What Are You Waiting For – Starting Over, 03-01-05

by LauraBelle

Sometimes in life we sit and wait for the good things to happen, but they never do. The problem here is that we just sat and waited. Why not jump in with both feel and go that those things we want so badly?

Iyanla calls Rachael’s biological father, Jerry, while Rachael sits nearby yawning. As Jerry answers the phone, Iyanla hits Rachael on the arm to get her to pay attention. I believe she was trying to disassociate from the situation for fear of getting her hopes up.

Rachael gets on the phone and tells Jerry she is in complete shock, and he tells her he’s been waiting for her to call. Rachael assures him she isn’t angry, but just wanted to hear his voice. Jerry tells her she has some half sisters and brothers and many aunts and uncles. This is a girl who has always felt alone and abandoned, and the whole time there was another family out there waiting for her.

Getting a little bolder, Rachael says she has never even seen a picture of Jerry, and that all she had known was the negative person he was portrayed to be. Jerry tells her there are some people that don’t want her to know the truth, but if she wants to hear the truth, she will.

Rachael’s dad tells her the twenty years he has waited has been six years too long. After her mom and stepdad died, her family should have told her to look for him, adding he would have taken her in had he known her mom and Jesse had died. Jerry also tells her he is planning on visiting her in the Starting Over house.

After she hangs up, Rachael tells Iyanla it sounds like Jerry has a lot to say to her. She says her life could have been so different; she didn’t need to be alone.

Iyanla leads Group today and asks everyone what they’re waiting for to reach their goal. Renee says she has been waiting to see her father and Rachael has been waiting to not be alone anymore. Changing gears slightly, Iyanla asks what the difference is between waiting and having patience. After none of the women quite understand what she is asking for, Iyanla says waiting is an action, and a feeling you should be doing something else, but aren’t. Patience is a state of being, an acceptance of where you are. Candy says she’s not waiting for anything, and Iyanla isn’t so sure about that. She believes Candy can’t stop waiting until she learns to claim her own power.

Iyanla asks all the women if their lives were to never change, what would they need to practice. Renee knows off the bat it is forgiveness. Candy says acceptance, Cassie says self love, which everyone nods to, Rachael says compassion, Vanessa believes she needs to practice gratefulness and Bethany thinks she needs to practice taking risks, making Iyanla jump on her.

Iyanla asks Bethany to name some risks she will do today, and not satisfied with the riskiness of them, Iyanla asks Bethany to get in the pool today. Bethany doesn’t have a swimsuit with her, but says she will get in the pool tonight, something she hasn’t done at all since being in the house, wearing shorts and a t-shirt. Iyanla is pleased and tells Bethany it’s “Delicious; get me a fork.”

Renee move son to a one-on-one with Dr. Stan and says she is working on her patience, one of her values. Renee believes she has herself together for her dad’s visit the next day. She feels she let her father down by not talking to him, and admits she did so to punish him for taking her money, and now believes she is done with her punishment.

Dr. Stan questions Renee on why she feels the need to explain to her dad about being molested when she was a young girl, and she believes it is connected to her abandonment issues. It all left her very distrustful of men. She is different now, and wants her dad to know that, but Dr. Stan tells her she needs to focus on herself and convince herself she is not a failure, not her dad.

Rhonda chats with Cassie about the following day’s visit with Shelly, Cassie’s birth son’s stepmother. Cassie is very prepared as she knows in her heart now is the right time for all this. She just wants him to know where she’s at if he wants to get to know her.

Renee is working on writing her letter to her dad, and reads what she has written so far to Rachael. These two women had a hard time seeing eye to eye in the beginning, yet now face the same difficulty of reconnecting with their fathers.

The phone rings, and Renee answers it to find Candy’s daughter with urgent news. Renee tracks Candy down, and finds her at the health club with Bethany and Marcus as it’s measuring day.

Candy gets on the phone and learns from Renee her son, Louis, is in trouble. Marcus allows Candy to call her daughter from his office, and Candy tells her daughter to get Louis an attorney. Louis and his wife were separated and he couldn’t find his kids. His wife called him over to the house to get the kids, and once he arrived he found his kids weren’t there. His wife then called the police and told them there was a fight and Louis had beaten her.

Bethany and Candy leave to go back to the Starting Over house, and Candy says this is a twenty year sentence in Oregon. She says she feels sick; every time she goes away, something happens. Bethany gives her the sage advice that she should call Iyanla back at the house.

Iyanla walks into the Starting Over house and asks Candy what’s with the drama and trauma. She knows she has seen this from Candy before; just when it’s time for her to make a bit step in healing, hell breaks looks around her. The odd thing is the thing Candy seems most worried about is not Louis’ jail stint, but the fact Louis was storing Candy’s things in his house, and Candy is now afraid Louis’ wife will destroy her things.

Something doesn’t smell right to Iyanla about this situation. She says she would never put things of value in the care of someone she doesn’t trust. Candy tries to explain she didn’t put her things with her daughter-in-law, but with her son because he needed some help, but Iyanla cuts her off and tells her she is controlling Louis. She tells Candy her concern isn’t Candy’s things but the pattern she sees and asks if Candy is willing to change.

Candy has been carrying others’ burdens for too long and it’s time to cut the chord. Iyanla explains Candy says mothers see all the things in sons we could never have in a man, making us spend our lives rescuing our sons and taking care of them. Iyanla grabs a rope and scissors out of the kitchen and ties one end to Candy and one end to herself.

As they are tied together, Iyanla pulls her around the room. She tells Candy to cut the chord and Candy cuts it in the middle. Iyanla says she can still pull her around; cut it closer so that no one can grab on. Candy needs to give Louis the opportunity to be a man, or eventually he will hate and resent Candy. Let him figure it out, Iyanla says, and respect himself. Candy needs to help herself before she can help anyone else.

Iyanla moves on to meet with Renee and loves that Renee shows up carrying the portfolio she had given her. She reads the letter aloud to Iyanla that she has written to her dad. In it, she explains how she used to feel and says she was mistaken. She ends it telling him he matters and she misses him. Iyanla says it’s much better this fourth time around. They discuss that during his visit she should mention the lack of communication and ask what happened to the college fund money.

Bethany decides to finally take that dip in the pool. She spends a long time trying several different outfits on just trying to find the right shorts and shirt to jump in the pool with. Vanessa supports her fully in this, and they both go run out and jump in the cold water together. Iyanla, passing through, yells out, “Good for you!” and is still holding Candy’s cut chords.

Rachael calls her grandmother and asks if her real dad ever took care of her. Her grandmother tells her she told her he was a bum, and she had her stepdad to take care of her; she didn’t need her biological dad. Her grandmother badmouths him some more and says he came to take her one time for a visit and hadn’t returned her by midnight. Rachael tries to explain that people change, but her grandmother continues saying she doesn’t understand why Rachael wants to have anything to do with him.

Most of the women in the house seem like they have reached a big pinnacle in the process, if they succeed through the pinnacle depends on where they go from here. Renee has forgiven her father and is ready to heal the relationship, Rachael has finally taken a risk and reached out to her father. Even for her to consider such a thing was a huge step for her. Cassie has taken her GED, and is only waiting to retake the math portion, and the biggest thing is her son. She isn’t just waiting to find him; she seems resolved, patient if you will, to the fact that life will go on if he doesn’t want to know her. She just wants him to have the option. Candy needs this one big step still. She is there, and just needs to stop waiting for it to change. She needs to trust everyone else that they can care for themselves, so that she can take care of herself.

I welcome all questions and comments at LauraBelle@realityshack.com

I went from America’s Most Wanted to America’s Next Top Model – ANTM 4 Premiere

by Goddess of Chaos

Hey, hey, y’all. It’s that time again. America’s Next Top Model is back in the hizzouse – UPN. The twist tonight? Some wannabes from last season made reappearances. Mary, the plus-sized diva who felt she lots out to Toccara last season ‘cuz you can only have one plus-sized girl on the show and Tiffany, the “she touched my weave, bar fight gal ” (also from last season), returned. Mary was a little wilder. But Tiffany had toned it down considerably, y’all, but more on that later.

The show started off with some clips from seasons’ past. We saw the last 3 winners: [b]Adrianne Curry[/b], who’s currently chasing Chris “Peter Brady” Knight all over the [b]Surreal Life 4[/b] house; [b]Yoanna House[/b] – the girl who knew her fashion and had a flawless face but a not-so perfect physique – and [b]Miss Eva “the Diva” Pigford[/b], the Cycle 3 Winner who became a kinder, gentler and more confident diva as the competition wore on.

We get to see the 35 contenders arrive in California. Right away, the camera seems to spend more time on certain contestants. [i]{It’s no surprise that most of those girls become the [b] Final 14[/b] but I ain’t revealing them yet! C’mon now! I want you read this review, don’t I?}[/i]

The girls are waiting for the competition to start. It’s an eclectic mix of women and I’m not that impressed with the beauty in the competition. They’re a little rougher around the edges this season, or so it seems. (Maybe I’m just getting too old to watch UPN! Maybe I can’t hang, or perhaps I’m tired and cranky! All good reasons.)

