What’s Hot on TV Tonight – American Idol Top 20

It's a strange night for TV. On the last night of February, many networks and cable stations seem to be taking the night off. Fear not. American Idol is on, and by the end of the night, we should know who the season 12 top 20 are. Catch up on your favorite shows you may have missed at TV-Links.

1. The Ellen DeGeneres Show Zach Braff, Laurie Holden, and Chris Mann are the guests today. Syndicated, check local listings.

2. Community. The study group bbegins European history with Prof. Noel Cornwallis, and Dean Pelton isn't please for Chang to return to the campus. 7:00 PM CT NBC

3. Zero Hour. Hank has renewed determination when he comes back from India, Laila leaves a trail of clues for Hank, and Hank's mom and dad appear to be holding a secret. 7:00 PM CT ABC

4. American Idol. The second group of 10 guys perform. 7:00 PM CT Fox

5. NBA Basketball. Philadelphia 76ers at Chicago Bulls. 7:00 PM CT TNT

6. Guinness World Records Gone Wild. Records include a man using his skull to crush watermelons, sticking plungers to people, using teeth to rip through metal, and a greased pole. 7:00 PM CT truTV

7. Mysteries at the Museum. Don Wildman travels to the Hollywood Museum in L.A. to examine a silk dress costume from a movie that is believed to be part of a legendary curse that's taken the lives of some of cinema’s biggest stars. He then heads to the Strong Museum of Play in Rochester to see a sample of a putty-like material that was molded into one of America’s most iconic and classic toys, and to the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston to look at a faded brown document that served as a crucial piece of evidence in a sensational murder case and inspired a chilling literary classic. 8:00 PM CT Travel Channel

8. Project Runway The designers create age-appropriate looks for seniors. 8:00 PM CT Lifetime

9. Mary Mary. Mary Mary's fall tour could be their last. 8:00 PM CT WE

10. Comic Book Men. Walt negotiates for an Asteroids arcade cabinet, and Ming is thrilled about GI Joes. 8:00 PM CT AMC

11. 1600 Penn. President Gilchrist tries to clear his head with a family trip to the ranch, Skip mourns his failed relationship, and Emily tries spending meaningful time with Xander and Marigold. 8:30 PM CT NBC

12. Anger Management. Cee Lo Green becomes Charlie's newest patient. 8:30 PM CT FX

13. Freakshow. On a family trip, “Lobster Boy” joins Todd to get a two-headed baby, and a performer goes into panic mode. 8:30 PM CT AMC

14. King of the Nerds. The Nerd War is decided by Physics and broken glass, leading to the final four. 9:00 PM CT TBS

15. Archer. Archer, Lana, and Cyril are undercover in a celebrity chef's kitchen . 9:00 PM CT FX

16. Upload with Shaquille O'Neal. Shaq pranks Gary, Godfrey and Shaq compete, and Arnez J has a challenge to find a clip on the Internet. 9:00 PM CT truTV

17. After the First 48. During a suspected killer's trial a 10-year-old girl who witnessed her parents being shot gives emotional testimony. 9:00 PM CT A&E

18. What Not to Wear. Family Ties' Tina Yothers needs fashion help. 9:00 PM CT Bravo

19. Immortalized. Takeshi Yamada vs. Mac McCullough in a “The Odyssey” theme. 9:00 PM CT AMC

20. NBA Basketball. Minnesota Timberwolves at Los Angeles Lakers. 9:30 PM CT TNT

21. Legit. Jim misses out on a role because of his weight, then looks for career advices, acting lessons, and physical training from Andy Dick. 9:30 PM CT FX

22. The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. The guests tonight include Steve Carell, Joey King, and Shooter Jennings. 10:35 PM CT NBC


What’s Hot on TV Tonight – More Female Performances on Idol

Whether it's the change in judges or the format changes, the group of five girls who went through on American Idol last night is the most talented bunch I've seen. Will the next group of ten tonight bring the same amount of talent? Check out your other favorite shows at TV-Links.

1. The Ellen DeGeneres Show. The guests today are Colin Farrell and Steve Spangler. Syndicated, check local listings.

2. Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favorites. The special bond between Malcolm and Corinne leads to a discovery that picks up the game, and alliances shift. 7:00 PM CT CBS

3. Whitney. Alex tries to bring his old motorcycle days back to life, and Whitney is not pleased; Lily goes iwthout mark's approval and orders new beer for the bar. 7:00 PM CT NBC

4. The Middle. Axl, Sue, and Brick blame the neighborhood bad kids for the family room window they break themselves, and Frankie tries to get a great dental rotation spot. 7:00 PM CT N\ABC

5. Arrow. Oliver and Diggle find out Deadshot is alive and targeting Malcolm, Tommy won't go to a benefit honoring Malcolm, and Olives attempts to balance his relationship with McKenna alongside his work at Arrow. 7:00 PM CT CW

6. American Idol. Ten more male singers perform. 7:00 PM CT Fox

7. NBA Basketball. Golden State Warriors at New York Knicks. 7:00 PM CT ESPN

8. Guys with Kids. Season finale. With Chris and Sheila entertaining the idea of having another baby together, Nick and Emily put on a divorce party to remind Chris why it's not a great idea, and Marny's' little sister gets hired as an assistant for Gary. 7:30 PM CT NBC

9. The Neighbors. The Weavers and Bird-Kersees go camping, and Marty tries to show he can be manlike like his father. The families deal with an animal. 7:30 PM CT ABC

10. Criminal Minds. Victims of the BAUs stalker turn up in Philadelphia, and team members believe they are getting close to nabbing the suspect. 8:00 PM CT CBS

11. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. An up-an-coming singer gets beaten up by her boyfriend who happens to be a famous hip-hop star, yet the singer refuses to help the aDA build his case, and a media circus results. Shades of Chris Brown and Rihanna? 8:00 PM CT NBC

12. Modern Family. Mitch and Cam are told by a friend that she's getting married the next day, and they'll be part of the wedding, Gloria doesn't have trust in her new nanny, Claire and Haley bond, and Phil helps Luke with a girl. 8:00 PM CT ABC

13. Supernatural. Sam and Dean investigate a case of an amnesiac dying and reviving himself once a day. 8:00 PM CT CW

14. Boston's Finest. Series premiere. After spending time in Afghanistan, Officer Jenn Penton patrols Boston with an intense purpose, especially when drugs are concerned, and Greg Dankers and the Fugitive Unit look for a drug dealer. 8:00 PM CT TNT

15. Ghost Hunters. The team investigates the Sylvan Beach Amusement Park in Sylvan Beach, NY. Will TAPS ignite the paranormal behavior of three dead employees? 8:00 PM CT Syfy

16. Hoarding: Buried Alive. Two sisters and their brother have to deal with their mom's house of clutter after she passes away, and they bring a medium to help find important documents. 8:00 PM CT TLC

17. Baggage Battles A trove of rare and valuable Americana antiques and collectibles were unearthed deep inside a Shreveport barn after a wealthy Louisiana collector passes away. Billy Leroy, Mark Meyer and married couple Laurence and Sally Martin head south to bid on items from the golden age of radio and turn-of-the-century oddities. 8:00 PM CT Travel Channel

18. Kimora: House of Fab. Kimora believes the company should start designing dresses, the poor job performance of Lianca is noticed, and the company sells shoes for the benefit of breast cancer awareness. 8:00 PM CT Style

19. Suburgatory. Marty passes away, deeply affecting George, and Tessa contemplates the future of her relationship with Ryan after finding he has been dishonest, and also consider her plans for college. 8:30 PM CT ABC

20. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. The team investigates several prominent poker players' deaths. 9:00 PM CT NBC

21. Chicago Fire. Severide's dad visits and clashes with Chief Boden regarding a past colleague's death, Shay comes to a decision about Clarice, and the mystery surrounding Herrmann, Otis, and Dawson's bar is revealed. 9:00 PM CT NBC

22. Nashville. Juliette wants to host a surprise party for Deacon's birthday, Teddy and Rayna's divorce proceeds while assumptions about Rayna's fidelity continues, and Gunnar's brother charms Scarlett. 9:00 PM CT ABC

23. Southland. The dispatch system of the LAPD breaks down, Lydia reaches out to an ex, John gets a new partner, and Ben and Sammy's partnership continues to be strained. 9:00 PM CT TNT

24. Psych. Season premiere. After being shot, Henry fights for his life, and Shawn wants revenge on everyone who was part of the scandal. 9:00 PM CT USA

25. The Americans. An important agent dissolves under emotional distress and threatens to bring down a valuable network of KGB informants, and Philip and Elizabeth are asked to infiltrate the FBI's new communications encryption system. 9:00 PM CT FX

26. Stranded. Real people alone in haunted locations overnight. 9:00 PM CT Syfy

27. Top Chef: Seattle. Season finale. 9:00 PM CT Bravo

28. Street Eats. Chorizo omelets, grilled teriyaki and lobster mac n' cheese are just some of the street foods catching on across the U.S. Food carts, trucks and counters are cooking up everything from international comfort foods to haute cuisine. 9:00 PM CT Travel Channel

29. NBA Basketball. Denver Nuggets at Portland Trail Blazers. 9:30 PM CT ESPN

30. Late Show with David Letterman. The guests tonight include Tina Fey, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Solange. 10:35 PM CT NBC


What’s Hot on TV Tonight – Celebrity Wife Swap

I can't think of a better guilty pleasure than this. Celebrity Wife Swap. Instead of watching total strangers switch family and deal with each other's weird rituals, habits, and rules, it will be celebrities this season. First up are Kate Gosselin and Kendra Wilkinson. Catch up with all the TV you may have missed at TV-Links.

