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Dancing with the Stars, Season 22 – Season Premiere

DWTS032116There looks to be a lot of talent early on in season 22 of Dancing with the Stars. There are plenty of athletes along with some who have made their living in music or previously took dance lessons. This has left a few celebrities way out of their league.

Up first is Kim Fields, from her childhood turn as The Facts of Life’s Tootie and her more recent gig on Real Housewives of Atlanta. She’s paired up with Sasha Farber. They’ll be doing the Cha Cha, with Kim noting that the best case scenario for week one is that she doesn’t hurt anything. She’s definitely spunky in her dance. Len Goodman thought she was crisp and sharp, Bruno Tonioli called her saucy, and Carrie Ann Inaba noted her fierceness in a little tiny package. She gets scores of 7, 6, 7.

Paige VanZant, a UFC fighter and model, is paired up with Mark Ballas. They’re working on the foxtrot, and he needs her to soften her grip, while she’s feeling like a T. rex. She’s surprisingly soft on the dance floor after all that. Bruno reports that she was turning, twirling, swirling like a kite in a head wind, Carrie Ann calls her a goldmine, and Len was surprised she had the correct posture. She gets three 7s.

Former NFL quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie is paired with Karina Smirnoff. While his wife taught dance and his daughter takes lessons, he struggles, and he says it’s hard for him to not be good at something. They take on the foxtrot, and he’s missing musicality. Carrie Ann loves his sense of commitment, Len thinks the paso double next week could be his dance, and Bruno wants him to work on … basically everything. He gets three 5s.

Fuller House sweetheart Jodie Sweetin is paired up with Keo Motsepe. Her biggest challenge is to not be so hard on herself. As a kid she didn’t care but now doesn’t want to look stupid. She was a dancer as a child. They dance the tango, and she’s good, but should be. Len notes she had attack and attitude, Bruno didn’t know she could be so alluring, and Carrie Ann warns her about proper placement of hands. She gets scores of 7, 6, 7.

Talk show host Geraldo Rivera, 72, is up next and paired with Edyta Sliwinska who is making her return to the show after having a baby. He believes he is the only Puerto Rican who can’t dance. They do a take on Al Capone’s vault with their Cha Cha. He is far too stiff and does a lot of standing still. Bruno calls it minimalistic, Carrie Ann tells him he can’t just wave his arms the whole time, and Len calls him a work in progress. He gets scores of 5, 4, 4.

Marla Maples, actress and Donald Trump’s ex, is paired up with Tony Dovolani. Surprising in the first week, they’re taking on the quickstep. She feels at over 50 it’s time to live life to the fullest. They dance to “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” and she looks scared to death. Carrie Ann calls her elegant and divine, and Len thought she was full of vim, vigor, and vitality. She gets three scores of 7.

Boyz II Men singer Wanya Morris is paired with Lindsay Arnold, and they’re doing the Cha Cha. He does not want to look like a singer who’s trying to dance; he wants to look like a singer who can dance. He definitely has some moves and is going to be a fun one to watch. Len says there was more packed into the dance than Bruno’s makeup bag, Bruno appreciated his timing and swagger, and Carrie Ann thought it was like combining the Fly Girls and ballroom dancing. He gets scores of 8, 7, 8.

Ginger Zee, meteorologist for Good Morning America, is dancing with Val Chmerkovskiy. She’s a new mom of a three-month-old and apologizes if she leaks on him because she’s breastfeeding. She nurses her baby in the corner. They’re doing the jive, and she has great energy. Bruno thinks she was pushed hard, she reminded Carrie Ann of Bindi Irwin, and Len calls it frisky, risky, fast, and fury. Her scores are 8, 7, and 8.

The O.C. actress Mischa Barton is paired with Artem Chigvintsev. He notes she’s not a natural dancer, so they have to start from the very beginning. They take on the tango, and she really struggles with it. Carrie Ann knows it’s a hard thing to do when you’re not a natural dancer, Len explains it wasn’t a dance so much as it was walking, and Bruno tells her she needs to stop playing it as a closeup. She gets scores of 5, 5, 6.

Nyle DiMarco, a former winner of America’s Next Top Model, is paired up with Peta Murgatroyd. He’s completely deaf but says he can feel vibrations if it’s loud enough. They take on the Cha Cha and though he’s deaf, does better than Geraldo or Mischa. Len didn’t expect it, Bruno has to touch him just to make sure he’s for real, and Carrie Ann has so much respect for their chemistry and great team. They get scores of 8, 7, 8.

Pittsburgh Steelers’ wide receiver Antonio Brown is paired with Sharna Burgess. They’re doing the quickstep. His favorite catchphrase is “How’s business?” and when asked always replies, “Boomin’.” He’s a good dancer and has a great attitude. He reminds Bruno of Emmitt Smith, Carrie Ann says he was boomin’ like a beast, and Len notes it’s a tough dance for a male celebrity. He gets scores of 8, 6, 7.

Denver Broncos’ linebacker and Super Bowl MVP Von Miller is paired with Witney Carson. They meet up in a chicken coop as he loves chickens. She notes when they sit next to each other, she looks like his child. His foxtrot is very controlled and disciplined. Carrie Ann found him soft and silky, Len remarks that he stayed in hold, and Bruno sees that he has bucket loads of charisma. They get scores of 8, 6, 7.