Jay Manuel and Michelle Mock-Falcon, the casting director for the series, tell the girls it’s time to ‘get their game on’. The question comes up:

What’s Tyra looking for?

The answers were like: “someone real”, “new”, “fresh”, “ME”.

Tyra walks in and surprises the girls. They looked like they had just seen the Second Coming of Christ or something. It was pandemonium. Lotta love for Tyra – and tears. One wannabe was like, “She came to see us. She really does care.” Oh MY You-Know-Who! Sometimes, they should turn the sound off when they’re using the cameras. The models shouldn’t always be allowed to speak – I’m just saying.

Tyra tells the girls that she picked them out of the thousands of tapes she got. She’s seen them all. These girls are special. She says that she knows that one girl called “Lady Cat” says she was a cat in her past life. Um. Okay. Maybe, we need to bring in the Pet Psychic or something. That was weird, even for UPN.

Tyra says she’s looking for beauty on the outside; but more importantly, beauty on the inside. (Ummm hmmm. Yup! That’s what the fashion industry is noted for – promoting internally beautiful people!) She also wants the girls to be real. She’s not referring to implants/surgeries but rather to “BE REAL” like the slogan of that soft drink or something you say to someone so they won’t lie to you.

Used in a sentence:

Michael. Mr. Jackson, be real. You’re guilty.

(Don’t go hating on me for expressing an opinion. Yours can be different! I don’t mind.)

Tyra, Miss Jay (Jay Alexander – the fierce runway trainer) and Jay Manuel – the equal fierce creative designer/art director of photo shoots – are helping Tyra to meet with the girls one-on-one. They’re also going to be instrumental in helping her narrow done the field first to 20, then to 14.

First up, is Rebecca. She’s from Minnesota and she wants to “have fun” before she gets married to and has children with her sweetheart. Modeling is her idea of fun. (How serious is she about it then?) They liked her, except at one point, one of the Jays wondered if she wasn’t “too actress-looking” to be a model. Considering there’s such a crossover in the industries, I didn’t know that would be a complaint – unless, of course, he was saying she looked like Kathy Bates or Dame Judy Dench or something. (Again! I’m just saying. Boy! I should take my bipolar meds – I’m starting to sound as nasty as Simon Cowell!)

Keenyah, this season’s Yaya me thinks, is 18. She’s studying biology. She comes from a bad neighborhood (Compton) and wants to show that something good can come out of Compton. She wants to represent. Jay Manuel reminds her that “You represent you.” Keenyah said that she’d rather be a model than a doctor because you don’t have to speak in modeling yet you convey so much. (Again! Who lets these girls speak at all!)

Kahlen said that she had never seen the show at all and didn’t know anything about the industry because she works like 50 hours a week. She walked like a pro, though and Tyra, Miss Jay and Mr. Jay had a royal laugh after she left. They didn’t believe she’d never seen the show. Frankly, neither did I. She wasn’t being real. (Will she make the cut? Hmmm we’ll see, won’t we?)

Wendy was brought up Mormon but became an atheist. She told the judges that her mom would rather she be a lesbian or an unwed mother than an Atheist. (Mormons are always so cute and so open-minded, aren’t they?) Tyra liked her. They all admitted she had bad hair – it looked like a Joan Jett wig from back in the 80s. It was very “I love Rock N’ Roll”.

To counteract the atheist, we had Jennifer, a 20 year old who found a relationship with God and it saved her life. Tyra told her she liked her “big forehead.” I’m not sure if that was a compliment. If so, why wasn’t Herman Munster a supermodel? He had a huge forehead!

Brittany was up next. She’s 22 and from Florida. She was all jumping around. Miss Jay asked her, “Did you have a Redbull (the energy drink that Ms. Britney Spears enjoys an awful lot)?” She was like, “no. I’m always like this.” Great. In her interview with the camera, she was like, “I must’ve been a drag queen in a former life. Manley Stanley.” I can see she’s very politically-correct. That’s so great.

Tyra and the Jays thought they should toss her in a room with Janice Dickinson and shut the door. They bet Brittany has the chops to come out alive. I think that was a compliment.

Tiffany showed up next. She was the girl in the bar fight in cycle 3. She didn’t make it to the house. She went back home, went to anger management classes and has come back completely changed. She wants this so bad. She wants to get her life right, give back to her grandmother for helping to raise her and take care of her and to her son. Jay Manuel wondered after she left if the desire to change her life was enough. It doesn’t necessarily make her a model.

Now that we’ve seen as much as they’ll show us of the girls before the next segment, we get to see them in the pool with their swimsuits on. Some of the girls, including the Plus-Sized Mary who was very hung up on being a Plus-Sized girl, took off their tops and paraded around. There was some pole dancing, truth-or-dare and other stuff that’ll make my poor husband so mad that he had to go to a budget meeting for our condo board instead of watching ANTM tonight!


There were some girls who were just not happy with the others for displaying such lewd behavior. Oh my! It wasn’t ladylike, was it?

After that, the girls broke up into two groups – over 21 and under 21. The over 21 girls got to party at an LA nightclub called White Lotus. They were getting their drink and their dance on while the under 21 crew had to go bowling at PINZ. Some of the gals weren’t exactly thrilled with that. However, Noelle said that they ended up having a blast; and, in the end, they got to stay out later than the over 21 crew – so there and nananabooboo.

Now we get to hear more about Lady Kat – Jessika. She’s 21 and she has long nails. She uses them to scratch. She showed the judges her cat walk (she crawled on the floor it was very Eartha Kitt or Halle Berry – two actresses who’ve played Catwoman – meets Mr. Clean, I’m thinking of trying it on my kitchen floor, but I’m afraid I’ll never get back up!) and told them she had no idea how tall she was.

Lady Kat is also very, very aggressive.

Lluvy (pronounced [b]ewe-vee[/b]), who was born in Mexico, talks about all the rage she had growing up. Her dad died when she was 3. Her mom always told her how he wanted her to be a model. Lluvy took that rage and was in a gang. She told the panel that she wasn’t proud of that time and she doesn’t like to think about it, but she owned up to it and took responsibility for her actions while explaining (not necessarily excusing) them. It was awfully refreshing to see. She thanked Tyra for telling her to change out of the dress she first walked in with. She admitted that the dress was her sister’s and she felt more comfortable in jeans and a t-shirt, which said (NO LIE) [b]Me So Corny![/b] True that, girl. True that.

Sarah is a tomboy like Lluvy. She wore a t-shirt that said “Holla Back”. Tyra and the Jays thought she had personality and the shirt was cute.

Next up is Michelle. She’s 19 and a wrestler in Indiana. She’s got a wide neck from working out or something. She said she’d happily give up wrestling for modeling. At least if she makes it in the house she can whomp on the other girls. I’d love to see a huge bloody catfight. Maybe with Lady Kat. Meoooooooooooow!

Naima is 20. She has a style that’s as unusual as her name. Both her parents are musicians and named her after one of Jazz great John Coltrane’s songs. (It was written for his wife at the time, Naima!) She has a Mohawk and said she used to have long hair but got rid of it because she was going through some stuff and had to get right in her head.

As a woman who’s cut her long hair off in frustration/anger, I must say seeing her in a Mohawk made me feel better that I never went that extreme. She can carry it off, but I’d look a lot different – and worse.

Naima danced a little ballet for the judges. She had moved to NYC to be a ballet dancer and now is a coffee shop waitress and aspiring model.

Brandy was up next. She’s from Houston and she has a red afro that her mama sewed on for her. She also has a gap in between her two front teeth. She honestly looks a little like Brandy Norwood (former “Moesha” star and pop singer).

Tatiana, who’s from Hawaii, said she had heard about the competition while driving in her car. She immediately hoped a plane to Oahu and spent her ‘rent money’ to get the ticket. Will her gamble pay off? She does say that when she wants something, she’ll make it happen. She did quit school and Tyra asks her about that. Tatiana is like, ‘I’ll get my
GED. I just learn better on my own.’
Estela is from the Bronx. She’s 22 and has a 3 year old daughter. She got married to the father of the baby, but he kicked her and the child out in the middle of February. They had to go to a homeless shelter. She had no money for milk for her child and talks about how all the adversity has made her stronger. Tyra was crying. I was crying. I figured she was a shoo-in now. Of course, the girl is pretty. She looks a lot like Rosario Dawson (from [b] Josie and the Pussycats [/b], [b] Alexander [/b] and [b] Men in Black II [/b]).

Now back to the girls and a birthday party for Sarah and another wannabe. Lady Kat (Jessika) stood up and wanted to express herself. Well not too many wanted to hear that. Estela said on camera that Kat was a “handful”. She and Sarah almost came to blows.

Tiffany is like, “I look at them and think, ‘Damn! That’s the way I used to act.’”

