Survivor: Blood vs. Water – Ep 4 – “What just happened?”

The title this week was spoken by Ciera after the votes were tallied and the Family Tribe just took part in one of the wackiest and incredible blindsides/power plays in the history of this show. I have said it before, I’ll say it again, it is amazing that so many seasons into this show that they can still have new and unique things happen. It is why the show still works and thrives when so many other reality shows have faltered over time.

Also incredible…somehow the Survivor Gods have tapped into doing what I want them to do. I had enough of Candice – she is voted out immediately (although I am beginning to regret that). Rupert was back…again. He makes a moronic choice and gets to be the first one eliminated for good. Tired of Colton’s antics? He quits. Now, if only something could happen to Culpy…

BOOM! All of a sudden, Colton’s inclusion this season makes all the sense in the world. He wasn’t included to feature himself…we needed Colton so we could meet Caleb. Surely, Caleb sees something in Colton that none of us do – but now we can all see what Colton sees in Caleb. What a bold move – and what a perfect move. The question remains…is this a one-shot deal, or can he make a lasting impression. The promos for next week bode badly, but for this week – he is awesome.

Let’s start with the ever-changing strategy of Culpy. If you recall, the main excuse he gave for shanking – or Johnning – his key alliance mate last week was his fears that John and Candice would link up in the event that Candice made it all the way through the truels and re-entered the game at the merge. The logic to that is, of course, strained – first she would have to win many truels, then she’d have to not be the same target most RI winners have been, then she’d have to prove to be a poor alliance mate. Because where would Candice have to go – to the tribe that voted her out immediately? Or would she provide another number to the Five Guys alliance?
Doesn’t matter, because Culpy was viewing this through jealous eyes – he couldn’t lose his waterfall buddy. Plus, John’s mangling of the idol clues led to the breaking of Five Guys. NOW, however, Culpy is claiming that maybe it’s a good thing to keep those with loved ones and oust those without…because he can’t keep taking crap at the RI arena for the vote outs. The only one this applies to is Caleb. And he knows it.

After losing the challenge – again – Culpy does not follow the Four Guys Alliance into the woods to “gather firewood,” but instead lingers behind with Ciera and Katie and tells them that he is going after Caleb, not them. They are skeptical, but hopeful. The boys? They notice Culpy is lagging behind. The fallout from the John vote is starting to take hold – they no longer trust Culpy because once you turn on one alliance member, anyone could be next.

Tribal started off slowly, but after Culpy implied that he would be open to a plan to vote out singles, Caleb speaks up. (Keep in mind, much of this seemed rather chopped together, just like most Tribal Councils. I am dubious that Caleb’s move happened exactly as we witnessed) He knows Culpy is working against him and he tells Ciera that he doesn’t want her to go home. He is now going to vote for Culpy and invites them to join him. They do.

Before we discuss what happened next, a word on the voting rules. In the event of a tie, at this stage in the game, we have a re-vote. Those tied don’t vote again, but the rest do. If it remains tied, there is no fire-making challenge. We have Purple Rock Madness. And this nugget, which could explain away Cochran’s South Pacific flipping, is the key element. Those receiving votes are immune in the Rock Pull – the rest of them are at risk. That means for our purposes this week – Culpy and Ciera would be immune, and Caleb, Vytas, Hayden and Katie would have a 25% chance of elimination. That is a huge risk for them to take.

Hayden considered it for a while before deciding that he could live with the rocks. However, Vytas was not so keen on that, so he turned on Culpy and sent him to Cody Island. Now, the Family Tribe has become interesting. Five Guys is now Three Guys. The women are now players potentially. In fact, a Caleb and the Women alliance is not all that out of the question. Hayden seems the most likely to be in trouble at the next vote – even if he was essentially correct in thinking having Culpy around is a good move to keep the heat off the others. Up is down, and down is up.

Dancing with the Stars, Oct. 7 – “Keep on Keepin’ On”

Somehow it all worked out right last week. Bill Nye went home while dealing with a debilitating quadricep muscle tear and a lack of dancing ability. Bill Nye and Valerie Harper could be right behind him, but it would definitely be sad to lose them. In fact, it’s such a great cast this season, it will be difficult to lose any of them. Tonight Len Goodman is missing from the judging panel and replaced by former DWTS professional dancer Julianne Hough.

Partners: Jack Osbourne and Cheryl Burke. They’re doing the quickstep, and it’s very physically demanding for him, although the two of them argue about who is carrying who in the dances. She gets short with him only to admit she is PMSing. Oversharing, Cheryl. He accuses her of wanting to dance with Corbin.

Dance Style: Quickstep
Song: Man Like That

Me: His frame looks good after they worked on it, and his footwork looks pretty awesome as well.
Julianne: Ballroom is definitely Jack’s strong suit, but he needs to smile more.
Bruno: “Jumping Jack Flash, so full of tricks.” He kept up the pace well, but needs to watch his frame.
Carrie: She liked the frame and thinks he’s more animated this week.

Last Week’s Score: 7, 7, 8 = 22 This Week’s Score: 8, 8, 8 = 24

Partners: Elizabeth Berkley Lauren and Val Chmerkovskiy. They’re doing the Argentine Tango this week. she institutes her own lesson into it, and that’s the two of them staring intently into each other’s eyes for a long period of time. She found great value, but I’m not sure if he did.

Dance Style: Argentine Tango
Song: Symphony 6: Fair Thee Well and the Requiem Mix

Me: She looks very elegant, but part of that is just her body as a whole, yet her dancing certainly adds to it as well.
Bruno: The bewitching creature has taken everyone on a journey to the hidden depths of passion and did it without going wrong.
Carrie: Elizabeth has been the most elegant and sensuous dancer from day one but tonight cut through some of the movements with a sharpness she hadn’t seen before.
Julianne: She has been one of Julianne’s favorites since the beginning and gave her goosebumps tonight. Elizabeth took control instead of waiting for Val.

Last Week’s Score: 8, 9, 8 = 25 This Week’s Score: 9, 9, 9 = 27

Partners: Brant Daugherty and Peta Murgatroyd. They want to retain the lead position this week and maybe even be the first team to earn a 10. It’s Peta’s first solo salsa on Dancing with the Stars, so she recognizes the pressure is on. He has an old shoulder injury that makes it hard to do the lifts, leading her to take out the hardest ones but hoping to keep some of the others in.

Dance Style: Salsa
Song: Shake Señora

Me: The lifts that they keep in work well, but his other moves don’t look right. They’re almost too animated.
Carrie: The lifts were fantastic, but she cautions that when you take off your shirt, it’s very revealing, and she saw that he needs to work more on the salsa moves.
Julianne:When he took off his shirt it was awesome, but she does agree with Carrie Ann and thought it was a little loosey goosey.
Bruno: He had no idea Brant was such a party animal, but as far as his moves, “the girls are right.”

Score: 9, 9, 9 = 27 This Week’s Score: 7, 7, 7 = 21

Partners: Valerie Harper and Tristan MacManus. She feels her low score last week was fair. This week they’re doing the Viennese Waltz. She feels the song, Carry On, is a great sentiment and almost the musical equal to the message she’s trying to accomplish after her diagnosis. However, she’s struggling with the steps yet again and is not willing to quit. She’s here for the party and wants to “keep on keepin’ on.”

Dance Style: Viennese Waltz
Song: Carry On

Me: She’s having a hard time with her steps still, and it’s quite obvious, although there are times where she still looks great.
Julianne: She is teary-eyed and is another to mention Val’s courageousness. She was elegant to start out but thinks when they separate it shows more vulnerability.
Bruno: She painted some pretty pictures, but if she goes wrong, she needs to cover it up and not show it.
Carrie: She loves watching her carry on and agrees there were some beautiful moments, but it makes the mistakes show more.

Last Week’s Score: 6, 5, 5 = 16 This Week’s Score: 6, 6, 6 18

Partners: Leah Remini and Tony Dovolani. Leah admits she’s not as much of a nervous wreck as she was in the beginning. To get 9s this week, she suggests Tony come down a pole in something skimpy. She thought the Cha cha ha would be slower and is wrong. While she asked Tony for less moves this time, he instead gave her more harder moves.

Dance Style: Cha cha cha
Song: Papi

Me: She’s always dances so sexy and looks great this week. Leah could go on to be the most improved dancer this season if she continues.
Bruno: She was channeling the J Lo attitude and performed so well and only needs to work on that footwork.
Carrie: She loves watching her beause she’s in the zone. Carrie wants Leah’s movements to match up to her face.
Julianne: She thinks Leah’s footwork was actually strong and quick, but she wonders if maybe the shoes aren’t as flexible, while also seeing the same disconnect as Carrie.

