June 12, 2009

Reality Rundown: The Thunderdome of Reality Show Dating

In this Reality Rundown...

New! The Next Food Network Star - As an avid viewer of the Food Network, I get really invested in this show because it's someone who I will potentially watch and then ultimately botch their recipes when I try them out at home. 10 new hopefuls have been cast, vying to be the next Guy Fieri, and fit into the same personality and cooking molds they usually do (Caribbean, trained, cook at home). The judges for NFNS include Senior VP of Programming & Product Bob Tuschman (love that name), VP of Marketing & Brand Strategy Susie Fogelson, and Food Network star/acclaimed chef Bobby Flay. The first challenge splits the 10 into 2 teams and they will cater the Food Network's 16th anniversary party, with Food Network celebrity guests (and my nemesis, Nancy O'Dell of Access Hollywood). I love their voting panels because they are so honest about personality, food, etc. Contestants whose personalities/food stood out: stay-at-home mom, Margaret Cho looklike, Caribbean-American queen, flamboyant guy, and a "Greek God" as someone named him. Barbie Girl (who calls herself the new generation housewife) goes home for a really simple green bean dish that even a 4 year old could make. Who will be the star? I don't know, but they better cook some good grub (like my Neelys!). (Image from FoodNetwork.com)

The Bachelorette - The men pack up for the Canadian hometown of Jillian: Vancouver. While there, Jillian will go on a solo date, a group date, and a 2-on-1 date. My personal favorite Bachelorette twist, the 2-on-1 date means 2 guys go on a date, but only 1 gets a rose. It's like Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, but for roses. Jillian has a solo date with Kiptyn, who I really like but has a stupid name. The group date guys go full on Canuck and go curling (winning team gets a date on a boat with Jillian). Jesse wins and scores a kiss, Jake is too perfect, and a hopefully drunk crazy Dave gets dissed. He's foul mouthed and rude, then goes for a kiss and is denied- SERVED! He then says she's kissed every guy there so why can't he get a kiss? Ahh, kinda SERVED Jillian. She says they weren't all real kisses, but I call BS. She may have stage kissed a bunch, but she has legit kissed at least 7 guys. The 2-on-1 date is with Mike and Mark or as I called them, "Who?" Everyone is surprised when Mark gets the rose. At the cocktail party, everyone is tired of Wes's shizz, so they call him out without explicitly saying "Wes", telling Jillian "not everyone is here for the right reasons." But she's so GD dense. If someone is on a television dating show and might not there for the right reasons, wouldn't one automatically guess the guy who dreams of being a star musician and needs national exposure? Foot fetishist Tanner tells Jillian someone even has a girlfriend back home, so she confronts the guys. No one admits it, and instead prefer to know who the snitch is. Careful Tanner, snitches get stitches! At the rose ceremony, Tanner is safe (and remains the secret snitch) which surprised me. Crazy Dave and Juan get deported back to the USA. Next week: is Wes finally going to get caught? (Image from ABC.com)

So You Think You Can Dance - So much talent packed into 2 hours! For a first week, the dancing is extremely impressive and the choreographers also brought their a-game. Mary screamed and woo'ed her heart out, even giving out her first ticket on the hot tamale train. Director/choreographer Adam Shankman was maybe a little too enthusiastic, but hey, he loves the dance. Highlights of the night for me: Tyce Diorio's jazz (Randi/Broadway Evan), a contemporary piece (Ade/old Melissa) by Mandy Moore (not that one), a beautiful foxtrot (Brandon/Janette), a crazy Wade Robson creation (Kupono/Ashley), and one sexy samba (Kayla/Max). See- the top 20 are so good, it's hard to even narrow it down to one or two favorites! I wanted to love the Bollywood number (Jason/Caitlin) but I thought they were out of sync a bit, and while the judges loved the cha-cha (Karla/Jonathan the David Archulleta lookalike), I found Karla stiff and had poor footwork. My bottom 3 picks/prediction: the Broadway number (Asuka/Vitolio), the cha-cha (Karla/Jonathan aka "Archuletta"), and a 2nd hip-hop routine (Tony/Paris).

What I like most about SYTYCD in the early rounds is that voters pick the bottom 3 couples, but then they perform for their lives in their own style, and the judges select who should go home. I think it keeps it fair from simply eliminating the less popular dancers and helps to keep true talent around. And it turns out- I guessed the bottom 3 couples right! Each dancer then dances for their life and I'm not impressed with any of them. At least "Archuletta" pulled out the tricks. Paris is the eliminated female, and I'm not surprised and thought she'd be in the bottom often because I don't think the audience clicks with her and would be a rehash of universally hated Jessica from last season. For the guys, they eliminate Tony (Paris' partner), which must be breaking the hearts of tween girls watching. Oh, and Sean Kingston performed but didn't have his amazing Crayola Crayon chain. (Original images from BuddyTV)

New! Top Chef Masters - Bad news: no Tom or Padma. But I still really enjoyed the show (especially the unique challenges), though the host for Masters is like a young, less robotic Julie Chen. How the show works: 4 chefs compete each week to win a slot in the Masters finale; 6 compete for the title and $100k for charity. Quickfire challenge: the chefs take on the dreaded dessert, but the judges are Junior Girl Scouts. The chefs get to watch the tasting (scored on a scale of 5 stars), and one little ginger girl is an evil food critic in the making. Hubert Kelly, who runs Fleur de Lys at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, wins with some cookies and and fruit. The elimination challenge brings them back to the college days, where they will prepare a meal using only a microwave, toaster oven, and hot plate- oh and they'll have to prepare the meal in a dorm room! Hubert even takes advantage of the delightful dorm shower to rinse his macaroni- eww, hope you wore flip flops. Texas chef Tim Love is a dingus and accidentally put all his food (including veggies) in a freezer the night before, so I'm sure he's grateful for the microwave defroster. Best dishes: mac and cheese with prawns, pozole, and an almost-done risotto. After the critics (not judges) add up the scoring stars just like Star Search, Hubert Kelly easily wins his spot in the next round. (Image from BravoTV.com)

The Fashion Show
- Cliques are the theme of the week, and while different cliques were drawn, all these contestants are Mean Girls (except Angel and James, they are space cadets). Daniella wins immunity by designing a cool t-shirt to win the high school election votes of the Tree Huggers. For the runway challenge, each designer gets 11 hours to design an outfit for a 20-something who used to be in that clique in high school. Reco's drama is too literal, Haven actually rocks with skater, Johnny gets jock and just doesn't care, and Angel has no idea what a B-girl is. Insane Merlin gets best design of the week for his Mean Girl ensemble, which I actually hated. It looked like a cheap sweater from the Rave or the Macy's Juniors Department. The bottom 2 are Angel and Johnny. Angel tries to defend herself saying she has never seen a B-girl and knows nothing about hip-hop culture. Culturally ignorant much? Plus, she lives in NYC so it's hard to believe she's never seen hip-hop style; her outfit is a complete stereotypical joke and it offends Kelly Rowland (view the looks here). Johnny's is sucky and boring and he wants to go home, which infuriates Reco. But desire only counts for so much, and Angel's horrible puffy vest and corn-rowed model is eliminated. (Image from BuddyTV.com)