1. The Ellen DeGeneres Show. The guests today are Randy Jackson and Cameron Mathison. Syndicated, check local listings.

2. NCIS. While transporting a body at a crime scene, Jimmy and Ducky go missing. 7:00 PM CT CBS

3. Betty White's Off Their Rockers. In the first half hour, Nick Cannon is the guest. In the second half hour, pranks from season one are re-aired. 7:00 PM CT NBC

4. Celebrity Wife Swap. Kate Gosselin and Kendra Wilkinson switch places. 7:00 PM CT ABC

5. Hart of Dixie Zoe agrees to be Wanda's maid-of-honor, and Lavon and George try to prevent a shopping mall construction near a local beach. 7:00 PM CT CW

6. Raising Hope. Natesville locals help the family with a birthday party for Hope, and Sabrina makes a new friend. Hilary Duff guest stars. 7:00 PM CT Fox

7. Pretty Little Liars. Spencer is open to talking, Ashley gets involved in a hit-and-run, Henna has a new secret, and Aria deals with Ezra's new life with Malcolm. 7:00 PM CT ABC Family

8. The Bad Girls Club: Atlanta. Jenniffer finally gets to her breaking point, and the girls decide to leave the tension of the house behind and head to Savannah. 7:00 PM CT Oxygen

9. NICIS: Los Angeles. Sam helps a friend from the past, an Afghani elder, look for his missing nephew, and Callen is concerned that Sam is invested too much 8:00 PM CT CBS

10. Go On. Simon wants Ryan to not wear his wedding ring any more, Ryan has an encounter with sad bachelor Hughie, and Anne agrees to let Mr. K babysit, albeit reluctantly. 8:00 PM CT NBC

11. The Taste. in the toughest and most exotic challenge yet, no part of the animal is off limits and nothing goes to waste. Nine contestants clearly reach out of their culinary comfort zones, three are sent home and six move on to the semi-finals. Also, Greg Morin and David McMillan join as guest judges/mentors. 8:00 PM CT ABC

12. Cult. Jeff gets E.J.'s hep to look for Nate, Skye explains her motive for taking on the researcher job to Jeff, Peter puts aside Sky's concerns about the show, and Kelly thinks Billy is sending a message. 8:00 PM CT CW

13. New Girl./span> A pro football player expresses an interest in Jess, Nick and Schmidt disagree about a party they are holding to celebrate ten years of livi in together, Cece gets an offer 8:00 PM CT Fox

14. Face Off./span> The artists create a horde of zombies, then head out into the moonlit night and team up to create planet-inspired alien werewolves. 8:00 PM CT Syfy

15. The Lying Game./span> Dan and Theresa's wedding doesn't go off as it was supposed to, Ethan confronts Emma, Jordan picks a sec in Alec and Rebecca's game, and Sutton's change of heart confuses Emma. 8:00 PM CT ABC Family

16. Top Gear./span> The guys go to Las Vegas the create the ultimate taxi, the see how can get the most tips on the Vegas strip. Also a review of the McLaren MP4-12C. 8:00 PM CT History

17. Dance Moms. Abby haas the team fending for themselves when her pet dies, and the team leaves for St. Louis to compete against Kaya Wiley. 8:00 PM CT Lifetime

18. The Face. The aspiring models need to traverse an enormous staircase while wearing large bridal gowns. 8:00 PM CT Oxygen

19. The New Normal. Bryan and David let their friends throw them a baby shower, even though they don't want one, and Clay and Shanie have a surprise shower for Goldie. 8:30 PM CT NBC

20. The Mindy Project. Mindy reminisces about summer camp with the recipient of her first kiss. 8:30 PM CT Fox

21. Golden Boy. Series premiere. In an interview about his career, Walter Clark Jr. reflects on his journey from homicide detective to the NYPD's youngest police commissioner . 9:00 PM CT CBS

22. Smash. Karen puts together a huge opportunity for Jimmy and Kyle, Peter challenges Julia as they keep working together, and Eileen comes up against her morals, and it could have significant ramifications for Bombshell. 9:00 PM CT NBC

23. Body of Proof. Season premiere, part 2. Megan solves the serial killer case but can't share it with her team because of Lacey's life being in danger, and Kate is targeted by D.A. Dan Russell. 9:00 PM CT CBS

24. Cougar Town. Laurie and Wade decide to live together, Tome becomes the personal cheerleader for Jules, and Grayson and Jules spend a naked day together. 9:00 PM CT TBS

25. White Collar. Peter and Neal continue looking into the investigation of Ellen's evidence box. 9:00 PM CT USA

26. Justified. The search for Drew Thompson begins its home stretch, and bodies start dropping. 9:00 PM CT FX

27. Robot Combat League. Series premiere. Twenty-four contestants control eight-foot-tall weapons of mass destruction in the ultimate, high-tech death match. 9:00 PM CT Syfy

28. Our America with Lisa Ling. Children being cared for by untrustworthy people. 9:00 PM CT OWN

29. The Millionaire Matchmaker. Robin Kassner comes back for makeover, and a millionaire who is both a doctor and a lawyer refuses to take Patti's advice. 9:00 PM CT Bravo

30. Armed & Ready. Series premiere. In the first half hour, Kevin Michael Connolly is in the Great Smoky Mountains climbing a 50-foot tree with lumberjacks, zorbing, traversing the rapids of the Pigeon Forge River, and tossing razor sharp axes at a target that is 30-feet away. In the second half hour, he travels to the Big Island to attempt a 40-foot cliff dive and also skateboards on hardened lava, hits the beach for some surfing, zip-lines 300 feet above the jungle and shreds the ATV trails on Hawaii’s tallest mountain. 9:00 PM CT Travel Channel

31. Ultimate Soldier Challenge. It's the U.S. Army Rangers vs. Britain's Royal Air Force Regiment. 9:00 PM CT Lifetime

32. Double Divas. Molly and Cynthia take Loren on a bra-fitting road trip. 9:00 PM CT Lifetime

33. Snooki & JWOWW. Snooki and Jionni try to get their relationship back on track, and Jenni contemplates hooking up Roger and her mom. 9:00 PM CT MTV

34. Late Show with David Letterman. The guests tonight are Joan Rivers, Jimmie Johnson, and Kendrick Lamar. 10:35 PM CT CBS

What’s Hot on TV Tonight – The Bachelor Final 3

It's down to the final three tonight on The Bachelor. I seriously have no idea who it's going to be. Usually there is one where I'm thinking I hope he doesn't pick her, or there's no way he's going to pick her, etc., but I seriously don't know how he's leaning. I'm guessing the girls don't either. Catch up with all the TV you may have missed at TV-Links.

1. The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Felicity Huffman is the guest. Syndicated, check local listings

2. How I Met Your Mother. Following Ted and Jeanette's breakup, Barney gets Ted another date with his playbook, and Lily tries to be impressive at a gallery opening. 7:00 PM CT CBS

3. The Biggest Loser. Sean and the final three go to Thailand. 7:00 PM CT NBC

4. The Bachelor. Sean travels to the final four ladies' hometowns. 7:00 PM CT ABC

5. The Carrie Diaries. Carrie is offered an internship, George and Carrie go to a school dance, Dorrit goes to the ballet with Tom, Mouse blames Seth for a grade, and Maggie is blackmailed by Donna. 7:00 PM CT CW

6. Bones. An educated eccentric intern begins working at the Jeffersonian, and Brennan tries to keep an open mind about questions relating to science. 7:00 PM CT Fox

7. Continuum. Kiera suspects her partner may be involved in the murder of a politician. 7:00 PM CT Syfy

8. Switched at Birth. Carlton's deaf students make it known they don't agree with extending the pilot program for hearing students, Toby and Elisa get closer, and Daphne gets chosen for the lead in the play. 7:00 PM CT ABC Family

9. The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Kim and Kyle confront Taylor about alcohol use, everyone but Taylor heads to Paris, and the ladies are worried about Kim's odd behavior. 7:00 PM CT Bravo

10. Finding Bigfoot: Further Evidence. Multiple sightings in the Sierras, and the team hopes the alleged sasquatch will be attracted by a past relic. 7:00 PM CT Animal Planet