It was time for the girls to have a field trip. They went to a park to hang out. Tiffany was not happy because some bees were getting awfully friendly with her. She does pull Kat aside and tells her to tone it down and not blow this chance for herself. She knows from experience.

Back to the interviews. Mary, the plus-sized model, who tried out last season, talked honestly about the pain she felt at not making it last time. The Jays weren’t sure that they wanted to put through a plus-sized model because it’s not fair – mostly to the model herself. It makes the competition harder for her and a plus-sized model probably wouldn’t win. It’s a sad fact, but our Toccara showed us that.

So – why don’t we start a “America’s Next Top Plus-Sized Model” series on UPN? Emme from “Fashion Emergency” or Kate Dillon, a top plus-sized model, or Mia Tyler, could host it!

Let’s start a write-in campaign. C’mon, y’all. The average American woman is a size 14 – plus sized models start at a size 12 (or even 10 in some cases and they’re usually not bigger than an 18!). Let’s have some more models to represent us!

Rachel is the other plus-sized girl in the bunch. She’s cool with flaunting her body in a bikini even and she said she’s fine with whatever so long as they don’t make her show nipple.

Alexandra is from Colorado. She’s 19 and she talked about how she rode the ‘short bus’ to school. She had a speech impediment and was a special needs child. Tyra told her that many models, actresses and other entertainers had similar challenges. She can still achieve her dreams.

Christina is 24. She’s from Florida. Tyra joked that this white chick was looking like her cousin and asked if she ‘tanned’. Christina admitted that she does lay out. That’s an industry no-no. It’s better to use a tanning formula but no laying out. It can lead to leathery skin, accelerate the aging process and lead to damage and disease, including skin cancer.

Brita is gorgeous. She’s 25 and a waitress in California. Her parents are from Latvia. She grew up wealthy but has had to make her own way since her dad broke his back.

Noelle has a baby. She calls her child a miracle because she has endometriosis (it’s a very painful disorder in which cysts form on the endometrium, the lining of a woman’s uterus). She wasn’t supposed to have children. She said that the experience of having a baby when she wasn’t supposed to has given her great confidence and changed her life.

Now that the judges have met all the girls, they want them to do a walk-off in their lingerie. Some of the girls gave their fiercest poses, others looked like barnyard animals.

After a little bit of waiting and wondering, Jay Manuel let’s them know that they’re cutting a bunch of girls tomorrow morning.

20 out of 35 would remain. There were 20 portfolios on some tables. If a girl’s picture was in one of the portfolios, she was staying. If not, it was bye-bye. The ones who didn’t make the cut were very tearful. The rest were pretty jubilant. Estela, who made the cut, felt bad for those who didn’t.

The 20 finalists had to take their picture in a photo booth. That was their first photo assignment. Some of them had problems with the machine like Tiffany. Most realized that they had to be real and give their best, natural face.

With those photos, the Tyra, Miss Jay and Mr. Jay had to cut the list from 20 to 14. Jay doesn’t like Noelle, but Tyra does. They wonder if Naima is too edgy. Brittany reminds them all of Janice Dickinson. Miss Jay is put off by the wideness of wrestler-Michelle’s neck. They discuss Brandy’s hair weave and wonder if Estela’s story is enough to keep her in the competition.

Tyra makes the announcements. Here’s the list in order that Tyra called them out:


Mary was heartbroken and not sure if she can continue to deal with rejection. Tyra told her she’s been in her shoes and to not give up. Estela, in tears, takes her leave with dignity and wishes the other girls lots of luck. She also says that she knows she and her daughter will prevail.

Next week, they move into the house, which isn’t in a nice neighborhood. Nole, Tyra and Nigel play “fashion police” and Tyra gets angry up in here at 2 of the girls during their makeovers.

***Check out http://www.upn.com/shows/top_model4/models/index.shtml for info on the models that isn’t covered here.

Good night, y’all. Email me at panndrya@realityshack.com. I’ll try and answer you back but I have a (email) virus.***

captainD's Boot Prediction – Survivor Palau, Episode 3

As week three of Survivor: Palau comes rolling in, I will try my best not to repeat last weeks pitiful performance. After picking the reward and immunity winners correctly, somehow Ashlee slipped off my radar and became the 2’nd boot. Will Koror’s immunity winning streak continue? Will Jennifer finally say something? Anything?!
Let’s find out . . .

This week Ian and Tom get tired of their diet of rats and decide to go shark hunting. Richard Hatch would be so proud! A physical reward challenge will be won by a much stronger Ulong tribe. The severity of Jeff’s foot injury will be the key to the rest of the episode. In the CBS preview it shows Jeff complaining about not being able to put any pressure at all on his sore foot. That means that a determined Koror tribe will probably win their 3’rd straight immunity challenge. Whether he quits or gets voted out, the next person to leave Palau is JEFF WILSON.

Questions? Comments? E-mail me at captainDs5@yahoo.com

Survivor Strategy – The Second Coming of Romber? Doubtful.

by aurora

Episode 2 of Survivor Palau did little to shed any light on some of the players ignored in the premiere. A few people did, however, make a bit of an entrance. And those I mentioned in my first commentary continued to shine – well most of them, anyway.

Caryn wasn’t happy with Koror’s new living arrangements. She made quite a fuss, actually, and accused Tom of making a bad decision for the rest of the group. Fast forward to the “scenes from the next Survivor” and we get a shot of Caryn and Katie arguing. Loudly. Will this bring tension and dissention to the tribe? Probably not, but at least we’re getting to know a bit more about these two women.

There’s no real need to discuss Ashlee – she sunk her own ship by not being ‘social’ and by giving up. The Survivor Insider indicates that she went so far as to ask to be voted out. At least she did it early in the game and didn’t waste everyone’s time.

Angie stepped up and kicked butt in the reward challenge, which may have bought her some extra time on the island. However, things at Ulong are getting weird anyway, and Angie has become less of a target.

Kim and Jeff have become snuggle-buddies. Aw, how cute. But in this game, it’s anything but cute. It’s downright dangerous for everyone involved. Surely these people have seen all-Stars and realize that Rob and Amber walked all over everyone else in the game – all the way to the final two. Or maybe the Palau crew has realized the same thing I have – Kim and Jeff are no Romber.

While I give credit to Amber begrudgingly, one has to admit that latching on to Mariano was the smartest thing she’s done on both of her Survivor appearances. Allowing him to do the dirty work and burn several of his friends gave her the green light to a million bucks. Smart. On the other hand, Rob played the game much better than his girlfriend. He took risks, he looked out for himself and his girl, and he had a clear strategy from day one. Again, smart.

Kim and Jeff don’t seem to have the brains or the strategy-smarts to pull this off. Jeff is stubborn and opinionated, and doesn’t seem to have any tolerance for others who don’t agree with him. He’d have a hard time making alliances and keeping mum when ready to break them. Meanwhile, Kim claims to have no clue that the two of them will be seen as an alliance threat. If she’s serious, then, well, c’mon – no one is that dumb. If she’s faking it to look dumb, there might be more to her than meets the eye, however misguided her strategy might be.

Indeed, it does seem that Kim’s plan was to latch on to an attractive, strong guy. Jonathan said in one of episode one’s Survivor Insider clips that he and Kim had formed a bond and spent some time together. Did Kim go after Jonathan initially and then quickly switch to Jeff once Jonathan was left out in the pick ‘em routine? Sure, it’s a likely scenario. But what Kim has failed to realize is that the man she hooks up with would have to have a clear head for strategy, which Jeff is clearly lacking.

Then we have Bobby Jon, who is making himself a target without realizing what he’s doing. He couldn’t decide whether to vote for Ashlee or Kim when Tribal Council was approaching, annoying Stephenie and the rest of his tribe. This is, of course, reminiscent of Dolly in Vanuatu, and Christy in the Amazon. Both women were voted out for their indecision – will Bobby Jon suffer the same fate?

The strongest players, to me, seem to be Tom, Ian, and Stephenie. While Tom is a quiet leader and father figure, Ian works steadily and keeps the peace for Koror. At Ulong, Stephenie seems to know what’s going on all the time, and plants ideas along the way.

Apparently there are two people named Gregg and Jennifer in this game too, but I can’t even remember which tribe they’re on, never mind if they have a strategy. Hopefully we’ll find out a bit more about them before they’re gone.

Agree? Disagree? Have something to add? Drop me a line at

A Look At The Final 20 – American Idol Commentary

by NiceGuy286

The first week of eliminations after America’s votes is already behind us and 4 contestants were sent home – 2 guys and 2 girls. That leaves 10 guys and 10 girls all vying for America’s votes to be the next American Idol.

As Melinda Lira, one of the eliminated girls from last week, noted, the face time each contestant gets does factor in when America votes. Let’s face it, chances are that America will not vote for someone they haven’t seen much of.

Now that we’ve seen the contestants’ first shot at impressing America, I’d like to take a look at what I think the remaining 20 contestants’ chances are of winning this competition.

