) - I have no clue what it is, but it's a menu item. Red team had good sauce and good puree, and the blue team had no sauce (because it burned). The blue team scores for better presentation, and wins that round. (It looked like salmon with shrimp maybe? Anyone know?)

Last is chicken - the red team got props for moist, well cooked chicken, but forgot the baby leeks. Blue team again was missing sauce. Again. The red team won it.

Jen is blamed for the loss on the blue team. Jen refuses to take the blame, refuses to apologize for two missing sauces. I am not surprised.

The Red Team ends up with a reward of a beach day, in a convertible. Nice. The Blue team gets to be Hell's Kitchen Maintenance for the day. Matt is wearing an idiotic hat to the beach. He looks like a train conductor. It's weird and dopey.

Bobby and Jen are arguing about cleaning. Big surprise.

The Red Team gets to try surfing, and they all pretty much bite. Ramsey schooled them about the way to surf, and then he swiftly deposited Jean-Phillipe into the ocean. That was kind of awkward, but funny.

Jen pouted some more about being punished, and the returning Red team tracks fun-day-at-the-beach sand onto the red carpet. Louross is pissy about it.

Next, Ramsey has a big announcement. The next dinner service is going to be their own menus. Three appetizers, three entrees, three desserts. It's time to make a game plan. Red Team comes up with an idea for a pan seared lobster, a big steak, and a flat iron pork chop. Matt is actually coming up with some wonderful sounding ideas.

The Blue team is being bossed around by Jen. Louross says "Jen gives me a headache - she won't listen, and her ideas suck." I don't see this team reaching any harmonious decisions.

(A reason I love Top Chef is that they would put the menu up for us to see, whereas this just glazes over. Hard to write down)

The red team's final menu is pretty impressive, and Ramsey seems to like it.

After Louross mentions the idea for halibut wrapped in squash, Ramsey says that sounds disgusting, and Louross says that he didn't like the menu, and it was pretty much all Jen. Jen calls him a little punk ass (in confessional). Nice. They revamp their menu to something that sounds much better, but the team (I mean Louross and Jen) continue to bicker like cats in a bag.

Corey offers to talk Matt through the pasta appetizer, and he denies her help, and puts out salty pasta, which goes back to the drawing board. The blue team seemed to be doing well, until Ramsey sees Petrozza putting unwashed lettuce in a salad. Ick. Not as icky as Matt's pasta, which is a universal mess. Undercooked, too salty, tasteless, just awful. Ramsey blames Matt's excessive sweating for the saltiness. Christina took over the appetizers, and Matt said that it was unfair and he wanted to keep trying. Again, looked like he wanted to cry. I think it was a good decision.

On the Blue team, he can't get a steak cooked, and gets some very rare steak returned to the kitchen. Not good. More are being returned. I want to like Louross, because I think he is the least objectionable in that kitchen, but not sure...

Matt has moved to the Red Team, and can't do that either. Badly cooked brussel sprouts got tossed across the kitchen by Ramsey. He throws a little tantrum, and Corey says that he is acting like a girl, and he is booted off the station. Again.

Louross gets a steak out - but the customer left first. That's no good.

Christina and Corey are working well together, and Matt is having a nice water and cleaning up. Whatever gets things served.

Jen got pissy when Bobby called her "Honey." Well, maybe he would respect her more if she could get things cooked. Her souffle is not cooked, and she refused to take blame for it. Both teams manage to complete service, but ... wow.

The diners were almost even for the two teams, choosing their menus. Chef Ramsey calls out Matt for having no control, being sloppy, and being pathetic tonight. Still, the Blue team loses tonight. Ramsey calls Petrozza a dirty pig in service, but says that he is the best of the worst. (I am saddened that Matt is not going anywhere).

Jen goes on about how she deserves to stay, but I don't know. Louross says that he deserves to say, but ... same thing. I wish that they could both go. They both get nominated, which is not surprising. What is surprising is that he asks Petrozza's opinion on who to vote off. He chose Louross, and Ramsey agrees. Louross is gone.

Ramsey's not done yet and he pulled Matt forward to stand with Jen. Then, in a shocking move, he sends both of them back to the team they originally came from. Corey and Christina, and Petrozza and Bobby look none-too-pleased. Jen says they are mad because they are intimidated by her. Yeah, that's why. Not because you suck. Matt says that he intends to stay to the end. Good luck with that, too. Yipes.

I have to say, I am not too pleased with the contestants this season. At this point, I think that Corey or Christina is going to win it, because they seem to be good chefs who are consistent. I would not like to see Petrozza running a kitchen, because I would worry about it's hygiene - it would end up being the type of kitchen that Ramsey visits during Kitchen Nightmares! And Bobby, well... I think that Bobby has been lucky thus far. He is just surrounded by people less capable than himself. That doesn't necessarily say much about him.

Hope that next season (assuming there is one) brings better chefs.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

So You Think You Can Dance - 5/22/08

I'm so excited I could just squeal. I love this show, I love Cat Deeley, I love watching all of the dancers. (I don't know anything about dance more than what I have learned from Reality TV, but I know what looks good).

Nigel Lithgow needs a haircut badly. That's the first thing I can see for sure. The season intro was long, but I am so excited to see some of these fantastic dancers.

First Auditions: LA (Don't you just love Cat Deeley's accent?)

Judges for LA are Nigel, Mary, and Mia Michaels (and they showed a clip of the bench routine, which I loved loved loved)

Devin Oshiro is up first, and there is a very awkward moment where she didn't move a bit, and it turned out her music was wrong. She is a contemporary dancer, and the original music was Baracuda. Not so much. When she got the right music, it was grand. The judges all love her, and Mia says that if she stays in through to the end, she could be stupid. Really stupid. I think that was a compliment.

