Thursday, April 30, 2009

Hell's Kitchen: 4.30.09

At the end of last week, they were about to get surprises.

It's family and friends! Danny got his girlfriend, and that made him really happy. There were many tears and more hugs.

After their reunion, they met with Ramsey, who had them select a dish to impress 100 lunch guests, and 90 minutes to cook. Mystery guests. Who are they? They are too cook small tasting portions, upscale lunch plates.

Everyone seemed calm and collected, except Andrea, who was talking to herself and mumbling and running behind.

Who are the customers? Chefs from across LA, from fine-dining restaurants. About 20 executive chefs stood and introduced themselves. Everyone was just a little nervous, as the James Beard Awards, etc etc etc were announced... Ramsey said "Los Angeles must be starving, because you are all here."

Andrea - Chicken roulade with proscuitto, microbasil, and garlic.
Paula - Oil poached sturgeon, with crispy potato and creme fraiche, salad, and caviar.
Danny - Halibut with ginger mint peach salsa, spiced basmati rice

Who will win? The guests chose their favorites and their least favorites.

76% percent thought that Danny's dish was the worst. Ouch. That's sad. I like him.

Over 76% chose Paula as the winner.

She won a full Hollywood treatment, and a surprise for the next day.

The losers had to clean the entire restaurant and setting the dining room for the next night's service, and then they had to do laundry day - ironing, bleaching, folding, starching, steaming... wincing.

Paula got a limo ride with Jean-Phillipe and the editors would have us think that sparks flew. It was cute. Her spa treatment looked sweet, and she came back to Hell's Kitchen looking fantastic.

Back in the dining room, it was Danny doing most of the complaining. That's different.

Paula got into a limo with Ramsey in the morning for the second half of her surprise, and it's to a Live Morning show, Good Day, LA.

Andrea and Danny? They had to mop, vacuum, steam clean, etc everything. Including the plasma tvs. Where they saw Paula on Live TV. She did a pretty good job, too.

Down to the nitty gritty of prepping for service... Ramsey told them, 4 minutes before the kitchen opened, that they are going to be taking turns running the pass. This is always a fun part of the season.

Ramsey started off running the pass, and the first appetizers went out well. Paula then came up to run the pass. She had some problems at first, very flustered. Ramsey called her a mouse without a voice, and she had to face the quality control sabotages... and missed that one of Ramsey's chefs gave her squash instead of carrot. And then Chef Scott sent up soup that was spinach instead of watercress, and she caught that one. She got into running the pass, and did a good job.

Danny is up to run the pass next. Jean-Phillipe sabotaged the first ticket under Ramsey's orders. There was a missing appetizer and no time written on the ticket. Oops. He missed it. Danny had problems, with cracking voice and not showing enough confidence. He did spot a problem with Andrea's scallops. A programmed Quality Control was also failed, when he failed to notice that potatoes were raw with skins on. He did pick up his stride getting into it, and did a decent job.

Andrea's turn. She had no troubles being loud. Will she catch Chef Scott's sabotage in using the wrong kind of fish in the Dorey? Nope. She then got very critical and loud about everything. Yelling about seasoning, and being kind of ridiculous, and I'm not sure if she was being over critical. Chef Scott was swearing at her under his breath, and she just kept talking. Andrea said that Scott's excuses made her realize why Ramsey is such a crazy man. Scott wanted to murder her, though.

Ramsey went back to the pass, and Scott was happier that way.

It ended up being their best service. I was actually impressed. No one seemed to seriously mess up. Tough decision. He asked them what was different about him, and Paula guessed his hair (no) and Andrea guess a spot on his jacket (what?) and then she discovered the different thing was a smile on his face, for a fantastic service.

Still, someone's going home.

They have to go back to the Dorm and each person has to decide (for themselves) who should NOT be in the finals.

Andrea decided that Danny should be going home, based on his performance on the pass. He thinks Andrea should be going home, saying she just talked and talked, and was nit-picky. She claimed to just be applying her standards. Because her standards have been so high the whole season, and she's never sent anything subpar to the pass... oh, right.

And when it came to talking to Ramsey, Paula voted for Andrea.

Paula is in the final 2, according to Ramsey.

In the end, no matter how loud she was at the pass, Andrea is going home. I am glad. Paula and Danny have been much more even thoughout the season, and I think they both deserve to be in the finals. Andrea had so many mishaps it's almost embarrassing.

This ought to be a good finale.

Survivor Tocantins: 4.30.09

Gahhhhh!!! My dvr (which I still love and don't know how I'd live without) missed the first half of Survivor tonight! I'll have to catch it online. I must not have the "priorities" set right in my recording list. That'll teach me to read to my children when trusting the dvr to record....

(Here is the belated blogging of the beginning of the show:)

Coach actually THANKED JT and Stephen for not telling him that they were voting for Tyson, because that way he didn't have to go against his word. Debbie tried to get in good with JT and Stephen, and is really pissed about the blindside. Debbie brought up bringing back the Timbira Alliance, and Coach said "so we should bring Sierra and Erinn in?"

Reward Challenge

It's one of those "how well do you know your fellow castaways" challenges, and everyone was given questions to answer in private, and then had to guess the group's majority answers.

Each time they get a question right, they get a chop on another castaway's rope. 3 chops knocks a person out.

Winner gets a fantastic Brazillian Cultural experience.

First Question - Who has not lived up to their potential? Coach is the "winner" of that one, and I'd agree with that. (Of course Sierra got a couple of votes) Even Coach voted for himself getting the most votes on that one.

Sierra, JT, Debbie, and another Sierra, and Coach take hits.

Second Question - Who would squander the $1,000,000 the quickest? The majority answer was Sierra.

Sierra is knocked out, and Erinn got a hit. Debby took a second hit.

Third Question - Who would never survive on their own? The majority answer was Debbie. She said it would be because she'd have no one to talk to.

Coach is knocked out with these chops, as is Debbie, and Erinn takes her second hit.

Fourth Question - Who would you trust with your life? Everyone said JT.

Trustworthy JT took his second hit, and Erinn was knocked out. She in turn knocked JT out. Taj got her first hit.

Fifth Question - Who is most likely to stab you in the back? Sierra got the majority on that one again. Ouch.

Taj took another hit.

Sixth Question - Who would you least like to see win? Sierra was also the answer on that one, and with that, Stephen won reward. He begrudgingly send Erinn to exile. He chose Taj to go eat with him, and she was giggly and giddy. He got to choose another person, and he chose JT.

That send Debbie, Sierra, and Coach back to camp. Coach thinks that the possibility of JT and Stephen sticking with their original tribe is indicated by his choices for Reward partners. Possibly.

Stephen, JT, and Taj arrived at their reward, which was a home cooked meal at a Brazilian farm. They were enjoying their meal, and the 3 year old daughter fell, and Taj went into Mommy Mode and was missing her 3 year old son a whole lot. I can understand that, having a 3 year old (and a 6 year old) myself... Can't imagine leaving them.

After dinner, they went down to a spring, and it was really cool looking.

While floating in the spring, the three discussed strategy. They felt that Sierra was a completely erratic player, but they want to get rid of Debbie, too. Taj said that Erinn is with them, because she didn't like her own tribe..

Speaking of Erinn... she's miserable at Exile. She couldn't get a fire started before the rain started, and said that it was the kind of thing that could break a person down, especially someone as admittedly girly and prissy as she is.

And back at camp, Debbie said "You'd go with Coach, right?" and Coach said "You said you'd be loyal," and she said "You wrote my name down." She told them that they have two people, and they are in trouble. Debbie flipped out at her and told her that she was done with her. Coach said that she drew a line in the sand and Sierra has no loyalty and the old Timbira is pretty well dead.

So - since I have seen the end and know that there is controversy about what went down - Debbie and Coach DID bring up the reforming of a Timbira alliance with Sierra FIRST. Debbie was the instigator, but I think that's just because Coach assumed she would be with him. Because he's an arrogant ass.

(End of my recap from the first part watched late.)

I start at Coach trying to get into JT's favor. Is he still under some delusion that he is in charge? He wants Sierra to go next, then Erinn, then Taj. Coach told JT that Sierra was trying to get Tambira back together, and he told JT that he didn't want any of it. (Oh, so that's how it happened in Coach's world.... ok)

From what Sierra is telling Stephen, Coach and Debbie tried to get her to vote with them. Stephen is very scared of a Timbira resurgence. Sierra claims to be the least of anyone's worry, and she certainly looks it, wrapped in a burlap sack.

Stephen went to chat with Coach and JT, and he claims that the Timbira Resurgence was brought up by Debbie and Sierra, and called Sierra a half-wit. (I can't wait to watch the beginning of the show, and see who is telling the truth).

JT and Stephen don't know who to trust. JT said if Coach is lying, all bets are off. Stephen and his crazy eyes want to keep Sierra around "as a viable option."

Immunity Challenge

Stephen very kindly gave Erinn a sweater upon her return from Exile, and of course it's raining for the challenge, or at the least threatening to.