Tune in next week to see who goes home.

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The Voice, Season 10 – Battle Rounds #2

TheVoice031516We’re getting into the thick of the battle rounds. They showed just a tiny bit of them on Monday’s show, and now with the first full night of pairings, we get six exciting battles.

First up is team Christina Aguilera who has Patti LaBelle as a mentor to her team. Shalyah Fearing and Tamar Davis are paired up to sing “Lady Marmalade,” Patti’s classic hit. Christina thinks Tamar has an incredible range while Shalyah is beyond her years with grip and soul. All four sing the song together which is amazingly good. When it comes to their battle, you just can’t surpass the polish of Tamar. Pharrell Williams believes Christina can’t go wrong, and when she goes with Tamar, he steals Shalyah.

Blake Shelton is working with Gwen Stefani as an advisor, and up first for them is Justin Whisnant vs. Mary Sarah. Blake chooses “Louisiana Woman Mississippi Man” for them because they both have a vintage sound. Gwen says Justin’s voice is so warm and full of character while Mary has a lot of style to her voice. When the two battle it out, they could be the next Conway and Loretta. Christina notes Justin is accurate while Mary’s high notes were really nice. Blake notes that Mary blended personality and fun which is hard to do and goes with her.

Next up is Pharrell and his mentor Sean “Diddy” Combs’ first battle, Jessica Crosbie vs. Nick Hagelin. They’re singing “Electric Feel.” Diddy advises them to dance a little, both with the song and to feel the beat. They both improve a lot by their performance. Adam notes that he turned for Jessica during the blind auditions, and it broke his heart when she went with Pharrell. However, he goes on to pick Nick, leaving Adam to steal Jessica.

Chelsea Gann vs. Kata Hay is the next pairing for Christina and Patti. They’re taking on “I’m the Only One.” They comment that Chelsea is all smooth, while Kata is all fire, making it the perfect fit for them to learn and grow from each other. During the battle Kata has more personality, while Chelsea has a clearer voice. Blake realizes that these are both country artists, yet he didn’t hit his button originally for either one, despite them both being from Oklahoma. Christina mentions Chelsea’s powerful high notes while Kata seems genuine. She picks the latter, and Blake does not try to steal Chelsea.

Adam and his mentor Tori Kelly get their only pairing of the night: Natalie Yacovazzi and Nate Butler. They’re tackling one of Tori’s songs, “Hollow.” Nate reminds Adam of himself, while Natalie has a cool rasp. While Adam noticed how hard Nate was working, she still sounded stronger in the battle, yet Christina thinks they’re neck and neck. Adam chooses who he believes he can move forward with confidently, and that’s Nate.

In the last pairing of the Nate, it’s Hannah Huston vs. Maya Smith for Team Pharrell and Diddy. He tells them not to be intimidated by the song and that they have to pull it together. They give a pep talk to each other onstage before the battle. They sing “Elastic Heart” and Maya has a powerful run while Hannah eventually brings out her power. Christina noticed how solid they both were with their vibratos. Noting that Hannah’s control is on another level, Pharrell goes with her.

Christina hits her button to steal Maya right when she begins to walk offstage. Right when Christina thinks she has it sewn up, Blake tries to steal her as well. They fight over yet another contestant, but Maya eventually picks Christina.

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American Idol, Season 15 – Top 5 Sing America’s Choice

Idol031716This week the Idols are singing America’s Choice, two songs that fans have picked for them, and it has led to mixed results. The leaders are only continuing to pull away from the pack. La’Porsha Renae and Dalton Rappatoni still seem like the definite front runners with Trent Harmon and MacKenzie Bourg the dark horses. Sonika Vaid just doesn’t seem to get it, and the fans notice, but the judges keep saving her anyway.

Adam Lambert made a return to the show, reprising the song he took on in 2009, “Mad World,” as well as his new song “Welcome to the Show.” He’s just as captivating as he was back then, reminding me a lot of Dalton this year. Yazz and Jussie Smolett from Empire also appear and sing “Never Let It Die,” but it just seems like shameless promotion for Fox.

This week we’re going to the Idols hometowns, a few weeks earlier than is normally done, and we start with Trent Harmon from Amory, Mississippi. His fans there note that the first Idol, Elvis, was from the area, so the last American Idol should be as well. He sings “Counting Stars,” but I don’t like his interpretation of the song. Keith Urban wasn’t pulled in either, and Jennifer Lopez feels like he did what he could with what he was given. Harry Connick Jr. felt like it was a hoedown

Dalton Rappatoni’s hometown of Sunnyvale, Texas, is shown through the eyes of the women in his grandmother’s beauty shop. He sings “Numb,” and it’s good, but just isn’t too exciting. Jen feels like he took the oomph off the song, Harry thought he poured his guts into the lyrics, and Keith suggests that it should have been stripped down even more.

La’Porsha Renae’s superfans from her hometown of McComb, Mississippi are shown as well as her old band director. She sings “Ready for Love,” and it’s a slam dunk. But then I start to wonder if it’s perfect for her or if she made it perfect for her. Harry recognizes that she sways her strength to whatever she needs to do for each song. Keith realized he was no longer judging and was just enjoying it from an audience perspective, and Jen says it’s her favorite India.Arie song.

