June 16, 2011

Reality Rundown: Some Losers' Eliminations Delayed for 1 Week

Food Network StarThe Voice
So You Think You Can Dance

Food Network Star - The Camera Challenge is to create a pizza to reflect their culinary style and also present their pizza on-camera with a story to back it up. Bad news is that there's a twist: after today's Camera Challenge, one person will be eliminated. My favorite presentation is Katy's, not because it's good but because her personal story is that she made pizza with a "Chinese worker." The winner is Penny, whose story of being a Middle Eastern mama with a pizza to match worked better than her sexpot approach. Juba, Vic and Justin are the bottom 3. Juba's presentation sucked and his pizza was undercooked. Justin was awkward in front of the camera, while Vic spoke for 20 seconds and totally blanked after he brought up his mom (but he at least served food for once). Juba is eliminated.

The wannabe stars return to the studio for their Star Challenge: make restaurant food accessible. There are 3 restaurant style dishes which they'll have to recreate for the home cook, while also being time consuming. There's red wine braised short rib (time), abalone with caviar berblanc (expensive), and sweet soy glazed pork belly and scallion pancakes (technically difficult). They are split into 3 groups and will compete against each other and Penny gets the honors of assigning the dishes. Abalone: Orchid, Justin B, Vic, and Chris; Pork belly: Whitney, Jeff, Jyll, Justin D, Alicia; Short Ribs: Penny, Mary Beth, Susie, Katy. In side interviews we learn that Penny assigned the dishes to handicap her biggest competition: Orchid.

The big shocker is who will be eating the food: all the Food Network chefs who also have restaurants. Talk about an intimidating panel. The selection committee is in the kitchen as the "stars" prep and will ask them questions, since a host needs to be able to do two things at once.

Highlights of the kitchen: Mary Beth charms the selection panel. Katy's red wine reduction ignites into a fireball on the stove (it's awesome). Later, Katy gets a nice ripping into from Anne Burrell who points out Katy has a plastered on fake smile. Jeff makes the panel laugh while sweating into his spring rolls. Whitney's food delights, but she's such a frigid, unfriendly face at times that it's not appealing. Alicia is a flustered mess, making the creepiest faces that stress out the panel (she cries post-judging). Orchid uses canned oysters, appalling the panel. Chris can't find vermouth so uses pernot, but doesn't know what it is. Justin is a dullard.

At the judging panel, Penny is probed about her strategy to take out other competitors, like sabotaging Orchid and putting herself again other women she figured she could beat. The women are rightfully offended, but loudmouth Chris admires the gameplay. Since we just watched them get judged in the kitchen, the panel room comes off as repetitive. The 3 winners in their categories are robotic Whitney, steadily-improving Mary Beth, and Justin B based solely on food and not being a real-life Frankenstein. The bottom 3 are frenetic crybaby Alicia, Katy and her overcomplicated dish, and douchebag Chris. Katy is eliminated because her food had way too many ingredients and maybe because her smile would never disappear from that head of hers.

The Voice - Carson Daly intently reads a teleprompter to explain the voting or whatever. Christina fake cries about being so attached to her team. America saves my girl Beverly, the bald white woman (and Carson promptly rubs her head in celebration). Christina also gets to save one of the women from going home and to stay to sing: she selects Frenchie. "Bald girls unite!" says my roommate.

Tori and Taylor are the first from Cee-Lo's team and performs "Boogey Woogey Bugle Boy" by The Andrews Sisters. Maybe they heard this on a Kidz Bop album? I love these girls and wanted to love the performance, but it doesn't sound great and the blonde's voice is way better since it sticks out. Soul singer Vicci Martinez sings "Jolene" by Dolly Parton and I'm hoping for great things cause that is a tight-ass song. Man, she is amazing. She also spells her name like VICI from Small Wonder and since that's my avatar I think we are kindred spirits, or bosom friends if you are an Anne of Green Gables fan. Horatio Sanz-doppelganger Nakia takes on Kings of Leon and because this show is all about the VOICE they distract you with backup dancers spinning flames. But he is pretty good despite the fire show behind him. Curtis Grimes, the country guy, is assigned 80s classic "Addicted to Love" and I can't imagine this being listenable. Maybe it's good if you like country but it's an earsore for me.

Casey Weston is Adam's team's leadoff; she sings that "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" song or whatever by KT Tunstall. I'm not a country-ish person but I kind of like her performance and I'm all for drumming on plastic barrels. More surprising: Christina finally breaks the mold and gives valid criticism/advice (and then Cee-Lo follows). Devon, the nerdo, performs One Republic's "Stop and Stare." He doesn't have the chops to pull it off for me and I think it's an average performance overall. Jeff Jenkins, the chunky guy who made a creepy comment about wanting to date "the legal Thompson sister", jumps into the passenger seat of "Jesus Take the Wheel." The winter wonderland backdrop and his emotional story about the song can't distract from how crappy he sounds. But maybe that's only me because the coaches loved him?

