Sunday, December 20, 2009

Finale Alert: Survivor Samoa 12.20.09

I can't wait to see what happens tonight!

Russell woke the tribe up with tree mail news of a challenge, and they were all complaining about how miserable they were.  Jaison apparently had some bad stomach discomfort and couldn't wait to go home.  Dr. Mick and Jaison watched Natalie do her laundry while discussing some strategy, and the need to get rid of Brett.  Russell told Natalie that if Brett wins the next challenge, she is going to go next, because the three guys stand to beat Brett in the final challenge more than she does.  Of course she was not happy about that.

Russell reminded himself (and Natalie) that Brett is not some superstar genius.  "He's no Mike Tyson.  He's Brett."  He doesn't want people to get intimidated by Brett's back to back wins.

Immunity Challenge

Survivors will race across obstacles, grab puzzle pieces, race up a very steep wall, and unscramble the puzzle pieces.

Russell as running across balance beams like they were two foot wide planks, and then scaled the wall super quickly, getting his pieces out first.  Dr. Mick and Brett followed him, but Jaison and Natalie were not far behind.

Brett was doing a very good job on his puzzle.  What a race to the finish.  Jaison was not doing very well at his puzzle.  And it was super close, but Brett won.. by a hair.  Brett got the necklace again, and one of the Foa Foa Four is going home.

Will Natalie be able to scramble to save her place in the final four?  Russell told Natalie that he was trying to keep her, and he said it was because he doesn't think that she could get more votes than him.  I don't know about that.  Russell is gunning for Jaison because he's weaker in challenges than even Natalie.  He is waffling, though, because while Mick would have a better shot at beating Brett in challenges, he stands a better chance of getting jury votes.

Russell talked to Jaison and told him that they need to get rid of Dr. Mick, and then talked to Dr. Mick and told him that the plan is to get rid of Jaison.  Both Jaison and Dr. Mick had nearly identical confessional speeches, about how they trust Russell to keep them in the final 3.  Ummm... one of them is wrong.  Russell told Natalie that it would be up to them, since he has Jaison and Mick voting against each other.

No one even talked to Brett, as far as I could see.

Tribal Council

Probst asked Jaison when it became clear that there is no where to hide, and one of the Foa Foans is going home.  Jaison said it was clear as soon as Brett won immunity.  Probst asked Natalie how the decision is made, and she said that there are two ways to vote - can the person you keep beat Brett, or will they beat you in the jury?  Everyone else kind of agrees.  Brett said that the past few challenges have just played to his particular skills.  Russell said that they are still being beaten by Galu, even though there is only one of them there. 

Time for voting!

As expected, Mick voted for Jaison and Jaison voted for Mick.  The other votes went to Jaison and he is out.  I have no idea how Brett voted (did he throw a vote at Russell? - nope, he voted Jaison as I saw in the end there), but Jaison is gone.  I am not sad.  He did seem to do a lot of complaining for a long time.

Jaison is pissed about being voted off, and said that he is now rooting for Brett, because Russell betrayed him.

Back at camp, Russell made a deal with Brett to go to the Top 3 with him, if he wins the final immunity.  Looks like Russell is going to the final three no matter what if no one betrays him.

It's time for the walk of the fallen - they will collect masks at torches of "fallen comrades" along a long walk, and at the end, they will burn the masks.

Brett doesn't even know most of the people in the beginning of the walk, because they were all Foa Foa.

I was really hoping that Marissa and Betsy would have made it farther.  I really liked Betsy.  No one missed Ben. 

I think that part of the reason they do the fallen walk is to tire them out before their last challenge.  But, all the same, it's good to remember everyone.

Final Immunity Challenge

Survivors will place a wooden statue on the end of a pole.  At Probst's signal, they will add another section of pole.  Statue falls, you're out.  Their hands have to remain on the bottom section of the pole.  Sections get added every two minutes.

Anyone could win this one.

It would be a much quicker challenge if it was a windy day.

As it was, it was clear and sunny. 

Dr. Mick dropped his first, followed by Natalie.  It's down to Russell and Brett.

Then the wind picked up.

Russell waited a long time to get his pole on the 7th foot mark, and I thought he wasn't going to make it, but he did.  Brett was wobbly, but recovered.  Russell was shaking.  I think Brett was watching Russell's statue and lost track of his own, and down it came.

Russell wins Individual Immunity, and it's looking like a Foa Foa Final Three.

Russell asked Natalie and Dr. Mick what they thought of his chances to win a million dollars now.  Natalie told him she thinks he is going to win.  It was all about him, and I think it was getting to Dr. Mick. 

Now, Russell has a problem.  He promised final 3 to Brett.  And he promised final 3 to Dr. Mick.  Dr. Mick was suspicious of Russell going to get fire wood, and then Brett went to talk to him.  Natalie told him not to worry.  I think maybe he should worry... who knows what Russell is going to do?

Russell told Brett that he made a deal with everybody, and he loves Brett and he's the kind of guy who he would want his daughters to marry.  Russell talked to Brett about forcing a tie, to have a final challenge.  I actually think that could be a really good idea.  We'll see.

Tribal Council

Wow - Jaison looks so different all cleaned up!  Russell talked about possibly keeping Brett.  Dr. Mick and Natalie said that was a stupid idea, but Brett of course thought it was a good idea - and might win him some respect in the jury.

I honestly have no idea how this is going to go down...

Of course Dr. Mick and Natalie voted for Brett, and Brett voted for Dr. Mick.  And Russell voted for Brett, and kept it a Foa Foa Finale. 

What a comeback, Foa Foa!  If you think about it, it's kind of amazing.

The Final Three head back to camp for one final night, before heading to the final jury.

Can I just say, Natalie's hair looks amazing, and I wonder how she is taking care of it?  As a long-blonde-haired chick myself, I am full of admiration.

Back at camp, Natalie and Brett couldn't wait to bathe and brush their teeth.  Russell sharped the machete.

And it's time for a feast - lots of delicious looking brunch food, mimosas.

Then, Russell asked Natalie what she was going to say when the jury asked her what she did to get where she is.  He was practicing his speech.  Dr. Mick made the point that Russell needs to be reminded that Russell couldn't have made it there without them.  Russell couldn't stop talking about how easy it was going to be for him to win all the votes, and I wanted to kick him.

The traditional bon fire of camp is set, and I hope that the production crew is standing by with fire extinguishers.

At this point, I suppose Russell has earned the win he thinks he has in the bag, but I am rooting for Natalie, mostly because of Russell's behavior at the brunch.  He is so grating.

Final Tribal Council

Probst brought up that this season is the first time that all of the final three have voted for every single jury member.  Interesting.

Opening Statements

Dr. Mick is first.  He said that he knew that there was some moral leeway that was tempting to give way to, even as underdogs, and he was not super willing to go out of his own moral boundaries, and didn't go out of his way to make promises to people.

Natalie said that she played the game about having no regrets and going outside her comfort zone, and it's been humbling, and she thanked the jury for being there.

Russell said that he entered the game with huge strategic moves, and he has played every day he was there, and he was willing to do anything to get where he is.  He told the jury that if either Natalie or Dr. Mick outwitted or outplayed him, by all means, give them the money.  And he ended with "May the best man win."  Natalie didn't look too happy about that line.

Jaison got his say first.  He congratulated them on being there, and told them each to give the jury some of their own backgrounds.  Natalie said she was in pharmaceutical sales, and she is not unemployed, but she loved it and wants to go back.  Russell was cagey and said he is a business man, and has found success, but neglected to say how much.  Then Dr. Mick let it be known that he is hugely in debt from medical school.  Jaison told the jury that they didn't lie, but they weren't exactly forthcoming, because Natalie has made quite a bit of money in her job, and Russell is a millionaire, and Dr. Mick has great fellowships, so they shouldn't base any vote on financial need.

Shambo apologized to America for dismantling Galu, because she is not sure that it was a good decision at all.  She told Mick that his gameplay was feckless and he said that he would have to look it up.  She told Natalie that she is full of the "c" word - "coattails."  She didn't even ask Russell a question and said no way in god's green earth would the others get her vote.

Brett asked Mick what they would do on a Bro-Day together.  Dr. Mick said he would whisper sweet nothings in his ear and tickle his nose, and then said that he was kidding, but he would end up going out and watch sports.  He asked no more questions.

Kelly told Natalie that they were perceived as similar, but she relied on herself, whereas she never saw Natalie doing anything for herself.  Natalie claimed to be stronger than that.  Kelly asked Russell if he also lies, cheats, and steals in real life, and he said that was not how he lives his real life, and he doesn't want his kids to think he is like this outside of the game, and he claimed that in real life, he is all about honor, integrity and loyalty.  She wasn't buying it, but I think I almost do.

Monica wanted more passion in Natalie and Mick, and asked each of them to tell her why the others don't deserve the money.  Dr. Mick said that Natalie hasn't done anything to win the game, and that Russell has pit people against each other, and then Russell asked if he could speak up, and said that neither of them seemed to mind being honest people, but high fiving him for his deceptions.  Monica didn't even wait for Natalie's answer and said she was basically done.  Wow.  (I wonder if there is more of this one we don't see...)