Last week’s Score: 8, 8, 8 = 24 This Week’s Score: 8, 8, 8 = 24

Partners: Corbin Bleu and Karina Smirnoff. Carrie Ann said last week that Corbin’s hip-hop keeps coming though his ballroom moves. He wants to learn the paso doble this week the right way. Karina wants to make it as traditional and technical as it’s supposed to be. His natural ability challenges Karina to give him the best choreography and techniques.

Dance Style: Paso Doble
Song: Zorongo

Me: It definitely looks very traditional. In fact it looks amazing.
Carrie: The intensity was smoldering and the movements were absolutely stunning. Yet because it was so good, just a little of the hip-hop still snuck in.
Julianne: She appreciates the lack of gimmicks because he doesn’t need it. His hips need to be under though.
Bruno: They had the pure essence of the paso doble. He agrees the hips need to go under to get the traditional Spanish line.

Last Week’s Score: 9, 8, 9 = 26 This Week’s Score: 9, 9, 9 = 27

Partners: Nicole Polizzi and Sasha Farber. The dance this week has a cheerleading theme, and Nicole is anxious to put her bad feelings of cheerleading behind her. When she was cheerleading in school, the competitiveness of it brought her anorexia. The added stress of flying back and forth each week between the east and west coast is taking a toll on her.

Dance Style: Jive
Song: Mickey

Me: She is one-hundred percent in her element. Cheerleading is her thing. She has the energy and the bounce for it.
Julianne: This is so Nicole. She’s using her face and everything, yet her flicks and kicks need be a little better and she needs more of a connection.
Bruno: “Oh Snooky, you’re so fine you blow my mind.” Her performance level has grown, although this seemed like more of a Lindy Hop.
Carrie: She wants to see a cartoon of Snooky the cheerleading dancing girl. Carrie Ann does not that Nicole’s arms were a little T-Rex like.

Last Week’s Score: 9, 8, 8 = 25 This Week’s Score 8, 8, 8 = 24

Partners: Christina Milian and Mark Ballas. Being in the bottom two last week, she worries that people aren’t voting enough. The Foxtrot this week will be her first ballroom dance. She is now questioning herself as a performer, though, after that threat of going home.

Dance Style: Foxtrot
Song: Sexy Silk

Me: Just like Leah, she really gets the attitude nailed down here, perhaps even more.
Bruno: He hasn’t ever seen a Foxtrot so spunky and sultry. It wasn’t traditional. He would like to se her work on the section and hold.
Carrie: Christina is able to transition from style to style really well but does need to work on her shoulders to elongate herself.
Julianne: Every week has seen Christina be strong, gorgeous, and sexy, but this week Julianne was looking for a softer side and to have her stand out a little more.

Last Week’s Score: 9, 8, 9 = 26 This Week’s Score: 8, 8, 8 = 24

Partners: Amber Riley and Derek Hough. He jokes that they have an in this week since his sister is judging, but in reality he knows she will not go soft on him. Amber is another one dealing with a knee injury and doesn’t want to make it worse. She needs to get the fluid drained and has to watch Derek and Lindsay do it instead of participating. She is worried about that and doesn’t want to disappoint anyone.

Dance Style: Tango
Song: Love Lockdown

Me: She can take on the serous dance just as much as she can do the fun.
Carrie: Amber is in fine form tonight. They were connecting and were like one person. Her footwork is improved.
Julianne: She was hoping something would go wrong to give her a terrible score to not show favoritism. But “holy cow,” she was like a tight little explosion that hadn’t exploded.
Bruno: It was pure, unmistakably, classic, amazing tango. She’s a magnificent dancer.

Last Week’s Score: 8, 8, 8 = 24 This Week’s Score: 9, 9, 9 = 27

Partners: Bill Engvall and Emma Slater. He inadvertently hurt her in dress rehearsal last week, but it has only made them closer. The Samba this week is a lot of gyrations and hip movements. When he was 20 it would have looked cool, but at 56, he figures he just looks like a creepy old man. It maybe not be the prettiest hip movements, “but by God, they’ll be moving.”

Dance Style: Samba
Song: Cuban Pete

Me: He’s right; it’s not pretty. I wouldn’t say he looks like a creepy old man, but it doesn’t look very natural.
Julianne: The reason they kept him for last is because everyone there loves him. He’s the heart of the show, with his fellow competitors and audience loving him.
Bruno: He thought he was going to wet himself. It had everything you could ask for except timing and rhythm.
Carrie: Who needs Cuban Pete when you have Blue Collar Bill? It was really entertaining even though some of it was strange.

Last Week’s Score: 8, 8, 8 = 24 This Week’s Score: 7, 7, 7 = 21

With a combined score of last week’s viewer votes and this week’s judges’ scores, Bill and Emma, Elizabeth and Val, Leah and Tony, Corbin and Karina, Amber and Derek, Jack and Cheryl, Christina and Mark. This means Brant and Peta, Valerie and Tristan, and Nicole and Sasha are all in jeopardy. Being pulled out and sent back to safety right away are Nicole and Sasha.

The couple going home tonight after four weeks are Valerie and Tristan. This has been absolutely wonderul and completely unique. It was an opportunity for her to carry a message to folks that whatever your challenge, you need to keep on keepin’ on, just like their song tonight. Tristan says sometimes you get very lucky to do well with your partner, and sometimes you get lucky to meet someone who can affect it more. His life is a little better since he met Valerie.

Clearly, just considering dancing technique and performance, Valerie was the most deserving of going home. However, when it comes to indomitable spirit, she perhaps deserves to stay more than anyone else. I would think that not only has she left a mark on Tristan’s life, but the rest of us as well.

The Real Housewives of New Jersey, Oct. 6 – The Reunion, Part 1

This season of the Real Housewives of New Jersey ended in peace and harmony, although throughout the reunion it still didn’t seem as if the issues between Joe and Teresa have been solved yet. With the continuous bickering and cheap digs you could still feel the tension and annoyance from the other housewives.

The reunion show touches lightly on the thirty-nine counts of federal fraud that Teresa and her husband Joe face, with the housewives admitting to being shocked when they first heard about the charges. All the ladies wish Joe and Teresa well in their court hearing.

Later on in the show Teresa brings up that she heard Melissa has done a deal with Radar online – claiming Melissa will sell them stories about Teresa if they don’t write anything bad about her in return. Melissa obviously denies these claims and is offended that Teresa would even suggest that she would do something like this. It’s all love in this family …

Teresa and Jacqueline are seen glancing at each other and having a giggle; they say their friendship is back on track and they are really enjoying each other’s company again. Who would have thought that these two could reunite with all the things they have been through?

We also get to see Joe Gorgas new haircut! No more black hairspray; he is now completely bald! He actually looks great and the look suits him well. I hope he won’t be wearing those stupid hats or beanies anymore that used to cover up his thinning hair.

All the housewives always seem to be in some sort of twitter debate – who tweeted what about who and you said this comment to me on twitter. Caroline also suggests that Melissa is complicating things between Teresa and her brother Joe. I have to agree with this one; it seems the two get along much better when Melissa is out of the picture!

The reunion also shows unseen footage of the hilarious duo that is Rosie and Joe Giudice. These two are so funny when they are together; it is such a strange friendship but I want to see more!

The show ends with Caroline confronting Teresa about something she wrote in her blog – Teresa said that during the trip to Arizona her and Al were fighting the whole time. Teresa admits she made it up because Caroline put her down in one of the episodes. It seems it is always tit for tat with Melissa and Teresa, and they really should think about other people and not just themselves.

Part two of the reunion is on next week, and it seems they delve deeper into the jail time Teresa and Joe face. Will you be watching?

The Voice, Oct. 1 – Why the Cee Lo Disrespect?

I brought this up after last night’s show, and I’m going to keep bringing it up. Why the Cee Lo Green disrespect? Even when he is clearly the most suited for a contestant, they push him aside to go with another coach. It seems they’re more concerned about winning than developing as an artist.

Auditioner: Will Champlin, 30, Reseda, CA. Carson Daly checks in on him while he’s jamming with his dad. That’s not just any dad; it’s Bill Champlin, former singer and guitarist for the band Chicago. That inspired Will to begin a life as a musician as well. The senior Champlin sees visibility as being integral to a music career. Will wants to provide for his wife and daughter in a bigger way and wants to make it on his own without his dad.