Cee-Lo's team meets at a spa together and we're spared of seeing Cee-Lo in a white robe. They then put on some funky 70s threads and perform "Everyday People." It's the saddest modern day interpretation of The Patridge Family ever. Cee-Lo rocks a wonderful Richard Simmons-esque, bringing a smile to the world (ok, not really, he always dresses like a goof). Team Adam keeps their clothes on and simply has a nice meal at Adam's home. Him and his posse sing "I Get By With A Little Help of My Friends" aka The Wonder Years themesong. I guess that Chicken Little looking kid is playing the role of Paul? Javier, the crown jewel of the show, is the final performance and performs Sarah MacLachlan's "Angel." Cue the faces of sad puppies. It's an amazing performance and it doesn't make me think of sad animals.

The show wraps up the save results for Blake's team. In the most obvious vote ever, America's save goes to Dia for her performance of "Heartless." Anyone else remember when Kris Allen did an acoustic guitar version of "Heartless" on Idol? I do. In a move that boggles my mind, Blake saves awkward Xenia, sending his dudes home. She has zero personality so yeah, great move!

So You Think You Can Dance - The top 20 are assembled and pairing and now the dancing begins! Joining Nigel and Mary Murphy is guest judge Megan Mullaly aka Tammy 2 aka Lydia from Party Down aka Karen from Will and Grace. It's like a bit of Ron Swanson is with us tonight. Already there is an injury: Mitchell injured his elbow so is put into the bottom 3 for tomorrow night to dance for his life. Sucky! Because there's a of dancers, I'll focus on my best of and worst of, as I usually do.

Best! Melanie and Marko win for most adorable pair and also lucky enough to get a Travis Wall contemporary routine. Painted as statues, the routine is so graceful and the emotions so pure and real. I got chills from this number. Favorite dance of the night by a landslide, favorite couple. Missy and Wadi pair up for a jazz routine where Pandora's Box is opened and sexy demon clones appear. They are a good pair and this routine is pretty awesome and incorporates Wadi's hip hop and parkour skills. Sasha and Alexander are blessed by the choreography gods out of the gate with a Travis Wall contemporary. The piece is genius, as usual, with Alexander being chased by his conscience (which for some reason has a skirt on that resembles goose plumage). Tapper Nick and ballroom/Xuxa doppelganger Iveta get the dreaded quickstep week 1. Good for Iveta the ballroom old lady, but for this show: no one votes for the quickstep. However, it's danced well so kudos since it's usually a 98% hot mess another other season.

Worst is the wrong word so we'll just say, not my faves. None were bad, just some didn't click for me. Ryan and Ricky pull lyrical hip-hop about a guy remembering the love for a girl long gone. It's a nice routine but Ryan smiles so GD much it's distracting and the judges point it out as well (but she was supposed to). Caitlynn's partner Mitchell is injured, so she tackles the Sonya Tayeh jazz piece with season 7's Robert. Swoon alert! The judges really loved it, but I kind of was underwhelmed, despite a few cool moves (like Caitlynn sort of floating on Robert's back). Miranda and Robert (Urkel glasses guy) dance Latin which excites me only because I saw husband and wife ex-contestants Ryan and Ashley assisting choreographer Jason. For the routine Robert rocks silver glasses, which is important to update. It's a really fun, upbeat routine though dressing them like 60s go-go dancers doesn't convey "Latin" to me and the dancing itself was only OK.

Results show! The top 20 dance with canes and I'm didn't dig it. You could almost see them concentrating on the cane maneuvers so the footwork, etc. was sometimes off. The bottom 3 are Jordan/Tadd, Clarice/Jess, and Miranda/Robert; Mitchell is also in the bottom since he didn't dance last night. They all dance for their lives with solos. In time filler, Keri Hilson performs (I say perform because she was obviously lip syching), there's Russian dancing by a pro, and there's a sneak peak at a Lady Gaga video (who I totally forgot got her TV debut on SYTYCD years ago). Oh and she's going to guest judge the show this season; kinda huge even as a non-Gaga fan. There's a big ol' twist: Mitchell and Robert are requested to dance for their life a second time. The judges delay the guy decision by bringing out the ladies, then don't make a decision and bring the guys back out. After dicking around for a long time, no one is eliminated and instead 2 couples will go home next week.

Photo Credits: BuddyTV, FoodNetwork.com


Brian @ PWYJudges said...

I'm sorry... I got distracted thinking about Robert... okay, I'll go back and read the rest now... *swoooooon*