Dave was curious what people thought their chances were.  Dr. Mick thought he had a 20% chance, and Natalie thought she had about 30-40%, and Russell admitted that he thought his chances are down to about 55%.

Laura asked Russell what he learned about her that let him beat her, and he said that he knew immediately that she was the strongest Galu, and if things had played out differently, she would be there.

John asked for the hard sell from Dr. Mick.  He said that he is the most stand up dude up there, and the money couldn't go to a better guy.  He told Natalie that she was hiding under Russell's wing, and why should she win?  She said that she noticed that the strongest girls were voted out first, and she didn't want to put that target on her back.  He thanked her for showing some strategy.

Eric told Dr. Mick that he never saw any leadership in the supposed leader of the tribe.  He told Russell that he got to the top by playing an unethical game and got to the right place playing the wrong way.  He told Natalie that she got to the final three because she deserves it, and the others are full of arrogance and delusional entitlement, and that Natalie doesn't think she deserves to win, so maybe that proves that she does, and he told her she has his vote.  (In fact, he voted for "Ratalie," since she brought up her rodent-killing prowess.

After voting, Probst gathered them, and the Live Finale is on.

Amazing how a jungle path in Samoa can lead to Hollywood, isn't it?

Natalie has put on some healthy weight and looks lovely in her bright blue dress.  Russell looks pretty much the same as he did in Samoa.  Dr. Mick has a hair cut and has also gained back some weight.  I think that Natalie is sporting a Bump-it.

And in the end, Natalie on it, and I think it was deserved.  Russell looked like he wanted to throw up.


Natalie said that the experience taught her Want vs. Need, and said that the most strategic thing she had a hand in was the ouster of Eric.  She also said that she was doing the same kinds of things as Russell, but in a more subtle manner.  Russell said that of course her key move was to align with him, and he said that he did play a good social game, because he had people like Natalie, Jaison, and Mick, who trusted him, he had tears in his eyes.  Probst asked if maybe he should have brought Jaison and Shambo to the final, and it looks like he would have won it if he had made that decision.  He admitted that it sucks.  He asked Natalie if he could have the title of Sole Survivor, and he would pay her $10,000 if she would cede it to him, and have Probst say it. 

Probst said that no one played like Russell played it, so does that make it possible to play the best game and not win?  The audience thought so.  Jaison said that the fact that people value Russell's negative contributions more than Natalie's positive contributions is weird.  Russell thinks that Jaison is still bitter about the burnt sock, and then he pulled a sock out of his pocket and threw it in the fire in front of them.  Wow.

Back from break - Shambo recap.  Good times.  Shambo said that she is getting a lot of positive reactions in her hometown and she is able to touch a lot of kids' lives because of that.  She said that she gets a lot of response from people of all ages.  They showed a picture of the mullet in 1986, but the mullet was born in 1984.  He asked her about her problems with Laura, and she made a chicken sound and said that they both are used to ruling their roosts.  Laura said that the fact that the tribe kept calling Laura the strongest woman, when Shambo was the marine, and she didn't think that Shambo liked it.  Laura claimed that forgiveness has been given.

Brett said that the final immunity was intense and tough and sad, because it was such a tiny seeming thing and cost him the million.

Let's revisit Not-Evil-Russell's medical evacuation, shall we?  Russell said that he had no idea how bad it was when he was out there, and he was in fact mad at Probst for pulling him out of the game.  He seemed to have had an out of body experience, because he felt amazing during the blackout...

Focus on Russell (that would be Evil Russell).  He certainly had some great moments in the game.  Natalie declined the $10K offer.  He made it $100K, and she said no.  Probst said that he would call Russell "Sole Survivor" for $100K.  I love Probst.  Probst asked how kids feel about Russell, and he had twin 4th graders, and the whole school loves him.  Probst asked him about the search for the clueless idols. 

And Probst asked about the Dumbass Girl Alliance - and asked about how his wife, his daughters, and his mother feel about it.  Russell said that he has no regrets, and Probst told him that one of those Dumbass Girls beat his ass.

Probst them introduced us to Russell's wife, who seems very sweet.

Back to when Probst pulled Ben from the challenge.  Probst wanted to feel safe going home and asked Ben if they are cool.  Ben agreed.

Russell (and specifically "Evil Russell"), Shambo, and Brett are in the running for the fan favorite.  The winner of the $100K is Russell.  That's about right.  He's the Player of the Season, and Natalie wasn't even in the Top 3.

Evacuated Mike is doing well, and his happy to have not cried on camera.  He's lost about 65 lbs.  Ashley has gotten closer to her father, because they watched together.  Monica thought it was an awesome growth opportunity and she loved it.  Yasmin forgives Ben for all of the nasty things he said.  Probst said that a lot of viewers wanted to see Betsy in it longer, and she said she wished she'd made it longer, too.  Marisa doesn't regret playing hard, and admits that she would have gotten rid of Russell if she had been out there longer.

What's coming for Survivor 20????

South Pacific, and it's another All Stars - Villains vs. Heroes.  God, it's going to be good.  20 castaways.  If Russell isn't one of the Villains, I would be stunned.  February 11th.  Yay!!!!!

Who do you think is going to be on that season?  Would the IRS let Rich Hatch be on?  Do you think Natalie deserved her win?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Survivor Samoa: 12.17.09

Back from Tribal council, Brett was giving Shambo a head rub.  In more words than I've heard him say all season, Brett vowed to keep fighting.  Russell vowed to get rid of Brett.

More Brett the next morning, and this time it's Bible Quoting Brett.  He was bonding with Natalie over the bible.  I think Natalie fell a little in love with Brett's Christian ways.

Shambo's hair was all mussed from the head rub, and she said she wanted a hair cut.  Russell said (in confessional) that she should get rid of the bush of a mullet, and thinks that she smuggles food in it.  He said that if he didn't need her, he'd get rid of her and her epically bad hair.

Reward Challenge

It's like a Survivor game of Kerplunk.  Each team member will draw a rope and if any coconuts fall, they count against the team.  The first team to 100 coconuts loses.

The winners gets a trip to a local village, a night on a mattress and a feast.

Russell and Natalie pull captain, and Natalie chooses first, choosing Brett first.  Russell chose Jaison, and Natalie chose Dr. Mick, leaving Shambo and her hair with Russell.

Shambo's first pull drops 4 coconuts.  Dr. Mick's drops 2 coconuts.  Jaison is next and drops 7.  Natalie pulled and got 1 coconut only.  Russell dropped 8 more.  Brett dropped only 1 more.  Shambo got 10 on her next pull.

In the middle of the challenge, Natalie whispered to Brett, asking him if he is a prayer warrior, and she joined hands with him praying for a victory.  Russell whispered that he was surprised with her picks.

Natalie's team had a really good lead, until Mick took a pull and dropped 19 coconuts, bringing the totals to 23 and 29.  Natalie told him it was ok because he's got 2 prayer warriors on his team.

Poor Jaison pulled and dropped 48 coconuts.  Yipes.  Natalie's next pull brought 58, which was the exact number Shambo guessed would fall.  Russell ended up dropping NO coconuts on his next pull.  Amazing.  Brett pulled next and dropped 23 coconuts, which lost it for his team.

Shambo, Russell, and Jaison are going on Reward.

Why do I think that Natalie, Brett, and Dr. Mick are going to have some sort of side alliance going on by the time the others return from the Reward?

At the village, locals adorned Russell, Jaison, and Shambo with wreaths of flowers and welcomed them, with a huge pig roast and all sorts of delicious things.  I think I saw lobster in there.  Jaison had never been on a reward before, so I am so glad that he got to go on this one.  There was fish, coconut milk, and fruit.  Shambo did a toast to the people of Samoa and got applause all around.

There was also entertainment from the local tribe, with song and dance, and the castaways joined in on the dancing.  It looked like a blast.

Back at camp, Brett suggested that they gather snails, chill on the beach, and enjoy the sunset together.  Their own pseudo-reward.  Natalie talked in confessional about how much she likes Brett, but how she is torn because she's been in with Russell since the beginning.

The others get pillows and blankets and mosquito nets.  Shambo was silly, and Jaison said it was like she was a 40 year old 7 year old.  They discussed the fact that Natalie chose Brett, and Russell decided to pull her aside when they got back to camp, for a couple of hours, to solidify their relationship.  He told the others that they intend to get rid of Mick or Brett next, and he thinks that he is solid with Natalie (in fact, he is sure of it), but he isn't telling them that.

When they returned from the reward, Natalie went over to Russell, and he told her that the others are nervous because she chose Brett.  He told her that they have to get rid of Mick or Brett, and she told him that there was nothing doing in her picking Brett first.  He told her way back in the beginning (you remember, the Dumb Ass Girl Alliance) that he would take her to final 2 if he could trust her.  We'll see.  She seems solid with him.  Russell admitted that he is confident as hell, and Natalie told him that she is confident since he is.

Immunity Challenge

Survivors must race out into a field and count items in each of 6 stations.  They will use tiles to keep track of the numbers.  The numbers will be unscrambled to unlock a combination lock and allow them to break their tile.

The items are things like fish, live pigs, live crabs, coconuts, and some other things.  Some of these things move.  That makes it harder.

