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Amazing Race 19 Commentary – Ep 1 – How Tweet It Is

Welcome back for the 19th Amazing Race, fresh off of their eighth Emmy win for Best Reality Show. I must admit, next to its first win, this one was most surprising. I really thought Top Chef: All-Stars was a better show last year, but I am certainly not complaining. Year in and year out, the Race is of high quality. Perhaps some more than others, but high quality nonetheless. And now we have the 19th edition, embarking yet again from California.
Now – the teams.

Ethan and Jenna – Yep, THAT Ethan and Jenna. The winners of Survivor: Africa and Amazon, contestants on All-Stars, and long-time dating couple. Both have been very involved in charitable activities since their fame and fortune was achieved, and Ethan had a very public battle with cancer. On Survivor, Ethan was the “good guy” on Africa and a very amiable person. Jenna had a strange Amazon experience, going from spoiled sorority brat to challenge monster, to lesser of two evils. Jenna is one-half of the infamous peanut butter and chocolate flashers that season. They have Rob and Amber as their precedent setters as Survivor crossovers. Romber were villainous on Survivor, but were mostly fun to watch on the Race. We shall see how these guys are going to be.

Ethan and Jenna are the big casting story, but there are some other interesting teams. Nicknames will be needed.

Andy and Tommy – They are former Olympic snowboarders from 2002 and 2006. They claim to not be slackers, but the two of them raced this first leg as if they had just gotten back from a Grateful Dead concert.

Laurence and Zac – That’s Laurence with a U and Zac with no H or K. So, that’s some fun spelling. Larry is English or Aussie, which is interesting. I don’t recall there ever being someone from another country on the show before, so that’s a first. Zac is the youngest person to sail around the world. So, while the rest of us were bowling and hanging out at Denny’s at his age, he was pulling a Magellan.

Ernie and Cindy – She is a control freak. Excellent. That always goes well on this show.

Justin and Jennifer – The two of them are going to be loads of fun, as there will be some crazy sibling blowups with these two hotheads.

Bill and Cathi – Grandparent farmers who “understand manual labor.” We also have another creative speller on our hands. Older couples have been on most seasons, but few have ever really been relevant. After this first episode, I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

Liz and Marie Blond gorgeous twins. Well, that’s something for some fan fiction. Oh, and stereotypical ditzy blondes. Awesome. So, they are going to be chock full of comedy. They are better looking than the previous ditzy blonde twins – AR5 Kami/Karli – but might actually be denser.

Jeremy and Sandy – My namesake gets some chance for redemption. The previous Jeremy was the tool counterpart to Eric/Jeremy on AR9. They were one of the best teams ever, but all he talked about was screwing the other Racers, greeters, travel agents, farm animals, etc. This Jeremy and his lady friend are both divorced and are the latest team to use the Race as a test of their relationship.

Ron and Bill – And our latest gay couple entry. They are easily the first nickname of the season – Guido 2. Heck, both have team members named Bill. They are flight attendants, which could come in handy during the travel portion of the Race.

Marcus and Amani – This team features former Indianapolis Colts tight end Marcus Pollard and his wife. Pollard was a very good player – a good receiver and as a tight end, part of the offensive line. Those huge players are tasked with opening holes for the running backs to run through, and for protecting the quarterback. In Pollard’s case, one of those quarterbacks was Peyton Manning, one of the best ever. Marcus has lots of energy and enthusiasm, and unlike Ethan/Jenna, should be able to hide his fame nicely.

Kaylani and Lisa – These are former Las Vegas showgirls with really, really attractive bodies. I mean, they are really good looking. They also claim to be smart as well as attractive. This episode does not prove their point.

What's Hot on TV Tonight – The Last of the X-Factor Auditions

20110928-054405.jpgUnlike American Idol, the auditions for X-Factor aren’t going to roll out forever. After tonight, we’re done with them, after just four nights and eight cities. Next week starts what they call “Boot Camp.” I’m assuming it’s comparable to Hollywood week. Catch up with other favorite shows you  may  have missed at TV-Links.

1. The View. Benjamin Bratt and Elisabetta Canalis and Val Chmerkovskiy from Dancing with the Stars are the guests today. 10:00 AM CT ABC

2. The Talk. The guests today include Amy Brenneman, Ricky Paull Golden, and Kris Jenner, Aisha Tyler, and Sheryl Underwood guest cohost. 1:00 PM CT CBS

3. The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Heidi Klum, Nancy Pelosi, and LeAnn Rimes are among the guests today. Syndicated, check local listings.

4. The Big Bang Theory. Amy and Leonard try to get to know each other better, and Bernadette, Howard, and Mrs. Wolowitz share their weekend. 7:00 PM CT CBS

5. Community. Chang adjusts to his new job, Britta’s friend is taken hostage in a foreign country, Annie wants the group to help her take down a new friend, and Professor Cligoris has difficulties behaving properly. 7:00 PM CT NBC

6. Charlie’s Angels. The Angels look into a model’s disappearance by infiltrating the fashion world, and Kate’s ex gets involved. 7:00 PM CT ABC

7. The Vampire Diaries. Klaus and Stefan meet up with someone from their past in Chicago, Damon and Elena look into Klaus and Stefans’ whereabouts, and Tyler discusses Caroline with Sheriff Forbes 7:00 PM CT CW

8. The X-Factor. Night Four of the audition process. 7:00 PM CT Fox

9. College Football. South Florida at Pittsburgh. 7:00 PM CT ESPN

11. Crude. A documentary showing a look at one of the largest and most controversial environmental lawsuits on the planet – the $27 billion “Amazon Chernobyl” case – as it led to the subpoena of Joe Berlinger’s footage, despite support from the International Documentary Association and other notable filmmakers. 7:00 PM CT Sundance Channel

10. How to Be a Gentleman. Series Premiere. A fussy columnist is ordered to adapt to the the new modern, sexy style that the magazine is going in, and he looks for help from his former high school bully. 7:30 PM CT CBS

