The search for America’s next great style maker continues in episode two of the CBS reality show “Wickedly Perfect”. The field of 12 domestic diva wannabees was whittled down again Thursday night. Now just ten are in the running for the grand prize including a book deal, six scheduled appearances on The Early Show, and a possible television show.
The program opens at the sprawling Connecticut estate on day 4 of the competition. 32-year-old Georgia peach, Kimberly, says she’s glad she made it to round two. She was on the chopping block after her individual project (an apple sour-cream pie) failed to satisfy the judges’ sweet tooth. Kimberly’s fellow “Team Artisan” teammate, Darlene, reveals she’s glad it was Tom who got the ax last week.
The contestants are assembled in the main dining room as host, Joan Lunden, enters to tell them about the team challenge. She stands before a board with cryptic words written on index cards. The Crafty Beavers get to choose first as they were last week’s winning team. They pick the card that says “red”, that means Team Artisan gets the card reading “white”. Team Artisan selects “little,” “big” goes to the Crafty Beavers. Finally, the Crafty Beavers choose “American Outside,” leaving Team Artisan with “French Inside”.
So what do those cards mean? Joan explains that The Crafty Beavers will have to throw a party serving “red” wine, they will prepare the meal in the “big” kitchen, and the “American” themed dinner will be served “outside” in the pool house. But wait, there’s more! The Crafty Beavers get synchronized swimmers as the evening’s entertainment. Now that’s a party! As for Team Artisan, they will offer their guests “white” wine, prepare their meal in the “little” kitchen, and serve their “French” themed food “inside” the main dining room. Oh, it gets even better! Team Artisan’s entertainment will be a French mime.
Each team has 36 hours and a budget of $2,500 to pull together a three course dinner party with enough grub for 12 people. They will be judged on creativity, taste of the food, and their hosting skills. Each contestant will have a budget of $40 to create their individual projects: a gift bag for the judges. The way this challenge works is the judges will go back and forth, visiting each team’s party two times during the evening. The first visit will be for drinks and appetizers and a second is to sample the main course and dessert.
Tension heats up for the Crafty Beavers as teammates Mitch and Denise begin to argue, opening old wounds from last week’s challenge. (Denise is still angry that Mitch wouldn’t let her put a twig in their apple display). Unhappy Amy says her team is full of egos, as Mychael and Mitch battle it out over whether or not to serve deviled eggs for their American themed meal. Mychael suggest using quail eggs (because they’re smaller) but Mitch wins out with good ol’ fashioned deviled chicken eggs.
Team Artisan is busy working out the details of their French themed dinner party. On the menu: lamb (Margo’s idea) and lobster. Michelle swears she can do wonders with the crustaceans. Kimberly and Michelle go to the grocery story to buy the needed ingredients and return with a $1,000 dollars worth of lamb and lobster! Darlene is not pleased and says she feels left out because she is “the older one”. Never the less, she gets to work sewing a table runner and napkins for the party, as Michelle takes charge in the kitchen.
Meanwhile, the Crafty Beavers are hard at work making a unique table covering by gluing fresh leaves to a tablecloth. Mitch and Denise are at it again, arguing about how the project should be done. Denise even tells Mitch to “stop being a pansy”. The synchronized swimmers arrive, and aren’t exactly what the Crafty Beavers had imagined. The underwater dancers are a bit, how should I say it, portly and more ‘mature’ than expected.
It turns out Michelle’s “killer” lobster tails are a royal disaster. Darlene offers to salvage the mess of mushy meat by mixing it with flour to create a cream sauce. Michelle tells her they don’t have any flour, which we later find out was a lie. The ladies of Team Artisan pull their act together just in time. Judges Candace Bushnell and David Evangelista arrive at French themed dinner party, sans Bobby Flay who will get there late because he’s stuck in traffic. The night starts to head down hill from the get go when David Evangelista complains that the champagne is too warm. Then Candace Bushnell chimes in saying the stuffed tomato appetizers are really more English than French. Darlene laughs and agrees with Candace, which annoys Michelle.
Candace and David are off to the pool house to visit the Crafty Beavers. They are served deviled eggs, which are met with disgust by Candace. Then David complains that there is too much ice in his martini. While the team hustles to warm up some scallops, the judges go to the pool to watch the “unsynchronized” swimmers flounder around in the water (entertaining, but in a train wreck kind of way).
The judges head back to the main dining room for Team Artisan’s lamb dinner and desert. Bobby finally makes it to the party and asks if there are any appetizers left for him to try. Much to his dismay there are not, which he says is poor planning on their part. Candace is unhappy with her meal saying the lamb is much too rare for her taste. To top it all off, the French mime turns out to be more annoying than a fly as he silently creeps around the dinner table. Just when the entire party seems like a flop, Michelle’s desert (a combination of three different types of pastries) saves the day. All the judges say they love it.
Candace, David and Bobby head back to the pool house to try dinner and dessert prepared by the Crafty Beavers. Mychael scores points when she offers Bobby some scallop appetizers which she saved just for him. Bobby says it’s always a good idea to save some hors d’ oeuvres for guests who arrive late because it makes them feel welcome. The main course of beef tenderloin is a hit with the judges, but they say Heather’s chocolate cheesecake brownies are too doughy. After the meal, some of the Crafty Beavers complain to the judges that they are tired which Mychael says good hosts should never do.
It’s now time for the moment of truth, and for the second week in a row the judges determine that Team Artisan is the loser. They decide that Michelle’s truffles and Dawn’s candle and mirror are the worst of the individual project gift bags, so one of them will be sent packing. Team Artisan joins Joan and the judges at the rock garden. Margo reveals her vote first, choosing Dawn to get the boot. Next it’s Darlene’s turn who votes to oust her arch nemesis Michelle. It’s now up to Kimberly and she also chooses Michelle to hit the road. So in a two to one vote 26-year old California pastry chef Michelle is the second perfectionist to bite the dust.
Heather can be reached for comments or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.