It’s between Sonika, MacKenzie, and Tristan for the last spot to automatically make it to next week. It’s Mackenzie up next, meaning Tristan and Sonika will sing afterwards hoping that they’ll earn the judges’ save.

In MacKenzie Bourg’s hometown of Lafayette, Louisiana, young girls argue over which of them he is signing to. He sings “Wild World” and updates the song a little bit making it more upbeat. Keith compares him to cake batter saying when when it’s not cooked it’s still good. Jen thoroughly enjoyed every second of it. Harry thinks MacKenzie could record this and release it as his own.

Tristan McIntosh is from Nashville, Tennessee, and we see superfans and her church. She sings “Independence Day” and accompanies herself on the piano. She seems to be dealing with nerves but comes on strong at the end. Jen suggests trying different things because she feels like they have the same performance from her every week. Harry believes she’s really good at singing songs from a place of pain. Keith suggests she either strip down the song or do it full-on with the band. It’s not looking too good for the judges to save her.

In Sonika Vaid’s hometown of Weston, Massachusetts, we’re taken to a golf club and a vision center. I’m not sure why those were chosen. She sings “Let It Go” and doesn’t seem to do much for the song over what we see little girls doing on YouTube. Harry says she needs to work on how to work with more powerful underscoring. Keith thinks the performance really started to come alive, while Jen believes they saw her trying to fight to stay.

It’s is’t too much of a surprise when Keith announces that both Tristan and Sonika are beautiful singers, yet they are choosing to save Sonika yet again.

The second set for the show has the Idols explaining some very difficult emotionally-trying times in their lives, followed by more America’s Choice songs.

Dalton explains he felt like there were two sides to him as a kid. He was finally diagnosed as bipolar, and once he picked up the guitar, everything fell into place for him. He sings “The Sound of Silence,” and the knowledge that he’s bipolar makes this more haunting. Keith liked how he put so much emphasis on the lyrics. Jen felt like we were all getting a piece of his soul. Harry describes him treating every song like a blank wall, then spray painting it.

MacKenenzie describes his childhood as doing all kinds of sports. But as a junior he got sick with a virus that gave him congestive heart failure. He was told he couldn’t play sports again and was inspired to go into music by his brother. He sings “Billie Jean,” another cool version that is somehow different than the one David Cook did. Jen thinks he just showed everyone why he’s still there, while Harry felt it was in his wheelhouse. Keith makes the comparison of the gerbil idolizing Bolt in the animated film. He’s the gerbil and MacKenenzie is Bolt.

Trent built his favorite guitar with his best friend who passed away before he ever got a chance to play it. It’s hard for him to even look at it, and he always thinks about him onstage. He performs “Simple Man,” and I wish he had the guitar with him. Harry would like to hear him do a duet with Adam Lambert. Keith says it’s his favorite Lynyrd Skynyrd song. Jen begins to tear up and says it’s while she’ll miss Idol, having the seat in the front row and watching the perfect song and the perfect singer come together.

Sonika talks about her biggest emotional journey being when she tried out for American Idol, and it falls short of the other previous stories. That’s why her performances lack the emotional punch. She hasn’t experienced the emotions to throw behind the performances. She sings “Clarity,” and just like her emotional story, it’s empty. Keith suggests she keep letting go because she’s still too controlled. Jen didn’t love the song for her. Harry liked her standing on stage with Tristan better than the song.

La’Porsha talks about being 18 and meeting a guy who became abusive. He hated her voice, her hair, all the things that made her who she was. After her daughter was born, she moved into a shelter and remembered wanting to be a singer and be on Idol. She sings “No More Drama,” a song that couldn’t be more fitting. It’s hard to imagine her not being strong. She breaks down after the performance. Through tears Jen says it takes a lot of strength to overcome that and thanks her for that powerful moment.

At this point it doesn’t matter who is named the American Idol of season 15. With that performance, La’Porsha just won. Not the show, but her life. She just proved to herself that she never has to put up with that shit again.

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Survivor Kaôh Rōng, Season 32 – Those 3 Scary Words: Drop Your Buff

Survivor031616Those three words – drop your buff – are always scary in the world of Survivor. You never know what’s going to happen. After you spend all this time bonding with your tribe, now you get reorganized and have to bond with your new tribe while also plotting which of your new tribe you can vote off to to still keep yourself safe.

Uneven Tribes

The tribes were told they’d be splitting up from three tribes into two. However, they had that little unplanned event the previous week of Caleb leaving the game. They had planned to reorganize the tribes this week and thought there would be fourteen people left making two even tribes of seven. But now there was thirteen people left.

To fix that, TPTB decided that one person would be out. There would be six blue buffs and six yellow buffs. There would also be one red buff. Whoever got the red buff would go back to the Brawn camp alone. They would not compete in the Immunity Challenge but would be safe. And whichever team lost a person via Tribal Council would then gain the person with the red buff to keep the tribes at six and six in number.

That unlucky person in the red buff was Julia, the 18-ear-old who was on the Beauty Tribe. When she was shown surviving, she was having a tough time. She couldn’t get a fire started, was dehydrated, and the paranoia was starting to set in.

