What’s Hot on TV Friday and Saturday – Hockey Makes Its Return

Have you been missing hockey? It makes its grand return with a shortened season this weekend. NBC will air the Chicago Blackhawks vs. Los Angeles Kings game in most areas Saturday afternoon. Will the fans still show up to support their favorite teams? Catch up with your favorite shows you may have missed at TV-Links.

Friday

1. NBA Basketball. Chicago Bulls at Boston Celtics. 6:00 PM CT ESPN

2. Undercover Boss. The president of Moe's Southwest Grill works behind the scenes of his own company. 7:00 PM CT CBS

3. Last Man Standing. A discussion of immigration comes up when Vanessa hires a new housekeeper, leading to Ed checking the OUtdoor Man employees' green cards, and Kristin finds a new way to make some cash. 7:00 PM CT ABC

4. Nikita. Nikita finds out that Amanda's mole is Sonya, and there is still a second mole in Division, and Michael confronts Alex about her substance abuse. 7:00 PM CT CW

5. Fringe. Olivia starts a dangerous journey into the unknown as the team is implementing a plan, and the team battles the Observers. 7:00 PM CT Fox

6. Four Weddings. Marie uses a six-figure budget to create Dracula's Castle, Zuranda has startling news, Karen uses an island dock to exchange vows, and Anumita's wedding takes place at a landmark hotel in New York. 7:00 PM CT TLC

7. Malibu Country. Reba has a hard time being gracious when June gets a meeting with Mr. Bata, and Kim and Lillie Mae find out Cash has an ability that could be lucrative. 7:30 PM CT ABC

8. CSI: NY. The CSI i son the case when a masked man is found at the base of a skyscraper that has a history of mysterious deaths. 8:00 PM CT CBS

9. Dateline NBC. Keith Morrison goes to Belize to talk to John McAfee about him fleeing the country after his neighbor's murder 8:00 PM CT NBC

10. Killer Karaoke. Contestants sing karaoke while stepping into boxes filled with gross surprised, and getting waxed. 8:00 PM CT truTV

11. Say Yes to the Dress. In the first half hour, Becky looks for a dress for her second wedding, Tracey hope her gown will b the last one she wears after surviving a car accident, and Monica is finally ready to get married in a town she's had for years. In the second half hour, Rebecca looks for a wedding gown, Katie's bust line, and Valerie's dreams of a big dress. 8:00 PM CT TLC

12. Ghost Adventures. Sailors' Snug Harbor on the north shore of Staten Island, was once the home for many retired merchant seamen. It also holds a sinister side – one of forbidden love, adultery, suicide, torture and even murder. The park rangers tell the story of a woman who kept her mentally challenged child locked in the basement while she was out of the house, until he killed her and ran off. Zak Bagans, Nick Groff and Aaron Goodwin voyage to the malevolent shores of Staten Island to investigate. 8:00 PM CT Travel Channel

13. NBA Basketball. Oklahoma City Thunder at Dallas Mavericks. 8:30 PM CT ESPN

14. Blue Bloods. Danny's car matches the description of one used in a drug deal, and police pull him over and find coke in his trunk. His family comes to his defense. 9:00 PM CT CBS

15. 20/20. Stories include how to stay calm and save money while planning a wedding, current wedding trends, wedding mishaps, and extreme wedding proposals. 9:00 PM CT ABC

16. Merlin. On the anniversary of his death, the ghost of Uther returns to the kingdom and passes judgment on Arthur’s reign. 9:00 PM CT Syfy

17. Say Yes to the Dress: Randy Knows Best. The top 10 most heartfelt moments. 9:00 PM CT TLC

18. Teen Trouble. Josh tries helping an older teen who is addicted to heroin and getting involved with criminals. 9:00 PM CT Lifetime

19. Real Time with Bill Maher. The panelists include Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, former Rep. Steve LaTourette, Martin Short, former Sen. Bob Kerrey, and Rula Jebreal. 9:00 PM CT HBO