There was a really long pre-audition segment with Italian Jonathan Anzalone. When he finally got to the dance, it didn't seem so much dance as prelude to a strip routine. The things was just this side of totally inappropriate. Or maybe that side. Not sure. He did some really impressive moves, that's for sure. It's just a shame that his routine was so. . .yeah. Mia Michaels said that he wouldn't be very "sex-essful" as the ultimate Freudian slip. Mary did some cackling. He argued with the judges about dance move names, and Nigel called him smug. He is berated for being arrogant and he didn't listen to what the judges had to say about sending him through. Mary says she wants to send him through, Mia sends him through, but not without saying that she would probably end up throwing him out the window trying to get him to listen. Uck. He's on to call-backs.

And everyone's favorite loser is back - it's Sex! It is his third year auditioning, and he is delusional. He said that he almost got to Vegas the first year (and they showed a clip. He did not), and the second year he claims to have done very well (and Nigel said that he shouldn't be allowed to be a dancer on this planet). This year's audition is weird and strange, like we've come to expect from him, though I am not sure why his hair inside his shirt, and he left the stage before the music was over and before the judges had their say. Mia said that he seemed to be improving last year when she watched the auditions from home. Mary cackles. This guy is delusional and just wanting attention. He claims to have many many years of formal training, with "many master choreographers around the country." Nigel calls it like it is and says that he just likes the attention and he refuses to call him Sex anymore, he's just David. Sex/David mumbles something about dancing right now on Planet California... ugh.

Laura Garcia is up next, and she has retinitis pigmentosa. She is not a bad mover, and she had Mia Michaels in tears, calling her a true inspiration. They worry about how well she can follow choreography. Because the competition is so intense, they say that they can't move her on, but they think she should keep dancing. This is why I love this show - some other shows would play the sob story. "She's what? Almost blind? FANTASTIC, let's milk it!"

Stephen Boss aka Twitch is up next. He was in Vegas last year, and he lost the final spot to Hok. Hok was incredible, so it was a good decision. Before his audition, Nigel tells him that if he doesn't make it though Vegas this year, he's going to kick his ass. He's a very talented and amusing dancer. Mary calls him sick. Again, I think that's a compliment. Then she cackles that he's stupid. And Mia says he gives her Stink-face. Also a compliment. Huh. He's through to Vegas.

The next guy up is Hamilton, and he is terrible and looks like an eskimo. He said that being fat is his niche, and Mia says that's nonsense and he's playing a character, not actually being good to himself.

Irena Something or other is wretched, and she's off balance and not good. She's 46 years old, and separated. She says that she left a half million dollar home just to be happy. It is deemed not good enough for the competition. Mary gives her a Paula-seal clap.

Phillip Chbeeb is up next, and he was cut in Vegas last year. He does some insane tricks. I kind of liked a bobble-head moves that he did. It was cute. His bow was even well choreographed. He's fascinating. He's an engineering and physics major. I like that. They are really hoping for him to be versatile. He's going to go to the choreography call backs.

William Wingfield is up next, dancing to a very depressing poem. I'm not sure what was better - his dancing, or the poem? Nigel says it was clever and cool, but maybe not the best audition for this program. He says there was too much clever stuff and not enough dancing. Mary wanted more, and she loved him. Mia liked it too, but wanted to see more. They send him on for the choreography call-backs.

They spend some time on the bad auditions on this show, but much less than American Idol, so it is less painful. The last contestant of the day strips down tohis skivvies before dancing. Yipes. Rijiy Ames does some almost ballet/almost contemporary in his tighty whities and dance shoes. They had to censor his last roll... The thing is, it might have been not so bad if he hadn't been almost naked. That's a gimmick gone bad. Mary flat out asked him why he was wearing only his underpants, and he said he wanted to be a clean slate for them to mold. Nigel said there was nothing there he wanted to mold. It's a unanimous no. He says that he will try something more clothed next year. Let's hope so.

Travis from Season 2 is teaching the Call Back Choreography (I loved him).

First up is Phillip Chbeeb and a girl, and then Jonathan who ignored his partner, and William Wingfield. They don't mention the women at all. Jonathan is gone, and he says he is just too beautiful for this competition. Right. Way to take what Nigel said ("Take away some of that arrogance and replace it with actual talent.") to heart, Jonathan. Buh-Bye.

Phillip Chbeeb and William are through to Vegas.

18 go through from Day 1 in LA.

Erika Gee is trying the third time, and she's really pretty and she moves really well. She's another contemporary dancer. Mia says that last year she was really all over the place and unfocused, and Erika thanks them for cutting her after that, because she needed the focus. She's on to Vegas, where I hope she can continue to be herself.

Leonidis and Aliona are up next. They are a couple as well as partners. I love seeing good ballroom couples. They were smoking. Leonidis has a crazy hairdo. Mary lets out a hoot and a cackle. She loves them, as does Nigel. Mia says they are hot hot hot. They are on to Vegas. She is a little washed out as a blonde, I would like to see her with darker hair.

Randy Lewis would be an embarrasment in a dark club. He's giving himself the Stink Face, and t this time it is not a good thing. Edwin Martin is up next, looking like Super Mario, and collapsing after dropping his hat. It was funny at least.

Victor Kim is up next, and he is one of the craziest breakers I have ever seen. The way he moved made me wonder if he does yoga. He finished by walking down the stairs on hi hands and sitting next to Cat pretending to clap for the performance on stage (that was him). He was funny, he was a fantastic mover, he was great. He's studying business and economics, but says he doesn't want to be an accountant. He's on the the Choreography callback.