Odd Man Out for Beauty Tribe

As everyone on both tribes noticed really quickly, to keep numbers in their favor, the odd man out on each tribe would be someone originally from the Beauty Tribe. This is because they would be replaced by Julia. For the new Chan Loh tribe, this meant that Nick and Michele were on the chopping block. For Gondol it meant that Anna and Tai were in danger. Anna was throwing Tai under the bus at the word go.

Once Gondol lost the Immunity Challenge, they were already plotting. Anna and Tai were already assuming it was one of them as were the others on the new tribe. No one really wanted to vote out TaI, though, as he’s so helpful at camp.

Once everyone decided it would be Anna, Tai was still feeling vulnerable. He posed to Anna as well as Scot as the lone Brawn member that they form an alliance of three and they vote for Peter while the others either vote for Anna. He told them he had an Idol and could play it to get Peter out when the vote ended in a tie. This would give them the controlling aspect of the Tribe.

Super Idol Comes Into Play

But Scot didn’t want TaI to play his Idol. He knows that two idols together form a SuperIdol, and he now knows that both Tai and Jason have an idol. When it comes to a merge he can get the two of them together.

Scot didn’t share that information with Tai, though. He just told him privately not to use the idol and just vote out Anna as they really didn’t need Anna anyway and didn’t need to keep her. He told him to save his Idol to use later on himself.

Tai is quickly becoming my favorite this season, but I wasn’t very worried about him at this point. The editing has so favored him, and I don’t think they did all that just to vote him out before the merge. I think he’ll be there for awhile. On the other hand, before tonight I didn’t even know what Anna’s name was.

Tribal Council

As is usually the case with Tribal Council, we, as the audience, were unsure exactly how this one was going to go down. Were the three original Brains Tribe members going to vote Anna or Tai? And would Scot and Tai vote out Anna or would Tai use his idol to save her and vote out Peter?

Joe started suggesting that no one had seen an idol yet so they were guessing there just isn’t any idols in play on this season. Tai lied and says he assumed this must be true as well as he tried to search for an idol and couldn’t find one. Anna smiled at this as she knew there was an idol and that Tai was going to use it to save her.

When it came down to the vote, though, Anna was quite shocked when Tai didn’t play his Idol. She was confused and worried. There were five votes for Anna and only her vote for Peter. She was voted out.

The Decimated Beauty Tribe

It all seems a little unfair for the Beauty Tribe. They went from being six strong last week and never losing a challenge to suddenly being two down. While they won’t go back to the “Beauty” tribe, the people on that tribe must have been feeling safe with the alliances they had.

The numbers of the original tribes are now three Brawn, four Beauty, and five Brains. The others need to get in there and do everything they can to try and eliminate some of the Brains to get some control back.

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The Voice, Season 10 – The Blind Auditions Wrap Up and Battle Rounds Begin

TheVoice031416The Voice is flying right through the blind auditions. On Monday the Blind Auditions wrapped up with all four judges filling up their teams, and the show moved quickly into the Battle Rounds. Here’s how it played out.

The End of the Blinds

Jared Harder has been singing since he was three years old, with a church event being the first time he sang for a crowd. His small town of Joplin, Missouri, was struck by one of the largest tornadoes in history in 2011, and he recalls everything was destroyed. He sings “Merry Go Round” to show his support for his town. Blake Shelton turns around, making him the last singer on Blake’s team.

Moushumi went to medical school in India, the same one her parents attended, but she missed music, so came back to the U.S. and started doing open mic nights. She sings “Wicked Game” and has such a unique tone. Christina Aguilera, Adam Levine, and Pharrell Williams turn around. Despite Christina saying she has a beautiful name to match her beautiful voice, Moushumi picks Pharrell.

Katie Basden grew up listening to classic rock with her dad and went to college in Nashville. She left and came back home when she heard her dad was having heart surgery. She sings “Midnight Rider,” turning the chairs of Adam, Pharrell, and Christina. They peg her as country, yet Adam sees it as more southern rock. She goes on to pick him as her coach, filling up his team.

Jonathan Huthcherson lives on a five-acre farm with his parents and three younger brothers. He has been hard of hearing since he was born. His mom is so happy that he can sing as they had told her he might not even talk. He sings “You and I.” Pharrell turns for him as he fills up the last spot on his team.

Christina is the only one with a spot left on her team. Ayanna Jahneé is the next auditioner. Her first role in musical theater was as a munchkin in The Wiz. She found out in eighth grade that her mom had cancer. She eventually passed away and music became therapeutic for Ayanna. She sings “Skyfall,” and Christina turns her chair to fill her team. She and her newest team member then sing an impromptu “My Team Is Full” together.

Battle Rounds

Tori Kelly is helping mentor Team Adam. The first pairing is Katie Basden and Ryan Quinn. Ryan is the frontrunner on the team, and Adam thinks if anyone can challenge him Katie can. They sing “Maybe I’m Amazed.” She holds her own, but you have to give it to him. However, Blake says he would pick Katie. Adam says she’s great even when she’s sick, but Ryan does it with a lot of heart and soul. He chooses Ryan, leaving Christina and Blake to both try to steal Katie. In the end she goes with Blake.