Song: Not Over You
Chairs Turned: Blake, Cee Lo, Adam

Me: You can hear a little bit of the Chicago influence in Will, and actually his voice would fit in well as a lead in the group.
Adam: He can’t think of anything that wasn’t spectacular about the performance.
Cee Lo: He admires an artist with a plan of their own.
Blake: It was powerful singing with a lot of passion, great pocket, great pitch, and a cool look.
Christina: She decided to let the guys duke it out.
Coach: Adam

Auditioner: Macey Estes, 18, Greenwood, IN. She had music around her her whole life, but was always shy, so she’d only sing and dance in her room. Her sister was in show choir, so Macey joined that as well, but always loved hip-hop, pop, and rapping. It’s another side that’s dying to come out of her. Her parents are supportive in her decision to not go to college yet.

Song: The Way
Chairs Turned: None

Me: I disagree that the hip-hop and rap is who she is. I think she’s still so young that she still needs to find out who she really is. She needs to grow a little bit more.
Adam: He knew she was young, but also feels she has potential, leaving him not comfortable enough to move forward.
Christina: There was one note she wanted Macey to hit, and she didn’t. Frankly, I don’t think anyone other than Christina could hit it.
Cee Lo: He asks to hear her rap, and the other judges say it was good, but they can now, as they’ve already rejected her.
Blake: He agrees that the one thing he wanted to hear her do was what Christina did moments before.

Auditioner: Stephanie Anne Johnson, 29, Tacoma, WA. She was always singing in the house. Her grandmother played blues on weekdays and gospel on Sunday, and in high school and college she studied classical voice. What she loves about it is the freedom it gives her. She worked in a daycare initially out of college, then moved to singing on a cruise ship out of Alaska. She loves that The Voice is about her voice more than about her looks.

Song: Black Horse and the Cherry Tree
Chairs Turned: Christina, Cee Lo

Me: She definitely has some of her grandmother’s blues/soul in her.
Adam: He could feel the attitude all the way through the chairs; it slapped him in the face.
Cee Lo: He heard soul and conviction, “and it’s like church, if you will.” He saw Vicki Martinez in her, and she coincidentally went to school with her.
Christina She was taken by the energy and it just moved her.
Coach: Christina

Auditioner: Sam Cerniglia, 25, Chicago. Currently he works for Groupon, but he also has his own band. His family is amazing and supports him. Both of his sisters have serious diseases. His family is in Michigan, and he’s far away from them in Chicago. His dad and one sister are there at the auditions with him, and his mom and other sister are back in Michigan, but send a videotaped message.

Song: It’s a Beautiful Day
Chairs Turned: Blake, Cee Lo

Me: It starts out a little rough, but he gets over those nerves and nails it at the end.
Blake: He loves Sam’s sound and hears a lot of range but really loves his style. It took him to a Michael Bublé concert.
Cee Lo: It was very mature and sophisticated, like he was singing with his hand in his pocket.
Coach: Blake

Auditioner: Jennifer Newberry, 32, Seattle, but originally from Sweden. Her dad was an exchange student from the U.S. who fell in love with her mom when overseas in Sweden. After a divorce, she stayed with her mom in Sweden but connected to America through music so moved here at 21. She is doing this for her family that has been there for her her whole life. The Swedish side of her family sends a videotaped message.

Song: Locked Out of Heaven
Chairs Turned: None

Me: This seems like the wrong song for her. There’s something that just doesn’t match up right.
Cee Lo: He loves the breathiness in her voice.
Adam: He heard some things pitch-wise, but knows there isn’t anyone in the room who wouldn’t agree that she has a good voice.
Blake: He wants to pick people with a good grasp of what they’re good at and thinks she might be more suited to a different genre of music.
Christina: She loves what Bruno Mars does and thinks Jennifer stuck too much to his version of the song.

Auditioner: James Irwin, 31, St. Louis. He tried out last year but didn’t get any chairs to turn. He didn’t feel he gave them the best version of himself. Shakira mentioned having second and third chances, and that stuck with him. His twin babies had died shortly after being born the year before. Now he and his wife have another healthy baby, and they’re here to support him.

Song: Losing My Religion
Chairs Turned: Blake, Christina, Cee Lo, Adam

Me: His determination is evident in his audition. He took his past failure and seems to be using it as the impetus for this.
Adam: He was so drawn in right away but still thinks there are a few things that need some work.
Christina: She doesn’t agree completely, as it’s all in the delivery, and he had a very soft opening that captivated them.
Cee Lo: What he likes about bands like R.E.M. is the constant quality, and he gives James kudos for seeing that as well and choosing that song.
Blake: Whatever he did in the past year, whether in his heart, head or voice, he’s ready to win this thing now.
Coach: Adam

Auditioner: Olivia Henken, 25, Louisville, KY. The first time she sang for a crowd she was just 4 years old, and she’s been trying to get recognized in the business as far as she can remember. She’s entered over one hundred contests in that time. Her family is very supportive, with her mom as her “momager” and her dad her roadie, and her grandparents in the audience.

Song: Two Black Cadillacs
Chairs Turned: Christina, Cee Lo

Me: She’s not only gorgeous, she has a great voice as well. She’d be a terrific recording artist.
Christina: She was struck by her voice; something in it totally connected with her. She’s glad Blake the country artist didn’t hit his button
Cee Lo: He doesn’t want her to be complacent being country and wants to put her in other positions … professional positions.
Coach: Christina

Auditioner: Jason Kertson, 16, Seattle. When he was 7 he got in trouble at school and was grounded for three weeks. He used that time to have his dad teach him to play guitar and realized through that he loved to sing as well. He experimented when he was bored, playing two guitars at once, and put it up on YouTube and got a lot of interest through that.

Song: Lips of an Angel
Chairs Turned: None

Me: This is one where a blind audition is going to hurt him. If they would see how he looked, they’d be choosing him. But they can’t see how cute he is and can’t see how young he is either.
Adam: He started off out of control vocally, but at 16 he’s still working on it. He thinks he just needs to go back to the drawing board and keep working on it.
Blake: It was powerful singing at the beginning, but he didn’t give them a good enough reason to go beyond that.
Cee Lo: He thinks all of the judges are looking for something to blow them away.
Christina: She knew he was a cutie pie the way the girls in the audience were acting. She can’t believe he’s that great with maturity and tone at just 16.

Auditioner: R. Anthony, 33, Tampa. He has two brothers and three sisters, and he was the quiet kid of all of them. He didn’t feel he fit in. He moved to Tampa to go to college and moved in with his brother, and when his friend moved down as well, they became a gospel trio. Then he got married and his wife got pregnant, and he knew he had to close down shop and focus on his family. He works in customer service, but now feels it’s time to get back out there.

Song: Hall of Fame
Chairs Turned: Christina, Cee Lo

Me: His chorus hits it completely. And after he hits the stride there, he holds it throughout.
Cee Lo: His gospel upbringing must be the compelling quality in his voice. He waited until the end to hit his button because he wanted to experience it.
Christina: She believes in him and loves his soul and runs.
Coach: Cee Lo

Auditioner: Justin Chain, 23, Fort Payne, AL. He grew up with his parents singing all the time, and it rubbed off on him. He’d sing at talent shows and had a little band. Recording a demo was too much money for him, so he stuck to sports. He was in a bad motorcycle accident head-on and it ended his football career, breaking his back, pelvis, and hip. He decided while he was laid up to do music to inspire people

Song: She’s Country
Chairs Turned: Blake

Me: This guy is one-hundred percent country, just like the woman he’s singing about.
Blake: His pitch is amazing
Christina: She indicates she and the other two didn’t turn their chairs because they knew they couldn’t compete with Blake.
Adam: He jokes that Justin is even more country than Blake is, and actually they have the same shirt on.
Cee Lo: He asks if Justin would have picked Blake no matter who turned their chairs, and he figures he would have unless someone blew him away.
Coach: Blake

Auditioner: Ashley Dubose, 23, St. Paul, MN. Music is her childhood dream, and her mom was always making her sing for other people, as she was so proud of her. Ashley works full time now as a programmer analyst and spends the majority of her day on a computer. She’s also a single parent like her mother was. She got pregnant while she was in college and wasn’t able to work on her music, but now wants to focus her time on music and parenting. She feels spread too thin doing that now and working full time as well.

Song: Diamonds
Chairs Turned: Blake, Christina, Cee Lo, Adam

Me: She hits the notes well and sounds like she’s already a recording artist.
Adam: Her voice cut like a razor through the whole place, and those are the voices that last long on the show.
Cee Lo: He says Rihanna is accomplished and a great singer, and he feels she met her bar with it. He also admits he has kept in contact with the artists who have been on his team, so being in his team is also becoming a part of his life. He wants to be rooting for her in the front row of the Grammys.
Christina: She was waiting for something to happen, but nothing went wrong. She wants to find someone who has the same goal and passions she has.
Blake: He may seem like an unlikely choice, but winning the show is like a partnership and making somebody the best they can be.
Coach: Adam

I still don’t get why some of these auditioners don’t choose Cee Lo Green. The others all talk about winning the show far too much. But for him, it’s about finding an artist. And he said as much to Ashley. He still keeps in touch with almost all of the people who were on his team. That’s not because he wants to win. That’s because he cares about them and wants them to do well. I do not see why these singers don’t see that.