11. Parks and Recreation. Ron’s first wife comes back into his life and starts with the controlling, causing Leslie to get involved. Ben gets help from Tom with the new company, and Ann and Chris make a PSA. 7:30 PM CT NBC

12. Person of Interest. Reese and Fince get asked to investigate a teen killing from years ago, causing them to question the machine’s reliability, and Finch remembers the machine’s origin. 8:00 PM CT CBS

13. The Office Robert gives the office a challenge, to double their sales. Pam makes friends with a pregnant woman. 8:00 PM CT NBC

14. Grey’s Anatomy. Everyone at Seattle Grace is shocked by the chief’s decision, Owen and Cristina try to find normalcy, April struggles with her new position, and the five-year residents get their first assignments for first solo surgery. 8:00 PM CT ABC

15. The Secret Circle. A cute jock asks Cassie to the dance, Melissa works on getting closer to Nick, Faye tries to control her powers, and a man from Dawn’s past arrives in town asking about the Circle. 8:00 PM CT CW

16. The Millionaire Matchmaker. Patti looks to match up self-help gurus. 8:00 PM CT Bravo

17. Truck Stop Missouri. The weather has turned cooler in Missouri, and some strange events have the Midway staff spooked. Joe and Ben make a chilling discovery when they unlock an abandoned storage unit and find a stash of black magic supplies. Julie and Joe are caught off guard when a group of civil war re-enactors begin firing muskets in the parking lot. Zombies get blown away with paintball guns. And Joe meets with a group of ghost hunters to discuss the paranormal activity, taking place in one of his motel rooms. 8:00 PM CT Travel Channel

18. Home Takeover with Simon and Tomas. In the first hour, Western living room is transformed into something more sophisticated. In the second hour, a firefighter wants to get rid of the childish decor in his wife’s.  8:00 PM CT OWN

19. Project Runway. The designers are challenged with making designs inspired by the ’70s. 8:00 PM CT Lifetime

20. Whitney Whitney and Alex recreate the first day they never had. 8:30 PM CT NBC

21. The Mentalist. A reinstated JAne works with a new team investigating a personal trainer’s murder, but tries to reunite with his former team. 9:00 PM CT CBS

22. Prime Suspect. Jane joins Duffy’s investigation on a homicide/kidnapping, and also meets Matt’s son. 9:00 PM CT NBC

23. Private Practice. Cooper, Sam, Amelia, and Charlotte work on Pete following his heart attack, Addison’s desire to be a mom brings her to a surprising encounter, and Sheldon wants to help Amelia with her alcoholism. 9:00 PM CT ABC

24. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Frank winds up in the child pageantry business, Dee wants revenge on stage moms, and Mac, Dennis, and Charlie believe they found a dark horse. 9:00 PM CT FX

25. Jersey Shore. Deena is worried she’s pregnant, and after a fight with Jionni, Snooki is devastated. 9:00 PM CT MTV

26. Archer. Archer and others try a prison escape, and Malory plays hardball for Archer’s ransom. 9:30 PM CT FX

27. Conan. Patton Oswalt, Ruth England and Mykel Hawke, and The Man are tonight’s guests. 10:00 PM CT TBS

29. The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. The guests tonight include Albert Brooks, Chaz Bono, and TV on the Radio. 10:35 PM CT NBC

X-Factor, Sept. 28 – My Kind of Town

So far the X-Factor is turning out just as expected, and I mean that in a good way. I expected grand things from Simon Cowell. After all, it had to be something big enough that he would be willing to leave American Idol, something that was a definite cash cow for him. He didn’t have 100% control of Idol, so it stands to reason that he was going to put things in place here that he didn’t get at Idol. So far, what he’s getting is a lot of talent. I expect even more tonight, especially since I was witness to some of them, as I was lucky enough to attend the auditions on one of their days in Chicago.

Cheryl Cole is in on these auditions instead of Nicole Scherzinger, and is sitting alongside Simon, Paula Abdul, and L.A. Reid. They explains it’s her last day of auditions, meaning she only attended two days total before she was axed. As much as I like her, they were right, as the Nicole has much better chemistry with the rest of the panel.

Makenna and Brock, 22 and 18, are up first. They’ve been singing together for about four years now, after starring in a musical together. He didn’t like her at first, thinking she was stuck up and weird, but she thinks their chemistry is what has made them close. Someone asks if they are siblings or dating, and Makenna explains they’re just friends, which it doesn’t seem like Brock necessarily agree with. He admits later that when he looks at her, his heart kind of jumps out of his chest. He hopes she finds out someday, and I’m guessing she will when she watches this.

L.A. asks Makenna and Brock if they’re related. Sigh. He explains that when he started singing with her, it was the best thing he’s ever done. Simon asks if they’re dating, and Paula notes Brock is turning red. Makenna says no, and the hurt on his face is evident. They sing Colder Weather, and they’re really good. It’s obvious they wouldn’t be as good separately. L.A. and Paula completely enjoy the performance.

L.A. tells the pair that they completely made his day. Cheryl tells them their harmonies were spot on, and their vocals so controlled. Paula calls it a rarity to have two people come onstage and nail it. She found it lovely. Simon isn’t normally a fan of this kind of stuff, but Makenna’s voice is sensational. They get four yeses and are through. Makenna does say afterwards that there’s no one else she’d rather share it with.

Kim Terek, 35, a financial analyst, tells the judges she’s taken ten years of voice lessons, and believes the reason why she never got a record deal in all these years is because she never tried pop music. She sings Katy Perry’s Firework, and it seems not doing pop music wasn’t really the reason behind no contract. It’s because she isn’t very good. She tells the judges she couldn’t hear herself very well, and Simon’s response is, “You were lucky.” For him it was like two people singing at the same time. She knows there’s a break between her chest voice and her head voice. He mentions the chest won. In other words, she didn’t.