Occasional coach Gwen Stefani helps mentor Team Blake. The first battle is between Brittney Lawrence and Paxton Ingram. They are singing “I Know What You Did Last Summer”. Gwen notices that Brittney isn’t emotionally feeling the pain and that Paxton performs well. When they sing in their battle, he has the emotions down, but she has the bigger voice. Both Christina and Pharrell think Brittney’s performance could have been improved. Blake goes on to choose Paxton as he says there’s just something about him.

Team Christina is getting help from Patti LaBelle as a mentor. Their first pairing is Bryan Bautista and Malik Heard. They’re taking on “It’s a Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World.” Patti warns they need to have the chops to step into James Brown’s world. In their battle they play off each other and blend so well and appear equal. Instead of giving criticism or praise, the other coaches all make a play for stealing whoever doesn’t move on with Christina. She picks Bryan, and the other three hit their buttons to steal. Malik goes on to choose Pharrell.

It’s a very strong start for the Battle Rounds and an even bigger start for Team Christina. The others will have to do a lot to measure up to what her first pairing just did.

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The Bachelor, Season 20 – Who Does Ben Choose?

Bachelor031416This has been somewhat of an unprecedented season for The Bachelor. Normally we aren’t sure what’s going to happen and who the bachelor will choose because they haven’t tipped their hand yet. However, with Ben it was the complete opposite. He had tipped his hand … with both women. He told them both that he loved them, so one of them was going to be sent home blindsided.

Ben’s Turmoil

Lauren was the first to meet Ben’s parents. Everything went very well, and everyone got along great. It couldn’t have gone any better. When JoJo met the Higginses it was the same thing. It couldn’t have gone any better. Yet, Mrs. Higgins pointed out that what JoJo had for Ben seemed to be deeper.

In addition to that, when Ben was weighing his love for the two women he noted that he and Lauren had never had to weigh any negatives in their relationship, so he wasn’t sure what it would be like if it was tested. Yet he and JoJo had been tested, and they had made it through the problems even stronger.

Throughout Ben’s last dates with both women, he kept thinking of this turmoil of who to choose. But with JoJo his face seemed to light up more. It was clear how much he was in love with her. It certainly seemed at this point as if he was going to choose her.

But knowing that Ben had said on the Women Tell All that he was ready to get married right now, Chris Harrison set it up for that to happen tonight if he wanted. Not only was his hometown pastor at the show, but Ben’s parents were there along with the parents of JoJo and Lauren. But Lauren’s parents seemed elated while JoJo’s seemed like they were almost being forced there, making it seem like they all knew how it was going to turn out.

The Proposal

Ben was still torn up until the morning of the proposal. Picking out the engagement ring, he decided he knew who he would choose because there was one woman he didn’t want to live without.

The first woman to get out of the helicopter was JoJo, meaning she was about to get sent home. She told him she loved him and that he was her best friend, and then Ben said that word everyone on The Bachelor hates: “but.” He told her he did love her, but he was more in love with someone else. He did what he promised her he would never do – he blindsided her.

Ben then answered the burning question from the past few weeks. In previews we saw him calling someone. Who was he calling? Was he changing his mind? No, he called Lauren’s father to ask for his permission to marry his daughter. Lauren’s helicopter then landed, and Ben dropped to one knee and asked her to marry him, and she accepted.

JoJo’s Surprise

On the After the Final Rose special, JoJo got a chance to talk to Ben for the first time since she left blindsided. She seemed to be in a better place and said watching the show play out over the season that it helped her put everything in perspective to see Ben’s and Lauren’s relationship play out.

And JoJo had a great surprise in store for her. Chris Harrison announced that she was the new Bachelorette. While some people were pulling for it to be Caila, instead it will be the runner-up from this season.

Did the Show End with a Wedding?

Lauren then came out and announced that she was moving to Denver to be with Ben in a few weeks. Chris had that surprise for the two of them, too. He brought out the pastor and said they could get married right there on the spot if they wanted. However, they decided it would be soon, but not tonight. They declined the offer. Ben did get down on one knee and propose to Lauren again, but that fell kind of flat. There was no point for that.

We’ll see if this is one of the rare Bachelor unions that lasts. Will they make it down the aisle? If they’ve never been tested by anything negative in their relationship, that is surely still in front of them. We’ll have to wait and see if their relationship can weather that storm.

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Amazing Race, Season 28 – Bros Being Dudes Coming in 1st and 2nd

TAR031116There were two things that came to mind while watching The Amazing Race this week. One thought was that that producers should try to make the challenges and locations seem a little more pleasant. This week they were really cold and were doing such frightening things that it makes me wonder how many people were raising their hand this week to sign up.

The other thing that struck me is that they really need to put the cold weather locations later in the season. We had a cold weather climate last week as well. Both times they were wearing different outfits. When it’s earlier in the season and you’re still learning the teams, it’s hard to tell who is who when they’re all bundled up.

I guess there were more things that bothered me than I originally thought. In addition to the above, CBS needs to do a better job with their On Demand viewing. They run a premium service from their network meaning if I want to see last week’s episode, it’s free. But if I want to see this week I have to subscribe to a monthly fee. I already pay for cable; I am not going to subscribe to network TV just that I can stream current episodes.

The reason I was looking to do this? I did DVR the show, but coverage of the protest at the Trump rally interrupted the first few minutes of the show, so I missed the very beginning, tuning in to see the teams changing clothes into ultra warm weather gear with one of the guys claiming that he’s wearing hammer pants.