For the challenge, each person will toss a grappling hook to retrieve bags. The first three people to get all three bags goes onto the next round, which is a giant game of that fabulous Labyrinth game. Coach and JT are neck in neck, but others are doing well. Coach finally did something well and got all three bags. JT joined him. Who will take the third spot? Debbie and Stephen both had two, and Stephen nearly had it, but jerked too hard, and Debbie got it.

Onto the Labyrinth. (And to thunder and lightening. Probst mst be loving it) It was very very close between JT and Coach, and I was a little heart broken when JT dropped his ball into a hole right before the finish line, and Coach actually won something by himself.... I'm not happy. I was hoping this would be the week to rid the show of that boob. Oh well. Of course, he had to announce that the "Dragonslayer" was triumphant at the end.

Sierra vowed to try to get people to go after Debbie instead of her. I hope she is victorious.

Sierra told JT (and Stephen and Taj) that Coach and Debbie had approached her. She told Coach that she was going to air the dirty laundry, and he claimed that he was telling the truth and has never lied. Debbie broke down in tears. I really can't wait to see what really happened.... darned dvr.

Stephen and JT seem to believe Sierra. JT wonders if there would just be less drama to send Sierra home. Stephen said that sending Sierra hope would eliminate one big nutty variable. I don't think he's talking about a Snickers Bar. Taj told Sierra that she thinks that she helped catch Coach in a lie.

Tribal Council

Coach again said he would never vote anyone out because he was scared they would beat her later on. Sierra let out an eyeroll so big and impressive that Jeff commented on it. Sierra called Coach out as a liar, and Coach said that he is not a coward or a liar, and magnanimously forgave her, then quoted the bible and said that Sierra was having temper tantrums. Pot? Meet Kettle. Taj cackled that it was better than watching a soap opera. JT said you have to think about threats, and who you want to take to the end, and you have to figure out how to get rid of everyone else without pissing them off too badly.

I have no idea what is going to happen.

Who the heck voted for Stephen??

Drat! Sierra was voted out. In the end, I think she was just a little too vociferous. I think she did very well in the game, after nearly being voted out right in the beginning. I do wish that Debbie had been voted out tonight, because she seems to be not more than Coach's Assistant Assistant Coach.

Next week? Videos from home, and Debbie might tun on Coach. Cooool.

(And Erinn voted for Stephen. With a note on the bottom "never again, I swear." Why, I wonder?)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

American Idol - 4.29.09: Results Show

Why must Randy always boo Simon? It's really old. Simon admitted that when he watched the show back, he had to hand it to ... everyone! He said the competition's wide open and everyone was good. And Randy's shirt? I think he raided Paula's reject pile and had the tailors whip something up for him...

Ooooh, three performances by the "pros" tonight. Taylor Hicks, Natalie Cole, AND Jamie Foxx? Geez, it's an extravaganza. An extravaganza of what? That remains to be seen.

Pimping Ford this week in black and white with streaks of color, I realize that Allison would look pretty cool with black hair. Other than that, yeah, it kind of sucked.. The Circus one was the best yet.

The group sing started out with Allison doing a danged good job, and then Matt made faces and looked like he was trying to hard. "It Don't Mean a Thing," and I am not sure it was lip synched. It was pretty good. Danny really has a great voice for this kind of music. Matt sounds like he's trying to sound like he thinks he should sound. Adam, I just don't think this music suits him. Kris does pretty well with the style. I think this is one of the better group sings in a really long time. I enjoyed it. Wow. Color me impressed. (Like they were, apparently, in their Ford Video).

They have three guest performers tonight, and they still had time to show a baking bit devolving into a really nasty looking food fight in the Idol Mansion. Danny's birthday was last Friday, and Allison's was Tuesday or something. Since Danny was said to have started the food fight, Seacrest presented him with a $6000 cleaning bill. Danny said, "You think American Idol isn't paying for this? All the money you make?" They cut him off and went onto the results, dropping that issue.

Great. It's the "stand here, then here, and guess for the final" results. Matt was told to stand on one end of the stage, and Danny was told to stand on the other side (after admitting that he'd done a lot of watching other performances to see what he could improve on - he neglected to say who he's been watching.). Allison was told to stand next to Danny. I hope they are safe. Kris is told to stand with Matt. Gah. I bet they are the bottom 2. Matt had better be going home. Adam, of course, gets the "which group do you think you belong with" choice. What will he do? He went to stand with Allison and Danny, after much hem-hawing....


I think it is about time, and honestly, I think that Danny and Allison were much better than him last night, so I think it's deserved. Paula was flabbergasted, and I worried that her very low cut dress would cause troubles. That, or her giant barrette. Simon said, wisely, it's not crazy - someone has to go home. Randy name dropped about chatting with Jamie Foxx (and got called on his name dropping. Fantastic.)

Natalie Cole will be reminding people that she is Nat King Cole's daughter forever. Her new album is called "Still Unforgettable." Really? Well, she looks fantastic, and cleaned up, which is nice, and the bronze dress is pretty cool. Her voice is fantastic, and very well suited to the genre. Honestly, even though she talked through half the song, I was just pleased to not relive the Disco fiasco of last week.

Ok, the end of the song was really shrill and kind of unpleasant...

... but still better than KC without his Sunshine band.

And time for Taylor Hicks. And I'm on live tv with no buffer. He does have a very good voice (Danny's is similar), and he's got a guitar, so maybe he can't do crazy dance moves so much. And he's really impressing me with his voice. He did bust out the harmonica, and ... ok, so I still like him. I admit it. I liked him in his season, and I still like him. Would I buy his album? Not so much. But I like him when I hear him. It was a pretty darned good song. Good for Taylor. What did you think? He was happy to get a standing O from the judges.

Who is safe from the bottom 3? It's....


And I am thrilled. I really truly believe Matt is going home (because he was dreadful last night). If it is Adam, the judges are going to go drink themselves into stupors for using up their save on Matt. Except for Paula. Because, you know, she doesn't drink. So she says.

Ok, so I have no buffer to fast forward through Jamie Foxx's tonally corrected performance, but I muted it and read my book for a few minutes. Ahhh. That was a nice break. Jamie contested that every one of the five was awesome, and they all said they want to be artists instead of just singers, because that's been drilled into their heads for weeks by Kara, and then he pimped his new movie The Soloist, which I really want to see, because the story looks great, and on top of that, Robert Downey, Jr. is all sorts of awesome.

Before we find out who is going home, Seacrest brought up the fact that Randy and Kara were more on their game in critiques than Simon. But, in the end, it is Matt going home, and Adam is safe to sing another week. That's good, because there could have been riots if Adam had been sent home at this point. Matt was more uneven than the others who are in the competition, and his cast off song was no exception. It was plodding and strange, with odd flourishes that didn't fit. Good bye, Matt. May your career be long and successful.

And what's this? They are UNDER time with three performances and fluff bits and all? Well, isn't that something. Ryan asked the judges to give Matt their goodbyes, and advice. Nothing earth shattering.

And next week is Rock & Roll. It's going to be a great week, I think. Looking forward to it. With Slash! Nice. A pretty broad theme, so it ought to be interesting. What do you think they should sing?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

American Idol - 4.28.09: Rat Pack Night

Paula has returned to the prom dress closet tonight, or perhaps to the very bad Christmas Ball gown closet.

And this week's mystery guest mentor is the Pink Panther. Apparently. Or maybe it's Jamie Foxx. He was very good in Ray, but I pretty much hate his current music.

Kris Allen (The Way You Look Tonight)(01, 06): Ok, so he needs to shave, and I think he's taking the song a little low. I wanted to like this, but it went a little cheesy when the tempo sped up, and it just wasn't as good as I wanted it to be. Randy thought it was his best performance to date. I don't think so much. Kara appreciated his technical abilities. Paula called him a handsome sophisticated gentleman, and called the performance near impeccable. Simon called the performance a little... wet. What? He said it's like taking a well trained spaniel for a walk. Ouch.

Allison Iraheta (Someone to Watch Over Me) (02, 07) I must say, she looks very nice tonight, though. Very classy. Her ennunciation continues to be muddy, but she's giving me chills with her voice tonight. It's very nice and skillful. I am still stunned that this girl is 16. (Did she just turn 17?) I think this is my favorite from her in a long time. Beautiful. Randy was worried that the theme would trip her up, and said that she sounded like Pink with a better range (oh goodness, she does!) and says that she looks like Britney Murphy (oh goodness, she does!). I think it was the first sensible comment from Randy in years. Kara said it was fantastic and she doesn't need to worry after tonight. Paula was excited about hearing Allison sing a ballad. Simon wondered if Allison thinks she can win, and she said she has the chance. Simon thought it was a great performance, but worries that she's been overshadowed because he doesn't think she has the confidence. Kara told him he was crazy.

Matt Giraud (My Funny Valentine) (03,08) The key seems a little too low for him, and Jamie Foxx wanted him to change the key - did he? This is boring, and he doesn't sound like himself. It sounds menacing. Despite Jamie Foxx's advice to hold the last note, he went riffing off of it, and I don't think it was very good. At all. Randy thought it was one of the hardest songs to sing, but thought it was pitchy, and didn't think it coalesced well. Kara said he was not the leader of the pack, but didn't connect. Paula thought by lowering the key, he showed a different side of himself, and she loved it. Simon thought it was believable and authentic, and he could tell that he loved the genre. Eh. Not good in my mind.