Tim Quinn, 21, a model, is here for his first ever audition, and wants to sing Kiss From a Rose, but Simon advises him it’s not a good idea. He sings it anyway, but should have taken Simon’s advice. Robin Royal, 45, an interior designer, is told by Simon she looks good for 45. The performance doesn’t hold the same merit. Simon asks her, “What the bloody hell was that?

Now this is one I saw audition. Charlesia Heard, 45, a shuttle bus driver, didn’t come here to sing, but came to audition to be a judge. She notes Simon mentioned last year he was looking for an unknown judge, and that’s her. However, Simon informs her she’s about six months too late. Nevertheless, she’d like to role play with him. He asks her what Britney Spears needs, and she responds, “Two types of sex, trashy and classy.” Simon tells her it’s a no for now. As she leaves, Paula calls it weird, and Simon calls it ballsy, but also lets L.A. know to keep on his toes, as everyone’s after his job.

Skyelor Anderson, 16, a student, is told by his mom that he’s going to win this thing. She works at a motorcycle factory, and he sees how hard she works. He wants to be able to help her out and buy her a house so she can quit her job. He’s from a small town in Mississippi. He knows he’s different just based on there not being a lot of young black country singers out there. He tells Simon he’s never auditioned before, then sings I Must Be Doing Something Right, and there’s a technical difficulty with his music, but he just keeps singing a cappella. Definitely a heads-up move.

L.A. asks him if his track got caught up, and Skyelor explains he just kept going, as he came too far to stop. Paula tells him that’s what it’s about, and L.A. notes how great it is that he didn’t panic. He also thinks he sounded good. Cheryl enjoyed it and thinks he looks great. Paula is impressed, but notes he needs to work on his vocals, even though she believes in him. Simon is impressed as well that he carried on. He thinks he’s different and realizes how much Skyelor loves his music. He gets four yeses.

J. Mark Inman, 31, is a graduate student studying philosophy in Europe. He’s always had both sides of his brain working simultaneously, with the left side analytical and the right side creative. He’s getting his doctorate in philosophy, but he also wants to be a musician and destroy the top 40. He sings because he has things to say, and doesn’t want to be a cookie cutter artist from a factory. He sees his life as more of an algorithm. J + Mark + X + Factor = $5 million. He tells the judges he’s here because of money. In ten years, he sees himself at the helm of a renaissance. Simon asks him if he’s ever dated Paula, and of course he hasn’t, but hopes to maybe someday. He sings Creep. He moves oddly across the stage, should I say like a “creep,” but in a humorous way.

After a standing ovation for J. Mark, Paula tells him he doesn’t belong here, is otherworldly, and definitely in a different jurisdiction for sure. She figures she probably visited there one time or another. “The places we could go together!” L.A. doesn’t think J. Mark wiull understand this, but notes it sounded so bad, but felt so good. Cheryl wants to visit this place so needs to know where it is. She’ll go with Paula next time. Simon has to congratulate Paula, because this is what she’s spawned. Oddly, he gets through, as Simon announces they’re on Planet Paula.

What's Hot on TV Tonight – More X-Factor Auditions

20110928-054405.jpgThere are even more X-Factor auditions tonight. I have to say so far the talent coming out is impressive, and similar to American Idol, they have some great back stories to go along with their talent. I expect more tonight. Check out your other favorite shows at TV-Links.

1. The View. The guests today is Bill O’Reilly. This ought to be interesting, since both Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar stormed off the stage during his last appearance. 10:00 AM CT ABC.

2. Apollo 13. Even though we know how this ends, this drama starring Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, and Kevin Bacon as astronauts on a doomed flight is nevertheless enthralling. 10:00 AM CT Encore Wam

3. The Talk. Kris Jenner and Sheryl Underwood are cohorts today, and Jean Smart and Michael E. Knight are among the guests today. 1:00 PM CT CBS

4. The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, Antonio Reid, Nicole Scherzinger, Steve Jones, Luke Bryan, and Jarle Bernhoft are the guests today. Syndicated, check local listings.

5. 50 First Dates. Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore fall in love again … and again … and again … thanks to her amnesia. 5:30 PM CT 50 First Dates

6. Survivor: South Pacific One contestant shares a shocking secret, and another fakes hanging the immunity idol to be spared being voted off. 7:00 PM CT CBS

7. Up All Night. Chris wants Reagan to bring more excitement to the relationship, and Ava gets upset about her ex getting married. 7:00 PM CT NBC

8. The Middle. Axl tries Sue, who is now at the same high school with him, and Mike meets when Brick’s new teacher when he finds out he’s being allowed to skip gym class. 7:00 PM CT ABC

9. H8R. Kim Kardashian meets with a hater. 8:00 PM CT CW

10. X-Factor. Night three of the auditions. 7:00 PM CT Fox

11. Free Agents. Stephen wants Emma’s help with a big campaign pitch, and Alex isn’t happy when Helen becomes attracted to her therapist. 7:30 PM CT NBC

12. Suburgatory. Series Premiere. Tessa and her dad move from NYC to the suburbs, and experience culture shock. 7:30 PM CT ABC

13. Criminal Minds. A series of Oklahoma murders are investigated by the BAU team, and JJ and Prentiss get the cold shoulder from Reid. 8:00 PM CT CBS

14. Harry’s Law. D.A. Remmick tells the cops to harass Harry and plant evidence on Eric, Cassie and Oliver search for info to help Harry’s case, and Harry requests that Tommy deal with the press. 8:00 PM CT NBC

15. Modern Family. Gloria is irritated with Jay’s relationship with the dog, Phil and Luke try their luck with a tightrope, and Cameron does a juice fast. 8:00 PM CT CW

16. America’s Next Top Model. The models are taught how to be a celebrity personality by Kristin Cavallari,  are interviewed by Mario Lopez, then must model on stilts. 8:00 PM CT CW