Bros Being Dudes

After the teams change their clothes, they get a clue to find the license plate of a car. Once found they travel in the car to find a gondola station. This takes them to the highest mountain in Central Europe. They need to board a gondola with a mountain guide and a backpack of gear to take them up to their next clue.

Between the leading two teams – Tyler and Korey and Brodie & Kurt – they start talking about the movie Alive and decide if it comes down to eating each other, they’ll eat Tyler first because he’s easiest to cook and tender. They also decide they are “bros being dudes.”

At the top of a mountain they have to zipline across to another mountain to get their next clue. This gives them a Detour of either delivering dynamite and a baguette to crews working on the mountain or building a campsite for the crews working on the mountain.

I’ll Just Have the Baguette for Lunch

Just in case it wasn’t bad enough that they are in the freezing cold, they have to zipline from the highest mountain in Central Europe. And if they survive all that, then they can choose to carry dynamite around with them. And a baguette. No thanks. I checked out at the first sign of cold. Even Tyler says it seems like something humans shouldn’t be doing. Erin and Joslyn misunderstand “lunch,” and even though they already have a baguette, nearly steal someone’s lunch trying to find “lunch.”

Burnie and Ashley loose their clue down the mountain in a big gust of wind and snow. They have to go back across the zipline to get another clue. Luckily for them there appear to be extras. Otherwise, what would they have done? On top of that they decide to do the Campsite challenge since no one else is doing it. They have to improvise when one of the pegs is broken and then have to spend a lot of time shoveling show onto the sides of the tent to build a barrier.

Lookin’ for a Yeti

For the Roadblock one person form each team needs to paraglide along with an experienced pilot, and at the end of the excursion, repeat what they saw while flying over. It’s a yeti waving a French flag. Hopefully they remember the flags from last week’s challenge.

Brodie is the first to try paragliding. They aren’t able to take off as he falls flat on his face in the snow. This gives Korey a shot at doing it and taking over first place. He does it successfully. Brodie gets it on his second attempt.

The first team to end up on the mat is Tyler and Korey with Brodie and Kurt right behind them. The last three teams to hit the Roadblock are Sheri and Cole, Burnie and Ashley, and Erin and Joslyn. Their finishing order depends on what wind strength they can catch and if they are able to take off and not fall flat on their faces.

Too many times falling do Erin in, and she and Joslyn finish in last place. Phil Keoghan eliminates them there on the mat. Even still they consider themselves blessed to have the jobs they do and to have competed on The Amazing Race together.

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American Idol, Season 15 – Top 8 Sing American Idol Songbook

Idol031016I’m not really fond of tonight’s theme: American Idol Songbook. This means any song that has been performed throughout these fifteen seasons of the show, and to me that just cuts too wide of a path. It is interesting, though, to see the retrospect on the different Idols to sing some of the songs. In addition, the Idols are also doing duets with each other.

The first duet is with La’Porsha Renae and Trent Harmon. He talks about the power in her voice while she takes about how high his voice is. They sing “See You Again,” and their voices blend really well together with great vocal gymnastics. Keith Urban notes that it played to both of their strengths. Jennifer Lopez found the whole thing just magical. At one point Harry Connick Jr. didn’t know who was singing which part because their voices blended so well.

Next up are Avalon Young and Sonika Vaid. Sonika loves Avalon’s voice, while Avalon says it’s nerve-wracking because Sonika has one of the best voices there. They sing “Rise Up,” and while I would have never put these two together, their voices do match up really well. Jen thought their angelic voices were pushing each other. Harry notes that Avalon is more rhythmic while Sonika more melodic. Keith expounds more on that, saying Sonika’s tone is so angelic, but Avalon is such a natural singer.

Mackenzie Bourg and Dalton Rappatoni are combining on “I Want It That Way.” Mackenzie thinks it’s a perfect song for Dalton but not for him since he’s not the boy band type, while Dalton notes Mackenzie is very good at the singer/songwriter thing. The song doesn’t really do either of them any favors. Harry, Keith, and JLo agree that it was not a good song choice.

Lee Jean and Tristan McIntosh are the last duet. She talks about his higher notes, while he mentions the power in her voice. She also says it’s difficult for them to do a love song since he’s shorter than her. They sing “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing, and he sounds like he’s off key, but they mentioned earlier that he wasn’t feeling well. Keith figures it was hard for them to find a song that with in a key for both of them, and JLo recognizes that Tristan’s voice really shined, but it wasn’t the thing for Lee. Harry figures it was just a problem with the arrangement.

La’Porsha is the first soloist, and she talks about a teacher she had who told her not to try to fit in. The teacher surprises her there at Idol, and she talks about it being an honor to teach someone so special. In a big departure, La’Porsha sings “Come Together” showing that she can rock it out, too. Jen points out that she goes full diva every time. Harry jokes if she can make sense of those lyrics … and Keith thinks any song is a terrific song for her.

MacKenzie was always into sports, and the first time he played music in front of people it was for his basketball team. His coach still swears he discovered him. He sings “You Are So Beautiful” without his guitar, and it’s so tender and beautiful. Harry says he couldn’t have picked a more appropriate song. It speaks volumes to Keith that he picked that song because he made it sound brand new. Jen found it to be croonerish as well as indie rock.