Danny Gokey (Come Rain or Come Shine) (04, 09) My friend thinks I should call him Danny Hokey. There was some creepy mentoring from Jamie Foxx, where he got right up in Danny's face, but it seemed to help at least in rehearsals. He's sounding pretty darned good tonight, but I wish he'd done something upbeat. His voice is very pleasant in this kind of genre. He really got into it at the end and I was loving it. Ok, Danny is doing great tonight. Good for him. Randy was worried in the beginning that it was going to be too slow, but loved where it ended up. Kara said he had some serious Rat Pack Swagger, or swag. Paula called it stellar. Simon applauded the confidence and the swagger, and loved the performance, and called it outstanding.

Adam Lambert (Feeling Good) (05, 10) Adam took a nice song and looked for a reason to screech during it. He started the song decending into hell, all in white on red stairs, bathed in blue light. He sounded good, but I still hold to my belief that he is more suited for Broadway than for the radio. I appreciate his art, and I appreciate his skill, but I just didn't enjoy it much. Randy thought it was a little too Broadway, but enjoyed the consistancey. Kara said her mouth dropped open when she heard him, and called it a little sleezey, and I think that she ment that in a good way. Paula said it made her feel better than good, and compared him to Micahel Phelps. Simon said that complaining that Adam was theatrical is like complaining that cows moo. He also loved the entrance.

Danny was my favorite tonight, followed by Allison, and then Kris. Adam was good, but not my favorite. Matt is in trouble. What did you think?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Amazing Race - 4.26.09

Oh, how will this tension between Kisha and Jen and Luke and Margie effect this leg?

Teams are heading to Bejing, China, to go to a foot massage spa for their next clue. Kisha and Jen claim to be letting the personal battle go. Tammy and Victor again have an advantage with language (but what was that on Tammy's head in the interview? I think it was a furry hat the same color as her hair, and it was very odd). Margie and Luke plan to just play the game and forget about Kisha and Jen. Cara and Jamie just want to come in first.

Margie and Luke got the airport first. Margie and Luke discovered that the ticketing counter wouldn't take their credit card, and Kisha and Jen heard the problem and scooted over to the place where they could use their cards. Margie and Luke were not happy. Meanwhile, Tammy and Victor (using their language advantage) asked for seats as close to the front as possible. Then, they asked for the seating people to put the other teams as far back in the plane as possible.

While waiting for the plane, Kisha and Jen were wandering off by themselves, and Margie and Luke told the others (mainly Cara and Jamie) about the altercations at the mat. Cara and Jamie were aghast.

Out of the airport in Bejing, Tammy and Victor got the first cab, and their was a race to the cabs between Kisha and Jen and Margie and Luke. Cara and Jamie took up the rear, but passed Kisha and Jen. Their cabbie put on his blinkers and passed Margie and Luke as well.

At the massage parlor, it's a Roadblock. One person must get a foot massage, drinking a cup of medicinal tea, and endure a 10 minutes long kind of torturous massage, drink another cup of tea, and get the clue. If they call uncle, they must restart the massage from the beginning.

Cara and Jamie arrive first. Cara got the massage. Kisha and Jen found it second, and Kisha got the massage, and choked down the tea. They were both fighting through the pain. It looked pretty dreadful honestly. Tammy and Victor arrived, and Tammy got the massage. Kisha said that the massage should be illegal, and Cara said that having a baby must be easier. Tammy was pretty zen in the beginning. Luke decided to do the massage. And does Tammy know some sign language? It looked like she was signing with Luke.

Cara got through it, and headed to the next clue at an auditorium. Kisha headed out next. Luke and Tammy held hands and endured the pain. Cara, getting in the taxi, said "my feet are not feeling very good." Tammy was valiant, only complaining when it was over. Luke was biting his hat, and Margie had problems watching him in pain.

Everyone had troubles finding a cabbie who knew the place they were looking for, so people were heading to the place at about the same time. Tammy and Victor asked a cabbie if he knew where the place was (in Chinese), but Jamie and Cara were at the door of the cab in the first place, so I think they were justified in jumping in the cab. However, Tammy and Victor went to the right door. Cara and Jamie did not, so they took longer.


Sink - Teams try to master synchronized diving off of 3 m springboards, to hit the water at the same time.

Swim - Wear a Laser suit, like Michael Phelps'. Each member must complete 2 laps of the relay.

Tammy can't really swim, and neither can Jen, so they both did sink. Upon seeing the professionals to the diving, Victor announced "this is easy!" and they really messed up on their first one, and their second one, then very badly on their third one again.

Cara and Jamie decided to swim, as did Margie and Luke.

Jen was sure she was going to drown and didn't want to do the task. She was sure she was going to drown. I'm pretty sure that the race people wouldn't let them drown.

Cara and Jen did a pretty good job at the swimming, though the green line showing Michael Phelps' time was ridiculous. Kisha and Jen decided to switch to the swimming. Jen had on a floatation device and was still scared.

The laser suits made it difficult to breath, and Jen got even more freaked out, as Kisha pulled herself across the pool on the ropes.

Cara and Jamie finished first, and headed to the pit stop in the laser suits in order to save changing time.

Kisha and Ken switched back to the other task.

Cara and Jamie did about 9 1/2 minutes. Margie and Luke did about 8. Michael Phelps won the thing in about 4 minutes.

Kisha and Jen tried once, and then Jen freaked out a bit and didn't want to go again. Tammy and Victor were still trying, and ended up switching to the swimming.

Jen broke down crying and said that she wants to go home.

Tammy and Victor ended up finishing the swim in a little under 11 minutes.

Kisha and Jen decided to go back to the swimming, even if it takes forever.

Tammy and Victor headed out to a cab, and Victor got a really bad leg cramp and couldn't sit in the cab for a bit.

Kisha and Jen finished the swim in just over 18 minutes.

Jamie and Cara got the the Pitstop first - BUT the leg was not over, and Phil handed them a clue....

To be continued.

Drat. I was really hoping to see the end of the race for Kisha and Jen... *sigh*

Next week, Jamie and Cara continue to be culturally insensitive. Quote from next week: "This is why I didn't want to come to China. It sucks." Way to be open!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Hell's Kitchen: 4.23.09

Will Andrea get her due this week? Will Ben admit he was wrong (like Ramsey wants him to do)? Andrea expects to push back this week and redeem herself. We'll see.

Ramsey called them down in the morning, and was finishing up some dishes. Three dishes from his menu - duck, beef, and fish stew. The challenge is about accuracy. Andrea, Paula, and Ben love the fish, and Danny liked the duck. Well, the Taste It, Now Make It challenge goes with the majority. The pantry is stocked with a huge variety of fish, and other ingredients. They were allowed to go back and keep tasting.

Ben is using Red snapper, and everyone else is using halibut. Andrea chose bay scallops, while everyone else chose sea scallops. For the stock, everyone but Paula used fish stock, but Paula used water. Danny and Paula chose white wine, Andrea used sambuca, and Ben used pernot, and tried covering it with a towel, which Ramsey called him on. Andrea was probably that kid who always looked at other kids' papers in school.

Ramsey tried the stews.

Andrea's got a "quite nice." Ben got "nice." Paula "got nice and light, and quite nice." Danny got "nice flavor, rustic." The fish was halibut, but Ben got the pernot right. The bay scallops were the winner on that, and Ben used too much saffron. It was down to Danny and Paula, and it's close between them. Well, Ramsey uses stock, not water, and Danny won. He got a one on one surprise with Ramsey.

The losers have to hand polish crystal, clean cutlery, and clean the carpets with Jean-Philippe - AND prep for tht night's dinner service. Ouch.

Off Danny and Ramsey go in a limo. They are flying in biplanes! (open cockpit!) Nice. With acrobatic moves. Insane and cool.

Andrea despaired in the loss, whine whine whine, saying her fingernails hurt and she wanted to hang herself with dental floss. Get over it. Debbie Downer needs to get a grip.

Before service began, Ramsey sent them back to the dorm, for a "surprise."

The surprise was a good one - Sets of Gordon Ramsey branded pans. Royal Doulton. I'll have to look them up. They look quite nice. (I'm something of a kitchen snob).

Ramsey says he's wiping the slate clean for service tonight, and going purely on this service. Let's see how that goes.

Ben started off on the wrong foot again, calling orders wrong right off the bat. Paula started off well with perfect scallops, and Ben actually produced a good risotto, and Andrea also did a good job.

Then, Ben put spaghetti into water that wasn't boiling. Ramsey called him on that.

The appetizers were going out well, and the communication was going ok. And Andrea delivered good wellington. Finally.

Then, oops.... Ben produced bland risotto, with no seasoning, and no salt. Paula made her first mistake and missed a call on Dorey, slowing things down a bit. Ramsey told her to turn it up a notch.

Ben was told to make a salad for vegetarians, and asked if he should put tuna on it, and also put croutons on it, when it was asked for as plain with just vinaigrette. Not so good.

And there's a super special patron.. he wants to propose to his girlfriend, and sent a very beautiful ring back to the kitchen to be sent out with dessert.