11. Jerseylicious. The works look for props for a photo shoot, a commotion is caused by book credits being assigned, Tracy, Olivia, and Gigi have a confrontation, and Tracy moves to Staten Island. 7:00 PM CT Style

12. Rules of Engagement. Jeff has to go to the hospital because of a “special” cupcake, then decides to change his unhealthy habits, and Russell brings Timmy on a date when his date brings her mom. 7:30 PM CT CBS

13. 2 Broke Girls. Max and Caroline ask Caroline's rich aunt for financial help to try to save the cupcake shop. 8:00 PM CT CBS

14. 90210. Dixon books Michaela to perform at Naomi and Mark's new restaurant's opening night, Annie is confused by her feelings for Liam, and Navid finds out Campbell is cheating on his fiance. 8:00 PM CT CW

15. The Following. A new follower shows Carroll's true intentions, Hardy tries turning Jacob, Emma, and Paula agains each other, and Emma makes a surprising decision. 8:00 PM CT Fox

16. Dallas. John Ross tries to convince Sue Ellen to help him, Christopher and Pamela Rebecca finalize their divorce, and an outside threatens to undermine the family 8:00 PM CT TNT

17. Being Human. Josh reconnects with his sister while sitting vigil over Erin. Nora's suspicious about Aidan's role in Erin's injury. Aidan deals with a new sexy vampire who's going to turn Kenny. Sally gets in touch with Bridget. 8:00 PM CT Syfy

18. Bunheads. Season finale. Michelle goes to Hollywood for a Broadway musical audition, Fanny and Scotty come back, and Sasha believes the girls and their boyfriends should take their relationships to the next level. 8:00 PM CT ABC Family

19. Vanderpump Rules. Season finale. Lisa gets a photo shoot together for SUR's staff, Scheana tries to get Lisa's respect again, Kristen and Stassi try to settle their differences, and the truth about Jax is revealed. 8:00 PM CT Bravo

20. Bizarre Foods America. From a small town farmer trying to create the perfect pig, to a quaint café offering new twists on the daily special, to an immigrant community from Africa bringing the taste of their homeland, Iowa is home to a whole world of unexpected flavors! The menu ranges from heritage pork brains with spring onion kimchi to a stew made with a whole sheep's head. 8:00 PM CT Travel Channel

21. Mike & Molly. Molly goes shopping at the mall after Mike storms off in an argument. 8:30 PM CT CBS

22. Deception. Edward makes a confession during a press conference that impacts his family and the business, Mia is contacted by her biological dad, and Joanna needs to stay clear of a hitman. 9:00 PM CT NBC

23. Castle. After the Fbi can't get Alexis back, Castle takes matters into his own hands, Castle finds out his daughter's kidnapping could be part of be bigger plan. 9:00 PM CT ABC

24. Monday Mornings. The surgeons can't agree on Tina's proposal to use an unorthodox procedure, Villanueva has to find a way to treat a girl who doesn't want care, and Sung's former patient sues because of an unforeseen side effect to come out of an otherwise successful surgery. 9:00 PM CT TNT

25. Burning Love Series premiere. Mark Orlando makes his picks over the initial lot of women. 9:00 PM CT E!

26. Teen Mom 2.Kailyn and Jo go to court, Chelsea attends her first day of beauty school, Leah speaks her feelings for Corey, and Jenelle finds out Gary slept with her best friend. 9:00 PM CT MTV

27. After Lately. Season premiere. Reese Witherspoon comes back, a lesson in the dangers of reading through the network focus testing, and going to a fundraiser with Monica Potter. 9:30 PM CT E!

28. The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Russell Crowe, Eli Roth, and Robert Randolph and The Slide Brothers are the guests tonight. 10:35 PM CT NBC

What’s Hot on TV Tonight – Academy Awards

It's time for the Academy Awards, and this year they're opting to use Seth MacFarlane as host. He's an interesting choice. It'll be interesting to see if he really sticks it to the celebs or whether he plays it safe. Catch up on your other favorite shows at TV-Links.

1. NASCAR: Sprint Cup. Daytona 500 from Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, FL. 11:00 AM CT Fox

2. NBA Basketball. Los Angeles Lakers at Dallas Mavericks 12:00 PM CT ABC

3. College Basketball. Illinois at Michigan. 12:00 PM CT ESPN

4. College Basketball. Cincinnati at Notre Dame. 1:00 PM CT CBS

5. PGA Tour Golf. Final Round of WGC Accenture Match Play Championship from Marana, AZ. 1:00 PM CT NBC

6. College Basketball. Michigan State at Ohio State. 3:00 PM CT CBS

7. 60 Minutes. Stories include a former SEAL discussing what happened on his mission when Osama bin Laden was killed. 6:00 PM CT CBS

8. Oscars Red Carpet Live. Lara Spencer, Jess Cagle, Kristin Chenoweth, and Kelly Rowland host. 6:00 PM CT ABC

9. NBA Basketball. Memphis Grizzlies at Brooklyn Nets. 6:00 PM CT ESPN

10. The Amazing Race. Still in Bora Bora, one team is panicked because of a fear of water, and another team has a game-threatening injury. 7:00 PM CT CBS

11. Gypsy Sisters: Extra Bling Three extra hours of the Gypsy Sisters. 7:00 PM CT TLC

12. The Oscars. Seth MacFarlane hosts, and Adele, Norah Jones, Barbra Streisand, and Shirley Bassey perform. 7:30 PM CT ABC

13. Oprah's Lifeclass Rick Warren is Oprah's guest discussing the three levels of existence, survival, success, and significance. 8:00 PM CT OWN

14. Snapped. A biology professor reflects on a surprising history of violence as he ends a faculty meeting with gunfire. 8:00 PM CT Oxygen

15. Walking Dead. Security is threatened, and Rick and the others have to make a choice, as Andrea becomes uneasy. 8:00 PM CT AMC

16. Girls. Hanna and Jessa go upstate to visit Jessa's dad. 8:00 PM CT HBO

17. Shameless. The Department of Family Services take the kids away, making fiona desperate to get them back. 8:00 PM CT Showtime

18. NBA Basketball. Chicago Bulls at Oklahoma City Thunder. 8:30 PM CT ESPN

19. Enlightened. Tyler has Eileen put together a meeting for Amy, Dougie receives official word about Cogentiva's future, and Amy confides in Krista and has a tense meeting with Levi. 8:30 PM CT HBO

20. Finding Bigfoot. Trail cameras in the Great Smoky Mountains show a possible sasquatch, and the team tries ti bait an elusive creature with hog callers. 9:00 PM CT Animal Planet

21. House of Lies. 9:00 PM CT Showtime

22. Californication. Karen asks Hank to step in and help with Becca, and the boys and Atticus Fetch board Air Force 69. 9:30 PM CT Showtime

Project Runway 11: A Little Bit Country and a Lot of Fringe

Last week on Project Runway, the designers faced what Heidi called the “ultimate hard and soft challenge.”  It was an “unconventional materials” challenge in which they had to use both flowers and hardware.  The two teams were also mixed up a bit, with Stanley and Layana going to the Dream Team and Michelle going to Team Keeping It Real.  The Dream Team won their first challenge, thanks partly to Stanley’s organizational skills and idea of patterning the collection after 1950’s Dior, thus ensuring a cohesive collection.  Samantha of the Dream Team won immunity, while Joseph from Team Keeping it Real was sent home.  Then Tim announced that there was some “unfinished business” to attend to…

The designers go back to the runway to find Heidi holding the Ominous Velvet Bag of Unnecessary Drama, which immediately makes everybody nervous.  Heidi explains that the teams are history.  From now on, the designers will work in pairs.  Heidi advises the designers to consider things like complementary skills when choosing a partner.  Samantha, as the winner, gets first pick, and she chooses Daniel.  The other pairs are Richard and Stanley, Patricia and Layana, Matthew and Michelle, Kate and Tu, and Amanda and Benjamin.  Afterwards, everybody goes back to Atlas Apartments for some much-needed sleep.

The following morning, the designers meet Tim at a country-and-western bar called Johnny Utah’s.  Tim tells them he wants to get them in the appropriate frame of mind, since their next challenge is a client challenge– and said client is a country-and-western singer named Miranda Lambert.  Each team will make two looks, a stage look and a red carpet look.  The looks don’t have to be cohesive or complementary, but they do have to fit Miranda’s tastes.  For instance, she “likes her curves.”

The teams then have the traditional thirty minutes to caucus.  During this, they divvy up the design duties.  Patricia plans to use her Native American heritage to advantage and make the performance look, while teammate Layana will work on the red carpet look.  Similarly, Amanda hopes to use her Nashville roots to advantage while making the performance look.  Partner Benjamin will do the red carpet look.  Kate will tackle the red carpet look while Tu makes the stage look.  Michelle will make the red carpet look, while Matthew makes the stage look.  Samantha will make the performance look and Daniel will make the red carpet look.  Noticing that all of the other red carpet designers are talking about making gowns, Daniel decides to make separates, which he believes would travel better and be more versatile.  As for the last team, Stanley will make the red carpet look, while Richard will make the stage look.