Top Chef: New Orleans – Ep 1 – I Am The Swamp Queen

Season 11! And only one week after Masters ended. So…more food writing from me. Yay! In this case, we have the usual madness of a first episode of Top Chef. Too many new faces running around, super excited about being on the show and then BLAM! Overwhelmed by the reality of the challenge and the big hitters they have to cook for.

My lady Padma is back and with a pretty flower in her hair to kick things off. You know the drill – Food & Wine Magazine. Aspen. $125,000. Title of Top Chef. Go.

We meet several new chefs early on – the rest get sprinkled in as the show goes on:
Sara – She’s pretty cute in an unorthodox kind of way, with a big ole head wrap around her head. She’s another Wolfgang Puck disciple.

Jason – He and his pink pants are proud to lay claim to being Philadelphia’s sexiest chef. And to posing with no shirt on. Sigh. He says, not me, he says that he gives a d-bag kind of first impression. Yep. Pink pants, folks.

Nick – Pink pants’ buddy from Philly.

Jamie Booth – Oh my. A hot blonde Australian who can cook. At last, we straight guys have our answer to Curtis Stone. And lesbians. We can share her, ladies.

Bene – He is looking to be the first Top Gay Chef. Are we sure he’d be first? He was Odette’s sous on the recent season of Top Chef Masters. And wasn’t around for very long.

Shirley Chang – She has cooked for a lot of big names – Mario Batalli, Jose Andres, Thomas Keller. And she can’t stop talking. And is also cute. Nice crop of good looking chefs this season, guys, really.

Justin – He is a local chef. He and Michael won the online competition that Padma hosted to join the show.

Aaron – we don’t get much from him except his stubble. And that he’s nervous about fellow Chicago chef Carlos who just won the Michelin Star.

Stephanie Cmar – She failed in the play-in rounds to get on the Seattle season. She’s back and has things to prove to Emeril who cut her in Seattle.

Lots of good last names for me to use for nicknames. Thanks for that.

No Quickfire to start the season, but Tom tosses them all Mardi Gras beads. No one takes off their shirt. Sad for that. To a point. At least Pink kept his on for once. The beads contain instructions on what protein they’ll be using – gator, frog or turtle. Welcome to the Bayou! The two online winners get immunity for some reason.

Survivor: Blood vs. Water – Ep 3 – “F U Brad Culpepper!!”

My favorite part about the quote I used as the episode title was that Marissa chose to curse Culpy out by using his full name. Think about every time you have ever flipped the bird to someone and cursed them out in such a manner. Have you ever used the person’s full name? I don’t think I ever have. It’s just awkward to say it that way. And the icing on this delicious vulgarity cake? Gervase telling her to settle down. Him NOT settling down is the reason she’s in this mess in the first place!

Also a good thing about that whole display – and from the upcoming clash with Candice next week – it is making Culpy either a huge target for an upcoming vote out, or at the bare minimum means the dude ain’t gonna win this game, even if he makes it to the end. I’d feel badly for Monica, who should be rather uncomfortable through all of that conflict, but she must know how he is. Survivor doesn’t change who you are, it reveals some uncomfortable truths about yourself that can only come out of starvation, exhaustion and anxiety. This is Culpy – like it or not.

Also, this is Colton. I didn’t want to lead with Colton because it is just another way of attracting attention to him, but clearly, that was a big part of this episode. The big reveal, to me at least, was that Colton apparently faked or exaggerated his condition that got him pulled from One World. That’s incredible. If true, that would make him a two-time quitter on this show – and that’s pretty sad. I am not sure I could handle Survivor – I know my own physical and mental limitations. This show looks incredibly hard, and virtually anyone and everyone who has done the show before has come away from it saying it’s about 100x harder than it looks. I get it. I can almost forgive the first quit – no matter how weasel-like it is to fake an injury on Survivor, when so many others have gotten hurt and had to be dragged off the show. Heck, Swan almost died and didn’t want to leave.

But the second quit? You knew what you were getting into, Colton. This ain’t no surprise anymore. He claims in interviews online today that he chose to do this to make it easier for Caleb to go far. I call BS on that. Not sure how it helps Caleb – not having the loved one in the game does remove that complication, but does that really do much to help at all? If he got voted out and sent to RI and Caleb wanted to replace him…just say no to him. That simple. There is no logic to this except that Colton didn’t want to get voted out of Survivor. Each time. He is a trivia question now, and that probably makes him very happy.

Meanwhile, Probst was on fire. Now, part of this is the long-standing critique of Probst – he loves the jock, Type-A, bro, alpha male dudes and has moderate to little patience for any other man. Colton is clearly not his type. However, Probst also has NO patience whatsoever for anyone who wastes his time on Survivor – and who takes the place of thousands of others who would be like Swan – dying to get on this show, and willing to die to stay on the show. Probst’s take down of Colton was epic.

He called Colton selfish. He told him that a lot of fans of the show should stay on the couch and watch – and he was one of them. Tyson tells Colton he turned into the old Colton right away before his back was against the wall. Tina said he was quitting because he knew he couldn’t win and the tribe wasn’t playing his games. Probst put blame on the show too – they brought back a quitter and they got a quitter. That give me an idea for a new season – bring back all of the quitters and pit them against the gamers. Get Osten, Purple Kelly, Colton, etc. Put them against people that had to get dragged out from injury or scrambled hard to survive votes, etc. Or better yet – pit the quitters against players who applied a bazillion times and never got in, like Troyzan did. Or pit them against all people voted out first. Come on, show, it writes itself!

So Colton is gone. Amazing that the returning tribe hasn’t lost a challenge yet, but two returning players are gone. Neither of whom were actually voted out. Joining Colton and Rupert in sequester is Tyson’s girlfriend Rachel, who lost the truel. I’ll miss her and her gorgeous eyes, even if she barely said two words this season.

The Voice, Sept. 30 – Stingy Judges

You can tell we’re starting to wind down closer to the end of the auditions. The judges are starting to get stingier and stingier with turning around their chairs. Nobody tonight can prompt all four judges to turn their chairs, but it’s not for lack of talent. The judges are most likely noticing that they only have a few spots left on their teams and are trying to leave spots open for the truly deserving.

Auditioner: Ray Boudreaux, 25, Lafayette, LA. He grew up in a small town and started doing music gigs at 20, then had a baby girl at the age of 22. He stopped playing as many shows to be more of a family man, but eventually broke up with his daughter’s mom. He cuts grass to make a living now and is very grateful for his daughter and the time he spends with her. He thinks the judges will be shocked to hear the soul side coming out of him.

Song: Use Me
Chairs Turned: Blake, Cee Lo

Me: He’s correct that the soul doesn’t look right coming out of him, but it’s good!
Adam: It’s an incredible genetic feat, as he looks like Blake but sounds like Cee Lo.
Christina: She’s not sure if the gaps she heard were from him trying to also play the guitar or from his excitement over turning some chairs.
Cee Lo: Bill Withers is like a father to him, so he feels like they’re cut from the same cloth, yet he didn’t realize it was blue-eyed soul he was listening to.
Blake: It was so powerful, electric, and swampy. He’d buy a ticket to Ray’s concert.
Coach: Blake

Auditioner: Lina Gaudenzi, 23, Miami. Her mom was a professional model, and she got into it as well at the age of 13. After an awkward stage in high school and a weight gain, she stopped modeling and started soul searching in Paris. She decided to start singing after studying classical music. She moved back to Miami and started writing and gigging.

Song: Landslide
Chairs Turned: Blake, Christina

Me: She sounds good, but this song needs a little more emotion.
Blake: He was already sold on her but gives her a “Damn, Girl!” for the falsetto at the end.
Christina: She announces that she had an opera singer on her team once to speak to Lina’s classical training.
Adam: If he were a young aspiring female singer, he’d be swayed by one of the most iconic singers of our time, Christina.
Coach: Christina

Auditioner: Juhi, 16, Franklin, TN. Her GPA is above 4.0. Her dad has a P.h.D. in electrical engineering, and she gets her musical talent from her mom who sings classical Indian music. She’s not sure what she wants to major in but is thinking aerospace engineering or computer science. Her parents are okay with her putting scholastics on hold if she makes it on The Voice.