Dominic, and Hok from last year are back to see the auditions. Cool. The Golden Inferno is back to audition. Ugh. Really? Nigel encourages him to keep his head up, and tells him to smile behind the mask. That man is seriously insanely skinny. He was 485 lbs according to Nigel before he started doing his "jump style" dancing. I wonder if that is true. He is not going on. Nigel claims that he would have put him straight to Vegas. Somehow I doubt that. Bye-bye Inferno.

Ricky Sun and Asuka Kondoh
are up next, and Asuka is really sick (and not in the good/Mia Michaels way), but you would never know it on stage. She's a good performer. Ricky was also very good. They have only been dancing together for 3 months, and they had a great connection. They are back for the Choreography call backs and have to dance with different partners for that. Asuka sees the medics after her audition and looks kind of green around the gills. Whenever Cat says her name, I think she's calling her Oscar.

Kherrington Payne is a tough soccer player. The judges notice that Dominic (from last year) seems to like her. Nigel says that she is beautiful and commercial looking, Mary says that she is joyful and has the it-factor. Mia also loved her. She's through to Vegas. Nigel picked on Dominic's instant love for her.

After the break, there's a montage of bad excuses for not getting through, including the genius who says the judges are "racist against tall people." Yeah, sure.

The final audition is another popper, Robert Muraine. He's pretty much a contortionist. He is very entertaining, that's for sure. I think Phillip Chbeeb has some competition. He has great facial expressions. I think Mia Michaels is peeing herself thinking about things she could choreograph for his body. They let him keep going an going. I think it was one of the longest auditions I have seen on this show. It was phenomenal. Nigel says he is officially his favorite dancer of 2008. He wants to see him doing choreography, and says that even if he is not good for this show, he hopes that enough people would see him that he gets exposure and jobs elsewhere.

And - YARGGGGGG - this is where my dvr cut off! Blast Fox for running late! Did he get through to Vegas? What happened in the choreography? Did we even find out? Help me out here, dear readers!

Edited to add: I read on another blog that Victor Kim did not make it through after the choreography, but Asuka and Ricky did. Also, Robert got a ticket to Vegas right off the bat.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Top Chef - 5/21/08

Tom wakes the chefs up (and these people are NOT morning people). Their Quickfire Challenge is to work the egg station at a popular chicago breakfast joint. That can be tough. Eggs (done well) can be tricky.

They get to watch for a little bit to get the idea of how it works, and then they each get to take a turn under the owner's watchful eye.

Antonia is up first, and she does a good job at calling orders back. I couldn't tell if she actually was cooking well.

Stephanie had to poach some eggs and had a bad time of it, and ruined some eggs.

Richard had a bad time of it, and Lisa melted some styrofoam.

Spike seemed to me moving well.

Dale was a little confused, but also seemed to do well.

The owner's top two were Antonia and Dale. Antonia wins the challenge, and I was happy for her. She gets "an advantage" for the Elimination Challenge. Tom won't be there for the challenge, and he sends them to a mysterious address to find Padma.

It's Restaurant Wars. Fun. Their space looks like a giant yoga studio. They will divide it, share a kitchen, and get 35 diners the next night. Antonia gets to pick her team, and she picked Stephanie and Richard. This makes it kind of a re-match for Wedding Wars, minus the missing people.

Team Antonia talks menu first, and they are called Warehouse Kitchen. Not sure about that name.

Team Dale does Mai Buddha, which is an Asian style restaurant. Since Dale is only really good at Asian food, there you go. Spike and Lisa both have Asian cooking backgrounds, too. That's potentially good.

Off to Whole Foods, which doesn't have all the specialty Asian products they needed, so they improvised.

Then to Pier One, where they shopped like mad. Lots of Buddhas were bought for Team Dale.

In the kitchen, Lisa and Dale start by being confrontational with each other. In the front of the house, Stephanie and Spike are working on decoration.

The Menu for Warehouse Kitchen is:
1st course - Beet & goat cheese salad, and linguine and clams (interesting)
2nd course - Trout & cauliflower, and lamb leg & loin (double yum)
3rd course - Gorgonzola cheese cake (weird sounding) and banana scallops (huh?)

The Menu for Mai Buddha is:
1st course - Shrimp Laksa soup, and pork & pickled plum potstickers (sound yummy)
2nd course - miso scallops and braised short ribs (sounds yummy)
3rd course - Halo-Halo and Mango Sticky Rice (kind of weird)

Warehouse kitchen is doing a homemade pasta, and they are nervous about it being good - and they didn't get any backup pasta.

Anthony Bourdain is Temp Tom this week, and it freaks the contestants out some. Each team is getting an eliminated contestant. Antonia wants to pick someone to roll out pasta! Team Dale picks (I forget her name!) and Team Antonia picks Nikki to role pasta. Dale is making an avocado something and ends up using a brown one, and it makes his whole puree icky brown instead of nice green. Lisa gets pissy about rice being pulled off the burner, blaming someone else again.

There's grit in the clams on Team Antonia, and they do the smart thing and re-wash them.

Team Dale has some things that aren't working well, including the sticky rice, which is more like Sloppy Rice. Not very appetizing.

Warehouse Kitchen's appetizers went out and went over super. The 2nd course was so-so. There's skin on some trout, which is a no-no, but the lamb was good. The 3rd course (the banana scallop) ended up looking a bit like poo, but the cheesecake went over well.

Over at Mai Buddha, the colors (silver and purple) get some not so good comments. The dumplings get good remarks, the soup not so much. Padma calls the dumplings "slamming." The second course is also mixed - butterscotch scallops? Ick. But the short ribs go over well. Dale and Lisa get into it with each other in the kitchen. The rice is called "baby vomit with woodchips." Ick. The Halo-halo gets mixed reviews.