Then it’s off to Mood, where each team has $400.00 and thirty minutes to spend.  For some reason, quite a few people get something navy or dark blue.  That could work for a red carpet gown, but probably not for a stage outfit.  Benjamin and Amanda discover they have spent only around $270.00 of their money– and they wonder if they have bought enough supplies or overlooked something essential.  Back at the workroom, the designers watch a tape of Miranda performing, which likely reminds some of them that stage outfits have to accommodate movement.

Matthew talks about feeling the need to prove himself.  He was on the Dream Team, which had lost three out of four challenges, and consequently fears being sent home.  It’s an understandable concern– so long as he doesn’t let it paralyze him.  Richard is using a black netted material for his look.

Kate and Tu talk about their different aesthetics.  She likes feminine looks, while he prefers edgier styles.  Tu’s thinking about making something inspired by Lady Gaga for the stage look.  That’s probably a bad idea, since Lady Gaga isn’t a country singer.  Samantha is planning a motorcycle jacket for part of her look.  Daniel is using a soutache technique with some leather.  Wikipedia defines soutache as “a narrow flat decorative braid…, used in the trimming of drapery or clothing. ”  It can be used to conceal a hem.  Michelle is working on a vest, while Benjamin has decided to try to solve his time management problems by making a schedule.  So far, he’s been able to stick to it.

Tim comes in to make his rounds, and he starts with Samantha and Daniel.  He likes Samantha’s fitted jacket and draped skirt and is impressed by Daniel’s soutache.  He also likes the keyhole in Layana’s red carpet gown.  He is initially nonplussed by Patricia’s garment, but warms to it after she’s explained the thinking behind it.

Tim okays Kate’s red dress, but isn’t so impressed by Tu’s attempt to “Gaga-ize” Miranda Lambert by exaggerating her curves.  He notes, “If the construction elements are fitted, then they’ll work, but if they are filled, she will look like a cartoon.”  He also has concerns about Richard’s look, since Richard is using mesh– without a lining.  Consequently, a lot of skin will be showing.  Tim seems satisfied with Amanda and Benjamin’s progress, but spots problems at Michelle and Matthew’s table.  Matthew is using leather and lace in his piece– and has no idea what sort of skirt to make.  Sensing that the real problem is a lack of confidence, Tim gives Matthew a pep talk.

After Tim leaves, the designers get back to work.  Well, most of them get back to work; Michelle decides to entertain everybody with her impersonations of Nina.  The models come in for their fitting and Michelle finds her dress fits.  Stanley frets about the fact that Richard still hasn’t come up with a lining for his dress.  As Amanda works with some fringe, she tells us about how her family produces more than its fair share of achievers and she feels the need to live up to that standard.  Specifically, her older brother James is the lead singer in the band Maroon 5.

On the morning of the runway show, Michelle is worried about Matthew, who still hasn’t made a skirt for his look.  He finally starts work  on a pleated skirt.  Richard still hasn’t come up with a lining for his dress, and it’s not until the models arrive that he gets a brainwave and cuts up a Mood t-shirt he’d bought.  He’ll make a tube-top out of it, which should cover enough skin to satisfy modesty.  While the models go to hair and make-up, Michelle helps Matthew finish his skirt.

On the runway, Heidi introduces Miranda Lambert, who is both the client and the guest judge.  Amanda is up first, and she made a sleeveless dark blue mini-dress for a stage outfit.  It is decorated with lots and lots of fringe.  Benjamin made the red carpet look, a strapless navy gown.

Tu made a sleeveless black mini-dress for a stage outfit.  It has pleats down the front.  Kate made the red carpet look, a long red gown.  It has a sleeveless bodice made of red leather that has a cut-out in the back.

Samantha made a short black skirt and a black leather vest for the stage look.  Daniel made the red carpet look, and opted to make separates.  He made a long navy blue skirt with a slit and a short fringe decorating the hem.  He also made a black leather halter with lots and lots of soutache.

Matthew made a stage outfit with a simple, short black skirt.  He also made a one-shouldered black bodice.  For a stage outfit?    Wouldn’t lighter, brighter colors be better for that?  Michelle made a red carpet look consisting of a long, tight, black skirt, and a black vest.  She then made an item that seems like a cross between a necklace and a bib.  It consists of several strips of off-white leather hanging down the model’s front.

Patricia made what looks like a simple brown dress for a stage look.  She then decorated it with lots and lots of long, off-white fringe.  Layana made a red carpet look, a sleeveless blue gown with a goodly portion of the front cut away, revealing the model’s legs.

Richard made a sleeveless, black and silver mini-dress.  It’s decorated with lot and lots of fringe.  Stanley made the red carpet look, which is a long, black sleeveless gown with a voluminous skirt.

After the show, Heidi calls Patricia, Layana, Kate and Tu.  She tells them that they are safe.  The other pairs all have to face the judges.  Richard, Stanley, Amanda, and Benjamin got the high scores, while Matthew, Michelle, Samantha, and Daniel got the low scores.

The judges decide to talk to the high scorers first, and start with Stanley and Richard.  Richard explained that he’d made the stage outfit, so one of his priorities had been making something Miranda could easily move in.  Zac said that he’d been successful, while Heidi thought the dress looked expensive.  Nina said it would flatter Miranda’s curves.  Miranda herself liked the length and said she could see herself wearing it.

Stanley had designed his red carpet dress to be photogenic.  Miranda said it was “great,” and that she loved the plunging neckline, but also that there was too much skirt.  Nina said it was beautiful, but also agreed Miranda would be “swallowed up” by the skirt.  Heidi loved the plunging neckline.

Benjamin simply wanted to make a dress fit for the red carpet.  Nina thinks the dress is gorgeous and elegant from “every angle.”  Zac liked the styling.  Miranda was uncertain about how “forgiving” the fabric would be, but Heidi thought the dress would look good on her.  Nina also thinks the dress would provide sufficient support.

Amanda tells the judges that she was inspired by Nashville “classic dive.”  Miranda thinks the dress is really cool and adds that she would buy it.  Zac praises Amanda for using a fabric like jersey, which is more commonly used in casual attire, and making a nice dress out of it.  Nina likes the “easiness” of the dress.

Then it’s time for the low scoring designers to face the judges, and they start with Michelle.  She tells them she’d designed her look with the MTV awards in mind.  Heidi scathingly comments that dress would put Miranda on the “worst-dressed list.”  All of the judges hate the bib, with Zac going so far as to say it looks like linguini.  Nina thinks the outfit looks “very rock of ages” and “dated.”

Matthew simply shows his look.  Heidi says she can tell he had put in a lot of details, but she can’t really see them– and a stage outfit’s details should be visible from a distance.  Heidi and Zac both agree that a stage outfit should be bolder.  Nina adds that the garment has neither shine nor movement.  Miranda believes he could do better and needs to have more confidence in himself and his work.

Daniel describes his soutache technique, which, unfortunately doesn’t impress the judges.  Miranda hadn’t been able to tell the top was made of leather, and Heidi thinks it looks like tinfoil.  Nina thinks the outfit looks cheap and that the fringed skirt looks a cross between a tablecloth and a napkin.  Zac says the outfit looks old, and Heidi thinks it makes the model look heavier.

Samantha had used leather and suede in her stage look.  Zac thinks it lacks “wow.”  Miranda comments that she would wear the outfit Samantha was wearing before she would wear the one she’d designed.  The consensus seems to be that Samantha is lucky to have immunity this week.

Afterwards, the judges have their chat, starting with the designers they’d liked.  Amanda’s look was versatile, while Benjamin’s was elegant and timeless.  Richard’s look was more rock and roll than country, but still a good dress.  Stanley’s was nice, but had some fit issues.

As for the designers they didn’t like, Michelle has questionable taste.  She also has a strong point of view and an 80’s vibe.  Matthew does have good taste, but no confidence.  Daniel’s dress looked cheap, and Samantha is lucky to have immunity.

Heidi then asks Miranda to announce the winner and it’s Richard.  She tells him that she’ll wear his dress in a performance.  Stanley is safe, as are Amanda and Benjamin.  Samantha is in, and this time, there are three candidates for ouster:  Matthew, Daniel, and Michelle are all in the bottom.  Matthew is out, so the other two are in.

Next week:  Joan Rivers is the guest judge, and the designers have to design for retirees.

What’s Hot on TV Friday and Saturday – Paul McCartney on SNL

I usually make it a point to not cover repeats in this feature, only showing new cotent. But I can't help it this weekend. It's Paul Frickin' McCartney. He's the musical guest on Saturday Night Live, an episode from last December. SNL is always good in repeats, Martin Short guests, and … it's Paul Frickin' McCartney. Catch up with your favorite shows you may have missed at TV-Links.