Song: Mercy
Chairs Turned: Christina, Cee Lo

Me: It’s a different type of sound for this song, not bluesy as it usually is heard.
Cee Lo: She had a wonderfully unique version of the song.
Christina: As a female, she thinks she’d understand her more, yet Juhi is interested in being a cross between Amy Winehouse and Kurt Cobain, and that speaks more to Cee Lo.
Coach: Cee Lo

Auditioner: Malford Milligan, 54, Austin, TX. His family was poor when he was growing up, yet his biggest struggle is he’s a black albino and legally blind. Growing up in the 60s was tough. The pain drove him to singing and to his time as a part of the BB King tour.

Song: Let’s Stay Together
Chairs Turned: None

Me: He has a great sound, and it’s clear he’s been doing it awhile. I’m shocked no one turns around. I would download this guy’s album.
Adam “You can sing, Dude.”
Cee Lo: He closed his eyes and reminisced about Al Green’s perfromance of that on Soul Train.
Christina: She was waiting for something else, but his voice is undeniable.
Blake: He begs Malford to go make a record so that he can buy it. Me too!

Auditioner: Justin Blake, 20, Savannah, TN. He’s an escort driver for 18-wheelers and mobile homes. It’ not great-paying, and that’s difficult with a baby on the way. At $8 an hour, it’s not enough. He’s taking a risk by singing one of Blake’s songs.

Song: Sure Be Cool If You Did
Chairs Turned: Adam

Me: He has some great grit that he adds into his country singing.
Adam: He thinks Justin is a great contry singer.
Blake: It takes nerve to come out and sing one of his songs. Surprisingly, Adam didn’t even know it was Blake’s song.
Coach: Adam

Auditioner: Timyra-Joi, 15, San Diego. She’s ben singing since before she could talk. Her mom is very supportive and keeps her going. Her vocal coach has been working with her since she was 5 years old. Her dad lost his job when she was 9, and the family ended up moving in with the coach for about six months.

Song: Girl on Fire
Chairs Turned: Blake, Christina, Cee Lo

Me: She has a few pitchy moments, but hits the big notes when she needs to.
Christina: She nailed the run at the end.
Adam: She seems like an unpolished diamond, and Christina is the person who could maker her into something.
Cee Lo: He wants to be a part of her journey.
Blake: He brings up again that he won the show last year with a 16-year-old.
Coach: Christina

Auditioner: Monika Leigh, 28, Boulder, CO. She would perform for her neighbors when she was a kid and has been gigging since she was 13. At 22 she decided she wasn’t meant to do music. She’s an administrative assistant for a hotel and eventually returned to doing gigs, but wishes she could just gig and nothing else.

Song: The Thrill is Gone
Chairs Turned: Blake, Cee Lo, Adam

Me: Once she hits the chorus, she rips it up.
Christina: She thinks Monika is gorgeous and knows the three guys will get into a bloodbath over her.
Adam: Her voice seemed really pure, and it’s hard to sing that way.
Cee Lo: He loves the way she sang so womanly, and she seemed so cool with the story in the song.
Blake: All the elements of being a technically good singer were there, then he fell in love with her voice.
Coach: Blake

Auditioner: Zach Hinson, 21, Yakima, WA. He’s been working with fire services for about six years now. He fell in love with the job when he was a junior in high school. His oldest brother is a firefighter as well, and he had a cousin who was as well, but she passed away fighting a fire. It’s a happy life for him, but music will give him more than firefighting.

Song: Drunk on You
Chairs Turned: None

Me: Once again I’m shocked that no one turned around, as I thought he was good.
Christina: She calls him a cutie pie and is sorry they didn’t turn around.
Blake: He believes he should hone in on the growl. He was drifting off the pitch a little too much.
Adam: Some of the riffs didn’t pan out, but if he polishes that up he could come back and get really far.

Auditioner: Briana Cuoco, 24, Los Angeles. She is a personal assistant to her sister Kaley Cuoco who is on The Big Bang Theory. Briana knows her sister understands that there are other things she wants to do. Kaley has been waiting for this for Briana for a long time. She’s been singing since she was 7 or 8 and hopes to someday be as successful as her sister.

Song: You and I
Chairs Turned: Christina, Cee Lo

Me: She has a unique voice, but it’s not really right for this song until the end when she really kicks it into gear.
Christina: She was moved by her power and raw talent. Briana held out the notes really strong.
Cee Lo: He felt the same power in her voice and wants to be closer to it, as being with a powerful woman is one of his favorite places to be.
Coach: Christina

Auditioner: George Horga Jr., 19, Portland. His parents are from Romania originally and have built businesses from absolutely nothing. The hardest thing he ever did was move away from the Romanian community to pursue a career in Hollywood. He wants to show his dad that his son can live this life because of him moving to America.

Song: Treasure
Chairs Turned: Cee Lo

Me: He has a great tone and is cute, too, so would do great with the young women out there.
Cee Lo: He likes that he has so much charm and personality that it just bled through.
Adam: Cee Lo is a great person to help shepherd along his talent.
Christina: She saw the girls jumping around in the audience so figured he had to be cute.
Blake: He has high hopes for George.
Coach: Cee Lo

Auditioner: Anthony Paul

Song: With You

Cee Lo: With some guidance, he thinks Anthony stands a chance.
Coach: Cee Lo

Auditioner: Cilla Chan

Song: Come & Get It

Blake: He mentions the way she points at the notes while she sings.
Coach: Christina

Auditioner: Jacob Poole

Song: Marry Me

Cee Lo: She loved his voice from the moment he started singing.
Coach: Christina

Auditioner: Preston Pohl, 26, Hallettsville, TX. His dad played the drums at church, and his mom sang at church, with music always being in him. He had the opportunity to play guitar for a Christian rock band, and they did well. His music mentor in the group passed away suddenly after a few years, and it was never the same for Preston again. He knows his mentor would want him to keep singing.

Song: Electric Feel
Chairs Turned: Blake, Cee Lo, Adam

Me: He’s so smooth, yet powerful at the same time. It just makes you move slightly in your seat watching him.
Cee Lo: He did one of Cee Lo’s favorite songs of all time.
Adam: Preston turned it into “kind of a Marvin song.” He made him believe in him.
Blake: He starts to talk about there not being many hip hop artists from Texas, and Cee Lo points them all out, making Blake realize he just screwed himself from the hopes of landing Preston.
Coach: Adam

I don’t know why the contestants don’t choose Cee Lo more often. They seem to always want the big name of Christina Aguilera or the winning Blake Shelton. Cee Lo always connects to them so well, and there are times where I am sure that they would do really well under his mentoring. These contestants choosing Blake and Christina will be sorry in the long run when they don’t stay as long with them as they would have Cee Lo, because there is no true connection.

The X Factor, Sept. 26 – The Top 40

We’re still flogging through the auditions, yet by the end of this episode, not only will we be done with the auditions, but only forty contestants will remain, and the judges will know which categories they re mentoring.

Auditioner: Neal Macomber, 45, San Luis Obispo, CA. He’s a general contractor and wants to share his positivity with others. He’s asked why he’s starting now, and he thinks today is the day. This is seeming like a “bad audition” so far. He’s single because he hasn’t found the right girl yet. Simon knows how he feels, but a caption edit tells us the show was pre-precorded, a reference to him recently becoming engaged.

Song: Everybody Talks

Me: The song choice alone said bad audition. The performance doesn’t disappoint. Neal sings right in Demi’s face, completely freaking her out … understandably. He even tries patting her on the head.
Simon: It was like something out of a lunatic asylum. If it were a movie, it would be Nightmare on Elm Street.
Demi: In reference to the slasher film, she cautions if they’re not swinging a knife, they’re patting your head.

Auditioner: Glamour, 12-13 years old, Atlanta

Song: Star-Spangled Banner

Me: These three young girls have fantastic harmony.
Kelly: She feels like she’s looking at a “baby Destiny’s Child.”

Auditioner: Girls United – 23-24 years old, Los Angeles.

Song: Price Tag

Me: It’s more good harmony
Demi: You’re so pretty it’s just stupid.

Auditioner: Zach Beeken, 17, Pittsburgh, PA. Kelly recognizes his deep voice.

Song: Gettin’ You Home

Me: He reminds me of American Idol’s Scotty McCreery.
Paulina: She didn’t expect him to sing that well.

Auditioner: Wild Thingz – 22 -30 years old, Los Angeles

Song: An original composition

Me: They aren’t the best singers, but they’re a lot of fun.
Paulina: They did it great.