Let’s start with the final 10 guys:

[b]Anthony Federov[/b] – I don’t agree with the comparison to Clay Aiken that the judges made but he does have a great voice. He should make it to the final 12 but I don’t think he will win though.

[b]Anwar Robinson[/b] – I’m not really a fan of his although he does have his moments where he shines. He will probably make the final 12 but I doubt he’ll get much further than the final 10.

[b]Bo Bice[/b] – The first of the 2 rockers. I’m not a huge fan of either rocker but if I had to choose between the two, Bo would be my pick. In my opinion, he is a better singer than Constantine but I don’t see him winning the competition.

[b]Constantine Maroulis[/b] – I’m not a fan of his at all. His performance last week was awful but he was lucky to get a lot of face time in the audition rounds which is most likely the reason he was safe last week. I hope he doesn’t make the final 12 but I think he unfortunately will.

[b]David Brown[/b] – He has been pretty consistent so far and I think he will go far in the competition. I wouldn’t want to see him win but I think he will probably make it to at least the final 6.

[b]Joseph Murena[/b] – Joseph is one of the contestants who did not get much face time in the audition rounds. As a result, I dont see him making the final 12. He might slip by this week but he will probably be gone by next week.

[b]Mario Vazquez[/b] – He probably has the best chance out of the guys of winning right now. He has given great performances so far and I would say he is almost guaranteed a spot in the final 12. I could easily see him in the final 4.

[b]Nikko Smith[/b] – He is not as strong a singer as most of the other guys. I thought he might have been eliminated last week but he made it through. I don’t think he will be so lucky this week though.

[b]Scott Savol[/b] – For some reason, he comes off as the Caucasian version of Ruben Studdard. I did not like Ruben at all but Scott isn’t too bad – for now at least. He will most likely make the final 12 and probably get as far as the final 8 or so.

[b]Travis Tucker[/b] – Travis is not that bad a singer but highly doubt he will get to the final 12. He may get through this week but that will most likely be as far as he goes.

Ok, now let’s look at the girls:

[b]Aloha Misheaux[/b] – I do not like her at all. It appears as though she tries too hard when she performs. I would hope that she won’t make the final 12 but the judges seem to like her so that could affect the way America votes.

[b]Amanda Avila[/b] – My opinion of Amanda seems to change with each performance. She has her moments when she’s really good but then there are times when she isn’t that great. I can see her making the final 12 but I don’t see her going further than the final 9.

[b]Carrie Underwood[/b] – Carrie is arguably the best female contestant this season – vocally anyway. I am a fan hers and I think she is almost guaranteed a spot in the final 12. She should easily make the final 8, if not better, if she doesn’t mess up really badly.

[b]Celina Rae[/b] – I doubt she will make the final 12, I think she’ll be lucky to get through this week. It’s not that she isn’t good, it’s the lack of face time in the earlier rounds that will hurt her.

[b]Janay Castine[/b] – Janay is treading on very thin ice. She knows that she barely slipped by last week and I would be surprised if she survived this week’s eliminations.

[b]Jessica Sierra[/b] – I like her voice and think she would do well in the final 12, providing she makes it there. She was safe last week and she should also be safe this week.

[b]Lindsey Cardinale[/b] – Personally, she is one of my faves this season. She should make the final 12 with all the face time she got in the earlier rounds and I think she would probably get as far as the final 5.

[b]Mikalah Gordon[/b] – Simon’s comment last week about her was dead on – you either like her or hate her. I don’t like her at all. She does have the personality but she does not have the voice. Unfortunately, the judges like her and have pushed her hard so I think she will make the final 12. Hopefully, she won’t get any further than the final 10 though.

[b]Nadia Turner[/b] – She also is not one of my faves. She is better than Aloha but I still don’t really like her. She will most likely make the final 12 but I can’t see her winning the competition though.

[b]Vonzell Solomon[/b] – Vonzell has her moments just like Amanda. I definitely prefer her to Aloha and Nadia but I think she might just miss making the final 12. If she should make the final 12, I doubt she will go further than the final 9.

Of course, the above assessments of the contestants are just my opinions. Only time will tell how accurate they are. Tonight is this week’s elimination night, so in lieu of that, I will make my predictions for the eliminations.


Eliminated Guys[/b] – Nikko & Joseph

[b]Eliminated Girls[/b] – Janay & Celina

Questions and comments are always welcomed. You can email them to niceguy286@gmail.com

Weep No More, My Alex: Queer Eye for the Straight Guy Episode 3.7

–Christina M. Rau/GatsbyGirl

The Fab Five’s all a-flutter out to the SUV. They read the dossier about 29-year-old Alex Manolopolous (I’m totally guessing at the spelling of that). They ooh and ahh over how he’s Greek. Ted’s factoid: the Greeks invented gay sex. So everyone hoorays for the Greeks and gay sex. Because where would Queer Eye be if not for those ancient gay philosophers?

Alex is a banker, and he thinks his job is soulless. He’s been married 5 years to Carine but they don’t spend much time together anymore since he’s been going to acting class. Yes, Alex wants to be an actor. Because that’s much more soulful. He’s also the paternal brother of triplets, meaning the other two are identical. Kyan feels bad for Alex, who he calls the “odd man out.” Ted says, “I feel bad for them [identical brothers] because their names are Aristotle and Socrates.” Are they gay, too?

One more thing about Alex. He’s a smoker. Oh, and one last thing—he’s got no connections in the acting world and has had no auditions. This is turning out to be the saddest story ever told. Carson suggests that Alex sleep with someone for that first step to stardom.

Jai says their mission is to take Alex “from acting class to a class act.” This should be interesting.

Credits. Blue is a great color for Ted.

The guys run up to Alex’s house and enter. Alex is a guy with somewhat messy black hair and stubble. He’s wearing a striped green shirt. Kyan asks what plays Alex had been in while in school, and Alex mentions “Annie.” Kyan pounces: “Annie. That’s why you have the hair like this.” Here we go again with the unhealthy hair obsession. I get that it’s his job but is that the only aspect of it?

The house is empty. Carson calls it “very white.” A parquet floor, bright white walls, and not much furniture. There are piles of crap here and there. There’s even a white TV that was hand painted by some brunette woman. I have no idea who she is.

Jai finds out that Alex has no headshots. Jai passes out and they need smelling salts to revive him. Just kidding, but that would be fun.

Carson comes out of a closet (heehee—I love puns) with white button downs. “I have the perfect look for this home.” He makes Brunette put the shirt on backwards and it looks like a straight jacket.

Then they go onto a porch which Thom assumes is for smoking because everything is dingy and tinted yellow.

Then we hear Carson yelling, “What on God’s green earth is this?!” There are piles of dirty laundry in the kitchen. He asks, “Who does the laundry?” Brunette giggles, “Not me!” and sticks out her boobs. Hey, they’re gay, sweetie, and there’s no need for that. Carson responds, “Good answer.”

Thom brings Alex into the bedroom. It’s all white, too. Thom is disappointed that nothing in the house reflects who lives in it.

In the white, white kitchen, Ted and Carson inspect some bacon. Ted is unsure about it. Carson says that it’s fake. Facon. “Facon bacon.” Heehee. Then Jai dons a furry white rug and puts a piece of facon in his mouth and he’s Fred Flintstone. Okay then.

Thom is going through closets with Brunette. She has a shoe closet. Then a separate closet for her tops. Oh! This must be Carine! No one mentioned that. Sometimes I don’t catch on that quick. Carine is a petite, olive-skinned woman with long, straight hair. And she has several closets. One more for coats and belts.

Meanwhile, Carson has on Pricilla Queen of the Desert eyelashes. I don’t think this is his first experience with them. He knows how to wear them well.

Over in the kitchen, Ted finds frozen food and is upset.

Back to the closets. One for Carine’s pants. She tells Carson that she doesn’t share her closet space. He says, “Good for you. I wouldn’t either.” He’s so serious about it that it’s funny.

And now Jai has gauze wrapped around his head and Kyan is weeping over him as ketchup is smeared on the floor. Oh, I’m going to puke. I have this thing about ketchup—if it gets anywhere other than where it’s supposed to be, I freak out. And now, seeing that the ketchup is on a person and not a fry, I’m freaking.

Alex, who is now wearing a blue top that you’d see on Scrubs, tells Jai that he got into acting in high school and liked it then. He wants to revisit it now.

Thom, subtle as usual, comes into the living room and asks, “What happened to your house?” Ha! Ha! BTW—Alex is back to wearing the green shirt so I think some weird editing occurred. Alex says that they’ve been there over two years and Thom says, “No!” because he can’t believe it.

Meanwhile, Jai tells Carine that Alex has way too many clothes in the kitchen. Carine agrees. They start to go through the pile and out jump Carson and Ted and scare the crap out of Carine. Heehee. Fun with dirty underwear.