1. Undercover Boss. The CEO of O'Neill Clothing goes behind-the-scenes of his own company. 7:00 PM CT CBS

2. Dateline NBC. Authorities open a cold case regarding a disappearance after a young beauty queen is murdered. 7:00 PM CT NBC

3. Last Man Standing. Mike directs and Ed and Eve star in a skit based on a Wild West Show for The Outdoor Man, and Mandy works on flirting with Kyle who doesn't seem to notice 7:00 PM CT ABC

4. Nikita. Sean is framed by Amanda for the assassination of the CIA director, and Nikita creates a dangerous plan to help Sean. 7:00 PM CT CW

5. Kitchen Nightmares. Chef Gordon Ramsay lends his expertise to Nino's in Long Beach, CA. 7:00 PM CT Fox

6. Police Women of Dallas. Tracy is forced into pulling her weapon during a confrontation, Angela deals with a home invasion, a barber college brawl, and Yvette handles a cross-dressing prostitute. 7:00 PM CT OWN

7. Four Weddings. Geysell's Persian wedding, Kimberly's romantic nuptials, Dana's party with Santa, and Irina's Russian cabaret. 7:00 PM CT TLC

8. NBA Basketball. Minnesota Timberwolves at Oklahoma City Thunder. 7:00 PM CT ESPN

9. Malibu Country Cash, Reba, and June try giving Lillie Mae a birthday gift to beat all birthday gifts. 7:30 PM CT ABC

10. CSI: NY. Season finale. An unarmed man is s hot by the cops, and Mac and the others are forced to resolve it quickly because of community uproar. 8:00 PM CT CBS

11. Shark Tank. The inventions proposed include eyewear made from sustainable wood, camouflage clothing for duck hunters, a premium denim line, and high-end girls' bedding. 8:00 PM CT ABC

12. Touch. Martin is forced because of unforeseen developments to come to a decision and make a deal, Lucy takes new info about Amelia's kidnapping to the police, and Avram sees Guillermo in New York. 8:00 PM CT Fox

13. Say Yes to the Dress. Violet is looking for a tight, sexy gown for her wedding in the Dominican Republic, Rrachel would like Kleinfelds to be the last store she goes to, and Leighann's first dress isn't up to par 8:00 PM CT TLC

14. Ghost Adventures. Zak Bagans, Nick Groff and Aaron Goodwin explore three locations that help give New Orleans its reputation for being the most haunted city in the U.S. They investigate the home of New Orleans' most renowned Voodoo Queen, Bloody Mary; the Haunted Mortuary, located in the middle of the historic cemetery district; and a former bordello that now operates as May Baily's Pub. 8:00 PM CT Travel Channel

15. Blue Bloods. Danny and Erin investigate a cold case of a wealthy powerful man who claims he was attacked by his girlfriend, and a pickup game injury leads to a lawsuit. 9:00 PM CT CBS

16. Rock Center with Brian Williams. Stories include Chinese computer hacks breaking into American businesses, interviews relating to Oscar Pistorius, Marines who think Camp Lejeune water caused their cancer, and Giant Panda breeding. 9:00 PM CT NBC

17. 20/20. Robin Roberts' experience with myelodysplastic syndrome 9:00 PM CT ABC

18. Merlin. As a deadly net closes in around Arthur, including a plot by his own wife, Gwen, Merlin finds himself far from Camelot. 9:00 PM CT Syfy

19. Something Borrowed, Something New. Apopular bridal blogger needs to impress with her own gown. In the second half hour. 9:00 PM CT TLC

20. Banshee. Lucas’ cover is threatened when Carrie decides to give him over to Rabbit in an effort to protect herself and her family. Meanwhile, a drugstore robbery turns into a full-blown hostage crisis at the high school, with Deva (Ryann Shane) and Mayor Kendall’s wife Janie (Claire Bronson) among those whose lives are imperiled. 9:00 PM CT Cinemax

21. NBA Basketball. San Antonio Spurs at Golden State Warriors. 9:30 PM CT ESPN

22. The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. The guests tonight are Meredith Vieira, Richard Roeper, and Thenewno2. 10:35 PM CT NBC


1. College Basketball. Clemson at Marylan 11:00 AM CT ESPN 2

2. NASCAR Racing: Nationwide Series. Drive4COPD 300 from Daytona International Speedway. 12:15 PM CT ESPN

3. College Basketball. South Carolina at Georgia. 1:00 PM CT CBS

4. PGA Tour Golf. Quarterfinals of WGC Accenture Match Play Championship from Marana, AZ. 1:00 PM CT CBS

5. College Basketball. Oklahoma State at West Virginia. 1:00 PM CT ESPN 2

6. College Basketball. Georgetown at Syracuse. 3:00 PM CT CBS

7. College Basketball. North Carolina State at North Carolina. 3:00 PM CT ESPN

8. College Basketball. Detroit Mercy at Wichita State. 3:00 PM CT ESPN 2

9. College Basketball. Creighton at St. Mary's. 5:00 PM CT ESPN

10. College Basketball. Marquette at Villanova. 5:00 PM CT ESPN 2

11. American Ninja Warrior. Contestants look to land a spot in the finals. 7:00 PM CT NBC

12. Dreamgirls. It's Jennifer Hudson's Oscar-winning spin as Effie. She lights up the screen when she's on, even bypassing Beyoncé's star power. Eddie Murphy shows surprising depth as an actor here as well. 7:00 PM CT ABC

13. Cops. A suspect tries to escape form a traffic stop, cops head to a call regarding a knife-wielding man, and a man rides his bike claiming to be protesting global warming. 7:00 PM CT F

14. Too Cute!. Cornish Rex kittens making friends with an iguana. a tortoiseshell cat with twins, and a Birman cat wants her kittens to take after her. 7:00 PM CT Animal Planet

15. College Basketball. South Dakota State at Murray State. 7:00 PM CT ESPN 2

16. 48 Hours. A young man might stay in prison based on a lie. 8:00 PM CT CBS

17. End of the World. Two boys try to save humanity when plasma starts falling from the sky. 8:00 PM CT Syfy

18. Blackboard Wars. The staff and students adjust to school life after Hurricane Isaac. 8:00 PM CT OWN

19. 48 Hours: Hard Evidence. After sailing the Caribbean for twenty-two years, Don NOrth goes missing near Panama, and his loved ones were afraid his stolen ATM card trail would lead them to his killer. 8:00 PM CT TLC

20. Pit Boss. Ashley turns in her two weeks' notice, setting off a search for her replacement, and Shorty looks for a dog locked in a storage facility. 8:00 PM CT Animal Planet

21. Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best. Season premiere. A new friendship for Joan, and Melissa ha a difficult time iwth her new boyfriend and ex. 8:00 PM CT WE

22. Arthur Christmas. Santa's youngest son tries to deliver a forgotten present before Christmas morning 8:00 PM CT Starz

23. Vanity Fair's Hollywood. Tom Hanks, Ben Affleck, John Travolta, Halle Berry, Emma Stone, and Kerry Washington are featured. 9:00 PM CT CBS

24. Flipping Boston. ave and Peter let their proteges run the new project, but it goes against them when mistakes have it going against “The Flipping Formula.” 9:00 PM CT A&E

25. Unfaithful: Stories of Betrayal. Sal starts an affair with his ex to escape things at home, and Dawn and her new friend have an affair. 9:00 PM CT OWN

26. Saturday Night Live. Martin Short is the guest host, and Paul McCartney the musical guest. 8:00 PM CT NBC


Amazing Race 22 – Ep 1 – The Sandcastles Full of Quitters

The 22nd running of the Amazing Race kicked off this past Sunday, and it did something I have always wondered why it has basically avoided over all of these years – it went to the South Pacific. There are tons of islands all over the Pacific and with the exception of Australia and New Zealand (and Hawaii too), the Amazing Race has spent very little time exploring Oceania at all. Just stay off of this flight.
Gorgeous beaches and waters, hot weather, it seems like locations perfect for the show – and this premiere proved that to be true. Maybe we will have some visits to Samoa, Marshall Islands, Tuvalu and all of the other island nations in the future.