Russell, Dr. Mick, and Jaison were the first ones to start working on their combination.  Brett then returned to work on it.  It was a race to the end, but Brett got his right first.  Does this bode ill for Dr. Mick?

And what's this?  Jaison is gunning for Shambo!  Shambo walked up while Jaison was talking to Russell about his plan, and Russell walked away suspiciously, but he covered, and told Shambo that they are still going for Mick, and in confessional, he said that they do have a choice to make.

Shambo is not stupid and is suspicious about the fact that Jaison walked off right when she walked up.  Russell then went to Mick and told him that the only reason Shambo is still there is because he has been using her, and he bad-mouthed the smell of her mullet and her close-talking.  Russell feels entirely safe even without his Idol, and seemed indecisive going to Tribal.

Tribal Council

Probst asked the tribe what the deal was, because the only "true" Galu left to vote out has immunity, and Natalie said that the fact that Shambo is a traitor (Shambo's own word) would help anyone win against her in the end.  Russell said that he trusts Shambo as much as he trusts any of the former Foa Foas (my guess is - not much).  Probst asked Shambo why Brett is such a threat, and she admitted that the jury is Galu, and he stayed true.  Brett said his plan is simply to keep winning the challenges.  Dr. Mick said that he would be upset to be voted out, because he's been with the Foa Foans since the beginning.  Russell said it's the first time he's had a trouble voting someone out, and said that sometimes you have to vote someone out who you like.  Dr. Mick looked nervous.

It's Russell's last chance to play the idol, and he decided to keep it as a souvenir.

The votes go against Shambo.  She is not going to be happy about that.  Russell is not getting her vote in the jury, that's for sure.  Now, she can wash her hair at least.

Russell honestly looked about ready to cry when she left.  I don't know how genuine those emotions are, but it was convincing.

Can't wait for the finale on Sunday!

And WOW - Shambo was super gracious in her post-boot interview.  She said that she thought the Foa Foans were loyal to each other right to the end, as it should be.  Good for her for not being bitter.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance - 12.16.09

Finale time!

At the start of the show, we get the dramatically lit "what it would be like to win" speech from all of the finalists.  Duhn duhn duhn... Can you feel the excitement?

Group Dance is to Scared of Me and it's a jazz number.  It features all Top 20.  It's pretty awesome.  What a Top 20 we had this season! The final 6 entered later than the others to some really cool showcasing lights.  Everyone looks awesome.  Ashleigh and Ryan got to pair up again, and it was grand.  At the end, only the final 6 were left standing.  Ooooh - how symbolic.  And Jakob has some seriously crazy guyliner.

Cat entered, looking luminous.  Seriously, I think she made friends with the hair people again, because her hair is astounding.  And her dress is shimmery and short and appropriate for the finale.  She's all in gold and silver.  Love it.

Guest performers abound, when I wish there was just dancing.

Lil C, Tyce, and Debbie Allen join Adam, Mary and Nigel tonight.

Before we find out what's going down tonight, let's recap last night for the memory impaired.  Or, fast forward through the recap.  That works, too.

Each person at the judge's table will get to pick their favorite dances to see again.

Lil C brought back the buckness with the Hip Hop dancers - Kevin, Legacy and Russell together, dancing to Begging.  I love to see Kevin tossing Legacy around, and then Russell hopped off the stage and did his thing.  It was fantastic.  I love seeing Legacy spin around on his head.  It was really awesome.

Adam wanted to see Sonya's routine with Ellenore & Jakob again, and I am thrilled.  What a fantastic piece.  They are magic together, and Sonya was just perfectly in tune with them.  I adore every second of it.  I think they were even better tonight..  Love it.  So freaking cool.

And there's Melissa the Ballerina in the audience behind the choreographers.  Hi, Melissa!  I loved you!

Nigel brought back the tappers!  Big surprise, huh?  Their first routine from their own style.  Tap time!  Bianca, Peter, and Phillip take the stage.  I liked them a lot and wish they had been more versatile. 

Mary decided that she wanted to see something completely new - Ryan & Ashleigh in their own style, together.  A jive, choreographed by them!  Slick. And I am happy with Mary on this one -  It's astoundingly good.  Look at those feet go!  And Ashleigh spun around so many times I was dizzy.  I loved it.

Leona Lewis is getting fast forwarded.  She's really good, but I want to see dance.  She does look like she's wearing a ballroom suit of armor, though.  It's kind of a mullet dress, though.

Guest perfomance in dance now, with the Groovaloos.  Again... They are great, I'm sure, but I want the results and to see the dancers from this show.  Thanks.  Fast forward.

Nigel's next pick was Dwight & Desmond's contemporary from last night with Jakob & Kathryn.  Wonderful, but we just saw it last night.  It's just as good tonight, though.  The way she throws herself at him with wild abandon is just wonderful.  I love the roll they do entangled in each other across the floor.  Very sexy.

Tyce's pick is Bollywood with Nathan & Mollee.  Good pick, because it was one of their better routines.  I wish we had a chance to see Russell & Ashleigh's Bollywood that we didn't get to see them dancing together.  You know, the one that broke her.  Mollee is better in this than Nathan, I have to admit.  She is sharper in her movements and seemed more committed.

And Cat's microphone wasn't working when she called the Final 6 out, and in a moment on Live TV, someone ran up with a microphone for her.  Ashleigh, Jakob, and Kathryn came out on stage, and then Cat was confused as to what happened to the other three - Russell was helped out by Ryan and Ellenore, and he did something to his leg!  Oh, crap.  Cat promised to get him some help, but results came first.  Poor Russell!

The person in 6th place is Ryan.  I think that's about right.  Cat gave Ryan a hug but didn't make him move from his supportive position next to Russell.

Ok, I'm watching Adam Lambert.  I don't know if I would have picked this as the second single off his album, which I listened to when it was streaming, but it was good.  And there were no crazy antics.  A downright subdued performance.

Flashback to crazy auditioners.  I don't care about crazy screaming man.  Then, on to Vegas, and Adam crying, and the ouster of Kasperczak Part Deux, and then on to the Top 20 and too much Mary screaming. 

Russell has himself a still now.  Poor guy.

In fifth place is Ashleigh.  Again, that sounds about right.

Adam's choice for the next routine is Legacy & Ellenore's Travis Wall routine from last week.  Woo.  I lvoe to see that one again.  Just stunning.

Debbie chose the African Jazz, with Noelle & Russell.  But can Russell dance it?  Nope.  They are showing a tape of the original performance.  I feel badly for Noelle not being able to dance it again for the finale.

Now, who is coming in fourth?  I called it again with Ellenore.  I think that's about right, again.

(I see that Kathryn is in her hip hop outfit from last night, another dance with Russell.  Looks like we'll be getting another tape, and she has had a costume change for nothing...)

Lil C has chosen (verbosely) an orgy of magestic contemporary something or other, it's Channing, Ariana, Jakob & Nathan's original in-their-style dance.  Jakob tore his shirt to pieces as if it was made of toilet paper.  It was a beautiful routine.  I hope they keep that Showcase the Top 20 show for future seasons.  It was wonderful.

Mary's next choice is another from last night - Kathryn & Russell's hip hop from last night.  Again, roll the tape.

I care not a tick about Mary K. Blige.  Fast Forward.

Nigel sang the praises of the Showcase Show, and introduced the last group number, which was the Wade Robeson Top 20 Routine in that show.  Roll the tape because Russell can't dance.  I was glad to see this dance again.  It was an amazing choreography job.

Who's in third place?  I think it should be Russell.   But, no.  It's Kathryn!  Boo.  It should have come down to her and Jakob.  I am amazed at Kathryn's growth, because I really didn't like her in the beginning, because of the squeaking, which she never repeated after the initial bit, and only came back to a little at the ouster (and she apologized for it). 

Jennifer Lopez, as choreographed by Tabitha & Napoleon?  This song is about expensive shoes, which I somehow don't think Jenny from the Block cared much about.  And it was so painfully lip synced I couldn't handle it.  Why bother with a microphone at all?  Fast forward.

After the performance, Jennifer Lopez and Cat compare shiny metallic dresses, and she pimped her album.  Some of her dancers were from the show (and though I fast forwarded, I appreciate that).

Time for the final results!  Please let Jakob be the winner.  Nothing against Russell, because he's wonderful... but Jakob!  Seriously, to quote Cat.

Wow.  Russell won.  That, I did not expect.  I suppose he did push himself farther.  That is impressive in it's won right.  Russell ripped off his shirt and fell to the ground thanking God.  He then thanked everyone else, and I have to give it to him.  He put in some great performances, and probably learned a lot more than Jakob, who is a star and will have no problem in the world of dance.

What do you think?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance - 12.15.09

No dancer intros today?  OK.  It's time for the performance finale!  Cat is looking kind of lovely in her draped red dress (dang, that girl's got legs!), and Mary is bedazzled again.   Nigel has giant sunglasses to protect him from Mary's glare.  No time for intros!