17. Ghost Hunters. The team heads up creaky stairs to a musicians loft within a house that already looks haunted.  Evidently there have been reports that a face has been seen floating from the loft.  They’re trying to disprove that the floating head could simply be a reflection so they turn on a light.  All of a sudden the light turns off on its own.  8:00 PM CT Syfy

18. Man v. Food Nation. Adam experiences some of the best street-vendor food America has to offer, then assist Big Dawg with the Rabbit Burrito Challenge.  8:00 PM CT Travel Channel

19. Happy Endings. Trying to turn her life around, Penny buys a condo. Jane convinces Dave and Alex to finally be honest with each other. 8:30 PM CT CW

20. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. They team needs to decide which of the three people confession to killing a family are telling the truth. 9:00 PM CT CBS

21. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Detectives Benson and Tutola dig up a basketball star’s past looking into sex abuse charges of his ex-coach. 9:00 PM CT NBC

22. Revenge. Emily sets up her next target, a former friend of the family testifies against her dad, and Victoria tries to dig up more info on Emily. 9:00 PM CT ABC

23. Paranormal Witness. A girl and her mother are cooking dinner and simply catching up on their day.  All of a sudden they hear loud, heavy footsteps above them.  Another mother is putting her baby son down for a morning nap in their new home. She then goes to the kitchen to start preparing lunch.  She and her husband then hear the tune of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star over the baby monitor, but there is nothing in the baby’s room that could produce that music. 9:00  PM CT Syfy

24. Top Chef: Just Desserts. The chefs are challenged to create Beastie-Boy-inspired desserts for an event on the street. 9:00 PM CT Bravo

25. Confessions: Animal Hoarding. It could be too many reality s hows at once when a ghost hunter hordes, and a woman with head trauma has too many cats and raccoon. 9:00 PM CT Animal Planet

26. Dance Moms. Abby’s dancers must prove that they can win in the National Title Competition; Melissa leaves the competition early to go on vacation. 9:00 PM CT Lifetime

27. The Real World. Season premiere. When seven strangers room together in San Diego, two of the roommates are already hooking up. 9:00 PM CT MTV

28. Conan. Seth Rogen, Kid Cudi, and Daryl Hall are the guests tonight. 10:00 PM CT TBS

29. The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. The guests tonight include Ed Helms, Deena Nicole Cortese, and Lisa Hannigan. 10:35 PM CT NBC

Project Runway 9, Episode 5 – Are you Ready to Rock?

Last week on Project Runway, the designers panicked when they thought they were going to have to make menswear. As it turned out, they actually had to make outfits for their male clients’ significant others. Josh won and Bryce was sent home. Also, there’s no more immunity.

The next morning, the designers discuss what the next challenge might be. Josh tells us you have to be tough to get through the competition, while Anya notes that it’s sad to see friends get sent home– but that’s inevitable since it’s a competition. Olivier is feeling unconfident. He’s also sick of landing in the middle. Usually, when somebody is shown making that kind of comment, they either win the challenge or get sent home.

On the runway, Heidi tells the designers, “Image is everything.” With that cryptic comment, she sends them to meet Tim, who is waiting for them at a music hall. Upon hearing their destination, Anthony guesses they will be designing something inspired by pictures of old rock stars.

When they get there, Tim begins by telling them about the link between music and fashion. He then introduces Peter Butler, the stylist from Garnier. Tim then talks about the Sheepdogs, an up-and-coming rock band who will be featured in Rolling Stone magazine. The designers will have to design outfits for the band members. The winner’s look will be featured in Garnier advertisements, Marie Claire, and Rolling Stone. The designers will have two days to complete the challenge.

Not only that, but this is a team challenge. Tim then pulls out the Ominous Velvet Bag of Unnecessary Drama and calls Olivier, Kimberly, Viktor, and Josh. They will all be on one team together. Anthony, Bert, Laura, and Anya form the other team. Laura tells us that she’s sick of being teamed with Bert: They’ve been on the same team three times already! Anthony notes that the last time he, Laura, and Bert were on a team together, it didn’t work out that well.

Tim then introduces the Sheepdogs– who turn out to be all guys. After last week’s fake-out, the designers will face a menswear challenge after all. Anya and Kimberly are both horrified by this development, as neither one has made menswear before. Josh notes that the fit and tailoring of menswear is typically more involved than that of women’s clothing. The band starts to play, and Olivier registers his displeasure by covering his ears.

Laura asks the band about what kind of image they want to project. Ewan, the big blond lead singer, tells her they’re inspired by classic rock, especially stuff from the 1970’s. Sam, the drummer, likes his dashiki, a kind of loose top that originated in West Africa. Anya’s excited by the prospect of trying to modernize Sam’s dashiki. Josh is intrigued by Ryan, the bass player, who is sporting snakeskin boots. The lead guitarist Leot asks for red jeans and Laura plans to fulfill his wishes. Olivier is feeling confident with this challenge because he has a background in menswear.

Tim then explains that while each team will make a collection, each designer is responsible for one singer. Cohesion isn’t a big deal this time, so long as the singers look as they’re all “from the same planet.” Viktor is relieved he won’t have to match his teammates’ looks.

The designers then pick their clients: Laura chooses Leot, Anya picks Sam, Anthony chooses Ryan, and Bert gets Ewan. They decide to call themselves Team Harmony. (Time will tell if that’s wishful thinking…) As for the other team, Kimberly picks Sam, while Viktor chooses Leot and decides to make a leather jacket for him. Olivier chooses Ewan and immediately decides to make something slimming for him, leaving Ryan for Josh, who is quite happy to get him. The second team will be called Team Untitled.

After that, the designers sketch. Team Harmony decides to concentrate on a vintage 70’s look for the Sheepdogs. After that, the designers go to Mood, which has everything but the red denim Laura wants. She decides to buy some pale denim and red dye. Anya can’t decide what to get and thus has nothing five minutes before it’s time to leave. She’s later shocked by what she ended up grabbing. Olivier has trouble finding the perfect shade of beige. Laura, to her horror, has gone way over budget, but Bert has enough to cover what she needs. She jokes that she takes back every bad thing she said about him.