But before teams flew to the tiny island of Bora Bora, part of the French Polynesian islands, they had to depart from the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles – iconic site best known for its part in the James Dean classic, “Rebel Without A Cause.” Our new teams are (nicknames subject to change over time):

1 – Chuck/Wynona – The Mullets. Granted, it’s just his, but boy, what a mullet. It’s like a bald man had extra shag carpet from 1975 lying around and used it on his head – with a little bit of extra for good measure. Oh, he’s also a taxidermist who has a super creepy wall of dead animals staring back at him waiting for the zombie apocalypse to exact their revenge.
2 – Bates/Anthony – Team Slap Shot – The Battallia boys are pro hockey players, well, for Bates, was a pro hockey player. They have dental issues.
3 – Mona/Beth – Team Derby Moms – They are typical Colorado moms. Typical if you think that playing roller derby is typical. Boy, those kids better not get on her bad side.
4 – Max/Katie – Team Honeymoon – They are newlyweds from Buffalo. They must be cold. Seriously, though, they were married three weeks before the Race. And might I add…Max married up.
5 – Dave/Connor – Team Ribbon – They are a Utah dad and son, who are best friends. Oh, and both have beaten cancer. Dad tends to tear up a lot – and I have nothing snarky for that. I have mad respect for these two. Connor is a pro cyclist to boot – let’s hope through the Race he brings an iota of respect back to that sport.
6 – Jessica/John – Team Dude – There are longtime dating surfer dude and dudette. They are going to be a real physical threat.
7 – Idiris/Jamil – Team Uterus – They are twin brothers who both became OBGYN doctors. There’s nothing wrong with that, in fact, more power to them, but there is also something…really weird about that. I will never be able to tell them apart – I’m terrible telling twins apart.
8 – Pam/Winnie – Team, um…I have nothing that isn’t offensive. They are best friends. They are Asian women. I have no nicknames that work without being racist, sexist or completely unfunny. They like trapeze it seems, and one of them wants to tape a million bucks to her body like she’s Geena Davis in “Quick Change.”
9 – Joey/Megan – Team YouTube – They are YouTube hosts and have about a half million subscribers. From what I see, their web shows are probably completely insufferable.
10 – Matt/Daniel – Team Dead Meat – They are South Carolina firefighters. Their intro package is pathetic as it appears they are doing a fake call in the firehouse.
11 – Carole/Jennifer – Team Underwood – They are blonde female country singers. They are very pretty, as are basically all female country singers. They are willing to flirt – of course they are, because they are a stereotype. At least so far.

We learn from Phil that the winner of this leg will get two Express Passes, which is a cool idea since they can only keep one of them. The other one must be given to another team before the end of Leg 4. This adds a bit of strategy to the Race – which often lacks all semblance of strategy. However, it has manifested itself in something that isn’t really that big of a deal. Now it is true, the Express Pass is nice to have – especially later in the Race. But it is NOT worth the kind of drama the Show wants it to have.

What we have happen this leg is that the Show, as is tradition, provides a couple of flights for the Racers, separated by an ample block of time. The five teams on the first flight – Dudes, Mullets, Uterus, Ribbon and Pam/Winnie – cut a deal. Whoever wins the leg will give it to the team from their group that comes in second. All agree. And judging by the previews for the next ep…that agreement means nothing.

There was another somewhat unexpected moment of strategy this week. At the second of two Roadblocks, teams had a hardcore “needle in the haystack” challenge to overcome. A clue was buried under 11 one-pail sandcastles among 400 sandcastles along a fairly abandoned beach. The twist – once you bust one and it does not have a clue, you have to rebuild it. Nice. It is crazy Bora Bora hot and some teams spend hours on the task. Others, like Slap Shot and YouTube find it right away.

However, the final three teams on the beach have had enough. Underwood, Dead Meat and Honeymoon are all still there and facing more time under the hot sun seeking the clue. Katie comes up with the plan – they all quit simultaneously and take the four-hour penalty together. The next task was to construct an outrigger and paddle a mile to the Mat. Essentially, survival in the Race depends on completing this task.

Dead Meat agrees right away, and does so with a bit of a chip on their shoulder. How could two strapping firefighter men lose a canoe race to a married couple from Buffalo and a couple of female country singers? Impossible. What I suspect happened is they rushed through the assembly and did it badly, because, they flip over in the water. They helplessly watch the other two pass them and put them out of the Race. They will forever question the decision to give up on that Roadblock. That sandcastle next to Daniel’s last attempt could have been the one with the clue. Regrets, I’ve had a few, but one of them, is not sandcastles.

The other task was a ton of fun – if you are not petrified of heights like I am. Tandem skydive out of a helicopter. Wow. One thing…boy, that’s some beautiful camera work on those jumps. Emmy-worthy. Another thing – how can Mona be so thick and sign on the wrong line of the signup sheet?!? It was numbered and ranked. If not for the luck of the sandcastles, that could have really hurt their chances of surviving this leg.

It was a typical Amazing Race premiere episode – there are a lot of teams to follow, so it is hard to get a real feel for them. What we learned is that Team Dudes can be pretty sneaky, sis. Team Honeymoon imagines themselves to be a budding Romber wannabe team. Team Uterus is either going to be insufferable or hysterical, I can’t tell yet. The Mullets are going to be this season’s pandering to the rural fanbase. Past teams like David/Mary, Bopper, and the Cowboys have filled that role – and have been rather popular. They have also been walking stereotypes – and to varying degrees been the butt of jokes. I sense the Mullets to be next.

Early on, I kind of like Ribbon and the Asian ladies. I took an instant dislike to YouTube – but I am willing to accept that it was just some early Race enthusiasm that annoyed, but they will eventually calm down. I think Slap Shot is the early favorite to win – the athletic guys usually do a very good job on the Race. If they don’t win it, I think they will at least go very far.

Route Markers
• Within seconds, we have cheap Mullet humor as Chuck took a facesplat at the Starting Line.
• Of course Slap Shot and Underwood are getting together. The real Underwood got together with a hockey player.
• In the airport, we learn Papa Ribbon is afraid of heights and a Uterus Twin is afraid of water. I am sure that will not come into play later on…
• They may be working the villain angle, but I found it pretty funny to see Honeymooner Katie put on her “fake face and fake girl voice.” It is just so painful to actually talk to people, right?
• I think Surfer John may have compared their agreement to Fight Club. I am wondering if he’s really Tyler Durden.
• I enjoyed Connor’s jump, “I LOVE YOU MOM!” Well, she isn’t here, so she needs at least one shout-out.
• As I said earlier, the hoedown music for the Mullets just shows how much the Show respects their rural, Southern teams.
• The positive attitude Team Uterus had in the first half of the leg slowly devolved as Idires struggled with the sandcastles. If they hadn’t found the clue, he would have gone feral before it was over.
• Of course Wynona drinks vodka and 7-up. And of course her name is Wynona.
• Thank you cameraman for the gratuitous Carolina cleavage shot during the sandcastles. Thank you.
• What’s with the random dogs wandering during the challenge? I was hoping one would be Champion, the Three-Legged Dog.

Roadblock 1 – The skydive. Connor, Winnie, John, Chuck, Jamil, Caroline, Anthony, Matt, Max, Mona, Meghan.

Roadblock 2 – The sandcastles. Jessica, Idires, Wynona, Bates, Beth, Katie, Dave, Pam. Joey, Daniel, Jennifer

Order of Finish – Dudes (Two Express Passes), Slap Shot, Ribbon, Pam/Winnie, Derby Moms, YouTube, Mullet, Uterus, Honeymooners, Underwood and Dead Meat (ELIMINATED).

Next Week – The Fight Club Alliance is falling apart. And Dave thinks he ruptured his Achilles tendon. Uh oh.

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Survivor: Caramoan – Ep 2 – Honey Badger Don’t Care

We are back for the second epis…

Awww, hell, Dawn is crying again. I guess we are back on South Pacific. I am sure Ozzy will help her out. What? Oh, no, this isn’t a rerun. OK, so Brandon went crazy and…

Come on, I am sure we are still watching South Pacific. Next thing you know Cochran will be giving a confessional in a weird position. SEE! There he is on some weird rock throne borrowed from the set of the Aquaman movie they made on “Entourage.” This IS South Pacific!

Wait, no, it is Caramoan, because Philip is there and he’s talking about Stealth R Us…

Wait, it can’t be Redemption Island all over again because Boston Rob isn’t there and Andrea isn’t fading into the background of the majority alliance. Um…I’m so confused.

OK, this is a new season. I have confirmation because unlike Gabon and Nicaragua, they have failed to provide ample shots of Brenda’s bikini body or of Corinne making biting comments about her tribesmates. Have any of the favorites actually had any amount of character development (yeah, I know they are real people, but still) since they last played the game? Philip is still weird, Dawn still cries, Brandon is still crazy, and the others have all regressed in the background in the shadow of the huge personalities.

So the Favorites are acting like amateurs, I am sure the Fans will show a deep understanding and knowledge of the game and not make any really stupid beginner mistakes.

Oh, crap.

Sgt. Hulka is fulfilling every unfortunate stereotype this show has ever been accused of employing. He is proud to have spent 19 hours in the shelter one day. Needless to say, the rest of the tribe has had it up to here with him. He is big and loud – his words – and won’t do work around camp. If he is trying to win Survivor, he is failing miserably, because this is not a winning formula. If he is trying to be the latest in a long line of characters that annoy and get carried deep into the game, then he is doing a bang up job. And boy, the argument style of yelling the same thing over and over again and closing with “Shut up” is totally endearing.

That said, despite it all, I am kinda digging Sgt. Hulka. Sue me.