Kathryn & Ryan (Samba, choreographed by Jason Gilkinson, Magalenha by Sergio Mendes)  Holy hell, they look hottttt.  Lots of really complex lifts started the routine, and then they got their hips shaking and their feet moving like lightning.  Amazing.  Ryan has no shirt on, and I can't say I'm complaining.  And holy hell, the final lift had him tossing her UP OVER HIS HEAD and catching her on his back!  Astounding.  Nigel thought it was amazing and thought that Kathryn did a great job in the genre.  He was stunned by the final toss of Kathryn.  Mary was thrilled to see Ryan at home in his style, and loved the slow balanced moves in the beginning and did some screaming for the pair of them.  Adam thinks the show should now be called "The Rise of Kathryn."  I can't say I disagree.  I admit, I didn't like her much in the beginning, but she has wowed me. Adam also appreciated how shirtless Ryan is.

Ellenore & Jakob (Broadway, choreographed by Tyce Diorio, I Gotcha from Fosse) Ellenore looked perfect, and then when Jakob joined her and did one of the highest leaps I think he has done on the show... I am stunned.  Tyce certainly gave Jakob plenty of time to fly.  Ellenore was also just vibrant and wonderful, but the choreography really focused more on Jakob.  Nigel thought that Tyce did a great job with the choreography given the dancers he had - and thought that he showed the pair off to their best.  Mary thought Ellenore was smoldering and entirely committed, and thought that Jakob was tremendous in his flying.  Adam thought it made the Broadway style current and hip, and thought that Ellenore has never looked more gorgeous on the show, and thought that Jakob was selfless as a partner and gave it up to her.  I loved it.  This is a hard decision.

Ashleigh & Russell (Lyrical Jazz, choreographed by Sonya, Angel Standing By, by Jewel)  They did some really beautiful moves, and she did a lot of throwing him around, and I wish we had seen the story behind this one.  Russell did this one spin in the air where I think he got around 4 times.  It was stunning and gave me super chills.  Just gorgeous.  Wow.  I was very impressed with both of them.  Nigel thought the routine was all about Russell, and apologized to Ashleigh for not being able to take his eyes off Russell.  I would agree with that one.  He loved the chemistry with Ashleigh, but Russell carried him away.  He called Russell bloody incredible.  Mary found some nice things to say to Ashleigh, more in her character and dedication than anything.  Then, she started crying when talking about Russell's amazing growth.  Adam thanked Sonya.  I would also like to thank Sonya.  Adam thought that Ashleigh was a great guardian angel, and thought that Russell kicked the dance's ass.  Agreed.

Ellenore & Ryan (Jazz, choreographed by Garrett Stuart, Kontakt Me, by Boize Noize)  It was weird and kind of sci fi, and they handled it super well.  It was like they were androids.  They danced wonderfully together.  It was so weird and unique, I loved every second of it.  It was weird in a challenging way, not like that Napoleon & Tabitha piece last week, which looked just weird for weirdness sake.  Nigel didn't find any emotion in it, and thought it was a technical exercise.  He was uncomfortable with it, and doesn't like his jazz there.  Mary loved how different and unique it was, and really got into it.  Adam thought that Ellenore was the choreographer's muse.

Ashleigh & Jakob
(Fox Trot, choreographed by Jean Marc Genereaux, Let the Good Times Roll, by Chuck Brown & Eva Cassidy)  They looked gorgeous, but it is hard to get really excited about a fox trot.  The choreographer still gave Jakob at least one leap.  Nigel thought Ashleigh was fantastic in it, and loved their chemistry.  He complained that Jakob got another jete (that's a leap), and while he didn't think it was as strong as some of the other routines so far, it was great.  Mary gushed over Ashleigh, and thought that Jakob needs a tinge of help in the close hold, but loved him.  Adam thinks that Ashleigh is phenomenal, and thought the teamwork was great.

Ellenore & Russell (Pasa Doble, choreographed by Jason Gilkinson, Village Attack from the Blood Diamond sountrack)  I'm so excited!  I love a good pasa doble!  Ellenore looks amazing, and Russell is (again) shirtless.  The music was awesome for a pasa, and it was firey, and not just because of the fire on the background screens.  I got chills.  Amazing.  Nigel wondered where shirts are tonight.  He said that Russell had a couple of technical bits that could have used help, but loved him.  He thought that there was more fire and passion in Ellenore than anyone could want, and thought that she was amazing.  Mary loved it, and agreed that there were some technical issues, but loved Russell, but couldn't get enough of Ellenore.  Adam loved Russell's pointed toes, and thought that Ellenore was magnificent.  Agreed.

Kathryn & Jakob (Contemporary, choreographed by Dwight & Desmond, At This Moment, by Michael Buble)  Wow.  Kathryn just threw herself at Jakob and wrapped herself around hi, and I was stunned.  Chills again.  Jakob did some more flying, but it was more than that.  Passion.  Beauty.  Perfection.  Nigel thought that they just stopped the show.  He admitted that Kathryn is his favorite girl and she picks up everything that is thrown at her.  Nigel wants Jakob to grow more in the future by joining a company and getting challenged by other dancers as good as him, and called him outstandingly brilliant.  Mary was again in tears, and thought it was one of the most beautiful dances she's ever seen.  Adam called it a game changer, and brought up that the country needs to be aware of how important dance is.  Adam said he was humbled.

Ashleigh & Ryan (Contemporary, choreographed by Travis Wall, I'm There Too)  I am so moved to see them dancing together, and I'm glad that they didn't get their own style together.  And to have Travis choreographing for them.... just perfect.  They looked so happy to be dancing together.  The dance brought tears to my eyes.  Nigel thought that a lot of people might have voted for Ashleigh & Ryan because of her injury last week, but thinks they have proven their worth.  He thinks that Ashleigh has more chemistry with Jakob.  Ryan disagrees.  Mary thought it was an incredible moment.  Adam asked them how it felt, and Ashleigh (with tears) said it felt perfect.  He loved the tenderness.  So did I.

Kathryn & Russell (Hip Hop, choreographed by Tabitha & Napoleon, I Can Transform Ya, Chris Brown) The beginning looked an awful lot like Ryan & Ellenore's dance earlier, but it changed that up pretty quickly.  I loved it.  Kathryn hit hard and Russell was predictably awesome.  Loved it.  Fun number, and Russell had a shirt.  Good for him.  Kathryn looked gorgeous.  Nigel thought it was great.  He got everything he expected from Russell, but was floored by Kathryn.  Mary has no idea how people are going to vote, and did some screaming.  Adam thought that the variety of the show is killer, and thought that it was a super hot routine. 

I honestly have no idea who is going to win.  If I were guessing, I think it should be between Jakob and Kathryn.

Cat gets to breathe after a no-filler hour.

Tomorrow's a 2 hour show!  Fun!

Who is your favorite?  This was an amazing hour of dance.  I am pleased.  No duds in my book.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Top Chef - 12.9.09

Finale time!  Sorry I'm late.

Red Beard knows that he has the best record going in, but knows that the Voltaggios have a lot of talent.  Bryan has a lot of talent, and Michael is incredibly creative.  It is a great final three.

They met Padma and Tom.

For the first course of their meal, they have to use the same ingredients, which will come to them in a box, Chopped Style.  Their second course is a free-for-all of any ingredient in the kitchen, and the last course MUST be a dessert.

Enter the possible sous-chefs!

Each finalist will get two sous-chefs - one to cook with them that day, and one to cook with them the day of the final cook-off.

Red Beard drew Preeti, Bryan drew Jennifer, Michael drew Jessie.  In the next round, Red Beard drew Ash, Bryan drew Ashley, and Michael drew Eli.  Red Beard was jealous of the sous chefs his competitors drew.

In the mystery box were pacific rockfish, dungeness crab, kabocha squash, meyer lemon, matsutake mushrooms and anise hysop.  Wow. That's some box.

Red Beard set Preeti to cut the vegetables for him, and she was having troubles with that even.  Rough.  The prep seemed to go better for the Voltaggio brothers than for Red Beard.

And later?  Red Beard was mad at himself for getting upset about the prep work.  They all planned out where they would work and plate in the kitchen.  Michael still had no idea about his mystery box course.

And then there was a knock at the door.

They thought it would be some terrible curve ball.

Instead, it was their mothers.  And Bravo saved on air fare, because they only had to buy two plane tickets.  Of course, their mother was also a reminder that they are brothers, and they have to keep their competitive edge.

At the restaurant, Tom met them, and threw them that curve ball, and told them that they have to do a fourth dish - one dedicated to their mom and a childhood memory.

Bryan decided to do a play on tuna noodle casserole.  Michael decided to do broccoli reinvented. Red Beard got into MIT and didn't go because he was going to be a chef.  Wow.  He is doing Southern Fried Chicken Skin with fixin's.  Interesting.

Red Beard is putting bacon in his dessert, and said he should get an award from the Bacon Council.  I love him.

Plating time!

First courses are out.  The moms are dining with the judges.  Padma told the moms that they have to be forgiven for saying critical things, because it is their jobs after all.

They have an incredible group of diners, including high profile restraunteurs.  The moms are staying for the first dish.

Red Beard made a Southern Fried Chicken Skin, liquid squash casserole, and fresh tomatoes.

Bryan made a sardine, german butterball potato, heirloom tomato, and toasted bread crumbs.

Michael made a cream of dehydrated broccoli with spot prawn.

The judges loved the squash in Red Beard's dish.  Toby loved the sardines and bread, but Gail wanted some acidity.  The prawns were undercooked for some judges, and Donatella liked the broccoli, and his mom admitted that he hated everything as a child.