20. Banshee. Hanson, a desperate underling of Proctor, holds a rave in an Amish barn, selling homemade E pills stolen from his boss to Banshee youth, including Deva, Carrie’s rebellious daughter. 9:00 PM CT Cinemax

21. The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. The guests tonight are Chris Tucker, Bob Costas, and Big Boi. 10:35 PM CT NBC

Saturday

1. College Basketball. Maryland at at North Carolina. 11:00 AM CT ESPN

2. College Basketball. Connecticut at Pittsburgh. 11:00 AM CT ESPN 2

3. College Basketball. West Virginia at Purdue. 1:00 PM CT CBS

4. College Basketball. Missouri at Florida. 1:00 PM CT ESPN

5. College Basketball. Texas Tech at Oklahoma State. 1:00 PM CT ESPN 2

6. NHL Hockey. Chicago Blackhawks at Los Angeles Kings. 2:00 PM CT NBC

7. College Basketball. Oregon at UCLA. 3:00 PM CT CBS

8. College Basketball. Syracuse at Louisville. 3:00 PM CT ESPN

9. College Basketball. Creighton at Wichita State. 3:00 PM CT ESPN

10. Cops. A suspect escapes after abandoning a stolen vehicle, a man claims he was threatened with a gun, and alcohol is find in a car that hit a female pedestrian. 7:00 PM CT Fox

11. Six Little McGhees: Special Delivery. 7:00 PM CT OWN

12. Blades of Glory. Typical Will Ferrell, as he's joined by Jon Heder. The two of them on skates is funny enough as it is, let alone seeing them skating together as a pair. 8:00 PM CT ABC

13. Tasmanian Devils. The ultimate thrill unleashes the ultimate predator. 8:00 PM CT Syfy

14. Pit Boss. Shorty tries to rescue a loose dog from a motocross track, and Ronald and Sebastian are sent to an adult-themed gig accidentally. 8:00 PM CT Animal Planet

15. Cyndi Lauper: Still So Unsusual. In the first half hour, Cyndi performs at a private concert. Ron Wood makes an appearance. In the second half hour, Cyndi and family and friends go to Coney Island. 8:00 PM CT WE

16. College Basketball. Gonzaga at Butler. 8:00 PM CT ESPN

17. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. Johnny Blaze is hired by members of a secret church to save a boy from Satan. 8:00 PM CT Starz

18. 48 Hours. Jodi Arias's interview for 48 Hours becomes evidence in her murder trial. 9:00 PM CT CBS

19. Wedding Band. The band gets booked for an “End of the World” party, but end up competing against rivals playing a similar gig 9:00 PM CT TBS

20. Pit Bulls and Parolees. Tia and her team are brought to a dog-fighting ring by an anonymous tip, and a pit bull waits for permission to go to a new home. 9:00 PM CT Animal Planet

21. Beyond the Headlines: Prosecuting Casey Anthony. 9:00 PM CT Lifetime

22. Saturday Night Live. Jennifer Lawrence is guest host, and The Lumineers are the musical guest. 9:00 PM CT NBC

 

Top Chef: Seattle – Ep 11 – The Episode Where I Get Mad At Padma

That’s right, I’m very sad to say, but right now…we’re fighting, Padma. Because what transpired in this episode seemed to stem directly from Padma. And the result that it produced was so awful, so ridiculous, and shines a bright light on a couple of warts upon the skin of the show that I have long said I did not like. If you have not watched the episode yet, well, you really need to stop watching because I am going to spoil it early on.

To recap from last week, Restaurant Wars was split into two episodes this year – last week, the chefs battled over concepts, and this week the two winners led the teams in opening restaurants based on those concepts. Kish and Papa Smurf won last week with concepts focusing on fine French dining with a twist and Filipino cuisine inspired by Papa Smurf’s grandpa…er…Grandpa Smurf. With Micah’s elimination, Papa Smurf’s team was one person short, and as it turns out, they are doing a Battle of the Sexes in the Wars. Last week, I questioned the logic of Kish choosing Josie and whether or not it was better to have her on the team, or to be shorthanded. To answer the question – it was better to be shorthanded.