Not surprisingly, Warehouse Kitchen wins the night. Stephanie wins the night, and I think she deserved it. She wins a culinary tour to Spain. Sweeeeeet.

Mai Buddha is called up next, and they get some rough comments. The decor choices are questioned. Dale's butterscotch scallops are reamed. Lisa's smoked Shrimp Laksa is also reamed. Spike says the Laksa was his idea, but "my laksa is very different." The short ribs are good, but no one can decide who made them. Dale and Lisa get into it about who's idea the horrendous sticky rice was. They then argue with each other about who to blame for the failure. I just can't wait to see one of them gone.

The judges don't like that Lisa flubbed on two dishes she's made before, and they don't appreciate her defensiveness. They hated Dale's sticky sweet scallops, but is it enough to send him home? Anthony Bourdain tells Spike "It was a good day to be in the dining room." True nuff, and Dale is gone. I think it is because he was "executive chef" in a failed restaurant.

American Idol - FINALE!

It started out with Cook and Archuleta facing off, dressed all in white. Archie looks so awkward standing on stage there. There were apparently 97.5 million votes last night. Wow. 56% vs. 44%. Ryan says that Ruben even got some votes. I doubt that. A rueben is one of my favorite sandwiches, but not one of my favorite Idols.

We check in with Mikayla Gordon in Cook's home town, and Matt Rodgers in Archuleta's home town. Wow. I'd almost forgotten about both of them. Matt is surrounded by a bevy of screaming blondes.

The Top 12 are saved from too much dancing by the stars of So You Think You Can Dance making an appearance. (Who's excited for that show???) The Top 12 don't sound too bad together, singing Get Ready, Cause Here I Come. Their choreography consists of flailing arms and shimmying a little. Brooke is really weak on group numbers. Her voice doesn't meld well. Amanda Overmyer looks particularly uninterested on being on stage in this cheese fest. I can't blame her.

After a break, Cook enters and sings Chad Kruger's Hero, and is joined Archuleta, who kind of ruins the feeling of the song. Cook takes the lead in the beginning, and it is phenomenal. Archuleta adds his signature plodding intensity, and it is not as good. Cook takes the high notes in the harmony, and he's fantastic. Why didn't he sing this song during the show? It is wonderful for his voice. Try as he might, Archuleta did not succeed in turning it into a Christian Rock Anthem. After they are done singing, Archuleta looks like he wants to say "Gosh, that was fun."

There is a strange promo for Love Guru. Very odd. I fast forwarded. (Sorry, it's late)

Syesha sang Waiting For You next, joined by Seal. Cool! She was significantly better in the beginning of the song than in the middle, though she picked it up at the end. I wonder if singing with Seal distracted her...

Jason Castro does a reprise of Hallelujah, after Ryan ribbed him for being uncomfortable in interviews. This was really Jason's strongest point in the entire season. He seemed to be very emotional singing it tonight, and he sounded great. His falsetto at the end was just this side of perfection. He wandered off stage without the painful interview after singing.

The Final Ford Commercial is a montage of outtakes from the other ones. Nothing new, but cute. And both the Davids are getting a new Ford Escape Hybrids. David Cook was psyched, and Archuleta said "Gee, Gosh."

The top 6 girls got to do a group sing of Hot Stuff, and Amanda looks like she never wants to be on this stage ever again. Brooke sounded good, but should not attempt dancing, she's a really weird dancer. When she had her little solo, Amanda sounded pretty bad, and then Carly took over with some hot stuff of her own. Donna Summer then came in with a new single. She's 58. Her eyes looked weird. The song is called Stamp Your Feet. I didn't like it, and fast forwarded halfway through. (again, it's very late)

They all then broke into Last Dance (also known as the bane of Ryan Starr). Syesha got a starring moment along with Donna, and she did it proud. Donna hit a very nice final high note. She still has it, even though I didn't like her new song much.

Carly and Michael Johns got to duet on The Letter, as an apology for being voted out too soon. They sound great together. Michael is not a very good mover on stage, either. Carly's dress is almost scandalously short, but she moves better. Ugh. Michael Johns threw in a Come-on-y'all. Why do they do that?

(Plug for the tour, so you can see more)

Jimmy Kimmel came in for a season highlight. He threw in an obligatory dig at Paula's premonition a few weeks ago. There was an amusing musical montage of Simon's best one-liners. Randy's outfit gets picked on by Ryan, deservingly.

The top 6 guys got to sing Summer of '69. Michael Johns started it off, with "I Wasn't a Stripper" Hernandez coming in next, and then a short spot of Jason, and the Chikezie, who had more fun than Jason. The Davids entered like Rock Stars and we didn't get to hear them sing the song. Instead, they broke out into Brian Adams' Heaven. Hearing them sing side by side really showcases how much Archuleta makes everything sound the same, and Cook makes it sound different. They are then joined by Brian Adams himself (with, of course, his newest single, no one comes onto this show if they aren't pimping something).

Oh, yay. There's an American Idol Experience coming to Disney. Another reason to never go there.

David Cook gets to sing Sharp Dressed Man with ZZ Top. That's awesome. He even gets to play the guitar with the Mighty Bearded Ones. He looked so happy to be up there (and not in a "Golly Gee, shucks" kind of way - more in a "Dude, I'm singing and playing with ZZ Top" kind of way). Blake Lewis was in the audience. Woot! That was a great performance.

Cut to Makayla, with Cook's music teacher, for an awkward interview.