The Voltaggio mom refused to say which dish she preferred.  Smart woman.

Then the moms were off.

Time for the mystery box course.

Red Beard made a pacific rockfish, roasted squash, crab broth and roasted matsutake mushroom.

Bryan made Rockfish sous vide, kabocha squash with curry and meyer lemon.

Michael made a dashi-glazed rockfish, sweet & sour crab with squash and meyer lemon salad.  His plate was beautiful.

Red Beard's broth was the star, but his mushroom was tough.  The judges wanted some more seasoning in Bryan's dish, but Gail thought it was the safest.  One of the judges called it a blind date you don't want to go on.  Michael was the clear winner of that round.

Third Course

Red Beard made a slow roasted pork belly with brussell sprouts, broccoli, and caramelized ham jus.

Bryan made a venison saddle with puree of sunchokes and orange juniper sauce.

Michael made a fennel scented squab breast, pistachio cassoulet, and textures of mushrooms.

Bryan finally seasoned something well.  Michael's squab was good, but his mushrooms were called gimmicky.  Red Beard's pork was not cooked long enough for some chefs.

Chaos in the kitchen!  Michael's molds were filled too high by Eli, and then Michael overcooked them.  Oops.

Dessert Coarse

Red Beard made a roasted banana, toasted peanut with chocolate bacon mousse, and bacon brittle.

Bryan made a dulche de leche cheesecake with sheep's milk, with fig sorbet and poached pear and basil.

Michael made a chocolate caramel coulant (that's a lava cake to you and me), butternut squash brulee and butternut ice cream and candied pumpkin seeds.

Red Beard's dessert got mixed reviews, and while Michael's pumpkin seeds were good, the cake probably sat too long and some of the caramel reabsorbed into the cake.  Bryan's dessert seemed to go over best, and the fig sorbet was called "heavenly."

Final Judge's Table

Toby told Bryan that he did well, but wasn't particularly bold.  Tom told him that his venison was the best dish he served of the night.

Padma loved Red Beard's first dish.  Toby was disappointed in the pork, and Tom wanted a roasted piece of pork with the belly. 

Michael did the best with the mystery box matsutake, and his boldness was applauded.  Tom loved how it kept revealing different flavors.  Michael did admit that his cake was overcooked, and Gail told him it was almost a great dessert.

Bryan said he deserves to be Top Chef because he has expressed his cuisine through everything he's made.  Michael said he wants to be Top Chef because he doesn't want Bryan to win.  That's funny.  Kevin loves the comforting and uniting power of food.

Now, the judges deliberate.

Highs and lows on everyone, and Toby thinks that Red Beard had an off night.  It looks like it's between the Voltaggio brothers.  In the end, it was not going to be Red Beard.  I am so sad - because I loved him - but I think he really did not have a good night.  Can we just blame Preeti?  At least for part of it?

At least his mom was there to comfort him.

Though he was a jerk for most of the season, Michael brought home the win.  Bryan is still a nicer person (as shown by editing).  Their mom was there to both congratulate and comfort.

Good season, though I wish Red Beard or Bryan had won.

What do you think?

Survivor Samoa: 12.10.09

After voting off John, Shambo is feeling just as blindsided as he was.  Russell played it that John was trying to get rid of Shambo.  Smart move, Russell.  He admitted in confessional that he was lying about everything in the game, and it was easy. 

The next morning, Jaison claimed to Brett and Monica that he is the brains behind Russell, and he set him up to be the Bulldog.  Hmm.  They are discussing who is going to get the most votes from the jury.  Jaison told them that Russell is a millionaire already.  Nice backstabbing there, Jaison.

No Reward Challenge - it's an Immunity Challenge!

Russell is happy to see an Immunity Challenge "so I can start getting rid of people."  He's so cocky, I don't know if I love it or hate it.

It's a Survivor Bowling Tournament.  Random pairs will roll against each other, and the winner goes on to the next round.  Simple enough.  They get 2 rolls each.

Natalie and Shambo are the first pair, and Natalie gets a gutter ball.  Shambo got 9 on her first roll.  Natalie only gets a couple down on her second roll, and it's not enough.

Brett got a gutter ball on his first roll, and Russell got 4.  Brett got a gutter ball again and is out.

Jaison got 2 on his first roll, and Monica got a gutter ball.  On his second roll, Jaison got 4 more, and Monica got a gutter ball and is out.

Mick knocked down 4 pins on his first roll, and Dave got a strike.  Mick got a couple more balls (and whacked the camera), but was out.

Shambo vs. Russell was up first.  Shambo had a nice roll and knocked down 5 pins on her first roll, followed by Russell with 4.  Shambo got none on her second roll, and neither did Russell.  Shambo moves on.

Jaison got a gutter ball, and Dave pulled a gutter ball as well.  Second rolls, and Jaison got 7.  Dave got another gutter ball.  He's out, and Jaison is against Shambo for the win.

Shambo got a gutter ball on the first roll, and so did Jaison.  On the second roll, Shambo got another gutter ball, and Jaison got 2 down, to win Individual Immunity again.  Nice job.

Shambo is just happy that Dave didn't win, and wants to send him home immediately.  Back at camp, Natalie hung her lacy undies on a tree to dry, and Monica and Dave wanted to stay calm and listen to everything he said.  Russell went to Mick and Natalie and told them that Dave should be gone, and Dr. Mick said that it was mainly to keep Shambo happy and keep waters calm.  Monica asked Russell what was happening, and he told her that Dave was going home.  Monica made a plea that Shambo does a lot at camp, and that the majority of the jury is Galu, and they would vote for her.  That might be true, if any of them liked her at all.  He listened to her, and said that keeping Dave might be a good strategic move, because he would win against him hands down.  He then went to Dave and said that it could go for either him, or Shambo.  Russell admitted that he could let Shambo go tonight.

He could do that, and guarantee that Shambo would never ever vote for him to win.


Tribal Council

At only 27 minutes in?  Is a second person getting voted off tonight?  This is ridiculously quick.

Jaison said that the reasons to get rid of people now have changed a lot from previous votes.  Probst asked Shambo if she still wants to get people out who don't deserve it, and admitted that she would never have voted John out, and said she was just as blindsided as he was.  Probst accused her of working the jury, but she claimed to be telling the absolute truth.

Monica said that you need people who you can talk strategy with, and Dave said that it's all about talking people into taking them to the end.  Russell said it is important to get rid of people who are going to get all the votes from the jury.

Shambo voted for Dave, and Dave voted for Shambo, but how did the rest of the votes go?

Russell felt safe enough to not play the hidden immunity idol. 

Dave got a second vote, and a third vote, and a fourth vote, and he is out.  Good.  I think that was the wiser choice at this point.

Foa Foa now has the advantage, and Probst seems as surprised as anyone. 

Has anyone else seen that Laura knows Brett from her church?  She told him to stay strong in a whisper as they left the Tribal Council.  I don't know if that's kosher.

Onward to more Survivor!

Russell told Dr. Mick that Brett is too likeable and is the biggest threat right now.  Dr. Mick asked Russell who he is going to take with him to the end, and Russell claims that he was always talking about voting Brett out.  Russell was nervous that Dr. Mick was nervous, because that could precede a flip...

Second Immunity Challenge

They have to race out into the water, retrieve one of three bags, and then return to shore and use a plank to launch their bag into a basket.  First to get all three bags in wins.

Jaison is the first person with his bag, followed by Dr. Mick, Brett, Russell, Monica, and Shambo and Natalie bringing up the rear.   Brett is the first person to get his bag in a basket, followed by Mick, and then Russell, and then Shambo.

Brett was first back with his second bag, followed by Mick, and they both got their second bags in with no troubles.  Right before Russell got his second bag in, Jaison got his first bag in. 

Brett was the first back with his final bag, and he got it in the basket.  Immunity for him, and disappointment for Russell's plans.

Back at camp, Russell told Dr. Mick and Jaison that it's a no-brainer, because Monica needs to go now.  She knows she's in danger and wants to scramble.  Brett and Monica chatted with Dr. Mick, and said that he needs to think if Russell is going to bring him to the end.  Dr. Mick said that he knows that Russell is a snake, and wouldn't be surprised if he bites him.  He admitted to thinking about the big move.  Dr. Mick then went to talk to Jaison to see how confident he is that Russell would bring them and not Natalie and Shambo.

Monica told Russell that she thinks he is keeping a lot of threats left, and told him that Jaison is just counting down the days until Russell can't play the idol anymore, and admitted that she knows he's a multi-millionaire, but said that Natalie told her (which is not true).  She said that she is voting based on need.

Mad as a wet cat, Russell went to find out if Natalie did in fact tell, and she said that she did not at all, and they went to Brett, who said it was Jaison who told them, and then of course Russell went to Jaison to ask him about it.  He was not happy.

Russell said that if he feels any threat at all, he will play the idol.