Papa Smurf’s team made good food with only nitpicks against the menu. The problem was Stefan the Thumb’s bad service and hospitality. I mean, he was not good. One dish came to the judges without him around and unable to actually describe it. When he did, he did so in such a way that the judges felt they were condescending and insulting to their intelligence. At one point, he answered a question with what sounded like this answer, “bbbadehdah, bauaddityyalyy.” Seriously, no idea what he said. He was like Benicio Del Toro in The Usual Suspects. He was like a Charlie Brown grown-up. Guests were backed up, it was a disaster. Now, I think his troubles were partly his fault, mostly perhaps, but partly a result of the lack of a fourth teammate. He had to prepare his food, set up the front, train the staff, manage the staff and be the host. He had to rely on the random Redshirt waiters to take on a lot of responsibility. And it backfired. If Papa Smurf’s food wasn’t as good as it was, The Thumb would have been gone.

As it turns out, Kish’s team wound up losing the War and one of the women was going to leave. Brooke and Lizzie each rocked their dishes, so they were safe. That made it a Kish vs. Josie decision. Kish made a big mistake in taking on a LOT of responsibility. She wanted to have a hand in everything that went out. As Tom said, her concept was in her head, and was not properly relayed to her team. She even made two dishes, which had faults, but were not criticized to the point where you would think they were the worst dishes.

Josie’s dish, however, was clearly the worst dish served in this challenge. To me, that should be both Strikes One and Two. To quote Tom from years ago…it’s a cooking competition! Where the disconnect between the judges and reality came in to play was the fact that we saw things they didn’t know. We saw Josie refusing to begin her prep the day before, despite Kish’s urging. We saw Josie’s dish was not ready in time as a result, leading to Kish having to order her to cut corners in order to get it out on time…and for that, it was actually on time as the tables had to wait for that course. We saw all of the kitchen drama, the judges didn’t. They saw Kish biting her tongue and refusing to drive the bus over Josie. Meanwhile, Josie had no problem getting behind the wheel to save herself by blaming Kish’s concept and leadership for her faulty dish.

It is this disconnect that often hurts the judging process. They don’t see what’s going on. And, if you ask me, they should NOT speculate about what may have happened and judge the food. They could not really understand what happened between Josie and Kish – all they could get out of it was that Kish ordered the changes to the dish, that the dish was delayed coming out, and that Josie has ALWAYS been late with her service. Do the math guys, and figure it out.

American Idol 12, Jan. 17 – Breaking My Heart in a Whole New Way

I have to admit I wasn't as annoyed with Nicki Minaj last night as I thought I'd be. I was annoyed with the whole catfight thing with Mariah Carey. Are those two divas going to do that the whole season? We no longer have the fake fights between Simon and Paula, but now we have to have this instead? Did the producers set that up on purpose as it almost seemed like some of the catfights were a little staged. Yet it's not them breaking my heart tonight; it's the last auditioner.

The first contestant tonight is Mackenzie Wasner, 17, of Leiper's Fork, TN. Ryan Seacrest interviews the family looking for musical types and finds her dad who is a piano player and singer/songwriter. Mackenzie started singing early, with her first gig being alongside her dad as they sang the ABCs for her Kindergarten class. Her dad plays keyboards for Vince Gill, and she thinks of him as her own Idol judge.

Mackenzie sings a song first with her dad at home, then in front of the judges here in Chicago. She has a great classic country voice. Mariah loaves her voice and thinks she's beautiful and has a star power that can be honed. Nicki feels someone like her walks into a room once every few years. That didn't sound like being in a competition; it sounded like her first single. She blew her mind. She is a star.