Auditioner: Denny “Santa Claus” Smith, 69, of Carson, CA. While he looks like Santa and is dressed in a red suit and hat, his official occupation is as a pastor.

Song: Stormy Monday Blues

Me: Santa sings the blues.
Demi: She is impressed. “You just took us there.”
Simon: Christmas has come early.

Auditioner: Victoria Carriger, 41, Waynesville, MO. She has 8 kids, very surprisingly. Her youngest is 4 and oldest is 20. Wow. She gave up everything to become a mom, and they’re everything to her. She’s separated from her husband so is a single mom for the most part. She’s looking for a new start and some stability for herself and her kids.

Song: Because of You

Me: It’s a very poignant song for her situation, and she brings it out in her performance. She brings tears to my eyes when she sings, “Because of you, I am afraid.”
Simon: He genuinely had written her off before she started singing, but he was not expecting that. He thinks he is beginning to understand her story now.
Paulina: When she started singing with that raspy voice, Paulina felt her pain and loss for her family.
Demi: It was very unique. She feels the pain in Victoria’s voice, and she’s rooting for her.

Auditioner: Keith Beukelaer, 29, Long Island. Ten years ago he auditioned for American Idol, singing Like a Virgin. His audition was made fun of by the show. Simon had told him he could be the worst singer in the world. Now he’s here at The X Factor as a rapper.

Song: Baby Got Back

Me: Part of the problem is he has no rhythm. However, he’s not bad as a rapper. It’s better than ten years ago. The female judges and audience are dancing and trying to get Simon to join in.
Kelly: She had so much fun. It’s a yes.
Simon: He also likes big butts, so he’s going to say yes.

That was a great place to end the season three auditions, but it’s not the end of this episode. Before we wrap for the night, the judges will find out which groups they are mentoring, and they’ll cut down the group of 218 contestants to just 40. I’m probably not going out on a limb to suggest that Keith won’t make it after all that fun. There will be no boot camp like there was in past years. They will instead compete in the four-chair challenge, something new and different.

The judges pour through all the tape of the 218 contestants and fight for who they really want. They are looking for talent, as well as star value. The next job in front of them is to deliver the news to all the contestants who have gathered together in Los Angeles.

In the Girls category, the ten acts moving on are Khaya Cohen, Bree Randall, Jamie Pineda, Simone Torres, Rion Paige, Danielle Geimer, Rylie Brown, Primrose Martin, Ellona Santiago, and Ashly Williams.

In the Boys category, the ten acts moving on are Carlito Olivero, Chase Goehring, Timmy Thames, Isaiah Alston, Tim Olstad, Alberto Calderon, Josh Levi, Isaac Tauaefa, Carlos Guevara, and Stone Martin.

In the Groups category, the seven acts moving on are Glamour, Good News, Yellow House Canyon, Alex & Sierra, Roxy Montana, Wild Thingz, and Girls United.

In the Over 25 category, the ten acts moving on are Lillie McCloud, Jeffrey Brinkman, Rachel Potter, Kristine Mirelle, Victoria Carriger, James Kenney, Allison Davis, Denny “Santa Claus” Smith, Lorie Moore, and Jeff Gutt.

The judges ask some previously dismissed singers back onstage.This is the part where they make three more groups out of some of the single contestants. There’s a girls group, a boys group, and a country guys’ group.

Instead of hearing via phone call which category they will be mentoring, this year the judges walk down a designated aisle that leads them to a room holding the group they will be mentoring.

Kelly Rowland – The Over 25s.
Demi Lovato – The Girls
Paulina Rubio – The Boys
Simon Cowell – The Groups

What exactly this four-chair challenge is isn’t clear. From the previews it seems they are only sending four contestants through from each group. The contestants either sit in one of four chairs for their group, or they leave. But, once they sit, they could be uprooted by someone else. It seems really cut throat …. and what Reality TV is all about.

The X Factor, Sept. 25 – The Right Yes

What the auditioners on The X Factor are looking for are yeses. They want the judges to be so pleased with their performance that they agree to let them continue on in the show. One auditioner tonight gets only two yeses, but they’re perhaps the most important yeses he’ll ever get.

Auditioner: Melanie Wright, 49, Crofton, Maryland. She’s been a paralegal for twenty-six years but is ready to do what her heart has always wanted to do. She wants to be the equivalent of Carrie Underwood. Once they compare themselves to someone like that, it usually means it won’t be a good audition.

Song: Titanium

Me: As expected, she’s not very good, but sadly, she really believes she is.
Simon: It was like finding out Cinderella works at thePlayboy mansion, as she’s not what you see.
Paulina: She enjoyed seeing how happy Melanie is.
Kelly: Her shoes are cute.

Auditioner: Oksana Mamchur, 36, Queens, but originally from the Ukraine. She’s a dental assistant.

Song: I am Your Lady

Me: She’s not one hundred percent terrible, but she’s a far cry from Celine Dion.
Paulina: She doesn’t understand why Oksana chose music.
Simon: In dentistry, she understands all about delivering pain, and that was like being in the chair for three hours without anesthetic.

Auditioner: Rob Zarro, 55, San Gabriel, CA. He is a computer operator and is wearing a really bad, oddly-placed toupe.

Song: Born to Be Wild

Me: It’s hard to decide whether his dancing or singing is worse.
Simon: He found it to be like watching something out of an Austin Powers movie.

Auditioner: Maya Lehmann, 6, NYC. She works as a substitute teacher.

Song: The Final Countdown

Me: The song is completely unrecognizable.
Simon: If Close Encounters of the Third Kind ever happened and they sang, it would probably sound like Maya’s audition.

Auditioner: Ruben Gloria, 26, NYC. He’s a mailroom clerk, and his favorite type of music is pop music.

Song: Like a Virgin

Me: His falsetto is just high-pitched noises.
Simon: Ruben totally reinvented that song.
Kelly: She gives a high-pitched “No!”

Auditioner: Emory Kelly, 15, Holbrook, Long Island. He lives with his mom, a drug and alcohol counselor, and his dad, a retired fireman, and his sister, a NYU college student. He was excited to find out The X Factor was coming to his town.

Song: I Won’t Give Up

Me: He has raw talent that could use a really good coach.
Demi: She thinks he’s cute and has a great voice.
Paulina: She likes his voice, charisma, and appearance.
Simon: He didn’t like the song, but sees Emory as an unpolished diamond.

Auditioner: Khaya Cohen, 15, NYC. Her mom is a midwife, and her dad is in education. She just wants to be a singer for the rest of her life. She’s nervous seeing all the other talented girls there.

Song: Love You I Do/I Put a Spell on You

Me: She has some training to the point where she is confident she is good, but it’s not coming off. Simon interrupts and asks for another song, and she launches into I Put a Spell on You. It’s a world of difference and much better. She’s better with this genre than pop.
Simon: He loves everything about her, and she reminds him of Amy Winehouse and Adele together.
Demi: She is excited to hear a voice like Khaya’s and can’t believe it was coming from a 15-year-old.
Paulina: That tiny little body, voice, and presence were superb.
Kelly: She blew the roof off the place.

Auditioner: Joseph Tolve, 19, Mahopac, NY. Kelly asks if he is hoarse, and he says a little bit. Simon offers him some water. It sounds like his speaking voice is falsetto. It just doesn’t seem natural. He’s singing one of Demi’s songs.

Song: Skyscraper

Me: Joseph’s singing voice isn’t any different than his speaking voice, and on top of it, he’s a little tone deaf.
Demi: While they are looking for unique, this isn’t the right kind of unique.
Kelly: Her idea is that Joseph would be good on a Sesame Street type of show.
Simon: He agrees. The voice is so distinct, he should do something with it. Voiceovers are just one suggestion. He promises that he’ll get calls after this. Joseph believes if he did voiceover work, he’d be an anteater.

Auditioner: James Kenney, 35, Portland. He started making music at the age of 11, but works as an apartment manager to take care of his family. His wife and two little girls are here with him at the audition. Simon remembers him from the first season.

Song: Summertime

Me: I’m used to Fantasia’s version of this song, and this one is definitely different than that, but has a great bluesy/jazzy feel nonetheless.
Demi: His riffs were crazy, and it was a pretty sexy song.
Paulina: She was delighted with his talent.
Simon: The song choice was brilliant.
Kelly: Hell yeah!

Auditioner: Isaac Tauaefa, 23, Corinth, TX, a bouncer. He played college football and wants to prove to himself he can perform on a stage and not just a football field.

Song: Better Man

Me: I can see this audition going either way.
Demi: Maybe football wasn’t his calling, but music is.