Danny was kind of floundering on the garnish station, but not too bad. Andrea was working well on the meat station. Ben didn't drop the pasta early, and caused a bit of a delay. Danny looked a bit smug about Ben's mistakes.

Andrea, meanwhile, messed up some Wellingtons. She was doing so well, and then panicked. She did the right thing, though, and told Ramsey about her mistake, and he fixed it.

The proposal dessert was served without drama and it was pretty sweet. Thankfully, she said yes. It would have been hilarious if she had said no, but in a tragic way.

Andrea somehow lost two Wellingtons. Where did they go? She had a miscount. Paula and Danny worked together like pros to get some more in the oven for her.

And it was so close to a perfect service. Ramsey said they could see the light at the end of the tunnel, but they switched off at the last 10% of service. They have to come up with a consensus of one person to leave.

I say Ben, based purely on tonight. Ben claimed to be several levels above her in skill. I think they are about on par.. but Danny said that Andrea's Wellington mishap was killer. Danny asked Andrea if she's ever run a kitchen, and she said yes, and he said "how many people in the kitchen," and she said that she didn't want to get into details. Hmmm. Paula brings up the fact that Ben falls apart at some point in every service, and Ben said that Paula made more mistakes than either Andrea or himself. I don't think so.

So, it looks like a tie, not a consensus. Ramsey had the both of them step forward. They both give their standard (and often heard) reasons they should be kept, and Ben is going home. I actually think that was the right decision tonight. Ramsey sent him off with a "well done," so maybe he is better than the editors showed us..

I think it's going to be Danny or Paula. If Andrea wins, I would be shocked. They get a "little treat" and some VIPs to cook for at the end of the show... for next week. They get to take turns running the pass next week. That's always fun.

Did you think Ben should have gone home tonight?

Survivor Tocantins: 4.23.09

Tyson patted himself on the back, and bragged about his victory to Sierra, who admitted she was probably the next to go, and she said that she at least wanted to make the next few days nice as possible. She admitted to Coach that she voted for him, and he slapped her on the hand (verbally) and basically told her she was naughty. He is such a jackass.

Cut to Coach doing his daily stretching and meditation knee deep in water. I think he sees himself as a movie montage of awesome. I just see a douche. He said that in his meditation, he said everything became clear and the fact that he vanquished the dragon foretold his victory.

Earth to Coach - I think Tyson had way more to do with Brendan's ousting than you, since you couldn't even finish the challenge, let alone win it.

And now, it's everyone against Sierra. Tyson said in confessional that Sierra is of no worth, and her parents probably love her, but he can't imagine her boyfriend's that cool. He accused her of scrambling to try to cover her own ass. She said "I'm not a mastermind," and he said "I don't think you are the mastermind, because you aren't smart enough for it." Ouch. He is so condescending to her, I can't stand it. I hope she wins immunity.

Reward Challenge

Two teams of four will race out, two by two, to get puzzle boards, and then rotate them in holders to show vowels, (revealed through holes in the boards, like swiss cheese) and then unscramble the vowels and among the other letters on the puzzle board to form a phrase. The winning team will get the traditional Local Reward, with a feast and a performance, and get to send someone from the other team to Exile.

Teams are JT, Erinn, Debbie, and Tyson (Red), and Coach, Sierra, Stephen, and Taj (Black).

JT raced out with a HUGE lead on anyone else, and he carried the board back all by himself, pretty much. Taj and Sierra took the lead for black in their round. While JT raced back with the third board (and Erinn ran behind), Probst warned Taj to be careful, because she had put the board over her head, with her head in a hole, and it could have injured her.

Now, it's time for the puzzling.

Red Team got their vowels first. It wasn't even close, and Stephen got send back to Exile.

Probst rubbed Coach's continuous losses in, and said "all that life experience isn't helping you out here," to which Coach replied "I didn't have to align holes in the Amazon," or something similarly stupid.

Erinn was thrilled to go on the reward, since she has never won a reward before. It looked like a good one to win. It was delicious looking. Debbie is missing the kids at her school, and JT enjoyed the "dueling banjos" that accompanied the Capoira (I just spelled that dreadfully). Debbie did backflips when the natives got them to get up and do some dancing. All the full tummies didn't feel so good after doing flips, and Erinn threw up, saying she felt like a little kid who couldn't resist jumping in the ball pit after gorging on pizza.

Stephen headed back to Exile, and was sad to see that there is no new idol, and was not so happy. "Who needs a feast, when I have no food and bleak surroundings for a couple of days?" he said. At least it looks like he had a fire.

Debbie, too, was down on Sierra, blathering on about actions and reactions. They are treating her like they are gods and she is so below them, and it is dreadful. Sierra says she is sick of being kicked in the face, and said that there are other liars in their midst, but she wouldn't tell who they are. Erinn confessed to Mr. Cameraman that she is indeed looking to be one of those liars, and once Sierra is out of the game, she's going to turn on Coach so fast his head will spin. She also called Sierra dumb. I don't think Sierra is as dumb as everyone thinks.

Sierra asked Coach if he would just roll over and accept his fate if he were her? Girl needs to take some charge of her own fate, instead of begging for her salvation. She said she doesn't want to be among a lot of people who she has hurt. He said the honorable thing is to accept her fate, and basically told her to fall on her sword like a Samarai Warrior. God, shut up. She said that she is trying to be a strong person like he's wanted her to be.

It's pouring as they get to the Immunity Challenge.

They have to take part in the Survivor version of shuffle board. The person who's puck ends up closest to the center gets immunity. If you feel confident and don't think you need immunity, there is pizza. Will anyone opt for that? If they want to eat, they show rocks. If they want to play, it's an empty hand. Stephen, JT, and Coach opt to eat. And again, Tyson even mentioned it, Coach is not going to do the work of winning the challenge to ensure "his" plan works. Jackass.

Everyone has three shots. The eater can eat as long as the challenge goes. It looked cold and Taj was shivering like mad. They rotate positions each round. The first round, no one did very well. Taj actually bumped Tyson into a very good position, and the Erinn took the lead. (Poor Stephen was shaking while eating his pizza). Sierra bumped Tyson into the lead again, sadly. And then Tyson hit an amazing puck right next to the X.

WOooooooot!! Sierra knocked out both of Tyson's pucks and was right next to the X. It's up to Debbie, who bumped Sierra's puck (booooooo) and won immunity. She's so tight with Tyson and Coach, it's ridiculous, so Sierra is probably gone.

Poor Stephen had to drop the pizza in his hand and only eat what was in his mouth.

Those women need to get together and have some sort of alliance. Debbie is totally being led, Sierra is apologizing for having any sort of strategy, Erinn is just hanging back and hoping no one notices her slipping under that radar, and Taj is sitting pretty with her hidden idol, and pretty good alliance members. Just saying...

Back at camp, Tyson ridiculed Sierra for celebrating before she'd won.

Ooooh, what's this rumbling? Erinn, Taj, and Stephen discussed possibly taking out Tyson the one time he doesn't have the Immunity necklace around his neck. That would be a very good idea. I'm hoping that this one goes that way. Erinn says she can't let other people make her decisions for her. Stephen chatted with JT about getting rid of Tyson, and JT wasn't sure about that. JT really doesn't like Sierra, so who knows?

And Coach is calling his alliance the Warrior Alliance? Give me a freaking break. He then said that the main reason to keep the "Warrior Alliance" strong was because they gave it a name.

Wait, what?

I had to pause and rewind to make sure I heard that right.

Yup, I did.

Coach is a freaking tool.

JT gave him a handshake, and said it would crush Coach if they go against Tyson. I would love to see Coach crushed.

If they were really smart, and actually wanting to get rid of Tyson, they would have talked to Sierra. Just saying.

Tribal Council

Tyson said he's pretty confident in his security, and said he loved everyone at Council - including Brenden - except for Sierra. ouch. There was some more fighting between Tyson and Sierra. Coach has feathers in his hair. Has he decided to go Native American now? Is Samarai too passe? Probst asked Coach, if he wanted to bring strong people to the end, why did he vote out Brenden? Well, Coach said it was because he won. He wants a battle at the end between the people at the end. I don't believe that really for one second.

I can't wait to see what happens if Tyson is voted out. Coach is all talk and no substance, especially without the brawn behind his "Warrior Alliance."

When voting for Sierra, Coach called Sierra the Dragon's Bride. He just can't let go of that, can he? Sierra voted for Tyson, saying simply "You're a jerk." Let's hope it works, and I guess no one had to talk to her about voting for Tyson.

Tyson looked totally smug when the vote for Sierra was revealed.

How fantastic was it to see his smile fade away as Tyson was voted out??

Coach is going to be peaved. I don't care. I can't wait. Hopefully, he's next.

Next week's going to be so good.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

American Idol - 4.22.09: Results Show

Two going home tonight. I hope that Lil is one of them. I hope that Anoop is the other one. Will I be right?

Oooh, a medley? Of Disco? Color me excited. And, what's that? Archie's triumphant return? How can it get any better?

Paula delved into the Mother-of-the-bride closet again. At least she's consistant.

And Paula actually did some choreography! Snazzy. She still has the skills to dance. (Anyone notice that they played Paula's Dance Like There's No Tomorrow during the rehearsal montage?)