Back in the living room, Subtle Thom says, “It almost looks like you guys were running from the law.” Heehee. Alex says that he doesn’t want to fight about decorating with Carine. Man, he’s scared of her.

Jai, Carson, and Ted now surround Carine in the kitchen. Carson says, “So he doesn’t like to make out?” Carine says, “He doesn’t like to kiss.” The boys are appalled. Carson says, “But that’s half the fun!” Ted suggests, “You should teach him how, Jai.” Jai doesn’t seem very thrilled with the idea. He says he’ll suggest kissing Carine more to Alex. That’s pretty much where the lesson will end. Carson takes one for the team and says, “I’ll go and kiss him right now.” Atta, boy. Alex’s excuse is that he’s too tired to kiss. They don’t buy it.

In the living room, Carine tells Thom, “I like to shop. He hates to shop. He likes sports. I hate sports.” So she’s basically listing why they shouldn’t be married because they have absolutely nothing in common. With her list and Alex’s fear of her, it’s hard to understand why the two of them are even on speaking terms. Kyan and Thom as Carine if Alex likes sex. She says yes. They ask if she does and she makes that hand motion that means “kinda.” Thom and Kyan hush her up—not liking sex is a curse!

Alex enters the bedroom with underwear on his head. To be further humiliated, Jai points out that they found “lube in the tissue box—it’s two in one.” Then Alex tells Carson that Carine buys all his clothing.

In the kitchen, Alex tells Ted that he loves Carine and does everything for her.

The FF make Alex make out with Carine before she leaves. Then they sit on the couch and make Alex do his monologues. He does something from “Big Fish.” They clap. He cries. Jai tells Alex that he has an audition for a film because Jai pulled some strings. Alex will get the part in the film if he does well. Which is the basic rule of most auditions. Alex practically cries again.

Carine interviews that Alex is not interested in physical appearance.

The acting coach interviews, “His hair. It lives.” Like Frankenstein’s monster, I suppose.

In the SUV, Carson lectures about how behind every great man is a great woman, and tells Alex that he can’t forget Carine. Alex gushes that he knows. Then Carson asks, “Are you going to dump her when you make it big?” Heehee. Oh, that Carson. Jai gets all excited about how, later in the day, Alex will be meeting with the big wig from American Psycho. Everyone’s excited for the audition. Hopefully, this is not the same guy who was involved with American Psycho 2 because that movie? Was bad.

Carson and Alex hop out at Bergdorf Goodman Men’s. Alex confesses that he doesn’t trust himself with style. Thanks, Master of the Obvious. That’s why you’re getting a make-over. Then he goes a step further, telling Carson that he’s scared. Jeez, it’s just clothing. Carson hugs him because Carson finds any reason to hug a straight man.

First, Alex puts on a fitted black sweater. Carson says that too many men wear very baggy sweaters. Over the sweater goes a motorcycle jacket. Carson comments, “It worked for James Dean; it can work for you.” Ah, Jimmy Dean. I used to be obsessed with him until I found out that, if he were alive today, he would be about as old as Walter Matthau. (Yes, I know that he’s passed, too, but he lived until, like, 70). Alex puffs out his chest and says, “How you like them apples?” That statement makes you a man apparently.

They move on to find the perfect shirt for a headshot. Pinks. Purples. Soft browns. They decide on white button down with vertical stripes in these hues. It’s an okay shirt. They dress it up with a blended plaid blazer.

Carson tells Alex he can’t be scared all the time. “Own the world, even if you have to charge it.” That is so going to be my new motto.

Hopping on over to Thom, who greets Alex with a “Hello, Pumpkin!” Aww. Being nice to make up for the claws that came out earlier. Carine’s there, too! Thom makes Alex kiss her again and then claims to be a marriage counselor by bringing people together with furniture. They look at white, masculine furniture. Obligatory sofa sitting. A white sofa with velcroed covers and removable cushions. Mauve ottomans. Dark wood dining table that opens up to have whole family over.

Alex tells Carine about meeting the casting director. Thom says, “Not only are you going to get a new sofa but your husband might be famous!” Heehee.

Moving to Ted in a chocolate store where they meet Key (spelling that phonetically). Her chocolates were ranked #1 by Zagat. She gives them samples. I want some samples. Alex says, “It’s like a party in my mouth.” Mmm. Key gives a lesson on truffles. Ted says, “Nothing is more romantic than chocolate.” Then tells Alex that he’s going to make his own chocolates from scratch. Alex is scared. Again. Wimp.

And now, time to meet up with Kyan who says it’s “the day for dreams to come true.” He’s going to work on Alex as an actor on the outside. They sit with Gina who gives Alex a versatile haircut. Alex says that Carson has such an eye for clothes (that’s why Carson is on Queer EYE and is the STYLE GUY). Alex is so the new MOTO (Master of the Obvious). Then he tells Kyan that he feels more confident. Kyan’s like, “Did you hear what you just said?!” He’s in therapy mode. Alex is becoming a new man, and Kyan is right on Alex’s heels in the race to be MOTO.

They talk more about acting. Clothes can change who you are on the inside. Wow, that’s materialistic. I guess he means that taking care of himself and not being dirty makes him feel better about himself. Alex shaves and puts on the striped shirt. He looks good. He’s clean. Then the meet up with the headshot lady Deborah and take headshots.

Alex moves on to Jai to talk about the film that he’s auditioning for. He’ll be trying out for a co-worker role. Margaret Cho is in the movie. Jai brings out a “special guest” who is none other than Alex’s acting coach. Then Jai and Alex act out a scene. The acting coach coaches. They act more. She coaches more. This is the most boring scene in Queer Eye history. Even the cucumber conversation between Kyan and Brud was better than this.

Mom interviews that Alex is a dirty boy.

The brothers interview that actors should come with a cleaning lady. They should be seen and not heard.

Heading home in the SUV, Alex says that his one hang-up had been his external appearance and that the day has made him a new man. Umm, didn’t his wife say that he didn’t care about physical appearance? Someone’s lying!

They enter the house and Jai is speechless, that’s how good it looks. His mouth drops open. Jai, you don’t live there! If you love it so much, get Thom to re-do your own place. Finally, Alex comes in and he, too, is speechless. Carson pets his arm and says, “I know, you’re overwhelmed.” Because Carson finds any reason to pet a straight man’s arm. To lighten the mood and get Alex to breathe again, Carson points to the table and says, “Look! Nothing’s more fun that a bowl full of balls!” And, yes, there’s a bowl full of balls on the table. Wait, they might be apples. But a bowl full of apples just isn’t as fun.

Thom points out his handy work. He’s installed chocolate brown molding and now the walls look brighter, whereas before they were a drab, empty white. He’s made a meditation area where he used to smoke. Pretty satin pillows and scented candles abound. Then he says, “And I cleaned the windows!” Ha. Amazing what a little cleaning will do.

Alex notices that Thom used his marlins on the wall. Also, Thom hung up Carine’s artwork. The white couch and chairs and colored ottomans and rugs cover the parquet floor.

In the bedroom, there’s a green comforter and a cleaner space overall. Then Thom tells Alex to clean the toilet once in a while.

And now it’s time for more therapy with Kyan. Kyan sits down with Alex and gives him a quit smoking kit. Alex mentions that one of his brothers had cancer and he doesn’t want to go through that so he wants to stop smoking. Kyan launches into a lecture about nicotine and eating and urges and addiction and cravings and withdrawal. At least he’s not harping on the hair.

Over to Carson and the closet. Or I should say closets because there are quite a few of them. Carson has switched closets on Carine, giving Alex the “good” closet. That doesn’t bode well for a happy marriage.

They get Alex all dressed. Carson says that his clothes for any audition should be generic but memorable. He says that Alex shouldn’t wear black. Brown is better. Alex zhuzshes.

Next he puts on a narrow dark suit with a white shirt that has light gray-silvery pattern things. And sneakers. Okay, Carson. What’s with the sneakers?

Ted brings Alex to the kitchen to make passion fruit truffles. Sugar. Cream. Puree. Boil. Stir. Melt bittersweet chocolate under hot cream. Wear rubber surgical gloves for rolling chocolate and dust in cocoa. Yum!

Jai shows Alex the headshots. Alex appreciates it all. Jai tells Alex to go with the suit. Then he tells Alex that he’s not telling him what to wear and he doesn’t like to go against what other people say. But Alex should use his judgment as an actor. Wow. Overstepping boundaries once again. But here, Jai might be right because he does the acting thing. I smell trouble a-brewin.

In the living room, the guys recap what Alex should do. Jai tells him to definitely not smoke before the audition. Carson tells him to wear the brown sweater. Heehee. That’s exactly what Jai told him not to do in secret. This should be good.

Alex tells the guys that this has been the most amazing day of his life and then starts to weep like a little girl and calls himself a cry baby. Umm, yeah. There’s a way to cry and then there’s a way to weep. He’s weeping! And getting all high-pitched. The guys say it’s okay to be emotional. He says that it’s his dream coming true and that’s why he’s crying. Weeping. WEEPING! When the guys leave, he remains on the couch. Sniffling.