Second Tribal Council

Russell immediately pulled out the hidden idol and put it on, saying "I found a pretty necklace and thought I'd wear it."  Probst asked if anyone was shocked, and Monica said absolutely not, but thinks that Russell is getting cocky.  Brett said that it is important to stay humble, and Shambo said that it was the worst day before a tribal, because Russell's feathers were ruffled, and Monica said it was awesome, and said it was great to push Russell's buttons for a change, after he did all of the ruffling.  Russell said that if he and Monica had been on the same tribe the whole time, they would be dangerous together.  He said that he has played hard the whole time, and Monica said it was because of the idols.  He said (rightfully) that that was part of playing hard.  Dr. Mick said that you have to think about the finals, because it's getting down there.

Russell voted for Monica, saying she was a "stupid, stupid little girl with bad strategy."  Monica, of course, voted for Russell.

Does he need to play the idol?  He does not think so, and I hope for his sake that isn't a cocky cocky move.

Monica and Russell both got votes, but in the end, Russell's cockiness was warranted, and Monica is out.

Woo.  What a night.  That was an action packed episode!  Monica was happy to make it as far as she did, and is happy to have stirred up some conflict on her way out.

Next week, Natalie, Dr. Mick, and Brett seem to have something going on, and Russell knows it.  Can't wait!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance - 12.9.09

The group dance is to a remix of Pon de Floor, and the costumes look like a depressed jester got a hold of them - half black and half rainbow.  They are very weird.  I have to say, I am impressed by how hard Ellenore and Kathryn hit.  I do notice that poor Ashleigh is missing from the group number.  I hope she gets through and I hope that she is well enough to dance by next week.  Russell got to do some flying even.  It was a pretty neat routine.  Very odd.  I didn't even notice their multicolored hair until after they were done dancing.  It was choreographed by Sonya.  There you go.  Hence the weird.

Cat looks like she's made up with her closet, and she is in a very slick black (or maybe dark blue-grey) strapless frock with a yellow belt, and her hair is pleasingly smooth and shiny.  Oh, upon further inspection, her dress is black on the sides and blue down the middle, with a yellow belt.  That's not so bad...

Profile on Samantha Ronson, who did some remixes for the show.

First on the floor are the guys.  Holy cow they changed costumes quickly, and got the colors out o their hair.  Impressive.

Russell is safe.  Legacy is in danger.  I worry for Ryan.  Not surprisingly, Jakob is safe.  Mary screamed about Jakob and Russell being awesome.  I have no idea what she is wearing, but it looks very 90's to me.

Time for the ladies, and Ashleigh is with them, looking ready to dance.  Kathryn is deservedly safe.  Ellenore is in danger, and I blame Tabitha and Napoleon.   It's between Mollee and Ashleigh for the second place in the bottom.  America came through and voted Ashleigh through to the finals!!!  Yippppppeeee!!!

Now, will Ryan be able to prevail to get to the finale with his wife?  I sure as heck hope so!

Adam thinks that Mollee had the best performances of her own run on the show and perhaps on the show in it's entirety, and I agree, and he blames her partnership with Nathan for holding her back for a lot of the competition.  I agree.  I still think she's a cheerleader, but still.  He thinks that Kathryn had "A Star is Born" moment last night, and thinks she is just coming on perfectly like Jeanine did last season.  Agreed.  Cat cut Adam off because he was running way too long.

Performance by a group I've never heard of, and they look like an Asian version of the Supremes.  Fast forward, because I want some meat.

Also fast forwarded through the segment where the contestants gave gifts to each other for Christmas.

Wow - Legacy did his solo to a string quartet, and it worked.  A lot.  He is great.  I still want Ryan in the finals instead of him, though.

Ellenore's solo brought back some of her fun quirky, and I think was stronger than last night's.

Ryan's solo was the same as last night's, I think. It's odd to see him dancing in jeans.  I really love him as a partner, so I hope he stays.  I'm sappy and want to see him dance with Ashleigh.

Mollee's solo is different than last night's, too.  It was a very strong solo.  Again.  I still don't like her, but I think she did a better solo (and did better on her total dancing) than Ellenore.

Why, Hello, Kris Allen.  I like you and I'm glad you won American Idol (though I kind of like Adam's album, I have to admit it).  However, fast forward.  I'm sure you did a good job.

The girl going home is Mollee.  I am glad, because I like Ellenore more, but I feel badly for little Mollee.  She was a good cheerleader, and should go work on Broadway.

And how about the guys?  Ryan will in fact get a chance to dance with his wife in the finale.  I am so so so happy!!!  Legacy was great, but I am still happy. 

I'm excited about the finale next week!  How about you?  Did your favorites make it through?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance- 12.8.09

Cat looks like a Solid Gold Dancer, poofy sleeves and all.  Foolish decision.  And Mary looks like she attacked her dress with a bedazzler.  And Holy Hell, Cat's outfit is a short jumpsuit.  NO THANK YOU. 

Each couple will have one song remix.  Neat.

Next week's the finale?  Already?  Really?  Wow.

And Ashleigh is injured!  Her shoulder dislocated, and she put it back in, but was super sad that they wouldn't clear her to dance.  They are going to do an MRI to make sure she is ok to come back.  Ashleigh is still going to have a number for people to call.  I don't usually vote for this show, but I may have to throw in a few calls to her.

Kathryn & Ryan (Disco, choreographed by Doriana Sanchez, Last Dance by Diana Summers)  Doriana called it a Disco Love Story.  Disco seems a natural extension fro Ryan, and though Kathryn seemed a little more hesitant, it was a super fun routine.  Not my favorite, but fun.  I'm digging Kathryn's dress.  Adam is left with a smile on his face, and thinks that Ryan has proven that real men can wear sequins.  Mary thinks that they are not dancing their last dance if they keep dancing like that, and thinks that Kathryn is peaking, and believed the chemistry.  She did some shrieking.  Nigel wasn't so sure about the sequined shirt on Ryan, and thought Ryan was a little too ballroom and too straight and stiff for the disco.  He wanted more bounce, and less straight out arms, but did find it enjoyable.  Mary attested that the style of the era was arms straight and was dangerous because throats were getting hit all the time.  That thought made me laugh.

Mollee & Jakob (Viennese Waltz, choreographed by Jason Gilkison, Ordinary Day, by Vanessa Carlson) The waltz is kind of a modern kind, and is about two friends.  She's lost her mojo, and he's helping her find it.  Jakob is gorgeous when he dances.  I love all of his lines.  I'm still not buying what Mollee's selling.  She was pretty good with him, but I think that says ore about him than about her.  The judges are sure to drool all over her.  I loved that the dance had a story to it, and I thought it was beautifully choreographed.  Adam wanted to watch the dance for two more hours.  He thought everything came together to make it perfect.  He thinks that Jakob is one of the best dancers he's ever seen, and thinks that Mollee is peaking.  Mary said that there is nothing ordinary about the dance at all, and thought that the partner work was astounding, and Jakob made it happen, along with the rise and fall in it that made it a Viennese Waltz.  Nigel thought that the beautiful simplicity of the routine was amazing, and the constant flow, and he thought it all fit together like a beautiful jigsaw puzzle. 

Ashleigh's solo time was instead Ashleigh walking out on stage and claiming to feel perfect.  Cat didn't let her dance, but gave her number out - 1-888-TEMPO-01, which I intend to throw a couple calls to.

Ellenore & Legacy (Contemporary, choreographed by Travis Wall, no clue what the song was)  It's a Mr. & Mrs. Smith concept - they are hired assassins who are married, but hired to kill each other.  Travis is using their quirky abilities to their fullest, and I am excited.  It was astoundingly danced and fantastically choreographed.   It was so awesomely unique and it really used the two of them so perfectly.  I could have dealt with better music, but I. Loved. It.  Adam loves any choreographer who appreciates how close dancing and murder are, and thought it was super exciting and like watching home movies of his parents.  He loved how Travis understood his couple, and maximized them to beautiful effect.  Agreed.  Mary gave the stupid fake out about how it wasn't that good.  Then she recanted and said it was absolutely tailor made for them, and loved how dynamic and fearless it was.  Agreed.  Nigel thought it was a beautifully romantic routine for the lovers out there, and loved how dangerous it was, and loved how far Travis pushed them, and realized how far it went into the risky category, in a good way.  He also compared it to Mandy Moore's table routine, and thought that it might also garner Travis an Emmy nomination.  I loved it.

Jakob's solo:  I don't love the shorts he insists on wearing for his solos, but he does have astounding legs.  He just flips and dances so beautifully, I can't see him going anywhere.

Ashleigh (supposedly) & Russell (this poor man and his lack of partners!) (Hip Hop, Choreographed by Shane Sparks, Too Much Booty 2 Remix)  It's a hard and aggressive routine, and Ashleigh was learning to be a booty shaker... until she ripped her shoulder out of joint.  Russell is dancing with Shane's assistant.  Russell did a great job, of course, and I really wish Ashleigh had been able to do the routine, because she would have killed it.  I know she would have.  Adam knew it must have been hard to do that without Ashleigh, and admitted that he loves seeing her do hip hop, but thought that Russell brought the Old School Hip Hop home, and loves how hard he hit it.  Mary had her eyes glued to Russell and loves how much he gives and thought he attacked every move.  Nigel remembers when Donielle did Too Much Booty in the Pants and reminisced about her lovely booty shaking.  He really is a dirty old man.  Anyhow, Nigel thought that Russell gave him everything he wanted. 