Back at the workroom, Olivier complains that his client is significantly bigger than the mannequin. This makes it the second week that Olivier’s complained about a client’s size. Anya tells us that, in the real world, designers sometimes have to make garments for people who aren’t mannequin-sized.

Josh tells us that this challenge seems more like an individual challenge than a team challenge and he doubts there will be winning or losing teams. Viktor’s curious about what Olivier will do, but Anya finds his color scheme boring. (That makes two of us.)

Top Chef: Just Desserts – Ep 5 – How Can You Go Wrong With Funnel Cake?


Just Desserts is just working over my television viewing emotions this season. They send a Real Housewife our way. Boo! Then a Willy Wonka themed episode. Yay!! And now, oh man, it’s just too hard to talk about. Don’t they know who they’re dealing with here? I don’t ask for much in my reality shows, but one thing I want is for the best looking woman to last all the way to the end. I am a simple man, with simple needs; I am not ashamed to say it.

But no. Just Desserts had to go and send home Rockman this week. I know, I know, they tried to even it out with some bikini shots and the revelation that she’s of Russian heritage (I am an unabashed Russophile), but that’s it for my Just Desserts babe. And worst of all, she was done in by something unrelated to cooking or baking. She was done in by passiveness.

At the water park challenge, Rockman had the risky, and yet correct, plan to make funnel cakes. These tasty and wildly fattening treats are a theme park staple. No one else was willing to take the chance and use the fryer at the park, as things could go wrong with the tricky devices. Rockman also made a fruity variation on the cake which could have been very effective. However, teamed with Carlos and Macho, she did not interject when the judges went to the other two first, leaving Rockman with chilling cakes. They slowly got colder, and harder, and less edible. She should have asked to go first. At the bare minimum, she should have asked the judges to wait as she made some new plates for them. Either way, choosing to timidly wait her turn, something which seemed totally out of character for Rockman, led to her demise.

Personally, and not because of her hotness, I thought the axe should have fallen elsewhere. I understand why it was Rockman, the way it was described, those cakes were like rocks. However, as mentioned earlier, it was a good idea doomed by inaction rather than execution or concept. It was also a dish appropriate for a water park, some of the others made no sense whatsoever. Hot strawberry shortcake served on demand? Crazy. A super thick, super sweet bar which Gail described as a hunk of foie gras? Disgusting. A root beer surprise where the surprise is that there is no root beer float to be found? Confusing. I’m not losing my mind over this one, but I though either Matt or Orlando were going to go. Or for karma purposes, Carlos. He hogged the ice cream machines, forcing Katzie and others to scramble. Carlos had no problem with this. However, when Hammer used a liquid nitrogen tank he prepared – tanks they all shared – it was a criminal offense. But, alas, it was the tattooed, hot Russian lady. Not good.

Other than that, it was a fairly non-descript episode. Nothing really all that awful happened, but I guess it was inevitable for the show to have a letdown following the superior effort last week. Both challenges were rather good, and in all seriousness, there were no crimes in the choices for wins and defeats. It was just kind of like a sugary treat, pretty good at the time, but really no lasting effects.

I am starting to come to the realization that Just Desserts will always be the JV squad of Top Chef. I worry that they will start running low on ideas for good and effective challenges. Make your own candy bar is great, but at some point, how many times are they going to be asked to make a candy bar? With Top Chef: Classic covering all aspects of cooking – including desserts – they are open to a wealth of options. The problem with making a spin-off show which has a distinct niche to work from is that you are painting yourself into a corner long term. I look forward to seeing how the show addresses this problem, but for now, there are still some good options left.

Quickfire – Gail and world famous pastry chef Pouchet Ong give the nine chefs remaining instructions to make their own candy bar. My thoughts instantly shoot back to my youth and the Reggie Bar. Man, that was delicious. Chefs get one and three-quarters hours to cook, which seems rather random to me. You have 105 minutes. Go.

The big development here is where Carlos and Rebecca collide and Rebecca’s injured arm gets hit. This could have been a factor as Rebecca later dropped her entire dish on the floor. Stunningly, season-long villain Orlando stepped forward and offered to help her make a dish, any dish. Everyone was stunned – the other chefs, viewers, Rebecca, Orlando, people not even watching the show, and even the recently deceased. And, they made a good dish – to the point where Rebecca wound up in the Top Two.

Other interesting things – Macho wisely tailored her candy bar to the judge by making an Asian inspired bar. Matt ran out of time and had to glaze the bar with chocolate, thus leaving the bottom side free of chocolate. Carlos seems to have a banana obsession – he even had one tucked in his shoulder pocket, and Hammer made what I thought was the best, with a milk and white chocolate bar.

The Amazing Race, Sept. 25 – Color Me Stupid

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like an inordinate amount of time since the end of the last Amazing Race. It seems like more than just having the summer off. I’m ready for some racing, some bad taxi rides, some arguing about tickets for flights, and for some of Phil Keoghan’s eyebrows.

The teams are departing from a temple in the foothills of Los Angeles. The teams include:

Andy and Tommy, former Olympic snowboarders from California. Tommy thinks they’ll be viewed as slackers, but promises they’ll get the job done.

Ethan and Jenna, former winners of Survivor and dating for seven years. He was diagnosed with a rare form of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, but it’s in remission, and he wants to prove there’s life after cancer.

Laurence and Zac, father and son adventurers from Thousand Oaks, California. In 2009, Zac set the record for the youngest person ever to sail around the world. Laurence points out that out there on the ocean, they’re not playing for a big sum of money, but it can be a life or death situation.

Ernie and Cindy, recently engaged from Chicago. She is definitely a control freak, and he is hoping this will put her out of her comfort zone so that she can see the side of life he likes.