Auditioner: Chase Goehring, 17, Nolensville, TN

Song: An original composition

Me: This is another I can see going either way.
Kelly: Finding out he wrote the song, she notes he’s not only a good singer, but a writer too.

Auditioner: Allison Davis, 26, Granada Hills, CA, a waitress.

Song: I’m Goin’ Down

Me: She needs to put some pants on. I think she has shorts on, but they’re really short and worn under an over-sized t-shirt. It’s a bit strange.
Kelly: She’s going to give her a chance and say yes.

Auditioner: Isabel Requena, 24, Los Angeles

Song: I’m Goin’ Down

Me: She and Allison are making it sound like they are singing separate songs instead of the same one.
Simon: She’s going up … with three yeses.

Auditioner: Isaiah Alston, 15, Hamilton, NJ

Song: I’m Goin’ Down

Me: And yet another version of this song. He’s the one to put the most soul into it.
Kelly: She thinks he has potential to be a little Michael Jackson.

Auditioner: David Grey, 31, Baton Rouge. He’ a mechanical engineer and has played baseball his whole life. He’s auditioning for his girlfriend, which the judges tell him is the wrong answer. He knew when he met her that she was the one. Earlier he asked her dad for a pep talk, and it turns out he’s going to ask her to marry him today. He has his first yes of the day.

Song: Nice and Slow

Me: I wish he was good, but he’s not. It appears he really is here supporting his girlfriend.
Simon: He asks if David is auditioning because his girlfriend asked him to, and the answer is about how great she is.

Auditioner: Lauren “Wag” Waguespack, 25, Baton Rouge. She’s a secretary and David’s girlfriend. According to her they both auditioned because they love competing against each other. Kelly wants a tip from her on finding a guy like that.

Song: Teenage Dream

Me: She’s good. Definitely better than her boyfriend. After the music stops, David makes his way onstage and surprises both her and the judges. He gets down on one knee and says he’ll support her in whatever she does, then pulls out the ring. It’s his second yes of the day. Paulina tells them they’re going to have beautiful babies.
Simon: He gives her a no, but it doesn’t really seem to matter at this point.

Auditioner: Tim Olstad, 23, Winona, MN. He’ a restaurant server and is having a hard time controlling his nerves, even when being interviewed backstage. He hopes he has the confidence in front of the judges. While he doubts himself, music is what he wants to do the rest of his life. He’s asked by Demi to tell them something crazy about himself and says his mom was his music teacher and she kicked him out of the classroom a few times.

Song: A Thousand Years

Me: Once he gets into the song, it helps him kick the nerves just a little bit.
Kelly: She feels like his voice came over her like a blanket of love.
Demi: She has the chills and says she gets it. She’s changed her mind and doesn’t want him to do anything bad now.
Paulina: He’s like a little teddy bear, and she wants to hug him forever.

Auditioner: Wesley Mountain, 19, Capitol Heights, Maryland. He’s a parts counter person at a car dealership. Being in front of Kelly is going to be a dream in itself. He wants to tell her she’s beautiful and has grace and talent. He admits to the judges he likes Kelly … a lot. He comes down and kisses her hand, and Simon notes that he was actually panting.

Song: Wanted

Me: He’s actually quite good. This wasn’t just a ruse to meet Kelly.
Simon: He once had a dog who liked steak, and the way he looked at the steak reminds him of how Wesley looks at Kelly.
Demi: At first she thought he was creepy, but he actually has a really good voice.
Paulina: If he really wants this, he needs to keep his feelings apart from everything else.
Kelly: He has a great, beautiful voice.

Auditioner: Celine Polenghi, 16, Miami. The female judges like her outfit.

Song: When You Believe/i>

Me: It’s hard to believe this powerful voice is coming rom a 16-year-old.
Simon: Was it perfect? No. Does she have massive appeal? Yes. He sees a future pop star.

Auditioner: Bree Randall, 20, Corona, CA. Kelly thinks she has gorgeous hair.

Song: Treasure

Me: The voice is okay, but she has a really cute personality.
Demi: There’s something about her that is going to go far in this competition.

Auditioner: Primrose Martin, 20, Las Vegas.

Song: Nobody’s Perfect/i>

Me: I’m not a fan of this, but others seem to like it to the point of a standing O by some of the judges.
Kelly: Absolutely freakin’ yes. She thinks Primrose is phenomenal.

Auditioner: Summer Reign, 17, Apple Valley, CA. Simon thinks she looks great, like a little pop star.

Song: Impossible

Me: She looks so much like a pop star and has the sound to back it up.
Demi: She’s a little diva.
Simon: She’s a little pop star.
Kelly: She wants to watch Summer grow and be there while she grows.

Auditioner: Rickey Clark Jr., 19, Providence, RI. He’s dressed in a suit and sunglasses. Kelly notes the resemblance to Usher, and he launches into some of his moves. He’s another one who has the hots for Kelly. The worst thing he’s gotten in trouble for is breaking some of his mom’s knick knacks.

Song: Superstition

Me: I’m so tired of this song in reality TV, but he has some moves that make it less boring.
Simon: He likes him, but not his voice.
Kelly: She thinks we’re always going to grow and learn something about our voices. She explains it took her six years to get a record deal and this is just one step. After he is dismissed with noes, Kelly goes and finds him backstage and gives him a hug and pep talk.

Auditioner: Lori Moore, 34, originally from Chicago, but living in Hollywood. She’s wearing a football jersey to remind herself that she’s a champion. She plays women’s professional football and won the 2012 championship. It’s first and goal for her right now.

Song: I Have Nothing

Me: She’s very good, and a little unexpectedly, especially as she hits the high notes in the song.
Kelly: She started to open up her mouth not to sing, but S-A-N-G. She’s been on the football field too long.
Simon: It was more than an audition, as it was a performance, and it’s why there is no age limit on the show, to find people like her.

Auditioner: Second Hand High – Briana Thomas, 22 and Allan Guinn, 26, West Covina, CA. She feels like their original song is going to be a huge hit and just can’t wait to see Simon’s smirk when he’ll ask where they’ve been because he’s looking at talent. They were engaged but aren’t any longer. When asked if he cheated on her, her reply is to look at her, as who would cheat on that.

Song: An original composition.

Me: It’s a rap song with one of the lines actually, “Why buy the cow when you can get the leche for free?” Kelly stands up and starts dancing.
Simon: He thinks they should change the name of the group to “Deluded.” The song was terrible.
Kelly: It’s very, very weird, but she kind of liked the song, just wants someone else singing.
Demi: She liked watching the people in the back dance. The song was definitely very catchy.

From the previews of the next show, we can see that this is not the same show we’ve seen the past few years. It doesn’t appear that the contestants will go to the judges’ houses. It seems instead that they are having a “four-chair challenge.” It could be interesting.

Dancing with the Stars, Sept. 30 – Glitz and Glamour of Hollywood

It’s Hollywood week on Dancing with the Stars Sure, you might be reminding me that these stars are from Hollywood to begin with. You’re right, but this is older Hollywood, with the Quickstep and Charleston, aside from a creative robot dance and one involving a pimp. Not surprisingly, neither of those dances hits the way they should.

Partners: Leah Remini and Tony Dovolani. Tony is very proud of Leah’s samba last week. In her mind she was hitting it really hard and didn’t feel her sexy face was very sexy. This week he thinks will be a perfect opportunity to work on that sexy face. He thinks she’s doing really good as a Bond girl.

Dance Style: Rumba
Song: Skyfall

Me: She’s an actress, so of course she nails the sexy face. The dancing isn’t so bad either.
Len: He loved the chemistry and felt the interplay was terrific, but he’d like a tad more fluidity in her arms.
Bruno: The “devilish seductress” definitely got the part. It’s making him go straight.
Carrie: She disagrees about the arms, as she thought they were creating very cool passion. She saw a few other problems but still feels Leah turned up the steam.

Last week’s Score: 8, 8, 8 = 24 This Week’s Score: 8, 8, 8 = 24

Partners: Corbin Bleu and Karina Smirnoff. In their quickstep this week, they are telling the story of a young Hollywood starlet who cons a director into putting her in his film. Karina wants to make sure their quickstep stands out, and she guarantees it’s the fastest ever attempted on the show. His mind is blown early on, and she let’s him know it’s just a small part of the routine he has learned and that it’s not even the hardest part.

Dance Style: Quickstep
Song: Diga Diga Do

Me: It’s definitely fast, and he seems to keep up with it just fine.
Bruno: He got dizzy just watching the dance. Maintaining the synchronicity at that speed is almost impossible, and they did it.
Carrie: The footwork was so sharp and bright, and it’s the hardest part of the quickstep.
Leno: For him it was a bit hectic at times, and speed came in while style went out.