Mollee's Solo: I think the best solo she's done yet.  It really fit the song and didn't feel like a cheerleading routine as much.  I have to say, it was pretty good.  I still would rather see Ashleigh in the finals.

Ryan & Kathryn (Cha Cha, choreographed by Jason Gilkison, Put Your Hands on Me, by Joss Stone)  I bet that Ryan wishes he could dance this routine with his lovely wife.  Still, Kathryn brought the hip shummy, and the characters were great.  It was a hot cha cha.  I love anything that gives Ryan a chance to use those great latin dancing feet of his.  The final lift/flip was stunning.  Ryan is so strong, and such a great partner, because the girls can just throw themselves at him and not worry about a thing.  Adam thought it was one of the best ballroom routines they have ever had on the show.  I can't deny it.  He thought that it might be a good thing for Ryan's marriage that Ashleigh wasn't there, because they were so connected, and he thought Kathryn has ignited as a dancer and as a performer.  Mary thought that they succeeded in setting the floor on fire.  The power, the chemistry, and the effortlessness that it seemed to have was beautiful.  Time for my mute button as Mary let out a scream.  Gah... Nigel loves what Jason is doing with his choreography, and how he is turning ballroom into a complete form of entertainment.  Nigel wondered if Kathryn was nervous pulling the routines she did, and she admitted she was, but knew it would be ok with Ryan as a partner, and Nigel admitted that it did go amazingly.  He thought that Ryan was absolutely perfect in the routine, and thought they were magic as a couple.  Agreed.

Legacy's solo:  Legacy just throws himself around like there is no gravity, and he incorporated a telephone into his routine.  Clever.  I love him.  He said it was America on the phone.

Ellenore's solo:  It wasn't her best solo, I think.  it was to James Brown, and it was fun, but didn't really showcase her style as well as some of her other solos.  Cat thought that she looked like she was having a blast, though, and I can't deny that.

Russell's solo:  He is in a Santa suit.  Love it.  Krump in a Santa Suit.  That's hilarious.  Did he mean for his shoe to come off and then put it back on to the music on purpose, or was that improvised?  He pulled a little sunglass-wearing teddy bear out of his Santa bag at the end, and it was hilarious.  Russell urged people to vote for Santa, and Cat lost it for a second.  Kind of hilarious.

Mollee & Jakob (Broadway, choreographed by Joey Dowling, Easy Street, Samantha Ronson remix) The story is a couple of con artists (and Jakob is the brains behind the operation).  That part is believable.  They made the bench slide out to be a huge part, and I thought that part was kind of lackluster.  Can Jakob get any better, though?  Seriously?  Eh, though... Mollee can go.  The routine wasn't as fun as some other Broadway routines I've seen, but it was pretty great.  Adam loved the routine and thought it showed off the best parts of the dancers.  He also thought that they both brought great acting to the performance.  He thought that Mollee really lucked out to have Jakob to help her rise up even more, and then slipped in that Jakob is one of the best dancers that's ever been on the show.  Agreed.  Mary thought they both had an amazing evening.  Nigel sucked up to Joey, saying she was a beautiful choreographer as well as a beautiful woman, and thinks Mollee should go dance on Broadway.  He thought that Jakob reminded him of Joel Grey.  Cat thought that Mollee looked like an absinth fairy in her little green dress.

Kathryn's solo:  I think the strongest of the night.  She was giving it her absolute all and I thought ti was a super solo. 

Ellenore & Legacy (Hip Hop, choreographed by Tabitha & Napoleon, People are Strange, remix from The Doors) They are playing aliens, which is perfect for Ellenore.  They wanted Legacy to dance quirkier, and Ellenore is supposed to dance more hip hop.  They have askes on the backs of their heads, and the beginning was really neat.  They weren't as in sync as they could have been in some parts, but the routine was really neat.  I would have liked to have seen more of it... it seemed really short.  Adam spoke in some alien language and the other judges joined him, but then they reverted to English before Cat had to start subtitles.  Adam admitted that it didn't push them far enough, and wasn't his favorite number of the night, but thinks that the other routine was enough to keep them safe.  Mary thought it didn't live up to her first impressions of it.  She thought the beginning was awesome, and I agree, but she was left disappointed.  Nigel also worried that the choreography and the concept were a bit of a disconnect with the actual dancing.  I agree.  He worried that it was style over substance.  I agree.  I do think that their previous routine was so astounding, it should keep them safe.

Ryan's solo used his amazing fast feet and some acrobatics.  I feel so badly for ballroom/latin soloists, though.  He is such a stunningly strong partner, I hope he makes it into the finale.  He gave Ashleigh's number out instead of his, urging us all to vote for her, and there were some tears. 

Russell (sans Ashleigh) (Bollywood, choreographed by Nakul, ) God, I am so sad that Ashleigh didn't get to dance this number.  There is no story to it, just full on Bollywood all the time.  Nakul warned them that if they have their hands even a little wrong, it could offend people.  Russell is joined by Nakul's assistant.  The sheer joy and energy that Russel brought into the style was amazing, and he was fantastic.  Loved it.  Adam thanked Nakul for an exciting high energy dance routine.  He thought that it was great for Russell because it blew joy out of every pore.  Agreed.  Mary wished that Ashleigh had been able to dance the routine, but loved to see Russell in it.  Nigel loved the routine and thought that even though the assistant who danced with him was a Bollywood specialist, he was still drawn to Russell.  Agreed.

My goodness, this is a hard night.  I think that Mollee should go home, even though she did super well this week, but I worry for Ellenore or the non-dancing Ashleigh.  I am absolutely throwing some calls at Ashleigh.  I don't think Kathryn is going anywhere, because she was a revelation tonight.

For the guys, I have no idea.  Jakob is my absolute favorite dancer right now and I don't want him going anywhere.  Legacy was great in the first routine, but the hip hop was just too weird.  Russell's been in the bottom before, but  think he did so well tonight, he should be safe.  And while Ryan's solo was not the best, he is SO AMAZING in partnerships, and I want to see him dance with Ashleigh like crazy.

Holy cow.  Rough night.  What do you think?

The judges urged the viewers to call and vote, and I am going to listen.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Top Chef - 12.2.09

This recorded later for me, so sorry that the blog is late!

Finale, Part I!  I'm excited.  Red Beard for the win!!!

The finale is in Napa Valley.  Jennifer, Michael, Bryan, and Red Beard are up against each other.  Apparently, there is a Facebook Page supporting Red Beard's Red Beard.  That's kind of awesome.

Padma's got new thick bangs (like I sported in high school) and a sweet baby bump.  I love baby bumps!  I think she looked better with her previous hair style, but I appreciate the desire for change.

They have 30 minutes to cook something in homage to the grape on the Napa Valley Wine Train and present it to Padma and Michael Chiarella (whos name I have misspelled terribly)

It's the last High Stakes Quickfire, and the winner will win a new Prius.

They are given all sorts of grapes to choose from. 

Red Beard gets a little motion sick, so he was not excited to be working on a moving train.  Michael grabbed a prep table at the back, and Bryan was bitter that he didn't get it first.  Red Beard did some product placement (Calphalon non-stick - not my personal favorite, and I have experience with lots of pans...), and cooked dessert.

Red Beard turned out a beautiful honey & fromage blanc mousse, glazed grapes, olive oil, and sea salt, topped with sweet little edible flowers.

Michael presented graped lead stuffed with couscous, vinegar glazed grape and scallop kebab.

Bryan made a roasted hen, brussel sprouts, concord grapes, ruby quinoa, and arugula.

Jennifer made sauteed chicken livers, clams, cabernet grapes, wild mushrooms & tendrils.

Michael got the win, because he used all the parts of the grape and told a complete story.

After the Quickfire, there was more product placement on the LG Sprint phones, and the Samsung Sprint phone.  Blatant Blatant Blatant.  Ugh.  Guess that's what we get for having the ability to fast forward through conventional commercials.

Elimination Challenge

The winery is hosting the season's end crush party, and they will be catering the party.  Their ingredients are all local, except for salt and pepper.  They each have to make two dishes, one vegetarian, and one featuring a local protein, for 150 people.

They will be cooking at Bricks restaurant (I think I got that right).  They have 5 hours to cook.

Red Beard was giving tips to Jennifer, who said that they were all wishing the best for each other (because they want the party to go well), but they of course want to win.  Bryan feels that he is going to do better than Michael.  We'll see.

Red Beard is planning a grass-fed brisket with pumpkin polenta, and marinated root vegetables, and a carrot and beet salad with salsa verde.

Jennifer is doing a chevre mousse with honey mushrooms, and a duck with foie gras vinegrette

Bryan is doing a delicatata squash ravioli, and a braised short ribs with a fig puree.

Michael is making a vegetable pistou with egg, and is doing a turnip soup with foie gras tureen.

The coals died down and Jennifer had to change her mind because she didn't have a chance to smoke it on the grill, so she did a confit.  Michael was poaching eggs in the shell, which was new to me.  If only the rest of my family were fans of poached eggs.  I would totally give that a try if I was making more than one poached egg...

Bryan served the judges first.  Gail loved the squash in the ravioli, but they all thought that the sauce needed salt and pepper.  His short ribs were also thought to be under salted.