Justin and Jennifer, brother and sister from Stone Mountain, Georgia. When they have an issue with each other, they talk it out, but he explains she’s a little bit of a hothead. He thinks it could be a challenge for them on the Race.

Bill and Cathi, married grandparents from Albany, Oregon. In forty years of farm living, they understand manual labor. And she thinks the extreme challenges on the race will have them feeling at home.

Liz and Marie, twin sisters from Deerfield, Illinois. They will be known forever after as LizMarie, no matter who’s talking, because I can’t tell the difference. They call it weird to have a twin, and note they have a different way of communicating being twins. Nothing new there.

Jeremy and Sandy, dating, from the San Francisco Bay area. They have both been married before, and don’t keep a house together, so this will be a lot of time for them to spend together. He compares it to taking a car out of the shop before you buy it. Nice.

Ron and Bill, domestic partners and flight attendants from Southern California. They hope their airline backgrounds will help them. Bill notes the other teams may be in better shape, and may be younger, but they know how to work together.

Amani and Marcus, married ten years from Pine Mountain, Georgia. He played for the Indianapolis Colts, and protected Peyton Manning. Out of the NFL now. he misses competing the most, so he’s in game mode.

Kaylani and Lisa, former showgirls from Las Vegas. Kaylani knows people look at them and think they’re pretty, so must be dumb, but she thinks people would be surprised how intelligent they are.

Phil welcomes the teams, and tells them the team that reaches the pit stop first on this leg will win the Express Pass that they can use on any challenge they don’t want to complete before the end of the eighth leg.

Their first challenge is behind Phil. It’s a word puzzle. There are letters that are posted above the umbrellas. There are looking for three specific letters they will find on the umbrellas, and they will use them twice, then combine them with the six letters that will appear above the umbrellas. Every umbrella won’t have the correct letters, though. Unscrambling the letters, they will come up with their first destination, TaiPei, Taiwan. The right answer will give them keys to a Ford Explorer. The last team to complete the challenge will get something new, the Hazard penalty, that they will have to complete sometime in this race. The six letters they will need are W A N P E I.

Whats Hot on TV Tonight – Two and a Half Men

WHOTV.jpgCan Two and a Half Men keep the success going? Everyone was talking last week about the season premiere sans Charlie Sheen and with Ashton Kutcher. It was a hilarious season premiere. Can they keep up with the success? I’m hoping so. Mike & Molly is back tonight right after Men, too. And a special note to ABC: I am eschewing The Chew. Catch up on other TV you may have missed at TV-Links.

1. Live with Regis and Kelly. Guests include Melissa McCarthy, Cloris Leachman, and Blake Shelton. Syndicated, check local listings.

2. Hallmark Block with Martha, Emeril, and More. Hallmark is premiering an exciting morning block of programming. It starts out with The Martha Stewart Show, is followed by the new Emeril’s Table, Martha Bakes, Mad Hungry with Lucinda Scala Quinn, and Petkeeping with Marc Marrone. 9:00 AM Hallmark.

3. Foul Play. Chevy Chase and Goldie Hawn team up to intervene in a plot to assassinate the Pope. 11:00 AM CT CMT

4. The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Wanda Sykes, Joe Jonas, and Julianne Hough and Kenny Wormald are today’s guests. Syndicated, check local listings.

5. Meatballs.

6. How I Met Your Mother. When Ted runs in an ex he was unfaithful to, he trie to make amends. Barnet gets a bet going with Marshall and Lily. 7:00 PM CT CBS

7. Sing Off. The second set of groups perform in front of the judges for the first time. 7:00 PM CT NBC

8. Dancing with the Stars. The stars take on the jive and the quickstep. 7:00 PM CT ABC

9. Gossip Girl. Serena errs at work. Chuck, Nate, and Serena go to a Hollywood Hills party, Blake and Louis have wedding planning snafus, and Dan wants to prevent a magazine from publishing a book excerpt. 7:00 PM CT CW

10. Terra Nova. Series premiere. The Shannon family goes back in time in a pilgrimage to settle the Terra Nova colony. 8:00 PM CT Fox

11. The Lying Game. Sutton could get lucky with the information she’s looking for, and Alec visits Eduardo in the ICU. 7:00 PM CT ABC Family

12. Basketball Wives LA. The ladies dress down Draya for missing Jackie’s wedding, and Imani wants to get back in the game. 7:00 PM CT VH1

13. 2 Broke Girls. Caroline moves along Max’s breakup with Robbie, trying to be helpful. 7:30 PM CT CBS

14. NFL Football. Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys. 7:30 PM CT ESPN

15. Two and a Half Men. Walden’s ex, Bridget (Judy Greer), shows up. 8:00 PM CT CBS

15. Hart of Dixie. Dr. Zoe Hart gets turned down for the fellowship she was counting on and decides to go to work at a stranger’s small Alabama medical practice. 8:00 PM CT CW

16. American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior. In the aftermath of the settlement, Senior tries to commission a painting from Mikey, OCC starts a hybrid seed company build, and PJD does a medical technology company build. 8:00 PM CT Discovery

17. The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Adrienne, Paul, and Kim go to the last game of the season, and Kyle hosts a charity cocktail party. 8:00 PM CT Bravo

18. Wrong Turn: The Kati Kim Story. A family vacation during Thanksgiving comes to a struggle for survival. 8:00 PM CT Animal Planet

19. The Bad Girls Club. The new Bad Girl crashes the party, and the others deal with the events that had Priscilla leave. 8:00 PM CT Oxygen

20. Mike & Molly. Season Premiere. Fresh off their engagement, Molly wants to start wedding planning, but Mike would rather go fishing with friends. 8:30 PM CT CBS

21. Hawaii Five-0. Lori WEston, who has great profiling skills, joins the team to be sure McGarrett and the others follow Gov. Denning’s new rules, and a teenage paddleboard champion gets abducted. 9:00 PM CT CBS