Brooke gets to sing with Graham Nash in Teach Your Children. It's a great song for her to sing. I bet she used to sing it to herself as she was working as a nanny. I wish that she had sung the melody instead of the harmony, because I couldn't really hear the melody well, and it would have been nice to. (I fast forwarded through the end - yup, late. I also fast forwarded through the Jonas Brothers because I think they are nasal and kind of annoying. I also fast forwarded through the Bad Auditions Through the Ages clip). They brought back the You Are My Brother Guy, with a giant band and cheerleaders. I could have predicted that.

One Republic is next with Apologize, which I first heard on SYTYCD last year to a wonderful routine, and I like the song, but ... yeah, fast forwarded, until Archie joined them. It's a good song for his voice. He tried to keep his eyes open, but he just couldn't do it. The temptation was too strong. He even threw in a few lick lips for good measure. This was a pretty good song for him, though. I think he wanted to say "Gosh, guys, it sure was great to sing with you. Golly, thanks." I bet he was thinking it.

(I caught a glimpse of a couple non-commital ladies in the audience with "Team David" t-shirts, and that was amusing)

Cut to Archie's hometown, to his grandfather, who's interview is cut off. Archuleta's other grandfather is there too. Archie replies to the interview with a "Gee, thanks, guys."

Jordan Sparks gets to pimp her latest single wearing a very bad gold lamee dress. The shape is all wrong for her, and it was not suited to a kind of r&b song. Jordan needs a new stylist. OTher than the bad dress, she looked very nice. Yup, fast forward.

Next up is an audition video for the pips with Jack Black, Robert Downey Jr (I love love love him), and Ben Stiller. Amusing, but fluff. Fast forward.

It's time for Carrie Underwood (pimping her latest single). Her sleeves are quite something. She sounded good, and had the Carrie Underwood Strut down to her perfect science, and her skirt was scandalously short... I want results. Fast Forward.

(I caught a very weird commercial with Archie playing Guitar Hero - boy should NOT try to act)

The girls get to sing George Michael's Faith, and no one can quite get it right. Especially not Amanda. Kristy Lee Cook was really bad. The guys take over with Father Figure. They sounded much better. There was an attempt at choreography. Why do they keep trying? They all then break into Freedom. Archie gets to sing a song about being young and knowing heaven. Cook gets to be every little school girl's pride and joy. Appropriate. I have never seen a less coordinated Top 12. It's really embarrassing.

As if we didn't see it coming, George Michael himself comes out to ... yup, pimp his latest single. He sounded a little weird and froggy in the beginning, and ... I want results. Ahhhh, according to the post performance interview, he has a cold. I forgive his frogginess.

FINALLY - time for results.

Randy in his wretched suit says it's a good Final Two, and Paula blathers on about losing being good, too. Simon apologizes for being so mean to David Cook. Good. He finishes by saying for the first time ever, he is happy with whoever wins.

And the winner is....

(Get on with it)

DAVID COOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I cheered, I hope I didn't wake the kids up. Wooooooooooooot. This is the first time in a long time that the person I wanted to win actually did. Cook ended up losing it a little at the end, and who can blame him.

The winning song is Time Of My Life, and it started too low for Cook. My DVR cut off the end (boo) - was the song any good?

I'm so happy right now. Yippppppeee!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Hell's Kitchen: 5/20/08

This week starts out with the decision on who to send over to the Blue team. Corey wants Jen gone so she can take charge of the Red Team. Jen says she doesn't trust Corey's opinion. In the end, though, she decided to move over anyway, claiming that the red team is safe, and she's not a safe chef, so she wants to show her chops and make them win. We'll see how that goes.

The Challenge is all about using what you have. They have 20 items to make 4 dishes, using only item only once. The Red Team quickly divides things up and writing everything down to be sure they are doing well. The Blue Team (and Jen) are not nearly as good.

Then Matt cut off the tip of his finger. According to Christina, he took off a good half inch of his finger. ick. The women take over his dish and then Ramsey brings up the good point of "where'd the finger go?" Um... in the pancetta? (All together now - ewwwwwwwwwwwwww). The matter is dropped, and then Matt returned! That's more than I would have expected from him.

The Blue kitchen is not communicating at all, and people are using the same ingredients, which is against the rules. Come plating time, Louross didn't get the veal on the plate, and then Jen told him to lie and say he rendered the veal in the sauce. Ugh.

Both Christina's stuffed snapper and Petrozza's crab with onion souffle go over well, and he calls it a draw. Matt left the liver in his quail, and Jen wins that round with hers.

Corey's lemon chicken with artichokes is called plain. Bobby made a walnut encrusted buffalo mozzerella chicken with a balsalmic glaze and Ramsey says it's horrendous, and Corey wins that round.

Rosann's veal is not that great, and Louross' snapper is good, but where's the veal? He at least owns up to not having all the ingredients. Jen says that the surf and turf was his idea, which it wasn't.

I am glad that he didn't lie, but I was upset that he didn't use the veal. It was right there.

The Red team wins, and they get an interview with In Touch Magazine. Matt is way too excited about an interview with a kind of woman-centric magazine. Oh well. The girls clean up really nice, and Matt still looks like a schmo.

The Blue team has to do laundry all day. Jen is pissy and is blaming Louross. I wonder what she thinks would have happened if he had lied and Chef had realized it (because he would have)? That would have been just as bad, or worse. Probably worse.

Dinner service is on, and Jen is really annoying and bickering with Louross. The Red team is feeling copacetic. Matt is seeming happy and contented. Jen claims that the Blue team is bonded and working together as a team, but ... I didn't see it.

This dinner service is going to include secret food critics. The critics will be comparing the two kitchen's dishes. Very cool. Corey and Christina sends out their appetizers very quickly, and the critics seem to like them a lot. The blue teams scallops are slower, but also go over well. Matt's fillets are no good, all different sizes. Ramsey tells him off about that, and he says "Let's wake up, guys, especially me!"