(Interlude of Matt downloading his own song as a ringtone)

Is the number any good? Well, the lip syncing is back in it's most obvious way. The choreography is pretty good, and it looks like they had fun. Props to Paula on that. It's about time they used her talent properly.

(and she got flowers. Nice)

Wait, what? That group sing wasn't the disco medley? Oh my!

Ford Commercial set to Good, Gone, which I have never heard before. It was the idols doing random odd jobs. It was pretty dull, and I didn't like the song, so I don't feel like I missed out previously.

Time for some news...

Lil is heading to the far side of the stage...

And unceremoniously, she's sent home! I am not sad to see her go, but I am surprised that he didn't waste any time with her. I didn't like her performance the first time around, and I admit, I fast forwarded through the majority of the second one. Paula proclaimed that she sang it brilliantly, but from the beginning, I don't think it would have saved her.

Oh ho - the disco medley is an ALL STAR disco medley.

Started out with Band of Gold, by Freda Payne, who looked pretty good, even though I think they pulled her off the shelf and dusted her off for the show. Who was it who killed this song several seasons ago? Frenchie? Mandisa? This woman lost her breath pretty easily, but she isn't the spring chicken she once was, I suppose.

Thelma Huston? In a maternity mullet dress fit for Big Bird? (And hair also fit for Big Bird?) She sang Don't Leave me This Way. She sounded pretty darned good, at least. I like her bejewelled bodice.

KC of KC and the Sunshine Band? Unfortunately, he looks like a taller version of George Costanza. He sounds good, at least, and looked happy to be surrounded by beautiful women. He did a little dance, made a little love, and got down tonight.

Well, that was interesting padding.

Why are we here again? Right. I remember, results.

Kris is told to stand, and says he understood what Paula was trying to say. He's safe. Good. I voted for him for a good long time last night. That was a hot performance.

Adam is next. He's not going anywhere.

What about Danny? Will he get a dose of humility in the Bottom 3? Not this week. He promised to not be clumsy anymore, even though he wasn't sure what Simon meant by that, exactly. Ryan asked Simon, who told him he was being facetious and told him to go back to the contestants.

Anoop, well... he's in the bottom 3.

Who will join him - Allison, or Matt Who Was Saved? It's Allison, and Matt will be Stayin' Alive, indeed.

I sure do hope Anoop is going, because I think that Allison has more long term potential.

Be still my heart, it's time for Archie. Touch My Hand? And a skinny tie that looks like it was made from a checkerd picnic blanket? He still sounds like he's singing through major phlegm. Fast forward! At least he wasn't pre-recorded, and he went to chat with the Bottom 2. The top 4? They don't deserve Archie's words of wisdom, I suppose.

And Allison is safe, with Anoop becoming the second casualty of the double elimination. I do like Anoop, but it was his time to go. He could possibly make it in the business, thanks to this exposure... we'll see. His final performance was better than last night's, but it was still a really poor song choice.

Both eliminated contestants got their Farewell Montages at the same time, and Lil is heading home to her family. Anoop is going back to Chapel Hill.

No word on next week's theme. Anyone catch it?

Edited to add: I heard it's Rat Pack songs. I am a big fan, and can't wait to see what they do.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

American Idol - 4.21.09: Disco Night

Paula has left the prom dress closet and has entered the mother-of-the-bride closet. Seriously. At least Randy has left the hideous sweaters behind. Because of the lack of guest mentor tonight, maybe we can actually get through this without going over.

I think Lil's hair is getting longer and longer each week.

Lil Rounds (I'm Every Woman - Chaka Kahn): Why didn't she go home last week? Seriously? Her vocals were super shakey, and she was trying to pump up the crowd to the detriment of her singing. She wanted me to go from Ay to Zahy. I refuse. This was dreadful. Way back in the beginning, I was of the opinion that Lil was highly overrated. I stand by that opinion. And I miss Alexis. Randy said it sounded wild, but wished she had shown some kind of vocal control. Kara said that America has been waiting for her to sing something like Chaka Kahn, but doesn't think it was worth the wait, and said she's been every woman on stage except herself. Paula reveals that Lil was on vocal rest, because she had lost her voice. Simon said that Lil looked sad, and she said she just had fun. Simon said he's glad she had fun, but thinks it's the last time she'll be singing on Idol. He said her vocals were a mess and karioke. Then she talked back some more.

Kris Allen (She Works Hard for the Money - Donna Summers): He brought his guitar back out and had the bongos working, and he turned the song into a Kris Allen song. I love this. It was really original and took a disco song and made it...not suck. I think he such a dark horse. My husband thinks he is the purest musician they have. Kara said he took a real risk, and it paid off big time. I agree. She wants it to go on his record. Paula said it had a classy Santana vibe, and said that not many men will shop in the women's department, but he shopped there and got a perfect fit. Simon says he needs a translator. He said Kris' performance was original, well thought out, and was fantastic. Randy said Kris knows who he is, and this proves he is ready for the big time. Dawg. Just quoting here.

Danny Gokey (September - Earth Wind and Fire) He's brought the glasses back, and was going full on scruff. Unfortunately, I don't think he took the same kinds of chances that Kris took, and it felt a little frantic, but I like his voice. My friend really doesn't like him and says he's making disco cheesier than Velveeta. I wanted him to do something upbeat, but I'm not sure about this choice. Randy thought he worked the song really hard, and thought it worked. Kara was kind of worried, but thought he showed what an incredible vocalist he is, and thinks his pitch is always spot on. Paula is always amazed by his range, and thinks he has a super sexy voice. Simon can't fault the vocals, but didn't get any star power from it. Paula asserted he will be in the finals.

Allison Iraheta (Hot Stuff) She brought the beginning of the song down, and lounged on red stairs, in an outfit that looked like she was a replicant from Blade Runner, but she sounded pretty good. She's turning a disco song into a rock song. I don't know how she could have chosen a better disco era song, but I don't know if this is enough to keep her safe. And does her crop white leather jacket have tails? Randy thought the arrangement was a little overindulgent, but loves her vocals. Kara said she wasn't happy with the arrangement, and liked the song choice, and the vocal performance. Paula said she never compromises herself, and loved it. Simon thought it was a brilliant performance from the underdog of the night.

Adam Lambert (If I Can't Have You) - Rocking a faux hawk and a rather dapper suit, he brought it down. I still think that others in the competition (Kris especially) have more pleasant sounding voices. You can tell he's had musical theatre training, that's for sure. I thought the arrangement was verging on boring, personally. If it had been just a tad faster I would have liked it better. Randy said he is always showing his range of ability, and says he's ready right now. Kara proclaimed his brilliance, calling this the most memorable performance, and inspiring. Paula has a visceral response when he sings, and felt his vulnerability. Simon loved that it was an original perfomance, and memorable, with immaculate vocals. Ryan said that Paula was melted into a pool of Abdul. I like it.

Matt Giraud (Stayin' Alive) So hilarious to see him doing this song. He's making this song his own, which is really hard with a Beegees song, and he's hitting all the right notes. I really loved it. I'm glad they saved him. Randy didn't love the song choice or the arrangement, but loved his voice, saying this Top 7 is one of the most talented groups ever. Kara said he brought disco back. She likes to see him dance, and called it a solid performance. Paula said that he chooses songs the way she bowls, sometimes it's a gutter ball, and sometimes a strike. She predicts he will be staying. Simon didn't like it so much, and urged him to leave Idol Land, and thought it was a bit desperate. I really enjoyed it and think I will vote for him.

Anoop Desai (Dim all the Lights) He's trying out the facial hair, and it could work for him eventually, but this week, it looks a bit odd because he's got so little. His fashion choices continue to be questionable, with a pale pink sweater, a pink and baby blue striped tie, and a pale suit. Did he wear this to Easter? Not good. I won't bother mentioning the song too much. It started well enough, but the song was really dreadful. Randy said the arrangement was dicey, but again, loves his vocals (except for the bum last note). Kara loved the song choice, and thought it should be on the radio. No, please. Paula loved the scuff, and the suit. Simon thought it was mediocre at best. Thank you, Simon. He thought it was a horrible version of that song, and thought it was his worst performance by a mile. I would tend to agree.

Kris (02) and Matt (05) are my favorites and get my votes tonight. Lil needs to go, and Anoop is probably going with her. Danny could be in the bottom 3 this week... and Allison could also be in trouble. I think I'll throw a few votes at her (04) because I don't want her going anywhere. I know Adam is going to get miles of votes without my help, and I didn't love it, so I'm not going to vote for him.

Who's excited for Archie tomorrow?

. . .

No one?

. . .

Right. Who do you think's going home?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Amazing Race: 4.19.09

The teams spent one night in Bangkok (yes, I went there again), and Margie and Luke are the first to depart for Guilin, China. When they get there, they have to go to Qing Xiu Lu (a street), and find a hair salon. Jamie and Cara are next, vowing to stay positive and have a good attitude. Tammy and Victor are next, excited to be going to China, because of their heritage. Tammy went to China for Spring break once, so I guess that makes her an expert. Kisha and Jen are about four hours ahead of Mark and Michael.