The Lovers Alliance still thinks they are in charge, despite having only four members. Correction – for some reason they think the M&M Boys are going to be on their side. My question – why oh why, would the M&M Boys do that? They are a clear-cut minority in that alliance – why would two dudes link up with two couples? They have a better shot at being in the Alliance of Six with Hulka and the other three women.

Reynold has pulled a Hantz better than Brandon ever will – and this is not the sabotage angle. He has gone off and found an immunity idol with no clues. Good for you, Rey. Boo on you Show for making it too easy again. However, Reynold’s vanity and his tight pants come back to haunt him as he tried to stuff the tiny idol in his pocket. Jeez, how tight were his pants? That was a small medallion on a cloth necklace! And what are you doing wearing skintight pants on Survivor? When will these people learn how to dress properly for this show? And isn’t he a friggin’ Super Fan?!?! Rule #1 – don’t get caught with the idol before you can use it to your benefit.

Kudos to Laura for – um – checking out his bulge as they left for Tribal. And, might I add, that as a progressive, confident-in-his-own-sexuality, heterosexual man, I am already uncomfortable talking so much about the bulge in Reynold’s pants. Just as I am already over talking about Brandon going crazy and threatening to do Russell Hantzian things. Although, if he wants to keep calling himself a honey badger, I am perfectly fine with that. Honey badger don’t care.

Another thing, Fans. When you game plan for a challenge, game plan for the friggin’ challenge! It was not hard to understand that when you get three people to dive in the water to complete a task that you should send three people perfectly capable of diving (See Breasty McImplants last season), and that you actually use them all. The Faves did a fine job of rotating Erik, Andrea and Brenda, while Sherri the Cougar tried to do the whole thing herself and, of course, ran out of breath. The Fans were in a huge hole by the time they got their act together.

So basically, while somewhat entertaining, we had a fairly lazy episode of Survivor. There were a couple of bright spots though – and not just Cochran’s rock chair.

1 – The Cougar has game. And so does Laura, very quietly. Laura and Sherri were the ones to notice the break off Lovers Alliance last week and gathered up the rejected others to form a competing alliance. Laura noticed the aforementioned bulge and acted on it by calling out Reynold at Tribal Council – thus backing him into a bit of a corner. Sherri not only instigated the alliance, but also noticed the value of Hulka as a number and as a source to absorb attention and vitriol. These two could be very dangerous

2 – Stealth R Us. If you didn’t realize it from the previous episode, we have a six-person alliance with the Faves too. Phillip seemingly runs it, but I wonder if we will eventually learn of who is calling the shots behind the scenes. However, he has resurrected the Stealth R Us name from his pairing with Boston Rob and Grant back in S22. This time, The Specialist has doled out names to the other five members of the alliance – and nice to see that Dawn/Cochran are now officially part of the majority this time. We learn their new names in a strange moment as the crew breaks the fourth wall and addresses the camera crew. Let’s hope the boom mike guy doesn’t have a thing for Andrea. The names – Malcolm=The Enforcer, Andrea=The Eliminator, Corinne=The Dominatrix (still awesome), Cochran=Intelligencia Attache (um, ok), and Dawn=True Grit. No eyepatch, I assume. I did love how The Eliminator did a cute little wave at the camera as it panned the group. I hope the Gorilla and the Lion make an appearance this season as well.

3 – Brandon and Erik. How did this happen? How did these two become a duo? Did they link up because they share the moronic distinction of handing over immunity and getting booted after doing so? However, I did love how Erik stood nearby like Beavis as Brandon went the Full Butt-head and started to compare himself to Russell, Rambo and turn the word “dirty” into two separate words. IF they stick around, the Beavis and Butt-head alliance could be fun to watch.

4 – I would like to see a tribal shuffle and the alliance of Brenda, Malcolm, Julia and Hope emerge because I wonder if an alliance formed and never spoke, would it make a sound?

Challenge – Boo! No separate reward challenge! This one takes place at the 19 minute mark in the episode and telegraphed the idol footage, in my opinion. The winning tribe earns immunity and fishing gear. The best part of the challenge…Phillip failing to stick the flag into the sand. Never change, Specialist.

In this challenge, three sit on a raft and are pulled out to an underwater cage by three other people. Once out there, the three dive down and pull out bamboo rods to free up nine rings. They get pulled back and the last three toss them at three poles – the first to three wins the challenge. Beavis/Andrea/Brenda dive against Cougar/Hope/Julia. Butt-head/Corinne/Cochran(!) pull against Hulka/ZZ Top/Eddie. And Malcolm/Phillip/Dawn toss against Reynold/Mike/Allie/.

Highlights – Cougar is great until she runs out of gas. The Faves work like machines. They hold a 9-2 lead in rings before the Fans swap out. Hulka’s well-rested strength helps them catch up somewhat, but by the time they get to the beach Malcolm had already landed two rings. Reynold gets one quickly and you start to wonder if he’s going to catch up to Malcolm once again, but Phillip lands the third one and the Faves go nuts.

Tribal Council – Interestingly, it seems that the Fans view Eddie and Hope as a couple despite the Intense Snuggling Session enjoyed by Reynold and Allie. Hey, as a longtime Yankee fan, how did I miss THIS reference?
Michael makes a baseball reference though (see what I did there?) by comparing their poor strategizing to that of a team leaving their pitcher off the field. Laura called out Rey’s idol and the Fans’ tribe just got interesting. He vowed to play the idol right then and there. Like Malcolm last season – interestingly, a season none of these fans watched – Rey bluffed. Now he is a man with a big target on his back. His big chance remains to convince the M&M Boys to come over to join the remaining three pretty people. Tell them it is better to be part of a Group of Five than a Group of Six. Tell them there is an idol in the mix. Tell them Hulka goes next. Tell them whatever you have to.

If not…pray for a tribal shuffle. Or for Butt-head to come by and pee on somebody.

Treemail Top 10
• If voting out Francesca was one of the harshest things he has ever seen in his life, then Butt-head should consider himself lucky. And, good for Michael for instantly realizing the irony of her first boot repeat.
• Did Cochran really compare Butt-head to a psychopath? Granted, Lil Hantz continues to be volatile, but come on Cochran.
• I don’t recall Boston Rob bringing up anything about telling people on his tribe that they belong in middle management and have opinions that don’t matter at all. And yet, there’s Phillip supposedly following the BR Rules, and doing just that to Butt-head. What I think is scarier…Brandon Hantz managing anyone.
• To his credit though, Lil Hantz’s comparison of The Specialist to the Pink Panther and Inspector Gadget was hysterical and perfectly in character. I’m sure that’s the level of TV viewing he’s enjoyed over the years. He’s the same old Brandon this season, but he doesn’t have Coach there to take the edge off.
• During the Stealth R Us sequence, the very next shot is of a wacky Specialist Dance. Interestingly, Brenda is now in the shot. Was she there for all of that? Or was this a strange edit. I think it was creative editing.
• Eddie upon losing the fishing gear – “Oh well, no fish here anyway.” That’s a great attitude there, Ed.
• Vote For Shamar Day. Do we get off from work for it…because…makes sense, right?
• ZZ Top made a great point which would have worked on some others but not this crew. Vote out Hulka and the M&M Boys and ladies would still lead 5-4. But that forgets about Cougar’s need for having Hulka around.
• Let me just say, that only on this show would Laura not be considered one of the pretty people.
• Reynold wanted to make sure he “checked himself” before Tribal Council re: idol. Presumably, he also checked himself before he wrecked himself.

Votes – Allie 6 (Hulka, Cougar, ZZ Top, Michael, Julia, Laura), Hulka 4 (Allie, Rey, Eddie, Hope)

Next week – More Hulka drama. More Butt-head drama. More aspirin in my house.

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Top Chef: Seattle/Tom’s Restaurant – Ep 16 – Unexpected Quail and Top Chef History

Welcome to the Finale of Season 10. Or at least the first part of it. Next week, we crown our 10th Top Chef champion (not including Masters/Desserts), and I am pleased to announce right here and right now that it will be a big effin’ deal.
You see, and I am about to spoil the chef eliminated this week, so cover your sensitive ears and turn away to fall down a Buzzfeed black hole and get back to me in an hour…you see…Steph needs to move over. She has counterpart. Finally.

That’s right. As we crown our 16th Top Chef – including the four Masters and two Desserts winners – we now will have our second woman earning the crown. Papa Smurf took the fall this time around – perhaps because he swapped out the red hat for a blue one – and left two women standing for next week’s final task. The food cooked this week was – well – it was kind of uninspiring. It was like bad Chinese food – you ate it up, but forgot all about it shortly thereafter and were hungry for some better food. I blame the layoff from the Alaska episodes for the rustiness shown by Brooke and Papa Smurf – and in fact, we get to witness the distractions of life at home and work that inevitably took center stage for each of them once they returned to Maui and LA. Top Chef ain’t life, and someone has to do the paperwork, cook the food and take the kids to school.