Over in the Blue Kitchen, Jen tells Petrozza not to cut the steak because there is three minutes left before he's going to be plating it, and Ramsey says he deserves to lose for that. Petrozza claimed that he "couldn't help himself" from cutting into it. Boo, Petrozza.

Christina tries to serve half burned salmon, and then has issues getting new salmon out. Ramsey tells he to "shut up, from the bottom of my heart." He then calls her a lazy cow. The critics don't love it. Louross' salmon is next and it gets better reviews from the critics.

The Red tema is behind, and Rosann is not communicating, and burning veggies. She's running out of her veggies. Chef Ramsey is bashing his head into the wall.

The Blue team is rolling now, and Petrozza calls them "Super Blue."

Matt is trying to serve raw beef, and he loses it. His good attitude and good cooking didn't last long at all. He burns it next, and that is the last straw for Ramsey, who shuts down their kitchen with a fire burning on the stove. Ugh.

The Blue gets to finish, and Jen did a little dance of joy. She squealed.

To me, it's either Matt or Rosann going this week. During judgement, Matt put on his sad muppet face, and Corey is chosen as the best of team, before Ramsey tells them to piss off. Corey chooses Matt and Rosann, and Ramsey wants Christina in there, too. Corey said that she "never wanted to work with Rosann during service ever again." He put her back in line first, then kicked her out. He likes to play mind games, that Ramsey.

I probably would have booted Rosann, too.

American Idol: David vs. David Showdown

American Idol has been planning for the David vs. David finale for a long time, with the "Let's get ready to rumble" announcer, giving Ryan the night off from the introductions. It was dorky, it was weird, but it was slightly amusing. Archuleta cannot act to save his life.

The Archuleta fans and the Cook fans seem pretty well matched in the applause-meter. I think it's funny that they call them Big David and Little David. David Cook is not gargantuan, and David Archuleta is not itty bitty.

They continue the build up with the boxing theme, and it looks like Andrew Lloyd Webber is returning for a final mentoring gig. He was pretty good before, so we'll see how that goes. Clive Davis is also in, but that's standard AI.

Archuleta won the coin toss last week and chose the pimp spot. He mumbles his interview and looks like he wants to say "Gosh, gee, I'm so happy to be here." He doesn't, but he was thinking it. Of that, I am sure. Simon says "You've got to have a desire to win, and you've got to hate your opponent," to win. Archuleta responds to that by saying "This guy's awesome," and practically throws Cook a kiss. Cook says "See, now anything I say is going to sound trite," before ending with "the competition's over, we're just here to have fun." Well, no, it's not, David. It's not quite over. Hope that him having fun = him rocking the house down.

The first round is Clive Davis' pick.

David Cook (I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For - U2): Good song. I really dig the arrangement, with minimal instrumentals in the beginning. He is sounding great tonight, and the song is great for his ideal range. This feels like the David Cook Show. He is excellent. I think he dug a little deep for some of the notes in the chorus, but other than that. . . totally wonderful. This is what I was hoping for. I liked the end, too. He rocked it like I hoped he would. Randy calls him DC, because it is so much more difficult to say David. For heaven's sake. Paula gushed on him, deservingly. Simon says he could tell he was a little tense and emotional, but that he put out a phenomenal performance. And he did.

David Archuleta (Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me - Elton John): I love that Archie's squinty attempt at being intense bugs Andrew Lloyd Webber, too. Clay sang this song brilliantly in his season, so Archuleta's got a lot to live up to. He starts off sitting on the stairs, and you could see him thinking "don't squint, don't squint, don't squint." He looked slightly pained keeping his eyes open. Before the chorus, he got up and plodded centerstage. That boy can NOT move. He did well, and he sounded good, though some of his falsetto notes sounded a little off to me. It was a good choice of song for him, but . . . now I want Clay's version. Randy calls him flawless and molten hot. Paula got chills and is having heart palpitations. (Someone call a doctor). Simon says that last week was just ok, but this week was arguably the best he has done so far. Then, he announced that Round One goes to Archuleta. IN YOUR OPINION, Simon. I disagree. Heartily. Archie broke out in tears anyway. You didn't win yet, buddy. Still have two more songs. Stop crying.

Round Two - Song from the People.

This is cool - they took the top 10 songs from the songwriting competition, gave them to the Davids, and let them choose what they wanted to sing. Bonus. Maybe it won't suck. Because this is my now inside your heaven and I believe in a Moment like this I can Fly without wings.

David Cook (Dream Big): He rocks it out with the guitar, and starts a little low, and this song is pretty decent. He sounds good, it's a good rock-ish anthem, more so than any other AI winner song yet. He had a really great long note at the end that was impressive. His guitar work was good, too, in my opinion. Randy accuses Cook of singing his face off. I still don't get that compliment. The judges have used it before. Paula loved it, Simon said it was a lightweight. I think Simon likes the goopy goopy winner songs. He didn't like it. I did.

David Archuleta (In This Moment): Surprise, surprise, it's a goopy goopy winner ballad. "Staring through windows at my own reflection - how can a window encompass perfection." What? He sings it well,. His jacket is weird. It looks like there's an anchor on the back of it! Huh? One of the mosh pit ladies had freakishly long square-tipped fingernails and it was really distracting. The song is great for his range, and he sang it really well.... dang it! I still hated the song. It was saccharine and sticky. Bees would flock to that song. Randy again brings up the phone book thing. Hasn't that been overdone? Simon preferred this song. Ugh. If that song was on the radio, I would switch it off immediately, before I slipped into a coma from all the sugar. I'm not diabetic, but that might just push me over the edge.