Hip Tip: Ugly rain gear kills a stylish look. So you should definitely wear the matching hat and umbrella as Carson does.

Carine interviews that Alex is dedicated to acting.

The FF enter the loft and sit on the Critic Couch. Carson is ready for some “thespian on thespian action.” Heehee.

First, Alex makes truffles. The guys tell Ted how they can’t believe that you can make chocolate truffles at home. Ted says, “It’s not that hard.” Then in the same breath, he watches Alex and yells, “That’s wrong!” Alex is adding things into the mix that will burn on the stove. Next, he puts a glass bowl on the stovetop. The Fab Five can’t believe what they’re seeing and neither can I. It takes a special kind of stupid to try to heat something on the stove in a glass mixing bowl.

Alex finally gets back on track and finishes cooking by wiping the floor in the corner of the kitchen with a Swiffer Wet Jet.

Next, he gets naked, much to the excitement of the guys. They scream about his pecs and how he’s so flexing on purpose. Of course he is. Giving back to the guys. When he gets out of the shower, he goes to the wrong closet to get dressed. Habits can be hard to break. Heehee.

Then Carson yells, “Newsflash! That’s not the shirt I told him to wear.” As Alex puts out a white button down with some soft pattern, he mumbles something about Jai. Carson shoots a glare at Jai: “Jai! Did you tell him to wear something else?” Jai squirms and says that he told Alex that he personally liked the suit better. Carson dives at Jai and chokes him. “You told him to wear something else? You bitch!” Jai shakes like a rag doll being throttled by the family pet. Strangulation can be quite comical.

Alex then writes a love note to Carine. Ted says, “I told him to do that!” Why be proud that you told him to write something? The note starts out, “By the time you read this,” so several of the FF jump in and say, “I will be dead!” Heehee. Alex then writes a second note to give to Carine. Both notes say that he loves her. Ted says, “I didn’t tell him to write two. He thought of that on his own!” Again, writing a second note is not a far leap from writing one note. He could have just combined the two and wrote an entire love LETTER. I’m just sayin.

And let the sweating commence. The guys realize that Alex is practically dripping. So much for the shower. Carson says, “He’s sweating like a whore in church.” Then Thom asks, “Is he sweating or crying?” Whatever the case, Alex is all wet. Then Kyan notes that Alex is “giving himself a proctology exam.” Ewwww. He’s just putting those stupid gloves on.

Back in the kitchen, Alex starts getting very agitated at the dessert. The truffles won’t stay put on the plate. They keep rolling away from the position Alex puts them in. BTW– he rolls the chocolate in the cocoa while wearing the white shirt. Not smart.

Next, Alex puts product in his hair. He shakes his hair back as if he’s the Breck girl. Then he throws out his cigarettes! The Fab Five yell, “Yeay!”

Carine comes home. Kyan says, “She’s a hottie. I don’t care how you slice it.” She walks in calm. Looks around. Doesn’t say much. Carson and Kyan say she should be having a more thrilled reaction. Alex points out all the things that Thom pointed out to him before. Carson says, “If this acting thing doesn’t work out, he can always get a job at Colonial Williamsburg.” Ha!

Finally, Carine reacts when she sees the meditation porch. “This is great!” Back in the living room, Alex shows her the book Kyan gave him to stop smoking. Next, he shows Carine the little closet. She’s not too thrilled.

Alex models his suit for Carine. Carson says, “Courtesy of Jai Rodriguez.” Thom asks, “Jai, is there anything else you told him to do? Like put the soap on the other wall?” Carson says, “Or how to make the truffles better?” Jai says, “I told him to shave against the grain.” Kyan turns to Jai, “Thank you!” Oh, how I love banter.

Alex gives Carine a turquoise thing. They both have one and it’s for good luck. Carine kisses him and says she loves him. Alex leaves out the truffle heart. She thinks the suit is gorgeous. Carson is so bitter. Alex leaves. The Fab Five cheer him on. Carine finds the truffles in the kitchen and smiles.

The FF are beyond nervous as Alex goes to the audition. Thom says, “You know how he is. He’s either going to freak out or cry.” That’s so mean but so true! Some woman in an orange shirt comes in and annoys the crap out of Alex and two other actors who are waiting. She points out that it’s Friday the 13th. The FF think she may be hitting on him. She’s reading for the same part that the other guys are.

Ted asks if he’s swearing bullets. Carson says, “He’s sweating whole guns.” Then Alex gets called. He runs through scene with the casting director who has a head of hair Kyan would love to get his clippers on. During part of the scene, Alex whispers the lines. Then Kyan whispers to Jai, “Why is he whispering?” Jai whispers back, “Because the character’s standing right in front of them.” Kyan and Carson both whisper, “Oh.” And the scene ends. And the casting guy does it again. Everyone says, “Good.” Alex thanks the casting director.

Jai says that Alex is being so professional. Carson says, “You are what you dress,” and finally gives Jai credit for making Alex wear the suit.

Alex goes to see his family who give him an excited cheer. His brothers are there. Carson says that they’re so cute and I concur. Carson would “like those two soufflakes in my gyro!” and I concur. He tells them about the film audition. The part is for a banker and they all guffaw because of the almost-irony.

Jai pulled some more strings and had the casting director call the restaurant about the audition. He says that he’s going to have Alex back for an audition for something else, too. Alex can’t believe it. He starts weeping as he tells the family the news. His mom starts crying, too. Alex says he wants to thank the Fab Five.

Thom loves that it ended with him crying “because it’s so him.” Kyan asks two questions: “Does he get the part? And does he keep the closet?” Thom says, “I think he’s got a better chance of getting the part than keeping the closet.” Very true. Carine is probably switching it all back right now.

They cheer to Alex being a big star.

This week’s tips:

Jai says to call party guests ahead of time to gossip about who’ll be there.

Carson says that radishes get out stains from soy sauce.

Thom says don’t match all your bedding, but coordinate it as you would an outfit.

Kyan says that switching facial products can lead to breakouts.

Ted says parsley is a natural breath freshener. P. S. It also makes you burp.

The Fab Five succeeded in turning a soulless banker into a soulful actor who plays a soulless banker. So basically they’re back where they started, only with more tears.

Did you see American Psycho 2? Email me: christina@realityshack.com

Raising The Game – American Idol, 03-01-05

by LauraBelle

The game has been raised so much on American Idol this year, it’s not enough to just be a good singer. You have to be totally comfortable on stage and have a definite “it” factor.

Aloha Mischeaux opens the show with her rendition of Alicia Keys’ “You Don’t Know My Name.” Aloha, please ditch the flower. You’re making us think of Jasmine Trias, and, well, we don’t want to. None of the three judges liked it. Randy says he liked the style switch, but it wasn’t her best. Paula agrees and says it’s hard to do a song by an artist on top of her game with her own style like Alicia. Simon also agrees, saying it didn’t allow her to show originality.

Lindsay Cardinale wants to make her hometown, Ponchatoula, Louisiana famous instead of its Strawberry Festival. She sounds great in the uniquely low tone of hers and appears to be having a lot of fun on “You’re All I Think About.” Randy, calling her his home girl, says she was better than last week, but would still like to see her stretch more. Paula concurs, while Simon says the problem with Lindsay is her performances aren’t memorable enough.

Country girl, Jessica Sierra, is next up, and my role-playing eight-year-old daughter pronounces this is her. Jessica sings “A Broken Wing,” and seems to be holding back a little. Randy tells her after, he is laughing because she returned to her big ole voice. Paula likes how Jessica changed part of the song and infused part of herself into it. Simon calls this the best female performance so far, leaving me to wonder whether he means tonight or this year.

She can’t cook, clean or walk the dog, she says, but we know Mikalah Gordon can sing, and does quite well with “God Bless The Child.” Randy says he loves her and her fearless ambition. Paula, calling the performance subdued, says she nailed it. Simon says Mikalah is a joy to listen to, and says she is not annoying tonight, and it’s probably because she is not talking. Earlier today, I had said she was in danger of becoming a caricature of herself. Mikalah is out of the danger zone right now.

Celena Rae doesn’t need fame, but is looking forward to having someone design clothes for her. She sings “When The Lights Go Down” and the only thing I can say is “Eh.” Randy, Paula and Simon all agree with me, with Paula saying the performance didn’t click with her. That’s just all there is – eh.

Nadia Turner hit a home run last week with “There’s A Power,” but falls just short this week, singing “My Love.” Randy tells her the great thing is she knows how to use what she has. Paula tells her the more risks she takes, the more comfortable she’ll become doing it. Simon believes the song made her sound too old. Personally, I liked it, and so did Randy’s Dog Pound, the top ten male performers who are in the audience.

Everything is going right for Amanda Avila, so she figures this must be the Year of the Rooster or something. She sings “Turn The Beat Around” and does better than Carmen and Diana did in the previous years with it. Older than them at twenty-three, Amanda pulls this off better. Randy feels she did better than last week, Paula calls it the perfect song for her, and Simon thinks it wasn’t all in tune.