Margie and Luke managed to get on the first flight out, but I think there will be a bottleneck on a connection. Tammy and Victor and Cara and Jamie are on the next flight out, followed by Kisha and Jen, and then Mark and Michael.

The first flight in China connecting them to their final destination was delayed, but Kisha and Jen got on a different connecting flight and made it ito Guilin first. Lucky break. The others arrived not too much later, seemingly.

Tammy and Victor are excited, because they speak Madarin. Luke says he wishes they could go to an all-deaf country where everyone signed, so he could have the advantage. Tammy and Victor got to the hair salon right after Jamie and Cara and snagged the clue - they have to make their way to 24 Bridge. Jamie and Cara got the more knowledgeable taxi driver.

Kisha and Jen have a vendetta against Margie and Luke, becaus Margie and Like steered them wrong before. They had a collision at the clue box, and Luke got called a bitch by Jen. He did not like that one bit. His mom told him what had happened, and he was really upset. I agree.

Bridge 24 brings them to a Roadblock, where one team member must train a cormorant to retrieve fish for them, much like hunting dogs, to fill a basket. Tammy hoped to have the advantage because of the language advantage.

Unfortunately, cormorants don't speak Mandarin.

There was another collision at the clue box between Luke and Kisha this time. Kisha contended that Luke pushed her into the box, whereas Luke said that Kisha grabbed his arm and threw him back. I couldn't tell exactly what happened, but neither of them was being particularly courteous, that's for sure.

(Meanwhile, Mark and Michael have to wash and dry two women's hair at the hair salon - shampoo, wash, and dry)

Luke got bitten by his cormorant. Looked painful.

Kisha and Jen got their fish back to shore first, and have to make their way to Ancient South Gate for their next clue. Jamie and Cara finished up next, followed by Margie and Luke, who had a very slow boat driver.

Tammy's birds were naughty and flew away, instead of fetching her final fish. It finally returned to her and got the fish.

In cabs, there was more smackdown talk between Margie and Luke and Kisha and Jen. Margie suggested Luke just let it go, and I think that's a wise piece of advice.


Choreography - Teams must join a group of locals and learn a dance, then perform for judges in hopes of getting it right.

Calligraphy - Find a calligraphy station and copy calligraphy which will bring them to their next station... there are four (correct) stations. Several wrong ones. Good luck.

Kisha and Jen choose calligraphy, Jamie and Cara choose choreography, and Margie and Luke chose calligraphy (since Luke can't hear the music), as did Tammy and Victor. Jamie and Cara got "manhandled" by the couple teaching them the dance. It was amusing. Their first try in front of the judges was not acceptable, so they had to try again. They got it wrong the second time, too, and had no idea what they were doing wrong. They almost gave up and decided to try the calligraphy, but gave it one more try.

Tammy and Victor absolutely had an advantage being able to speak the language. Everyone else followed them, and got to the write stations that way. Tammy and Victor told the guy at the third station "We are Foreign born Chinese-Americans. If we do not win, our parents will cry themselves to death." Funny. (Unless of course, it's true).

They finished first and got the clue sending them to Banyan Lake, the Pit Stop. They have to go on foot. It's a foot race, that's for sure.

Jen & Kisha arrived first, followed by Tammy & Victor, and then Margie & Luke. Kisha and Jen won a trip for two to Barbados. Nice. They told Phil about the fighting between Luke and Kisha and Jen. Luke got really upset, and then Kisha and Jen laughed when Luke was signing angrily, and Margie's Mamma Bear came out.

Then, my dvr cut out, and I missed the end!! I just need to start recording Amazing Race until later, because there are always sports on which interfere, and though I love my dvr, it's kind of stupid, and can't catch such things... I'll find the end online to find out what happened...

Friday, April 17, 2009

Survivor Tocantins: Probst's blog 4.16.09

I admit it, I'd watch the show that Probst pitches... but I still don't like Coach on Survivor. I can understand Probst's adoration for him, though. He makes danged good tv.

(And I see that the 8 minutes I missed last night caused me to miss Coach's Amazonian Captive Story... maybe I'll try to find it online...)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Hell's Kitchen: 4.16.09

Since Ramsey shut down Hell's Kitchen last week, I'm interested to see how the Not So Fabulous Final 5 redeem themselves to get him to reopen.

Turns out it was a ploy. He is sending them to Atlantic City, to "come to terms with what's at stake." He wants them to be inspired.

It's private jet time, and they see the Borgata from the air. On the ground, they are met by the Borgata Babes and the manager. Robert drooled at the Babes. Andrea wondered where the hunks were.

The Borgata has over 2000 rooms. Insane. It is named in Food & Wine as "The Foodie Hotel." So, there are lots and lots of restaurants in the Borgata already. The winner will be running a new restaurant. They got to see the space alloted to the new restaurant. It's huge and beautiful. After seeing that, they got spa treatments, and got to hang out in a pool.

They got to speak to the VP of food and wine, and the Head Chef at the Borgata. While Andrea asked questions about Human Resources, Robert got up and left, seeking medical attention for chest pain. The medics said that he has elevated blood pressure - 160/100, and said he should go to the hospital. They brought a stretcher out for him and sent him to the ER. Yipes.

From the hospital, he called Ben, and let it be known that the drs weren't sure what's wrong with him, but he'll be spending the night at the hotel.

They returned to Hell's Kitchen, and didn't know if Robert would be coming back. It was a couple days before they heard more from Robert. Ramsey called them into the kitchen, and luckily, Robert returned, but said that he still didn't feel good. He has pericarditis, which is a swelling around the heart, which leads to heart disease. He revealed that he wouldn't be able to continue in the competition. That's really sad.

Ramsey said that Robert had the potential to win, and told him not to forget that. I hope that Robert gets back to health and has a wonderful career.

Back to business, Ramsey tells the Final 4 to create their Signature Dish for him. They have 45 minutes, and can use anything in the kitchen. The winner has immunity.

Danny - Pan Seared Sea Scallop with champagne sauce and basil. Ramsey said it's presentation was lacking, but it was cooked wonderfully and was delicious.

Andrea - Green Tea crusted tuna, with black sesame rice cake and kimchee. Ramsey said it was a great plate, with nothing unwanted. I'd try it. Looked delicious.

Paula - Smoked Salmon Cerviche, which was a little overcooked, but Ramsey liked the flavor.

Ben - Pan Roasted Tiger Prawns, with mango scented turnips, and basil crushed yukon gold potatoes. Ramsey thought it was a pretty plate. However, Ben left the tail on the plate "for presentation."

Ramsey said that Ben is definitely not the winner, but the others are all in contension. Andrea won it in the end, and I think it's deserved. I want to taste that plate.

Before service, Ramsey basically told them to step it up.

Danny started out well, but Ramsey got upset at Andrea because she was cooking on a lower temp than he liked to cook on. Ben could not repeat an order, and then couldn't get a carrot puree hot. Ramsey threatened him. Paula and Andrea were out of sync again, and Ramsey again blamed Andrea's stove temp. At least Paula was getting the meat out well.

Again, Ben was slow on the uptake of orders. He seems to be half asleep. Ben was tossed out and went to bang his head into a wall, which usually helps. He gathered his thoughts and went back into the kitchen, claiming to have found his fight.

Meanwhile, Andrea's salmon was raw and was sent back. She floundered about and couldn't get the timing right. It was not good. In fact, it was downright ugly.

At least Ben seems to be waking up.

Ramsey sent Danny over to help Andrea with fish. She tried to send up raw fish again. Ramsey wonders if she is sabotaging others because she is safe.

Anyone think it's ironic that she won her immunity on sashimi?

They managed to get all the food out, but...

Ramsey called it embarassing, saying it was obvious how bad service was. He tells them to, as a team, decide which two should be nominated for elimination. Andrea was obviously the weak link, with Ben there, too. Ben has an inflated opinion of himself, but it's a rough time and nothing is really decided.

Andrea said that Ben and Paula are the weakest links, and called Paula out for her lack of communication.

Ramsey asked them to defend themselves. Ben started waxing poetic, and Ramsey cut him off. Paula said a few words, and he sent her back in line, but - shocker here - called Andrea out. He said that the reason Ben was so bad was because she was even worse. Sadly, he let her keep her immunity, saying he was a man of his word.

Ben begged for a chance. Amazingly, Ramsey gave it to him.

Anyone think this was pre-ordained since the moment that Robert bowed out?

I think at this point, it's looking to be Paula and Danny in the finals. Anything else will shock me. Of course, anything can happen in Hell's Kitchen.

Survivor Tocantins: 4.16.09

The DVR was malfunctioning this evening for no apparent reason, and I missed the first 8 minutes of the show... boo. I did see when the tribe seemed to be a bit over Coach's talk about how cool Coach is.

Erinn did a smart thing and went to chat with JT, admitting that she likes the new people more than she likes her old group. JT wonders if the alliance of himself, Taj, and Stephen can bring her into their fold. I think that wouldn't be a bad idea.

Reward Challenge

Each team will be divided in teams of three, and the teams will be trying to toss metal balls at tiles atop boxes to knock the other teams out. The last team left standing wins a whitewater rafting trip down the Rio Novo. Coach looks excited. After the river rafting, there will be a picnic of sandwiches, wings, brownies... and they get to send someone to Exile.