22. The Playboy Club. While the girls train for a cover girl contest, secrets are exposed. Nick finds support from Mayor Daley when he runs for district attorney. 9:00 PM CT NBC

23. Castle. Castle and Becket suspect a vigilante in a costume is behind the an ex-con’s mysterious murder. 9:00 PM CT TNT

24. Alphas. The Alphas team is taking on their hardest project yet as they go up against their nemesis in Red Flag. Dr. Rosen realizes that his daughter is now caught up in the mission and is being followed by Red Flag. 9:00 PM CT Syfy

25. Most Eligible Dallas. Courtney takes on an awkward invite for a double date, and the whole group goes to a concert together. 9:00 PM CT Bravo

26. Cake Boss. In the first half hour, Buddy is commissioned to make a chandelier cake that needs to hang upside down like the real think, and baby Carlo’s christening. In the second half hour, Buddy creates a huge dinosaur cake for a museum wedding, and Buddy proposes to Lisa again. 9:00 PM CT TLC

27. Hair Battle Spectacular. The contestants have a good vs. evil battle when split into superheroes and villains, and Fingaz makes a retune as judge. 9:00 PM CT Oxygen

28. Weeds. Nancy is betrayed by Silas, and Doug and Whit create a plan to keep the hedge fund going. 9:00 PM CT Showtime

29. The Big C. Lee’s passing inspires Cathy, Paula tries something new with the insurance agency, and Adam and Dr. Todd connect. 9:30 PM CT Showtime

30. Conan. Ta
ylor Lautner, Kevin Hart, and Neal Brennan are the guests. 10:00 PM CT TBS

31. Late Show with David Letterman. The guests tonight include Seth Rogen, Poppy Montgomery, and Fleet Foxes. 10:35 PM CT CBS

What's Hot on TV Tonight – The Amazing Race Season Premiere

WHOTV.jpgFresh off their Emmy win, The Amazing Race is back. It looks like there will already by head-shaking moments in just this first leg, as one team is already losing passports. Although I shouldn’t talk. We were in the driveway waiting to leave to take my son to college, and he suddenly couldn’t find his passport. I think if I was on TAR I’d be so paranoid about it I’d be checking for it every five minutes, just to make sure it’s there. Catch up on your other favorite shows and head to TV-Links.

1. NFL Football.Houston Texans at New Orleans Saints. 12:00 PM CT CBS

2. NFL Football. Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings. 12:00 PM CT Fox

3. MLB Baseball: Red Sox at Yankees. Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees. 12:00 PM CT TBS

4. PGA Tour Golf: The Tour Championship. Final round from East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta. 12:30 PM CT NBC

5. NASCAR Racing: Sprint Cup. Sylvania 300 from New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, NH. 1:00 PM CT ESPN

6. NFL Football. Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears. 3:00 PM CT Fox

7. MLB Baseball: Giants at Diamondbacks. San Francisco Giants at Arizona Diamondbacks. 3:00 PM CT TBS

8. 60 Minutes.Reports on the NYPD counterterrorism unit, a neo-Nazi leader’s murder, and South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. 6:00 PM CT CBS

9. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.A woman and her son who offer housing to homeless female vets get a home built for them by Ty and his team. 6:00 PM CT ABC

10. The Amazing Race. Season Premiere. The teams travel to Taiwan on the first leg of the race, and one team loses a passport already. 7:00 PM CT CBS

11. The Simpsons. Season premiere. Homer makes friends with the new plant security guard, and Marge dreams of being on “Top Chef.” 7:00 PM CT Fox

12. NFL Football. Pittsburgh Steeler at Indianapolis Colts. 7:15 PM CT NBC

13. The Cleveland Show. Cleveland takes his friends on a camping trip with wrestler Rick Flair after originally being upset by another friend who was in town, but didn’t call. 7:30 PM CT Fox

14. The Good Wife. Season premiere. Alicia has to put her personal life aside to defend a Muslim student who has allegedly murdered a Jewish classmate. 8:00 PM CT CBS

15. Desperate Housewives. Season Premiere. Susan, Gaby, Bree, and Lynette suffer guilt after helping Carlos hide his crime. Tom and Lynette’s marriage is on the kids, and Renee goes after a sexy new neighbor. 8:00 PM CT ABC

16. Family Guy. Season Premiere. Peter wins big after blowing his savings on lottery tickets, and his family then has difficulties dealing with the good fortune. 8:00 PM CT Fox

17. Jeff Dunham: Controlled Chaos. A performance of Dunham’s where he introduces new characters. 8:00 PM CT Comedy Central

18. Sister Wives. Season premiere. Robyn makes the announcement that she’s pregnant, and the older teenagers’ unhappiness over their new life begins to show. 8:00 PM CT TLC

19. Ice Road Truckers. Hugh and Rick reach an obstacle that could have Alex taking over the lead, Maya gets sent for her first trip tot he village of Nuiqsut, along with Lisa, Tony puts up with melting ice on the road, and Dave gets on a plane headed for Alabama. 8:00 PM CT HISTORY

20. Drop Dead Diva. A death row inmate gets legal assistance from Jane and Kim, Gray deafens Stacy against her costar, Kim wants Parker to make her partner, Owen asks Jane to go with him on a sailing adventure in New Zealand. 8:00 PM CT Lifetime

21. Snapped. The relationship between a law student and her boyfriend comes to an end because of an act of violence. 8:00 PM CT Oxygen

22. Bridezillas. Ray Rae experiences a meltdown, and Ruby drives everyone else nuts. 8:00 PM CT WE TV

23. Boardwalk Empire. Nucky is shocked that among his inner circle there’s an insurrection, Chalky’s life and livelihood is threatened by an attack, Margaret takes care of her son’s problems, Angela wants Jimmy to care about her, and Van Alden show his wife the town. 8:00 PM CT HBO

24. American Dad. Season Premiere. Stan is encouraged to do bad things by his new hot tub. 8:30 PM CT Fox

25. CSI: Miami. Season premiere. The lives of Natalia and Horatio are on the line, and the team goes after an escaped killer. 9:00 PM CT CBS

26. Pan Am. Series premiere. Dean is behind the wheel of Clipper Majestic’s first NYC to London flight, Maggie picks up an additional flight when another stewardess down’t show up for work, and Kate takes an assignment with U.S. intelligence 9:00 PM CT ABC

27. Dirty Soap. Series premiere. A docu-series that takes you into the real lives of today’s hottest soap stars. The brand new show features stars Kelly Monaco (General Hospital), Nadia Bjorlin (Days of Our Lives), Kirsten Storms (General Hospital), Farah Fath (One Life To Live), JP Lavoisier (One Life To Live), and Galen Gering (Days of Our Lives). 9:00 PM CT E!