Janay Castine insists she will go on after her bad performance last week. She gets the award for worst outfit of the night. Without a good six-pack belly, you really shouldn’t be wearing bare midriffs. I don’t know this song, but my daughter sings along. The performance isn’t much better than the outfit with Randy saying flat out, it wasn’t good. Paula says it was disconnected, and Simon says she’s like a little doll programmed to be a pop singer, but she’s just not experienced enough. Janay says she’ll prove him wrong. Well, so far you’re only 0 for 2, Janay.

Carrie Underwood says she doesn’t mind being called “farm girl” and takes a huge risk singing Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart,” another song my daughter knows the words to. Eclectic taste, apparently. Randy likes Country on Carrie better, and Paula says the song isn’t believable on her. Simon thinks you can hear that in any local cover band. Harsh words for one of the judge’s previous favorites, making her cling to Ryan Seacrest as he pimps her voting number.

Last, and never least, is Vonzell Solomon, whose life consists of working, singing and karate classes. She sings a song all too often done before, “If I Ain’t Got You.” Randy thinks it was ambitious, but fell short some of the time. Paula also thinks it was ambitious with some of the arrangement making it pitchy. Simon says sometimes less is more, and calls this performance overcooked. No one sounds good with it anymore, Simon. The song is overcooked, not Vonzell.

I predict Janay will finally leave with 0 for 2 performances, and probably Cerena as well, being “just okay.” She will need to find a different way to get those designer outfits.

I welcome all questions and comments at LauraBelle@realityshack.com.

The World Is Waiting For You – The Amazing Race 7, Premiere

by LauraBelle

The Amazing Race is a tough show to cover the first few weeks as it’s hard to get to know twenty-two contestants all at once. It took me the entire two hours to learn the difference between the two young female racing duos, and still can’t keep straight Ray and Deana and Ron and Kelly. Just like last season, the easiest pair to get to know and identify is the first to leave.

The racers take off from Long Beach, California and need to run to marked cars, then drive to LAX where they will fly on one of two flights to Lima, Peru. Phil Keoghan starts the race, saying, “The world is waiting for you; good luck, travel safe, go!”

Debbie and Bianca, lifelong friends, get a slow start because they can’t figure out how to move the driver’s seat up. Leaving last are Survivor alums, Rob and Amber. He can’t figure out how to open the trunk.

Married couple, Uchenna and Joyce, grew up in California, so feel they have the advantage here, knowing how to get to LAX easily. This is great, but what about the rest of the world you will be traveling through? Retired couple, Gretchen and Meredith are wondering why they aren’t sitting in their easy chairs watching the race.

On-again off-again dating couple, Ray and Deana argue right off the bat about driving. It’s not the first time they will remind us of Jonathon and Victoria from last season. Megan and Heidi, roommates that look like twins, talk about how much they love gay couple, Lynn and Alex, and while doing so, nearly crash. They pull over and switch drivers. This would be why if I was on The Amazing Race I would be in charge of the map.

Rob says he is starving and says they should stop to get something to eat, as unlike Survivor, they have the option. Amber says no, as she wants to lose weight. Rob goes on to say he really wants to win the million, but if he doesn’t, that’s okay as they’ve already done that. Amber just smiles. Same ole Rob; same ole Amber.

Brothers Brian and Greg act gentlemanly letting Megan and Heidi cut in front of them pulling into the airport parking lot, then make a crass comment about their “cute little pink butts.” In the shuttle Megan and Heidi borrow a cell phone to check on the two flight choices.

The next shuttle holds Rob and Amber, and they urge the driver to not wait for Gretchen and Meredith. The bus eventually stops anyway, and when Gretchen confronts Rob and Amber about not letting them on, Rob and Amber deny it. Same ole Romber.

Lynn and Alex, and many of the other teams go back and forth checking which flight is better and has room still on it. Eventually, dating couple Ron and Kelly, the mother/son team of Susan and Patrick, best friends Ryan and Chuck, Debbie and Bianca, Ray and Deana, and Megan and Heidi leave on the first flight. On the second flight are Lynn & Alex, Rob and Amber, Meredith & Gretchen, Brian & Greg, and Uchenna & Joyce. The flights land one-and-a-half hours apart, and after the teams land, they need to find the Plaza de Armas.

Everyone on the first flight catches the same bus to the Plaza. Ron feels like he is in downtown Baghdad again, just returning from the war not too long ago. Debbie and Bianca believe it helps that one of them has a Spanish speaking mom, and Chuck is using his Portugese speaking skills.

Once at Plaza de Armas, the race now sends them on a bus to the city of Ancon, to the Playa Hermosa. They will dig through sand mounds for plane tickets to Cuzco, Peru, which has an altitude of approximately 11,000 feet. They will be leaving at three separate times, 6:00 AM, 7:00 AM, and 7:40 AM.

Patrick and Susan team up with Debbie and Bianca, and one of them thinks Patrick looks like her ex-boyfriend, leading him to point out he is gay. Rob and Amber, instead of making alliances, want to get away from the other teams, Rob believing everyone is out to screw each other. Same ole Rob. Patrick apparently didn’t watch Survivor closely, as he believes Rob is as dumb as a rock. Rob and Amber at this point meet up with a man that remembers seeing them on Survivor and helps them grab a separate, faster bus.

Once in Ancon, they need to take a rickshaw to get to the beach of Playa Hermosa. Ryan and Chuck call out “beep, beep, beep” riding in the rickshaw, and abandon their ride to run alongside and pull it to speed things up.

Susan and Patrick and Debbie and Bianca, once they are at the beach, see that 6:00 AM is the earliest flight and dig and grab those tickets right away. Once they find their tickets, they also find they will be spending the evening on the beach before catching their early morning flight. The four racers say the one team they hope does not get the third and last spot on their flight is Rob and Amber. Foreshadowing at its best, Rob and Amber get just that. Ray and Deana who had also been searching for 6:00, move on and grab a 7:00.

Debbie and Bianca send Ron and Kelly to the 7:40 sand pile, leading them to believe this is the last earliest flight, instead of the remaining 7:00 flights, leading Ron and Kelly to swear not to trust them again. Megan and Heidi, without anyone else’s urging, grab the 7:40 tickets with 7:00 tickets still left to be grabbed.

Greg and Brian see the 7:40s all gone and 7:00s left and ask each other if 7:00 isn’t before 7:40. One of them makes a joke and says where he grew up it was, even funnier since being brothers they grew up together. Lynn and Alex and Uchenna and Joyce get the last 7:00 flights, and Meredith and Gretchen are left with the remaining 7:40 flight. All have a bonfire on the beach at night, leading Rob to feel like he needs to worry about others plotting to kick him out. I think they would if they could.

The 6:00 AM flight takes off without a hitch, but the 7:00 is delayed. The teams with the 7:00 departure are allowed to board the 7:40 flight, making none of them very happy to be bunched up like that.

The 6:00 flight lands in Cuzco, and the teams of Rob and Amber, Susan and Patrick and Debbie and Bianca find a clue that will now take them to Huambutio Peru where they must find a Coca Cola kiosk to receive the next clue. Debbie and Bianca say “gracias” after receiving the clue and Rob says, “Sayonara.” What was that again that Patrick had said about him? After arriving at the kiosk, they are sent to a gorge where they will zipline across the gorge one by one, then zipline a second time back to the bottom.

Debbie and Bianca zipline across the gorge first. At the bottom they find a Detour. Rope and Llama or Rope and Basket. In Rope and Llama, the teams need to rope two llamas and walk them to their pens. In Rope and Basket, they teams have to tip baskets on their backs that are filled with thirty-five pounds of alfalfa and carry them to a store. Bianca and Debbie argue over which Detour to take.

Finishing across the zipline, Patrick says he is happy he peed first. Debbie and Bianca are still arguing. Rob ziplines down while saying, “Holy Cannoli.” Rob and Amber decide to do the Rope and Basket.

Lynn and Alex are riding to the kiosk and Lynn is making up a song about “we are racing in Peru.” Ryan and Chuck are back to the “beep beep” language telling their driver to hurry. Meredith and Gretchen pass Lynn and Alex.

Debbie and Bianca have finally settled on the Rope the Llamas as have Susan and Patrick. As Rob and Amber dress in full traditional gear to carry their baskets, Rob quips, “When in Incaville, do as the Incas.” I’m pretty sure the Incas did a better job carrying the baskets than Rob, as he dropped his at one point. Debbie and Bianca are not having an easy time with the llamas and continue to argue over their choice, causing them to switch to Baskets. Patrick tells his llama he will let him get close and blow as much spit in his face as the llama wants if he will only get in his pen.

Rob and Amber finish delivering their alfalfa and find a clue sending them to the Huambutio Police Station where they will catch a ride on a delivery truck and take it to the marketplace in the town of Pisac. Rob and Amber and Susan and Patrick catch the first delivery truck, and Bianca and Debbie catch the second.