The teams are Debbie, Brenden & JT vs. Tyson, Taj & Coach vs. Stephen, Sierra, & Erinn. When people are ganging up on JT's team, he complained, and someone said their team looked a little stacked. Someone else - Stephen? - said "it isn't like any of us have ever done this before, we are throwing balls underhand to break tiles." Coach of course piped up and said "I have." That jackass. I just can't handle him.

I cheered when Erinn knocked out Coach's team.

The other two teams were tied. Erinn and JT were tossing, and both missed. Debbie and Stephen were up next, and missed entirely. Brenden and Sierra threw next, and Brenden chipped the tile, but missed breaking it. JT missed his throw, and Erinn chipped her tile but did not break it. The next two missed completely. Finally, Brenden knocked the tile out and won reward for his team.

He sent Stephen to Exile, and Coach told him to "Be the Wizard." What? I think Coach is getting weirder. He threw a little tantrum about losing the challenge before heading back to camp, defeated.

Out alone on Exile, Stephen was worried that he wouldn't be able to make fire, since he hasn't managed to make it at camp yet. "And I'll either make fire, or die," he said melodramatically. It wasn't looking positive, but then he got a good spark going and rejoiced in his little fire. At least the skies didn't open up just then and drown it out. That would have been sad. He was so proud. He said it was like "giving birth to my first child." That would be quite something, if boys gave birth... anyhow, some fun sound bites from him this week.

The Reward looked like so much fun (and slightly terrifying). Brenden enjoyed his time with JT, because he is so sincere and real. JT was having the best time ever. Debbie was just excited about the chips, brownies, wings, sandwiches, and watermelon. While Debbie washed herself off, Brenden asked JT if anyone had approached him. JT said no one had, and Brenden admitted (in confessional) that if he were to bring JT into the finals, JT would win, but he would be happy about bringing someone like JT to that point, and it would be like him winning. (Except without the money, but he didn't mention that small tidbit.)

The next morning, Brenden had figured out how to keep JT in the game. He told Sierra that he wants to target Coach, Tyson, and Erinn first. He brought up the same plan to Taj, who said that the old Timbira tribe seemed to be so busy trying to get rid of their own people, she just wanted to sit back and watch it happen.

Immunity Challenge

Each person will be attatched to a rope that is threaded through an obsticle course. They have to get to the end of one course, and then the top 3 will go onto another course which is three levels high.

Debbie, JT, and Tyson started off really well, followed by Brenden and Sierra. Sierra made some time up, and Tyson, JT, and Sierra were in the lead. Tyson flew through the second obsticle and went onto the last one in the first round.

Taj and JT were sucking it up.

JT, Tyson, and Brenden won the first round, with Sierra coming in close, but no cigar. In the end, Tyson looked like a monkey on that three level high obstacle course. Coach was smug in that his plan from last week will come to fruition tonight - Brenden and Sierra splitting the votes. Brenden said that he is hoping to take out Coach with Tyson's immunity win.

Please, let Brenden be victorious.

Tyson talked to people and figured out who should vote for Brenden and who should vote for Sierra. He was pretty cocky. Brenden talked to the others again and hopefully solidified the votes for Coach. I hope.

Stephen and JT went out chatting, and talked about how nuts Coach is. They feel in control of the game. He could also go after Brenden, which would suck, imo, but might be smart, because Brenden is so smart. Coach kept blabbering about being the Dragon Slayer and The Chosen One.

Please let him be gone. Please.

Tribal Council

Probst asked who keeps the tribe laughing, and they say it's Tyson. Taj said that Coach tells the best stories, including a huge drama about being captured by an Amazonian tribe. He said he was telling the PG-13 version. I don't know if anyone believe him. Coach swears it's all true.

(What do you think?)

Stephen said that the target is kind of on JT's back. Coach blabbered on about the seven layers of Valhalla, and says that he wants to be surrounded by warriors at the end. (Except for Brenden, he needs to go in Coach's world). Probst asks the people who have been to Exile if they have the Hidden Idol. Brenden admits to having it, and everyone is surprised he made that statement.

When Coach voted for Brenden, he again waxed poetic about the Samurai and beheading dragons. I don't know who Stephen voted for, but I think the boy has played some D&D, saying "This is my wizard lightening, shooting you back home," complete with sound effect.

Brenden did not play the idol. In the end, it was his downfall. He really should have played that idol. And his plan for getting rid of Coach was thrwarted. It came down to a tie between him and Sierra, with Coach getting two votes, and the final vote was for Brenden. I will miss him.

Now, I just hope that Coach goes down next week. I'm not looking forward to his Dragon Slayer Dance next week. Looks like Sierra is in the crosshairs next week. I'm sad that Brenden's Hidden Immunity Idol went home with him.

At least now I won't have to try to remember how to spell his name, and get it wrong half the time...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

American Idol - 4.15.09: Results Show

Let's start with the overly dramatic intro, shall we? I really wish they would quit it with Camera Man Next to the Stairs. Kara's got big hair tonight, and it's kind of nice. Randy's wearing a lilac sweater, which is a little... well, it's better than last night. I think Paula forgot her dress. Maybe someone should tell her. I'll be fast forwarding through Miley Cyrus, just so you know.

The Ford Commercial was set to Freeze Frame, with the Idols on Magazine covers. It was kind of boring after last week, which I really liked.

For the group sing, we will be treated (?) to Maniac from Flash Dance. I think it's live singing tonight. Kris started it off and sounded pretty good. Allison seemed off beat, and I think Anoop almost feel down the stairs. Matt was a little shakey on his intro. They gave Adam (with toned down, less Emo Hair), and Danny spots in the turrets for solos, and Lil was boring and forgettable in her solo. It sounds better than last week, that's for sure. Is Matt sick or something? His voice seemed to be cracking all over the place...

The Top 7 went to the Premiere of 17 Again. Enter Blatant Movie Placement. Zac Efron is in the audience, and I wish he would get a danged hair cut. The indoor touque thing doesn't work for me. But, I'm not exactly his target demographic.

Allison is safe in her purple leggings and overly spikey muppet hair. Adam liked the Rocky Horror comparison, and isn't going anywhere. Did he get some blue in his hair, or is that just the lights? Anoop threw several random items in his closet on tonight (I think he might have three jackets on, including one that looks like Janet Jackson would like it), and maybe he thinks he won't be allowed back in the mansion if he's eliminated, and decided to take several outfits with him just in case. He is in the bottom 3.

Jennifer Hudson is back on the Idol Stage, and she looks amazing, and sounds quite good. It isn't my kind of music, but I wish her the absolute best.

Anoop said he was a little surprised to be in the Bottom 3, but understands it's all about the votes. Paula said he doesn't really belong there, but Simon says he does.

Kris and Lil were told to stand next. Simon got to put in his word, saying that Kris was brilliant last night. Good. Hope that the votes agreed. Lil is in the Bottom 3, deservedly. Kris is happily safe. Wonderful. I loved him last night. Matt and Danny are up next. Matt said that he would sing it with less flourish if he had a chance to sing it again. Danny stood up for his harp-tinged arrangement. Randy and Kara (who didn't get to talk last night) loved him. Matt is in the bottom 3. I think it is a deserving bottom 3 this week.

Anoop returns to the couches first, and the Bottom 2 are Lil and Matt. I'd say that's about right. It will be more right if Lil goes home.

This show is much faster to get through when I don't like the performers. I just don't get Miley Cyrus. Not at all. So, fast forward wantonly.

And... Lil is safe. If the judges don't save him, Matt is going home. Can he recover? I kind of hope so. He doesn't have the piano for his encore. I think this is a possible save, because the judges love him. Paula and Kara were up and dancing for Matt during his song, but it was still a mess during the bridge. The end was better than last night, but it was still kind of a mess. Will they save him on the promise that he's done better and is capable of better?

They do! They use the save on Matt! There was much rejoicing. This means that two people will be going home next week, but for now, there are tears of happiness. Simon warned them of the double elimination next week... and announced that next week is Disco Night! Could be fun.

But, next week, can we please get to hear from all the judges? Please?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

American Idol - 4.14.09: Music from the Movies

Seacrest shared his introduction duties with Quentin Tarantino, before the camera man passed out and took the shot of Seacrest coming down the stairs. I hate that shot. Ricky Miner and the band are down on stage this week, which is fun. Randy is wearing an ill advised sweater that looks like someone took a poo on the Swedish flag. As a Swedish-American, I find it a little insulting.... just saying. Paula again reached into her bag of old prom dresses. Simon tells us that because of the time mis-management last week, each contestant will only get feedback from two judges. Somehow, I don't think we'll miss much.

We did get an overly dramatic intro of Quentin Tarantino, though. So much for time saving.

Allison Iraheta (I Don't Want to Miss a Thing) - Allison ends up looking a little like a muppet when she has her hair all 80's spikey, and it's a foolish choice. The song started a little too low for her, which is unfortunate, because she's got such a range, it's sad to see her sell herself short like that. Her poor ennunciation continues to bug me somewhat. I think this is my least favorite Allison performance yet. I can think of so many other songs she could have sung better. This was just... a little boring. Paula said that Allison has some of Adam's Special Sauce. I don't think that she means it as dirty as it sounded. Simon called her the girl's only hope in the competition, and said she is getting stronger and more confident. I don't know what they were hearing... I like Allison and everything, but I thought this performance was pretty bland, actually. Humph.