Randy Jackson loved the song and thought she did it justice. He feels she has a huge road ahead of her. What Keith Urban loved is that she has a great blend between of strength and vulnerability like he could hear in Lee Ann Womack's first record, with a little bit of Dolly Parton as well. She gets four yeses. Well, three and a “pow” from Mariah.

Austin Earles, 19, fast food services, Lakeview, MI, gets told by Randy that the judges are all like a family, although we don't learn why he said that. Austin launches into his audition and gets laughter from the judges. Mariah cuts him off, claiming it's because of time. Nicki argues they're not out of time, and Mariah think she might like to hear him sing to her some more. Nicki claims she'd like to hear it every day.

Kiara Lanier, 21, college student/teacher, Chicago, sang for President Obama at his birthday fundraiser. She was comfortable with it as she was singing classic. He hugged her and shook her hand. Kiara asks the judges how they've been enjoying Chicago, then thanks Mariah, because as a little girl she liked seeing someone else who was multi-racial and looked like her.

Kiara sings The Prayer and has a beautiful tone and great emotion. Nicki gives her a “Wooh! Take me now!” when she finishes, and after the other judges add some wows, Nicki tells Kiara when you can only hear wows, you know it was “pretty freaking pretty.” She has a lot of control, soft and hgh, but pretty and beautiful, especially being so youg. Randy was impressed. Mariah feels she has potential, is a beautiful girl, and she loves how she went in and out of the soft, and not in a typical way. Keith thinks she looks ready to be a star, and he loved the little nuance in the runs of Aaron Neville. She gets four easy yeses.

Stephanie Schimel, 21, a lingerie store employee, Milwaukee, sings Dream a Little Dream With Me and sounds beuatiful, alhtough she apologizes for it shaking because of the nerves. Mariah liked the choice of song and felt she had a really nice tone. Keith heard an interesting Carrie Underwood/Gwen Stefani blend. He loves her whole light. Nicki wasn't wowed, but thinks Stephanie and her voice are pretty. They've just seen such magnetic things, and she doesn't feel she compares. Randy thinks she's really talented. It comes down to a vote and Nicki is the only no, but Stephanie doesn't like her any less. Nicki notes they have the same color of eye shadow on.

This elicits a catfight with Maria, of course, and leads into a montage of a whole day-long catfight. Keith beats his head on the judges' desk and comments that he feels like a scratching post sitting between the two of them. It's obviously stressing Ryan out, so he gets a massage from one of the auditioners.

The masseuse is Melissa Bush, 27, Grandville, MI. She's a quieter person, but wanted to show her personality, so got this pink one-piece unitard that looks like a 70s-era Elvis costume that got washed in hot water with a red sock. She likes that it's shiny. She's a bad dancer, so I can't imagine the singing is going to be great. She does bring Randy a t-shirt, and it says, “Get down DAWG.” She sings Downtown and does sing a little bit better than her dancing. A little. All the judges can say is “Okay,” until Keith asks, “Check please?” Voting, Nicki says “Bush, you'll always be my Bush, but no.” Huh? The others vote no as well, and Mariah calls them all vulgar, assumably for the Bush comments.

Past Idol finalist Haley Reinhart warms the waiting crowd, and Nicki is acting up again.

The Small Town Idol Bus Tour rolled through Iowa City and found rocker Gabe Brown, 21, a baker, Marion, IA, and invited him to audition in Chicago. He comes bearing gifts, cookies. He and and his mom made them. He's been humming and making noises forever, but didn't begin making words and singing until he was around 2, like Little Teapot and Mary Had a Little Lamb. He sings Gimme Shelter and is a screamer.

Keith loves it, then cracks he'd like to hear something with volume. Mariah asks for something a little softer or more mellow. Gabe sings We All Die Young, and it's mellow, until he cranks this one up too. Nicki likes him, and so does Randy. Nicki believes him when he's doing the rock thing and hears authenticity. Keith likes it too, saying the guys with the big massive voices have big voices as well. Mariah votes yes, as do the rest of the judges. He's onto Hollywood.