Round Three - Contestant Choice

David Cook (The World I Know - Collective Soul): I really like this song. As he started, there were two lonely arm wavers in about the 20th row when they did a wide shot. Later, the mosh pitters joined in. He had a great falsetto note, and even his lower notes were well done. He ended with a great falsetto. Now, do I think it is the best song he could have possibly chosen? Maybe not. But it was dang good. He started crying at the end. He is fabulous. Randy likes Collective Soul, and Paula says that he is standing in his truth. Does that stain if you stand in it too long? Simon says that Cook is nice and sincere, but he didn't like the song choice, saying that he should have sung one of his hits from the season - Billie Jean or Hello. Cook said he wanted to do something new. Good for him.

David Archuleta (Imagine - John Lennon): I wonder if Archuleta could do a good vibrato without shaking his head side to side. It's really distracting. This was really his best moment of the season to me, and he sang it back before I was sick of him. Then I saw that it is the only kind of song he can do. Dang it, he's doing really well. He threw in a few too many extraneous runs for my taste, but he did really well tonight. Randy says that Archie is the best singer of the season. Paula says she's speechless, and then continued talking, proving herself wrong. Simon says it was a knock out in favor of Archie.

I'm dialing for Cook, but at this point, it could be anyone's game. Archuleta did what he does really really well tonight. I really preferred Cook's performances because he showed his versatility. But, that's one reason I like him so much better than Archuleta.

Until tomorrow, when we find out how it all pans out!

(And Oh. My. God. If I hadn't watched Hell's Kitchen tonight, I would have missed the lovely unveiling of Ruben Celebrating us Home. How could I have lived with myself? Yeah, I didn't watch it, either.)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Can't Fight the Moonlight? ACT NOW!!

There may still be hope for Moonlight!

They are reconsidering canceling the show. The Producer Joel Silver is trying to shop it out to either the CW or the Sci-fi network and both are very interested if CBS doesn't renew.

Must call the following phone number. All you need to leave is you city, state, age and gender.


The demographic/test is only till 6 PM today (5/16/08) EST.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Top Chef - 5/14/08

Richard has a pair of pink crocs, and I can't like him as much as I did before I knew that. Spike calls Dale a little bitch, and I kind of agree. Andrew claims that he woke up with a fire in his belly, and either he is going to stab somebody, or make some amazing food. He sure is amazing.

Sam from Season 2 is the guest judge this week. Fun. Their quickfire is to make a salad. Sam doesn't seem overly excited to be there. Spike claims that he is making a salad that screams "Let's go have sex" after eating it. Interesting.

Antonia is making a "fatty salad." Stephanie has plating problems, and forgets her artichoke chip.

Andrew's offering is a Thai Fruit salad with mangoes, strawberries, rasperries, and a sirracha dressing.

Spike's is a "Sensual Steak Salad."

Lisa's is grilled squid and lobster tail with banana weird.

Stephanie's is a Fall duet with pears and artichokes.

Antonia's is a poached egg and sunchoke salad with bacon vinagrette. Mmmm.

Richard's is a "Fresh & Clean" salad.

Dale's is a poached chicken salad with nori.

Richard, Stephanie, and Lisa end up in the bottom. Lisa looks angry at being there.

Spike, Antonia, and Dale end up on the top. Spike won it, though. He was thrilled at his first win. Though there is no immunity this week, he will get a "significant advantage."

The Challenge of the week starts with a bunch of fast food being wheeled in. They have to make gourmet boxed lunches for the police academy. Spike gets 10 minutes extra shopping, and one ingredient in each food group to have for himself alone.

He chooses chicken breast, tomatoes, bread, and lettuce. Oh, that's so mean. Antonia says "If he's not using those tomatoes tomorrow, he's going straight to hell." He is kind of devious that way. Andrew is not worried, because he says he picked the most dumbed down ingredients in the store, and the only people who will have a problem with that are "dumb people." Lisa is making something with shrimp, and I don't know how well shrimp will do in a lunch box. Andrew gets kind of obnoxious about his choices, because he thinks he has it in the bag.

Antonia is making a curried beef, and that sounds good. Andrew is making a sushi type roll with parsnip and pinenut puree instead of rice. He's into raw food. Interesting. I wonder how that will go over with police cadets. Dale is making Vietnamese style cabbage cups with bison. Lisa's making a veggie stir fry with brown rice and shrimp. Stephanie is making a mushroom leek soup with potatoes. Sounds yummy. Spike is making a chicken salad. Richard is making lentil, tuna, quinoa burritos. I made some lentil burritos last week, and they were delicious. We'll see.

Someone turned Lisa's rice up to high, and that's crazy sabotage if it is sabotage. Others (Stephanie and Dale) say in their confessionals that they don't think it was, just a mistake. She tried to fix it, I don't think it will work out that well for her.

They pack up and go to the police academy! Everyone got to set up a table with their box lunches, and they have to sell their meals. Richard annoys everyone with his showmanship. Spike is only putting two of his meals on the table at a time to make them look like they are in high demand. I like him much less after this week. He's severely obnoxious.

The judges find Spike's sequestering of the tomatoes, lettuce, and bread unnecessary, since he didn't do anything with them, and Padma called the chicken salad "pedestrian."

Andrew is railed for not using a whole grain, and the judges think his sushi-like thing is just strange.

Richard's burrito went over well, and people seemed surprised about it.

Lisa's rice-saving attempt is not good, but people seem to like her hot sauce.

Dale and Stephanie were pulled into the Judge's table first. They were named the top two. Dale's bison was really good. Stephanie's soup was delicious according to the judges. Dale is a winner, and I think he deserved it this week. He may be annoying, but he seems to be able to cook if he is not taking all the responsibility onto himself.