Anoop Desai (Everything I Do I Do It For You) Quentin wanted him to rough the sound up a little, and I think that's a good critique. It's a good song for his voice, and brings me back to what... 9th grade? Now I feel old. Anoop continues to get really motley fashion advice - geek plaid button down shirt, striped tie, what looks like a sleeveless suit jacket, and white sleeves with a band on an arm... jeez. It's distracting. He tried to go for the earnest and rough sound, but in the end, I think it ended up sounding a little nasal.... not bad, though. When he wasn't going nasal, he sounded quite lovely. Randy said that Anoop has found his zone, was in tune, and had some emotion "jumping off." Kara said that his zone is really pop songs with some Anoop Soul thrown in, and she felt connected. I can see that. Simon looked peaved at not being able to speak.

Adam Lambert (Born to Be Wild) Quentin liked Adam's amuse bouche in rehearsal, and looked forward to the entree. I have to say, it was a wise song choice for Adam. There is something about his power notes that ends up being screechy to me, still... I think it's the musical theatre training. I am starting to like him more, though. This take on the song was definitely upbeat and rocking. I could have dealt without his last bit of indulgent shrieking, though. The crowd, predictably, went wild. Paula stood up. Predictably. Then she mumbled something about bravery and treading in the path of greatness. Simon joked that Adam needs to learn to express himself. He said vocally, it was good, but thought part of the performance was kind of like watching Rocky Horror. I can see that. Simon said that last week was more original and current. I would agree with that.

Matt Giraud (Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman) It's another Bryan Adams song from Matt. He's getting back behind the piano, and I like that. His outfit makes more sense, and looks like it came off of the same mannequin instead of random assembled parts. There were a couple notes that were a little shakey, but nothing that spoiled the song for me, and his high notes are so pleasant. His voice broke a bit in the middle, and that was disappointing, but he made up for it in the end. Randy called him on going off tune on the bridge, and thought he did too much extraneous stuff with it. Kara said that the struggle between the rock and soul is hard to pin him down. Simon made faces, and I really wish we were hearing from him.

Danny Gokey (Endless Love) Danny bought a guitar to play with, but says he will not be playing it on the show this season. I miss his glasses. Quentin urged him to minimize the hand gestures and focus his emotion in his voice and his eyes. Danny didn't listen, and I don't think that Danny detractors will like this song at all. I think he did a really really beautiful job vocally, but I wonder about the song choice. Wish he had done something fun. This just harkened back to the dead wife, harp and all... Paula loved it, and said something about it slaying the listener in the end. Simon said he sang it well, but didn't like the harp, and wanted something more unique. He said he could see the song meant a lot to Danny personally, and congratulated him for that. I really wanted him to do something fun.

Kris Allen (Falling Slowly) Kris decided to let the band to play the guitar for him tonight. This is from the movie Once, which a co-worker has been trying to get me to see for a long time - it's somewhere around #25 on my Netflix list. Kris showed his range off masterfully. I wish he had sung a more known song, but again... I love his higher register. It's soft and controlled. I think he sounded wonderful. Randy said "for me for you tonight, dude, it never really caught on," and called it pitchy. Kara said it was difficult to pick an obscure song, but called it one of his best. I would agree with Kara.

Lil Rounds (The Rose) Some say love, it is a river. A really meandering and pitchy river. With rocks in it. It was strangely disconnected when she brought it into the gospel style. It didn't work for me. It sounded really dated and boring. This song is so emotional, and I think Lil missed the emotion. Paula congratulated the lyricist. Simon said that she got it completely wrong (thank you, Simon), saying the song was too soft, and too middle of the road. He said he was frustrated. Lil talked back to Simon and said that she put her own spin to it.

(And even limiting the judges comments, they went over again.)

Listening back, I like Allison (01) more, and Adam less. Kris (06) won the night for me, though. I think I am only voting for Kris and Allison. My husband thinks that the problem with Adam is that he is buying into his own hype too much, and is into himself. I think that's true. He's good, and at times really good (like last week), but I don't think he is as good as he thinks he is. Danny disappointed me tonight with song choice, though his voice sounded really nice. Anoop... it was good, but boring in parts, and while Matt (04)'s strong parts were really strong, his weak parts were pretty dang weak. I might have to toss him a couple votes just because. Bottom 3? Lil, Anoop, and Danny for me, I think.... With probably Lil going home? Danny could probably do to be in the Bottom 3. He might also be a little too big for his britches.

Your thoughts?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Amazing Race: 4.12.09

I was sad that the show was not on last week, so I am happy to see it back with a new episode tonight.

Tammy and Victor start out first, for Bangkok, Thailand. Cara and Jamie are next, and continue to yell at people. I hope that they stop that soon, because I want to like them. Michael and Mark are out next, followed by Margie and Luke. Luke worries about his mom in the heat, but she promises to drink lots of water. Kisha and Jen claim that they are getting along great and learning each other's tendencies. Foreshadowing?

All the teams ended up on the same flight. Margie and Luke got the first taxi out of the airport to get to a boat yard, followed by Kisha and Jen, Cara and Jamie, and Tammy and Victor. Kisha and Jen managed to pass Margie and Luke, but their taxi driver was lost, and asked Margie and Luke's driver for directions. Kisha and Jen's cab took off, but some passers by gave Margie and Luke's driver for different directions, and seemed to be heading in the right directions.

Margie and Luke reached the boat yard first, and got a Roadblock - one person must attach a propeller to a long hulled boat, and once it is working properly, they will get their next clue and be on their way. Margie took the task. Cara and Jamie arrived next, and Jamie took the task. Margie finished it with no problem. Victor chose to do the task when he and Tammy arrived, and so did Mark. Jamie finished it quickly, too, and they remembered to go back and get their bags (which they had unfortunately left in the cab, so it took a little while to retrieve them). Kisha and Jen arrived last, because of their bad directions. Mark and Michael decided that they didn't really need to go back and get their bags, sure that they would be coming back. Kisha and Jen decided the same thing. I think those could be bad ideas. Victor was not very mechanically inclined, and even though their guy told him that he had the propeller on right, it failed the first try, and he had to go back. It worked the second time. They decided to get their bags, which I think was a good idea.

The next clue brings them through the canals, and they have to navigate to their next clue.

(here I missed a few minutes, because of stupid sports)

I missed the directions for the Detour - but it is Broken Teeth (and a dentist) or Broken Record (singing - apparently karioke). Margie and Luke went to the Broken Teeth, and Jamie and Cara went to Broken Record. Mark and Michael (without their bags) were told that the boat yard is "too far, too far" and they can't get there. Kisha and Jen also worried about their bags.

So, it looks like the Broken Teeth is a nasty task of trying to match people with their dentures. At least they got masks and gloves and goggles. They have to match 5 people.

Jamie and Cara continued to be obnoxious about people not speaking English. Mark and Michael managed to get their cabbie to drive to them, but argued about whether they should be meet them at the task.

The karioke task is apparently sinigng with a bunch of Thai "girls" in a party taxi. Looks like fun. Tammy called them Mai Tai Trannies. This is a task that Luke could not have done. It looked like people had a good time, though. And yes, they were singing karioke in Thai.

Margie and Luke finished the Broken Teeth Task and headed to the Pit Stop. With no problems along the way, they got their first. And there was much rejoicing. They won a trip to Puerto Rico. Nice.

Kisha and Jen finished in the Party Taxi, but had no money because they didn't have their bags (or their shoes). They had to run to the pit stop. Cara and Jamie and Victor and Tammy were in a race to the pit stop next. Kisha and Jen managed to convince a cabbie to drive them for free.

Michael and Mark went back to their original cabbie and got their bags, and went to the Detour.

Jamie and Cara reached the Pit Stop second. And there was even more rejoicing. Kisha and Jen (without their bags) and Tammy and Victor (with their bags) ran to the Pit Stop. Kisha and Jen had to go back to get their passports before they could be checked in. Not good.

Mark and Michael managed to bargain with their cabbie when they didn't have enough money, giving him their compass and flashlight. They then went to the karioke bus, and talked about how pretty the "girls" were, but they were most absolutely transvestites. And not the best transvestites, either. They found a cabbie who would bring them to the Pit Stop for less money than they owed, if they included "some gifts" from their packs - including a watch!

Michael and Mark got to the Pit Stop before Kisha and Jen got back. However - they AGAIN broke a race rule, because they used some of their personal belongings to settle bills. For each incursion, of which there were two, they got a 2 hour penalty. That's four hours. Kisha and Jen got back in time, and the cheating twosome were eliminated.

OR Not. DANG IT. It's a non-elimination leg. The remainder of their penalty (since Kisha and Jen arrived not long after they got their and started their penalty) is to be served out before their release time on the next leg, and they also have a Speed Bump in their way.

Ought to be fun. Looks like Luke loses it on Kisha and Jen. Should be some good tv.