28. The Millionaire Matchmaker. Patti help’s other self-help gurus when they can’t seem to meet their match. 9:00 PM CT Bravo

29. Hillbilly Handfishin’. Best friends from Chicago, more from Louisiana, and Annaspolis’ brothers. 9:00 PM CT Animal Planet

30. IRT Deadliest Roads. Three teams of truckers head to South America’s Andes mountains to compete 9:00 PM CT HISTORY

31. Against the Wall. While Abby and Lina investigate a crime scene photographer, they end up in a murder investigation, and Abby deals with childhood memories. 9:00 PM CT Lifetime

32. Big Easy Brides. A Goth bride wants cemeteries and hearses, another bride is quite bossy, a third wants a superhero wedding, and another wants an airboat wedding. 9:00 PM CT WE TV

33. Breaking Bad. Walt makes sure he prot
ects his secret and Gus, and Skyler hits a wall trying to solve Ted’s financial difficulties. 9:00 PM CT AMC

26. Kendra. Season premiere. Kendra is is back in California and ready to put down roots. 10:00 PM CT E!

Paranormal Challenge, September 16 –Jerome Grand Hotel

Tonight’s episode of “Paranormal Challenge” finds the teams in Jerome, Arizona, at the Jerome Grand Hotel. This beautifully haunted location began its construction in 1926. Historian Chris Attherr explain it started out as the United Verde Hospital and opened January of 1927. It was considered the most equipped hospital in Arizona in 1930. The hospital closed down in 1950. The majestic building was left unused for forty four years. Rehabilitation plans for the building began in 1994. The structure is one of the highest locations in Verde Valley, standing at 5,240 feet. When you look at the building, it looks like a villa that would be in Italy; it is breathtaking.

The Jerome Hotel opened its doors in 1997 and has been called one of the most haunted locations ever. It reminds you slightly of the Stanley hotel, the infamous hotel where “The Shining” was filmed if it was in a warmer climate with brighter colors. It has that same sort of feel that draws you in and makes you want to visit. The hotel is fully active and has become a stomping ground for amateur paranormal investigators. Ironically, one of the locations near the hotel is called The Spirit Room. It features live music, as if there were not enough spirits lurking around.

Jerome, Arizona was also a big mining town and earned the nickname “the wickedest town in the West.” It will be the last stop for Season 1 of “Paranormal Challenge” as it plans to go out with Zak’s usual level of paranormal craziness. The Jerome Grand Hotel is located right in the middle of one of the largest ghost towns in America. The excessive energy and the fact that it was originally a hospital opens additional haunted doors. It is considered an overly active location.

The teams featured tonight are lead investigator Krystal, second investigator Gerson and equipment tech Aaron of Living Proof of The Paranormal (that is an interesting name!) and lead investigator Hector, second investigator Laura and their equipment tech Jim of Southern Arizona Ghost and Paranormal Society also known as (SAGAPS). The two teams will add a bit of excitement, and we shall see how they handle the intensity of this massive hotel.

The teams prepare to track down the spirits that call this Wild West town their home. The two teams are indeed opposites, as Zak is quick to point out that Krystal’s style is provoking and SAGAPS are the skeptics. Krystal starts off by offering her favorite quote: “Some people can dance; some people can sing. I just happen to be able to communicate with the dead.” Shakespeare is frowning somewhere. SAGAPS starts off by offering that they are indeed more critical when it comes to collecting evidence.

One of the rooms the teams will be investigating is the basement, in which a man by the name of Claude Harvey was working on the elevator, and the elevator fell and killed him. An outline of his body lies where they claim he was found. Room 32 on the third floor will be investigated as well. A paralyzed man wheeled himself to the balcony and somehow managed to get over the railing and fell to his death. Another man who shared the room was diagnosed as depressed and shot himself in the room.

Room 37B will be investigated as well. It was the room of a 24-year-old woman who went to her window one night, and opened it, and jumped 30 feet. She lived for six hours, then died. Lonnie Anderson, Zak’s cohort from Ghost Adventures, explains the OLD Hospital was another very active location. A door would open and then slam, with no wind to help it do so.

Michael’s Room is also being being investigated. Michael was very depressed and had also shot himself. The Morgue will be investigated as well. It was stacked with bodies around 1918 when the plague set in. The Operating Room on the third floor was full of gruesome mining accidents including amputations and all the horrific things you could imagine.

The teams are provided with equipment, and this week they are asked to pick a name out of a hat. The two members of the team chosen will spend thirty minutes in the most haunted room in the building with no light sources and the room be barricaded shut (Oh No!). Zone One is the Jerome Hotel, and Zone Two is the OLD Hospital.

The teams are enthusiastic and off to a good start. They are both given one cameraman and one audio tech. SAGAPS are in the OLD Hospital, while Krystal leads her team into the Jerome Hotel. SAGAPS member Jim immediately heads to the basement alone looking for Claude Harvey. He peers into the elevator. Zak is upset, but Dave commends Jim for being “brave.” Why not go into the elevator shaft where the elevator fell and killed a man! It is always a good idea. Don’t try it at home folks.