The bottom three are Spike, Andrew, and Lisa. Andrew is chided for not using a grain, and for not having a very substantial meal. Andrew tries to school the judges on the benefits of eating every three hours, so you don't need to have something substantial. He got really defensive about the dish, and said that he wanted to get the cops to eat in a healthier way. Tom zinged him by saying "how about making it taste good?" ouch.

Spike was chided for grabbing the tomatoes and bread and lettuce and not really using them. They also didn't like his grapes and olives in the chicken salad, and he got really snappy at Tom for "not understanding salty and sweet." Yeah, that's not going to make you any friends.

Lisa is criticized for her undercooked rice, her undercooked veggies, and her undercooked shrimp. She brings up that she believes someone tampered with her pot of rice, and Tom said that her shrimp wasn't done either. Then, she says that "some people" didn't follow the rules of the challenge, and Andrew got really upset with her and went a little postal on her.

"Wow, Lisa sure had a lot to say," the judges agree before their deliberation. Lisa seems always ready to blame other people, or the challenge, or the gremlins in the kitchen, for her failings. I don't know about her. Andrew is called out for being arrogant about his "nutritional education." In the holding room, Andrew and Lisa had a little pissing contest. Lisa just always looks pissed. Andrew is sent home this week, and Lisa doesn't look any happier to be staying.

I will miss Andrew for his quotable moments. He sure was memorable. Spike bemoans the loss of his last buddy. He says they will be boys forever. I assume he means that with a capital B, not that they are safe from possible gender re-assignment.

American Idol: Down to 2 - Results Show 5/14/08

Andrew Lloyd Webber is in the audience tonight. Wonder what he's there to promote? Ryan must have a great view of Paula's considerable assets, because he makes a couple slightly embarrassing comments before telling us that Fantasia is going to be performing tonight (yay? Don't think so), and introducing the Fab 3 with Aint No Stopping Us Now.

David A. should never attempt to have anything approximating rhythm on stage. It's awkward and embarrassing. David Cook is different from the other two in that he is wearing a black top and they are wearing white. Syesha's hair looks nice, I think she lost the extensions, or at least got shorter ones. To prove that they are, in fact, on the move, the three strut around on stage and through the audience. It isn't great. Syesha took most of the lead in the song because it's best for her voice, but David Cook had a couple moments to belt. Eh.

Ford Commercial time! Each idol gets a dream sequence (or maybe it's their supposed futures told) and apparently, David A. wants to be Richie Rich, with an outdoor piano and a swimming pool with his name on the bottom of it. Hmmmm. Interesting.

The recap is un-noteworthy. I have nothing to say.

What? Fantasia's song is actually called Bore Me??? She Diana Degarmos the crowd to come on, y'all, and looks a bit like she stuck her head in Kool-aid, and the song was upbeat, but involved very little singing. Mostly, it was shrieky, with undecipherable lyrics, and I think Fantasia was angry at everyone. I couldn't watch the whole thing, it was horrendous, truly.

David Archuleta is the first to find out his fate. First, we get some highlights of his trip back to Utah. There are a lot of screaming tweens. I do not understand the appeal. It was all a little too much for little David, ad he broke down in tears, exclaiming "Gosh." Repeatedly. He sang Imagine to a ginormous crowd. Seriously, there were people to the horizon. Insane. We still don't get to see if he is safe of not, because they needed to fill some time, so we get to see his journey up to now. I remember wistfully when I liked him. Then, I realized I had seen everything he had to offer at this point in his life, vocally, and got over him.

To keep the drama alive (and to pad the show), we don't get to find out if David A. is safe or not yet, and we get to see Syesha's trip home and her journey thus far. At least when Syesha was handed the baby by the woman in the crowd, she didn't break out into the creepy baby cry that she does. That's a relief. Syesha's dad is a recovering addict, according to him. See, she could have pulled the sympathy card for that earlier in the season, and she didn't, so I respect her more for that. She also cried because of her journey home. They set her journey in the show so far to a Fantasia song, and I wish they hadn't.

On to David Cook! They bring his brother, Andrew, up on stage. Apparently, he wasn't going to audition at first, he was just there to be with his little brother! The producers/camera people decided he was auditioning, and he did. Cool. He got a little choked up at his reception at home, too, but there was nary a "gosh" to be heard. Looking back at his journey, I appreciate his new haircut more and more and more. Captain Comb-over no more! They set his journey to a Daughtry song, which just shows that the producers like David more than they like Syesha.

Still, there is too much show left to reveal the Final Two, so more commercials, and more words from the judges. Simon hopes for a humdinger next week.

David Archuleta is announced as the first finalist, and David Cook is announced as the second. Syesha is heading home, not that anyone is surprised. Stumbling over to the couch, David Archuleta seemed about ready to keel over with the news. David Cook was practically holding him up.

Syesha got to reprise her Alicia Keys song from last night, which her retrospective video played in the background. Does that mean that she is not going to be Celebrated Home? (Please, please, please? One less time to hear that song is a blessing). I let out a little cheer as the show ended sans Ruben. :D

Next week's the finale, and I can't wait to hear if this year's final song is any better than the previous cheese-tastic one. This is my freaking now, that was my then, this will be my sometime, really? Let's see.

(Note - I will be blogging slightly later next week because I have dress rehearsals for a play I am in.)

A Flash in the Pan

Also falling victim to the Friday Night Sci-fi curse (though it was on a cable network), Flash Gordon has been canned. And the theme song was so catchy, too!

So, one more time: Flash! Ah-aaaaaaah.

Why? I liked my cheesy fun!

Blast you, network execs! Blast you!!!