Nick Fradiani, last season’s winner, makes a return appearance. He sings his new song “Get You Home.” It reminds me a lot of Robin Thicke and seems to be a departure from the genres he’d sing on Idol. He says afterward that it’s like coming back to family.

Trent asked his parents not to come to the show yet because he never even told them he was auditioning until he made it. He’s been doing it on his own so far, so wants to continue, but does want them at the finale if he makes it. He sings “Stand By Me,” and it sounds beautiful, but I think he put too much into what should be a simple melody. Keith tells him not to lean too heavy on the stylistic moments. Jen isn’t sure the audience is getting how much of a badass he is. Harry suggests the harder he sinks into a song the better it will be.

Tristan’s grandfather always wanted someone in the family to be a singer and goes to wherever she’s performing in his wheelchair. She sings “Broken Wing” and seems flawless. Jen tells her she has a perfectly-suited country voice. Harry asks what happens to the girl in the second verse, and Tristan believes she left because she couldn’t deal with it anymore. Keith agrees that it’s the perfect kind of song for her and loves her grandfather being so supportive.

The last person to automatically make it to the top six is between Sonika, Dalton, Avalon, and Lee. This means one of them is automatically in from the votes last week, and the judges will save one of the other three with the other two going home. It’s not a shock to anyone that Dalton is the one who makes it through on the votes.

Dalton says that while his mom is a typical suburban mom, she used to be a total badass and into the punk scene. He wears her old leather trench coat now, but she knows he doesn’t have the “heinie” to wear her leather pants. He sings “Eleanor Rigby” and makes it into a perfect song for him. Harry was dying to hear what he was going to do with the song arrangement. Keith says like a good waffle iron, he made an impression. Jen points to the theatricality of it saying it was so him.

Avalon is the first of the bottom three to sing. She explains that she has a facial tic from her OCD that goes away when she sings and that she first picked up the guitar at 10 years old. She sings “PYT (Pretty Young Thing).” It’s a good song for her, but I don’t know if it will be enough to save her. It’s confusing to Keith that she always connects with everyone but keeps winding up in the bottom three. JLo notes that she’s a natural performer. Harry suggests she sing a ballad next time.

Lee moved around a lot when he was growing up, and once they stopped moving, his one friend was the fellow student who’s supposed to show you around school. That friend heard him singing one time, and his whole world changed after that. He sings “Let I Be.” He’s off with the timing and just off tonight in general. Jen isn’t sure if this will be enough to save him. Harry found him really sharp which was surprising to him. Keith remembers that he did a show like Idol at Lee’s age and had to try hard to reign the nerves in.

Sonika notes that her mom would sing her lullabies and make up her own. Her grandfather taught her mom how to sing, and she performed in Bollywood. She sings “I Have Nothing,” but the song is too big for her. However, I have a feeling the judges will pick her. Harry calls it a big risk but said he loved it. Keith wants her to continue to release and let go to show that type of stuff more often. This is Jen’s favorite Whitney Houston song, and she thought she did a good job with it.

When it comes down to the judges’ decision, Harry says it gets harder and harder every week. While the crowd can be heard shouting for them to save Avalon, instead they save Sonika, sending Avalon and Lee home.

It’s a good thing these songs have all been done before on Idol. I realized this week that so far they haven’t made the songs from this season available in downloads – at least I haven’t been able to find them on Apple Music, iTunes, or the official website. Are they waiting until next week for the final six or are they making us do without this year?

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Survivor Kaôh Rōng, Season 32 – Scariest Episode I’ve Ever Seen

Survivor030916If there was ever an episode of Survivor to prove it’s real life, it was this week’s. There is no way these people aren’t really putting their lives on the line. I don’t remember ever watching this show and feeling as much fear as I did this time.

The Challenge

While the episodes thus far this season have all had just one challenge that provided both reward and immunity, tonight’s show was designed to have two separate challenges. Even still, the reward challenge started earlier in the episode than it normally would, so we should have known something was up.

For the challenge, the teams needed to dig under a log to get everyone on the team through, then they needed to dig in a big circle to find three bags of balls that they would use in the end to roll up a slide hoping for them to land in one of six holes. When they hit all six holes they’d win.

The problem with this is that it was unbelievably hot out there. They never indicated what the temperature was, but by the sunburns everyone is sporting, it’s obvious that it’s a really hot location.

First Survivor Down

All the teams had a really difficult time digging, and it’s clear they were starting to get too hot in the sun. The Brains tribe completed the challenge first and won the better of the two rewards, but right after that Debbie collapsed. The medical team was brought in, and they poured cold water on her to bring her temperature down.

Second Survivor Down

As medical was tending to Deb, the Beauty tribe won second place. The Brawn tribe lost, but now Cydney was having a difficult time pulling herself together. After Caleb won the challenge, he walked off and collapsed.

Third Survivor Down

Jeff Probst looked over and realized Caleb was in trouble. He called medical over to Caleb. But he wasn’t bouncing right back like Debbie. And now as they tended to him, Cydney finally collapsed. They had three people down. Deb was curled up in a fetal position, Caleb was played out flat, and Cydney was shaking terribly.

There weren’t enough medics to go around apparently. Luckily Deb recovered and wandered away from her spot looking like she’d just been through a natural disaster. All medical was focused on Caleb while Jason tended to Cydney.