Michael's dishes were called marvelous by diners.  Tom thought that the egg overwhelmed the vegetables, and Michael thought the veggies were cut too small.  Padma wanted her egg a little more cooked.  His foie gras had a bit too much sauce for some of the judges.

Red Beard is always good in front of a crowd, and Gail loved the colors on his vegetarian dish.  It was called a brilliant use of local ingredients.  His brisket was a little too stringy, and Tom worried it was tinny.  The polenta got rave reviews, though.

Jennifer's duck went over very well.  Her goat cheese and radish dish was too salty for some of the judges, but they really loved the flavors.  Tom loved that the duck really tasted like duck instead of being covered in other flavors.

They got a wine tasting with Tony Terlato in the Terlato Wine Caves.  Gorgeous. 

Judge's Table

Red Beard defended the texture of his brisket.  Bryan's dishes were good, but they wanted more figgy flavor in the short ribs.  Michael's texture was not rustic enough.  His eggs were a little too runny.  He had a lot of foie gras leftover, and the judges wished there were some more on the plate.  Jennifer's goat cheese and basil were applauded, but her use of flake salt was a problem, because the salt doesn't dissolve right off, so in tasting, you might miss the seasoning.  She did say that she would have preferred to grill the duck, but the judges really loved how it tasted in the confit.

The judges wanted more of Jennifer's foie gras vinaigrette.  Michael's soup was wonderful for Tom, but Gail thought it was too bitter in the end.  His egg was too big and not plated carefully.  Though Bryan needed more salt, he produced some really good food.  Red Beard's vegetarian dish was a revelation in carrot top flavor.  His brisket, no matter how much he called it "toothsome," needed some more time.

In the end, the winner of the challenge was Bryan.  He has never been in danger of being eliminated in the whole competition so far.  He's always been on top.  That's pretty cool.

The chef eliminated at this point was Jennifer.  I think that is the right decision.  She was good, but the Voltaggios and Red Beard are so good, I think it's been destined to get down to them for a while.

I repeat - Red Beard for the win!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Amazing Race - 12.6.09

I want to scream right now.  Sat down to watch The Amazing Race Finale at 8:30, and my brilliant dvr had decided to record two different things instead - Dora the Explorer and Super Bikes.  Yeah.  I could have sworn they had lower priorities than The Amazing Race.  Booooo.

Anyhow, at least I didn't miss the end, but I have no idea what happened in the first half.  Check out other excellent recappers at zap2it and hitfix to see if they caught it.

I started watching right at a commercial break where Meghan was looking stricken to ominous music...

Meghan & Cheyne are stuck in traffic, while Sam & Dan are doing a task of counting chips, and are freaking out in each other.

Ericka & Brian show up to reveal (to me) what the task is - they have to count a million dollars in poker chips.  Meghan & Cheyne show up not long after them.

Amazingly, all teams finished counting at the same time, pretty much.  Meghan & Cheyne got theirs right first off, and are off to the MGM Grand, where Mr. Las Vegas (Wayne Newton) will tell them their next clue.  The other teams made mistakes and had to reorganize, and make sure they were counting right. Sam & Dan were done next.

He told them that the finish line is at his home.

Sam & Dan were very excited to meet Mr. Las Vegas, but weren't sure what his name was.

The first entrance that Cheyne & Meghan got to was not open, so they had to look for another one. 

The finish line, with all the other teams clapping for them, saw Meghan & Cheyne arrive first.  I am happy.  I did not want the brothers to win, because they were so irritating.  Meghan & Cheyne had their moments where I didn't like them much, but at the end, they were the best team out there.

Sam & Dan came in second, and still love each other through all the bickering.  Brian & Ericka are last to come in, and are still happy to have made it.  They would have been happier with a million dollars, but the finished the race all the same.

Good season.  I didn't find as many of the teams as dynamic as in past seasons, so I hope for better teams next season. And of course, I wish that I hadn't missed the first half of the finale.  Boo, dvr mishaps!

Are you happy with who won?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Survivor Samoa: 12.3.09

I didn't blog last week's clip show, but I can understand now more why Shambo hated Laura, who had pretty much no sympathy about Shambo's emotional moment when she was remembering her sister who died.  She patted Shambo on the back and said "Buck up, be happy!"  I wanted to strangle Laura, too, at that point...

After John flipped and voted for Laura, Monica thought he was a Judas and wanted him gone.  The next morning, Tree Mail brought Survivor Money - and it's the Survivor Auction!  I hope there are some gross food items in there.  That always makes things more fun.

Reward Challenge

No sharing of money, no sharing of food, bidding in $20 increments, and everyone has $500.

The first item is a PB & J, and Natalie jumped right in and bid $200 for it.  Girl really wanted a PB & J.  At least she didn't have to get naked for it.  She won with no other bids.

The next item is covered.  Shambo got it for $240.  And she won ... Sea Noodles and Slug Guts.  With some Parmesan.  Poor Shambo.  She asked if it had some nutritional value, and Probst said he didn't know, but she said she hoped so, and dug right in. 

The next item is also a covered item, which Monica got for $340.  It was an entire roasted chicken.  Poor Shambo!

The next item is a significant advantage in the next immunity challenge.  Jaison bid against John and decided to go for the gold and bid all of his money to win it.

The next item was a cheeseburger, fries, ketchup, mustard, and a beer, which Dr. Mick snagged for $500.

The next item is a clue to the location of the hidden immunity idol.  John got it for $200.  Unless that clue says "In Russell's Pants," he's not finding it.

The next item is a Survivor Shower, including clean underwear. Natalie got it for $120.  She hopped right in.

The next item was a huge piece of apple pie.  John got it for $300.  He got the chance to divvy up an entire pie amongst four people.  He decided to eat his pie, and said he was confident no one was going to vote him off for not giving pie.  Russell that that was a terrible move.  I would tend to agree. 

The auction ended with that.  Russell didn't even seem to bid on anything.  He should have bid on the clue to the idol, to throw people off. 

Back at camp, John went out looking for the idol with his clue.  No luck with that.  Shambo told the chickens they were going to have them for lunch, and apologized to them (because as we saw in the clip show last week, the wayward chicken was captured by Shambo, with Erik's trap).  She refused to kill them, and Dr. Mick and Russell did the honors  Shambo was sad to see them go, but had no trouble taking charge of the cooking of them.  Jaison wanted to just throw one over the fire, but Shambo wanted to make a soup so as not to lose any of the nutrition.  Dave was not happy with the way Shambo was cooking the chickens, and Shambo told him to shut the f up, pretty much. 

I hope her soup is delicious.

The editors had fun with Shambo at night, with her having what she called a "clairvoyant dream," and she dreamed that they voted Dave off.  She talked to Russell and said that Dave needs to be the first to go.  Set in stone.  He told Natalie that Shambo is unstable and votes with her emotions, but if they get rid of Dave, they've got the numbers, no problem.

Immunity Challenge

The Challenge is to hold onto a very heavy log with a rope, switching hands every three minutes, moving one knot lower on the rope.  When they can't hold on any more, the log falls, breaks their plate, and they are out.  Jaison's advantage is the ability to move his hand up two full knots any time during the challenge.  Awesome.  Good luck to him.

Jaison used his two knot advantage at 9 minutes in.  We'll see if that pays off.  I think it might, because he got to stay up closer longer.  Shambo is the first out.  Russell is out next, claiming a charlie horse in his arm.

Finally, no one except for Jaison has any knots left and they have to hold onto bare rope.  Monica is out next, followed by John and Brett.   Dr. Mick is out next, and it's down to Natalie, Dave, and Jaison.  Natalie held on a super long time, but she was out next.  It's down to Jaison and Dave, with Jaison having the knot advantage.   The knot saved him, and Dave slipped down.

That was worth skipping the cheeseburger.

Back at camp, Russell was sure that Shambo wouldn't flip on them, and the plan was to get rid of Dave.   He had promised John that the next person out would be Foa Foa, he told John that they were going against Mick.  Then, John said "Well, if that doesn't work, you can just play the idol."  Russell admitted that he had the idol, but switched his plan to vote against John.  In confessional, Russell said "If I make a mistake, I have to get rid of you." 

Russell went to Dave to see if he could help vote out John, and told him that it would be him if it isn't John, so John needs to talk to Monica and see what he can do.  Dr. Mick also wants to get rid of John.  Dr. Mick went to talk to Jaison, and Jaison is worried that Shambo will flip on them if they don't vote with her.  Dr. Mick thinks that Russell can settle things with Shambo in the event of a John vote off, but Jaison is not so sure.

Tribal Council

Shambo was shocked when Russell said that the decision is game play.  She wants someone to win who deserves to win.  Dave said if the vote went the way he thought it would go, he would be shocked.

Not a very interesting Tribal.  Let's see how the votes shake out.

Mick took a hit with a vote (presumably from John), and then Shambo was shocked, as was John, to see the votes going towards John.  Shambo looked pisssssssed and utterly confused.  John was shocked (and there is no way he is giving Russell a jury vote, if Russell gets to the finale...)  Good times.

Next week, it looks like Dr. Mick and Jaison might be against Russell.  Will Brett remain a total non-entity?  We'll have to wait and see.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance - 12.1.09

I am not going to be able to blog the show tonight, because I am sick.  Apologies.  I will try to get back to it tomorrow.