Meanwhile, LCK was resolved. After a lengthy montage showing what occurred during the web series, we are informed that the final challenge we witnessed last week online (Kish vs. Lizzie vs. OTV) had just occurred in the kitchen behind our judges. The result of that challenge was about to walk through that door and become the third Finalist is revealed to be…Kish. Brooke and Papa Smurf are far from surprised. Good for Kish – she made a horrible mistake during Restaurant Wars and has knocked it out of the park on LCK since then. She beat CJ, Josie, Stefan, Lizzie, OTV and Lizzie again to come back. And she has shaken off the rust a bit by having what amounts to a Quickfire just a few moments before rejoining. Considering the Elimination Challenge starts right here and now, that is huge.

Think about it. Brooke and Papa Smurf entered the room, were hit with the Kish news and boom went into a challenge. Kish showed up, cooked for her life for 30 minutes and boom. Challenge. After three and a half hours she had done two challenges and was facing the judges. Talk about a whirlwind. And all three had very different approaches to the sudden challenge. Papa Smurf decided to be super bold and depart from his Asian focus and show off some skills he developed during the break. That’s right – not during his many years of training, but during the last few weeks. Kish decides to not get too deep in her head and to go for simplicity. That’s all well and good, but simplicity and safe are close friends and are often confused for one another. Meanwhile, Brooke has decided to go into the challenge scatterbrained. Seriously, Brooke, what happened? Did the myriad of paperwork you had to file cloud your mind? She was so off her game, she was failing to get her food out of the kitchen on time.

As it turned out, Brooke was able to shake off the doldrums just enough to make some solid dishes, including a stellar dessert. Kish was simple and safe, but did just enough. Papa Smurf stumbled with his new look menu and had no real room to stumble at this late stage. And so he takes his red hat and his ukulele and heads into a very impressive third place. He also joins Edward as chefs who got leapfrogged in the pecking order by the LCK winner.

And that leaves Brooke and Kish to battle it out for the win – and if you think about it, this is the only way this season should have ended. While the gimmick for the season was the three returning chefs, and the introduction of Save a Chef, neither really made an impact. The three chefs were overall rather disappointing. Stefan dominated his season, and was very slipshod with his performance. Josie probably should not have been invited back – she did ok, but really skated by thanks to the mistakes of others. CJ went out very early, but redeemed himself somewhat on LCK. The Save a Chef winner – Lizzie – failed to make it back in the game.

Brooke and Kish consistently put out great food. Kish dominated the early challenges, and Brooke did the dominating in the later part of the season. And here they are at the end. To be honest, I have no idea who I want to win. I like them both, I think they are both very talented and Top Chef worthy, and, well, both are pretty easy on the eyes. I know, I wouldn’t say that about male chefs, but to my defense, I am a male. So…why would I? It matters nothing to who will or should win, but I can’t lie, it matters in my rooting interests sometimes. And to my defense, I was rooting for OTV too, and the Old Timey Villain look doesn’t really float my boat.

I am just very pleased to see that the men’s 14-1 advantage over the women as Top Chef winners didn’t get larger. Both of these women will be worthy of the title, and to be perfectly honest, I think they are about 50-50. I think the winner will fall about midway among the 10 Top Chef winners (throwing out Masters/Desserts for obvious reasons here) – I see it from top to bottom, Blais, Voltaggio, Harold, Hung, Qui-Gon, Steph, Kish/Brooke, Sbarro, Hosea, Ilan. Of course, I can change my mind on that tomorrow.

Quickfire – None.

Elimination Challenge – Prepare an appetizer, an entrée and a dessert. Oh, and serve them in Tom’s restaurant, craft, to his dinner crowd. And another thing, Tom is expediting the meals. Yikes!

Papa Smurf starts off with spot prawns. Brooke chooses, rejects and chooses once more the short ribs. She also notices Papa Smurf’s selection of quail and points out the risky trip outside the box by the Hawaiian. Brooke selects sweetbreads as another ingredient but is unsure what to do with them. Kish has elected to make a dessert called, “chocolate thing chocolate.”

Brooke is in the weeds and is burning pistachios. However, she is making a nice looking brown butter cake. As for Papa Smurf…he has never made a dessert. I hope he was trying to be funny. Meanwhile, Tom is shouting the fear of God into them as they work the kitchen. Man, Tom is a scary boss. Judging the challenge – Tom (from the kitchen), Monobrow, Emeril, Padma, John Besh and Martin Yan.

Papa Smurf – Sashimi Spot Prawns, Court Bouillon, Radish and Asian Herbs – Emeril loves the radish part, and thinks the prawns were cooked perfectly. Yan thinks it was a very difficult dish to make.

Kish – Chestnut Veloute, Duck Rillette and Brussels Sprouts – Yan found some kick, and Mono thinks it was good, but had too much bitterness. Besh thinks it could have used some acidity.

Brooke – Crispy Veal Sweetbread Salad with Kumquat, Beets and Mustard – Padma loved the intensity of the salad. Yan found surprises in the dish. Mono wanted the sweetbreads cleaned better and not cut so thin.
Back in the kitchen, Brooke has messed up and needs to re-plate a dish. Yikes. Kish is about to pee her pants, and Brooke shoots Tom a look that would kill a lesser man.

Kish – Seared Ahi Tuna with Veal Mustard Jus and Meyer Lemon Puree – Yan loves it and thinks it had a perfect sear. Besh thinks it was borderline salty – and blames the kitchen expediter. Snerk.

Brooke – Braised Short Ribs, Parmesan Sauce, Nettle Puree and Squash Dumplings – Yan said the ribs were perfectly cooked; Mono loved the sauces and Emeril faved the nettle.

Papa Smurf – Roasted Quail, Pine Nut Puree, Garam Masala and Tangerine – Yan said it was brave and difficult. Mono said the pine nuts were an ode to hummus, but this is not Sheldon. Emeril thinks he was brainwashed and wants to know where Sheldon went.

Brooke – Brown Butter Cake, Whipped Goat Cheese and Blackberry Sauce – Besh can only say “Holy smokes.” Yan loved the textures and balance, and makes a Yin and Yang reference. He really did.

Kish – Curry Chocolate with Cashews – Besh can only say…interesting, interesting. This dish is U-G-L-Y, it ain’t got no alibi. Padma likes the combo of flavors, but Yan is just confused by it. Mono calls it basic.

Papa Smurf – White Chocolate Mousse with Apple and Fennel – Padma loves the flavor and the combining of apple and fennel. However, the others feel the raw fennel is just overpowering.

Judges Table – Regarding Papa Smurf, Emeril and Mono praise the prawns. Tom actually digs the quail a bit, but not so much on the pine nuts. They all ding him for the bad the fennel choice – not peeled, raw and just too much. Regarding Kish, Tom found the soup nice and velvety, but Mono called it one-note. The tuna was perfectly cooked, but Tom thought it was too bitter. Nobody really liked the chocolate that much, including Kish. Regarding Brooke, Tom found the sweetbreads to be nice and crispy and Brooke admitted to trying to do too much with them. Emeril praised the ribs and Padma felt the sauces were better than everything else. Tom said the cake was perfect, but it was not restaurant caliber.

It was pretty that Brooke was essentially the winner and that Papa Smurf was on the bottom. I wondered for a moment if they would let all three cook next week, but it was not to be. Sheldon, Papa Smurf, met his end one challenge short. Padma was visibly saddened to see him go.

Quickfire Hits
• You know, next to my own, it is hard to find cuter families than Papa Smurf’s and Brooke’s. I mean really. It was a bit out of control. Pillow tossing. Silly dancing. Smurfette. A robot wearing a hat. Little Hudson – what came first, the kid’s name or the restaurant? Pig ears. Um, wait a minute.
• No disrespect meant, but Mr. Brooke sure married up. Is it me, or does the lucky man look a lot like Linguine from “Ratatouille”?
• Hey, Roy the Boy is back!
• Best line – Papa Smurf to Brooke upon leaving the kitchen: “There are chicken breasts back there for your fried chicken.” HA!
• Second best line…same source, addressing Kish’s cuisine choice: “You don’t cook Asian, you Asian person.”
• That’s twice Papa Smurf was waiting for the ingredients to speak to him and they failed. My advice – stop talking to the food telepathically.
• Excuse me for one second. Hey, Bravo! Did you really greenlight a show called “Married to Medicine”? Have you just embraced the “30 Rock” and “SNL” parodies of your network?
• Kish is “sweating in places I didn’t know I could sweat.” I am embarrassed with myself that I found that kind of hot. I know, double the therapy sessions, stat.
• Extra – Tom is a drill sergeant.

Next week – The final challenge is done in front of a live audience, in what appears to be the Iron Chef Kitchen Stadium. Even though it was not – because that’s another network. Defeated chefs return to help out, and it appears past winners are in the audience.

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