Cydney started to come back just like Deb, so we were expecting Caleb to do the same. But he didn’t. And in my mind I was thinking, they aren’t going to show a guy dying on TV. He has to be okay. But it was still the scariest thing I have ever seen on the show.

Still One Survivor Down

There wasn’t anyone whose spirit was in the right place after this. Everyone was worried. When the water wasn’t helping they put ice on him and some type of blanket on his lower half. They eventually had to give him some oxygen. He was still struggling, so they started an IV right there to give him fluids, and Jeff called for an evacuation.

Jeff explained to Caleb that other than being voted out, there are only two ways to leave, and he definitely wasn’t quitting, but he was going to have to be removed for medical reasons. Caleb shook his head very weakly, but it wasn’t up to him. It was clear he couldn’t continue.

Concern for Their Family Member

With Caleb removed from the game, Jeff regrouped everyone, and Tai just could not control his emotions. He talked about cuddling with Caleb on the first night and said how much he would miss him. Sure, he may have a crush on Caleb, but I think there was a friendship there behind all that.

Lastly, Jeff asked Jason if he could still vote out Cydney after spending his time taking care of her. He said all that goes to the side, and it reminded him of being in the military. For the most part right now, he said they were like family out there. In the end he didn’t vote her out. They finally got rid of “Blondie” which is what they should have done the first week.

Some might think it wasn’t the scariest episode ever and might think that award should go to the episode when Michael Skupin fell in the fire. But that was the grossest episode. I didn’t have any fears of his survival. I knew his hands were burned, but I didn’t fear that he wasn’t going to make it. I feared for Caleb tonight and sat her crying with my jaw on the floor.

And that’s what makes Survivor one of the best shows out there. They ran a slide during a commercial break that said Caleb is recovered and well and that he hopes to play again. That’s how we know he belonged there. This game attracts a certain type of person, and only one of them would want to go back and do it all over again.

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The Voice, Season 10 – Blind Auditions #4

TheVoice030816These blind auditions are zooming by really quickly. The coaches nearly have their teams filled up already. We’ll end tonight with two of the coaches only having one spot apiece on their teams The following are the more memorable auditions.

Tamar Davis joined a group called Girl Time when she was 11 years old. Her parents pulled her out of the group, and it went on to become Destiny’s Child. As an adult she sang with Prince and worked with Tyler Perry who is here supporting her today and encouraged her to auction. She has a well-seasoned voice, and Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton both turn their chairs. Adam Levine thinks it makes sense for her to be on Christina’s team, and in the end she decides to go with her.

Jessica Crosbie grew up in England but is living in Atlanta now believing her small hometown wouldn’t offer her what she needed for her career. She would love to work with Adam. She sings a more delicate version of “Viva La Vida,” and has a very pretty soft voice. Christina, Adam, and Pharrell Williams all turn their chairs. Christina believes there are things in her they haven’t heard, but Jessica decides it will be Pharrell who gets to help her figure that out.

Justin Whisnant is from a small town where his parents separated early in his life, leaving him to be raised by his grandparents. He was given an ultimatum at work, either the job or music. He chose music, and here he is. He sings “Ain’t Worth the Whiskey,” turning both Adam and Blake’s chairs. Not only is he country, but he’s also from Oklahoma, making it look really good for Blake. He announces that he traded in his sneakers for “wing toes,” but Blake heard “wheat toast.” Despite that, he become Justin’s new coach.

Owen Danoff’s father was in Starland Vocal Band, the group behind the hit “Afternoon Delight.” However, the choice to go into music for a career was all Owen’s and not his dad.’s He’d be excited to work with Pharrell. He sings a Bob Dylan song, and you can hear the old-time folk in him. He turns all four chairs. Adam announces that seeing him play was even better than listening to him with his back turned. He goes on to chose Adam who meets his dad who announces that they both share a Best New Artist Grammy.

Brittney Lawrence has wanted to sing ever since hearing the Dixie Chicks. She is a cheerleading coach and also works full time for a textbook company and is studying to be a teacher. She tried out seven times for the show, but this is the first time she made it to the Blind Auditions. Christina and Blake both turn for her, and Pharrell encourages her to pick someone who helps her find her vibrato. Blake thinks not having a vibrato can be a good thing, and she goes on to pick him.

Matt Tedder grew up listening to the blues greats and even met BB King. He moved to Nashville as an adult and busks and teaches lessons to get by. He decides to sing a Muddy Waters song and thinks it would be really fulfilling for a coach to turn on that. Adam is the only coach who turns, and he’s even more impressed by his slide guitar playing. So that they can hear his guitar playing uninterrupted by his vocals, he does a solo and gets a standing O from Pharrell.

Joe Maye auditioned last season, but no one turned their chair for him. Blake thought it was because he was dancing and got out of breath. He sings a version of “I Put a Spell on You” that is really spirited and from the gut and turns both Blake’s and Christina’s chairs. Christina tells him it’s a favorite song of hers to perform and would love to sing it with him someday. She’s cajoled into doing it with him right then. And after that he has no choice but to pick her.

By the close of the show there are just six openings left to make it onto a team. Christina and Blake both have eleven singers on their team, and Pharrell and Adam both have ten.

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