Last Week’s Score: 9, 8, 9 = 26 This Week’s Score: 9, 8, 9 = 26

Partners: Elizabeth Berkley Lauren and Val Chmerkovskiy. She is grateful to still be there to keep learning and taking it up another level. This dance has a real elegance and old Hollywood feel to it, which she loves. He wants her to let go a bit and trust his lead. She gets blindfolded in practice where she has no choice but to trust him.

Dance Style: Fox trot
Song: Come Fly with Me

Me: She’s right about the old Hollywood feel. It’s a little hard to believe this is the same girl from Showgirls.
Carrie: Watching her dance is such a thrill, as she took her performance to knew heights with elegance and by acting demure. There was only one small mistake in the middle,
Len: That was chicken soup to the eyes – delicious and satisfying.
Bruno: He guarantees she is flying first class all the way. She shows love for dancing, which is wonderful.

Last Week’s Score: 8, 9, 8 = 25 This Week’s Score: 8, 9, 8 = 25

Partners: Brant Daugherty and Peta Murgatroyd. After last week’s show he hurt his foot somehow, lost his phone, then was robbed at gunpoint. One thing that was stolen was his Latin dance shoes, making him quite happy. It’s quite hard for him to learn the quickstep with a bum foot.

Dance Style: Quickstep
Song: Crazy in Love

Me: You’d never guess watching him dance this week that he was dealing with a major injury throughout most of the week.
Len: They were the no-stress express with speed and control, although he did drop his right shoulder on occasion.
Bruno:Brant was the perfect matinee idol and played the part perfectly.
Carrie: She thinks Neil Patrick Harris should watch his back.

Score: 8, 7, 8 = 23 This Week’s Score: 9, 9, 9 = 27

Partners: Valerie Harper and Tristan MacManus. Valerie’s knees are paying the price, but she knows this week they’ll have a lot of fun. The concept for the dance is Grace Kelly and Freddie Mercury dancing together. She thinks he’s closer to Freddie than she is to Grace. Her biggest challenge is remembering the steps.

Dance Style: Cha cha cha
Song: Grace Kelly

Me: She does great but just doesn’t seem to measure up quite as well as the younger galls in the competition.
Bruno: She has the look absolutely right, but he believes the dance looks like Grace and Freddie never met before with too many wrong turns.
Carrie: She agrees Valerie lost her way throughout the dance, but when she loses her way, she just shines and keeps on going, despite not knowing what she’s doing.
Len: He sees it as going coach on a cheap airline – a little bit uncomfortable and bumpy, but they landed safely and got through it.

Last Week’s Score: 6, 6, 7 = 19 This Week’s Score: 6, 5, 5 = 16

Partners: Bill Engvall and Emma Slater. He’s just happy they were not the first eliminated and that they also moved up with their scores. He thinks the paso doble sounds like a Mexican food dish. As she spits on the floor, he says he turned a British girl into a redneck. They travel together to both Mississippi and Kentucky for his tour so that they can work on their dance in his offtime.

Dance Style: Paso doble
Song: Lone Ranger Theme

Me: This is a really odd song to dance to. Bill does better than I would have expected him to though.
Carrie: Hi Ho Silver Away! He nailed the paso and had all his movements in sync.
Len: If he had come out on Silver, he would have gotten a 10. He was leading the spins and not letting her do all the work. It was his best dance.
Bruno: There was so much attack; it was like being in the opera house.

Last Week’s Score: 7, 7, 7 = 21 This Week’s Score: 8, 8, 8 = 24

Partners: Amber Riley and Derek Hough. He explains the dance is a lot like a cartoon – very over the top. Her butt is hurting, as she says she has another rehearsal after that one to record songs for an album. Also this week she’s shooting and episode of Glee. She resolves to not let it get in her way.

Dance Style: Charleston
Song: Bang Bang

Me: It’s definitely a lot of fun and the most we’ve had all night with a dance.
Len: It was very razzle dazzle with glitz and glamour, although he would have liked a little more swivel in the feet.
Bruno: She has the ability to create a rip roaring excitement in the room. She went off once with her scissor action.
Carrie: It’s another great performance. Her upper body can bang like no one else, but her lower body wasn’t banging as well.

Last Week’s Score: 8, 8, 8 = 24 This Week’s Score: 8, 8, 8 = 24

Partners: Jack Osbourne and Cheryl Burke. He’s playing a pimp, and she’s her bitch. He remarks he feels like they’re making a porno at one point. He’s glad he showered the morning of rehearsal after his ass ended up hitting her nose. He has a hard time feeling confident with the dance.

Dance Style: Cha cha cha
Song: Hollywood Swinging

Me: This isn’t as good as his past two dances. He appears a bit more stiff.
Bruno: It was cheeky, and he loved the rock star opening. It was very ambitious, but he has to watch his hip action.
Carrie: It was good, but not his best. She feels the hip problem is because he is taking steps that are too big.
Len: He loves the commitment, as there is no messing about. He agrees about the hip action.

Last Week’s Score: 8, 8, 8 = 24 This Week’s Score: 7, 7, 8 = 22

Partners: Christina Milian and Mark Ballas. They’re doing a whole new style and different vibe. He wants to show her versatility this week. The choreography gets a bit difficult for her, and she just needs to take a break to let it sync in. She brings her daughter in to lighten up the mood.

Dance Style: Charleston
Song: Let Me Drown

Me: She seems to be nailing the dance a little better than Amber, surprisingly enough.
Carrie: She started a little timid, but she has a range of emotion when she dances, and it all matched.
Len: He liked that the dance mirrored the music and the 20s moments they put in. He wanted more swivel, however.
Bruno: The clown and the show girl are hitting the big time. Visually it was inventive, and she performed better than she ever has.

Last Week’s Score: 9, 8, 8 = 25 This Week’s Score: 9, 8, 9 = 26

Partners: Nicole Polizzi and Sasha Farber. She doesn’t want any more scores of 6, saying it made her feel like a loser and was embarrassing. Yet he thinks there’s nowhere to but skyrocket up. This leads to her talking about going up to space and heaven or something. I’m not sure. She has to do a one-handed cartwheel while holding hands with Sasha. She’s definitely intimidated.

Dance Style: Quickstep
Song: Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend

Me: She seems to be avoiding the 6s. She could even be getting 8s.
Len: It was her first ballroom dance, but she came out and surprised him.
Bruno: She was on fire, and he admires her commitment to hard work.
Carrie: Hollywood is cool, but it can also be the land of broken dreams yet not for her. She deserves a star on the walk of fame

Last Week’s Score: 6, 7, 7 = 20 This Week’s Score 9, 8, 8 = 25

Partners: Bill Nye and Tyne Stecklein. He tore his quadricep in his dance last week and has been nursing it since. Short of a wheelchair, the doctor didn’t recommend any type of dancing, but Bill is doing it anyway. Tyne comes up with a robot dance to exploit that he has to dance with a peg leg.

Dance Style: Jazz
Song: Get Lucky

Me: Bill danced stiffly anyway, so this dance exploiting that even more is just too obvious, as he doesn’t really do much dancing around Tyne.
Bruno: He doesn’t know what Bob Fossett would say about the jazz, as he didn’t see any, but it was very entertaining.
Carrie: They’ve seen some incredible dancing tonight as well as incredible spirit. He obviously fits in the spirit category.
Len: He thinks Tyne did a terrific job creating the routine. To perform with that type of injury takes guts, determination, and bravery. It shows a lot about the man.

Last Week’s Score: 6, 5, 6 = 17 This Week’s Score: 6, 5, 5 = 16

With a combined score of last week and this week, Christina and Mark, Brant and Peta, and Bill and Tyne are all in jeopardy. All other couples are safe. Being pulled out and sent back to safety right away are Brant and Peta, which is good, as they were the highest scoring couple this week, meaning they aren’t getting many votes from people at home.

The couple going home tonight after three weeks are Bill and Tyne. There are people working really hard who are improving every week, and he knows he’d never be able to keep up. But what makes it hard for him is Tyne won’t be able to stay in the competition either. Tom Bergeron notes she has made a big impression on everyone in her rookie season. She will miss the humor, and maybe the science facts, the most.

Bill was popular online, so I’m wondering if Dancing with the Stars exercised its right to change the voting outcome. Shows always publish that they have the right to do that, but never say when and if they are doing it. Because of his bum leg, it wouldn’t have been an entertaining show to watch him do peg leg dances each week, so it’s a possibility the producers thought it would be in their best interests to eliminate him this week. Either way, he goes out on a good note, and that’s probably better in the long run for everyone.

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