July 16, 2010

Reality Rundown: More like Potat-No's, Am I right?!

The Next Food Network Star - The stars are given the Camera Challenge of creating their own jarred food product which they will then present to a live audience at a shopping center. Wouldn't you know they are all absolutely terrible (except Tom). Some of the products taste pretty good, but no one can present. Serena, queen of Italian food, can't even make a good marinara sauce. Serena and Brianna, who made a delicious berry chocolate sauce but had a crappy presentation, are voted worst by the audience. Tom and Aarti (who tanked her cooking but won with personality) were voted the 2 best.

Bobby Flay brings out Paula Deen, dressed in what I believe is a beige Snuggie pantsuit, to announce the Star Challenge, which is to pair up and serve lunch in lunch trucks. Winners Tom and Aarti are paired together and opt for American comfort with Indian flare. Losers/enemies Serena and Brianna are forced together and pick a theme is being attractive international dining. Aria/Brad focus on All American fare and Herb/Paul go the sandwich and wrap route. Paul/Herb try to bring it, but god is Paul annoying, always trying to be funny but failing. The judges likes their choice to make wraps, pleased the old Herb is back, and think Paul has an identity crisis. Brad/Aria split the duties with her being the spokesperson and him cooking; Paula comments her grandson could make the hot dog and the burger was overcooked. Tom and Aarti really impress the judges with the personalities and great food to match, with a BLC (bacon lettuce cucumber) and a funnel cake. Brianna and Serena actually work well together in the end, impressing the crowds and judges, with all 4 of their dishes please the palettes of the judges.

At the judging panel, Brianna/Serena's girl power is praised, Tom raises to the top of the pack, and Aarti admits she's working on her confidence. Herb and Paul had some overcooked meat, but were also critiqued for some of the bickering, which the crowds noticed. Bobby brings up Paul's latest change in point of view to "Blue Collar Dollar" (someone must not realize that niche is taken by last season's winner hosts $10 Dinners), so Bobby asks what he's going to eat, to which Paul gives the worst answer, or best answer if your plan is to get eliminated: "Well, food." Considering Bobby already seems like kind of an a-hole, I don't know why you'd go out of the way to anger him. Aria/Brad are chastised for their service since it took 30 minutes for their food to be ready for judging, as well as for the dishes being too simple yet not perfect. It's Brad who is more at risk since he is all smiles until the cameras come on. 2 Chix Brianna and Serena are named the winners of the challenge. In what we all knew was inevitably coming, Paul is eliminated which is a relief cause I hate people who try so hard to be funny.

So You Think You Can Dance - Good news: Alex Wong had his surgery. Bad news: another injury, with Ashley sitting out this week from some rib problems. With 7 competitors left, they each get 2 routines again with an All Star and each other, but since there is an odd number, one person gets a 2nd All Star routine and that is Jose. For the first time ever the show will have a B-Boy routine, which we all know will be awesome. Another first: Lauren and All Star Mark perform a Tahitian routine which is a lot of booty poppin'. I won't lie though, it reminded me of Saved by the Bell: Hawaiian Style when Kelly, Jessie, and Lisa all hula dance at her uncle's resort. AdeChike takes on one of the toughest salsas ever on this show with such awesome stunts - heads sliding down legs, flips, cartwheels- so crazy! Jose falters in his Broadway when his lovable personality is stripped from him and Billy finally partners well in his jive. Teen girls hearts explode out of their chests when Kent and All Star Neil perform a Damn Yankees Broadway together, upping the heartthrob level to a new high. The stand-out of the night is Robert who danced with such strength and passion in a powerful Travis Wall piece- god, it was honestly beautiful. Emmy voters, you can cast your ballot for next year now.

In the 2nd half, Billy and Lauren's Chuck Taylors possess them to dance a funky jazz routine that's cute and fun. I wanted to love Jose and Dominic's breaking piece, but I felt Jose got totally out-danced (in the breaking/hip-hop world, we could say SERVED) by Dominic, but the judges loved it. Kent continues his dude-on-dude dancing night by performing contemporary with AdeChike and it's great to watch and AdeChike show the dancing chops he's lacked the past few weeks and Kent stopped making his campy faces (listen I love Kent, but he makes Broadway face a lot). Robert gets stuck doing a GD disco routine because boy is that still relevant to our world. The only reason I even tolerate the disco routines is for the glittery costumes and tight dancin' pants, but Nigel urges us to consider the difficulty. Considering, advice taken... still hokey.

Results Show. The bottom 3 are Billy, Jose, and injured Ashley. Along with solos we get 2 kids from Mary Murphy's Ballroom school performing, Cat Deeley arm wrestles a kid, an Alvin Ailey company routine, and Twitch and Comfort perform their "Forever" Dave Scott hip hip from season 4. There is also a live performance by newcomer Christina Perry, whose claim to fame came just weeks ago when her song was used on SYTYCD and has suddenly become ridiculously popular. In a non-surprise, Ashley is eliminated because she needs a few weeks of rest so that she can have a future tour as well as participate in the live tour. And then there was 1 girl left.

Top Chef DC - Quickfire: crabs! If you are a vegetarian or sensitive to murder, I hope you fast forwarded through the Quickfire because it was just giant knives slamming and slicing sweet little live crabs. Timothy doesn't fuss with the crabs too much and continues to stress that he's from Maryland, their crabs are the best, don't hide them in other flavors, he's an expert. So it's pretty hilarious when Timothy doesn't rank in Top 3 and Ed wins the challenge (and immunity) and he's the dude who did the old cliche of including Old Bay seasoning.

Elimination challenge: create a family style meal as one giant team for 40 chefs and farmers at an organic farm. There must be at least 6 dishes, everyone must be responsible for something served, and oh yeah, they won't know their equipment until they get there, so expect some archaic shit. I'm hoping they need to churn their own butter (turns out it's just a couple hot plates and grills). Turns out having one large team brings out the monster and there's a lot of bickering about who makes what, who teams up, etc. Eventually everyone pairs up, calms down, and gets the job done. I get a good laugh during the boring mealtime by yelling "that's what she said!" after the guest judge described Amanda's undercooked minestrone veggies as "hard to get into the mouth also."

Judging Panel: Kevin, Kenny, Andrea and Kelly are the top dishes. Kevin is praised for couscous and veggies. Kenny's curry impresses Padma. Andrea's pork loin caused her a lot of stress, but she made an incredible sauce that made the dish delicious. Kelly does the impossible and takes on a dessert along with the pork loin just 'cause and it's really delicious. Kenny's sweet & sour curried eggplant wins the challenge. Time for the stinkers: Timothy didn't do a mussoline so just served teeny tiny turnips and potatoes and just threw in asparagus for color. Stephen serves his salad in a bowl, which I guess is a no-no, and overdressed it (now I'm imagining a head of lettuce in a tux). Amanda's minestrone is described as "amateurish" and didn't have any pasta, just beans. Timothy's turnip and potatoes spells the end for him and he packs up his knives and goes.

Photo Credits: BravoTV.com, BuddyTV.com, FoodNetwork.com, TVFanatic.com