Lynn says riding the zipline is like being at Splash Mountain, and once at the bottom, he and Alex decide to do Rope and Basket. Gretchen, being fitted to the zipline says, “This is what the kids call wedgies.” She and Meredith decide to do Rope and Llama. Uchenna and Joyce and Ryan and Chuck do the Rope and Llama as well, while Greg and Brian, Ray and Deana, Megan and Heidi and Ron and Kelly do baskets. Ray begins yelling at Deana and reminds us of Jonathon and Victoria once again. Trying to get the llamas to move, Ryan and Chuck resort to sound effects again, saying, “Scooch scooch.”

Once at the marketplace, Susan and Patrick now team up with Rob and Amber to find the clue. Patrick says he is just setting a trap for them. I’m not so sure Patrick realizes the full scope of who he is dealing with. Susan and Patrick find the clue first, followed by Rob and Amber and then Debbie and Bianca who have now arrived.

On another of the delivery truck rides, Lynn is holding a tiny sheep and Gretchen loses her step and breaks someone’s eggs on the back of the delivery truck. She offers to pay for them.

Rob and Amber’s taxi takes a different route than Susan and Patrick, and end up in a traffic jam, as do Susan and Patrick. Rob and Amber end up getting out and pushing a stalled van out of their way.

At the finish line, Debbie and Bianca come in first, being awarded $10,000 each by Phil. Susan and Patrick come in second and Rob and Amber third. Phil remarks how Rob and Amber were dead last, only to be in first and now third. Brian and Greg arrive in fourth, Lynn and Alex fifth.

At the marketplace, Uchenna and Joyce hang with Ray and Deana to look for the clue. They have a miscommunication and each team thinks the other left without them. Back in a delivery truck, Ryan and Chuck are singing “She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain.”

Gretchen and Meredith arrive in sixth place where they were for much of the race, so they appear to be an even keeled team. Ray and Deana come in seventh and Uchenna and Joyce eighth. Phil takes this opportunity to ask Uchenna if he wants a llama for a pet, causing Uchenna to say no, only pets that he can pick up are allowed. Perhaps he wants Lynn’s small sheep.

Megan and Heidi take a short cut with their taxi driver and come in ninth to the pit stop. Ron and Kelly come in tenth, leaving Ryan and Chuck in last place, causing them to be Philiminated. Ryan says he is proud of Chuck, and notes Chuck is the only person to ever stick by him. Chuck says he believes after this they will be best friends for life.

While not getting to know the racers very well throughout the show yet, it seems like it’s bound to be an interesting season. Despite the departure of characters Ryan and Chuck, there are still many characters left. Patrick, Rob and Amber, and Lynn, just to name a few. As Phil said, the world is waiting for them.

I welcome questions and comments at LauraBelle@realityshack.com

Team Gotti is 1:1, Season 2, Episode 8

Team Gotti is now 1:1

Sunday Dinner is time for a family to bond. Victoria says that she always makes room Sunday dinner, and that is what this episode starts off with. The whole family, including Robert (did he move in?) are sitting in the kitchen eating one of Victoria’s famous Italian dishes. It looks really good. Although the dinner conversation was somewhat unusual, Carmine mentions something about bowels which I wouldn’t like to repeat.

John has decided that he wants a paintball gun, and the next day comes home with a really nice paintball gun. Frankie brings his out and they look pretty much identical. They decide to move the back yard to test it. I’ve never understood the fascination with paintballs, I myself would rather prefer a real gun, but that’s just me. They try to shoot Luigi and he says: “I’ll spank you boy!” which I think is unlikely since all the boys are bigger than him. Luigi tells them that when he was younger their uncle Peter and he used to have paintballs. Ahh, the good old days.

After destroying the backyard, Luigi decides he wants to try it. Oh boy! We go to the kitchen where Victoria is making an old family sauce known as the Gotti gravy. She wants to market it but first she has to see if it’s good, so she is making a big pot of it. At this point I was getting hungry. Now, Robert and Victoria are testing sauces they bought from the super market to compare it to hers. They were tasting them out of the jar cold it was disgusting, to me.

Uncle Pete arrives and goes to back yard to find it ruined with red spots and Luigi still testing the paintball gun. Luigi reminds him of when they used to play with them and Peter laughs. Uncle Peter decides it would be a good idea if the kids and his friends had a paintball war out in the woods. Sounds like fun! Again, it would be a lot more thrilling if they were using real guns.

Back to Victoria in the kitchen, she calls the owner of a famous Italian restaurant called Nino’s. Coincidentally, the name of the restaurant owner is Nino. She asks him if she could bring her sauce to his restaurant to have customers test it. He agrees but asks her what if the customers like her sauce better than his. That was cute.

It is the day of the Paintball war, or capture the flag. The militia which includes Uncle Pete, his crew, Luigi, Carmine, Frankie, John, and a few other people I believe. They decide to separate team into Pete’s group and the kids. The kids will have orange bands around their sleeves and Pete’s group will have green bands.

The kids start of with a smart scheme of tying a green band (the other teams color) around Carmines sleeve to trick the other team into thinking its one of them. Pretty clever I have to say.

Pete’s plan is to basically leave the fort unguarded and have everyone surround it and wait for the enemy. We see Carmine approach and they almost fired but Pete reminds them that its one of theirs since he has a green band. All of a sudden Carmine gets on the ground and begins shooting at them. Pete’s team is confused at first but figure out pretty soon that it was the other team. “It’s that sneaky bastard Carmine!” Peter remarks.

Victoria and Robert take their sauce down to Nino’s restaurant. Gook looking fellow Nino shows them where to put the sauce. The kitchen staff is really busy and Victoria says she doesn’t know how they do it. She begins serving the sauce a little later and it looks delicious! Robert comes out to ask one couple who is having it what they think of it, while Victoria nervously waits in the kitchen. The couple remarks that it is really good and they would buy it if was available in stores. My mouth was watering at this point. Victoria decides she will market the sauce.

Back to the war. The kids are surprisingly attacked by Luigi and taken out. I was a little disappointed at them, but that’s okay.

After Victoria’s victory with the sauce and the kids defeat, team Gotti is one and one.

Disclaimer: I am in no way related to any Agnello, Mrs.Agnello is just writing name, although I hope one day it will be my real last name.

The Most Disappointing Bachelorette Yet – The Bachelorette 3, Episode 7

By Rachel

I think by now everyone has heard what a fiasco the final episode of The Bachelorette turned out to be. I’m here to recap the disaster.

The three hour finale began with Jen’s family meeting John Paul and Jerry. Jen’s family really seemed to like John Paul. He was polite, sweet, grounded, and said all the right things. He even asked Jen’s dad what he would think about John Paul proposing to Jen. Her dad said he thought that would be great. Then Jerry came over and the family wasn’t as impressed. They didn’t not like him, but they obviously liked John Paul better. It was already apparent, however, that Jen had made her choice. She stood in the kitchen and told her mom that she felt more of a spark with Jerry. Couldn’t Mom see it? I don’t really think she did. Mother knows best.

Jen went on final dates with both men. During both, each of the men declared their love for her. To me, John Paul seemed more sincere. I thought he genuinely looked like he’d found the woman he wanted to spend the rest of his life with.

Jen’s two best friends also got time alone with each of the men. John Paul told her friends how much he cared for Jen. The girls were a bit skeptical of Jerry. They later told Jen that he didn’t seem to give a straight answer to any of their questions. Wow, where have we heard that before? They also told her that John Paul seems perfect for Jen. He’s the ideal guy for Jen. Another nail in the coffin.

Jen had to go shopping for an outfit for the big event and brought her two best friends with her. They could tell that something was not quite right with Jen. She was distant and not her usual jovial self. Jen finally breaks down in the limo. She is near hysterics and says that she is sad and that she had no idea how hard this would be. She knew she would be sending someone home, and that someone loved her and would be heartbroken. Hint, hint.

Both guys bought Jen extremely expensive engagement ring. I hope they kept their receipts.

It’s finally time. Jen is waiting in a palatial room to break the heart of one unlucky man.

That unlucky (or very fortunate, depending on how you look at it) man is John Paul. He goes in first and looks so happy to see Jen. Your heart breaks for him on the spot. He goes in, hugs her, and almost instantly pulls out the ring. He tells her that he’s everything he’s ever wanted. She tells him that he’s everything she’s ever wanted, too, but there’s no spark. Huh? Poor John Paul looks so confused. He wishes Jen well and leaves. In the limo, he’s very upset, and understandably so. He says he’s angry and hurt, and you can almost see tears forming in his eyes. John Paul says that Jen made a mistake, and in a few years, she’s going to be 32 and alone, with no husband, and she’ll have to face the fact that she had the perfect man for her and she blew it, and it’ll be too late. You go, John Paul!

Cut to After the Final Rose. We already know that Jerry is the “winner”. But we’ll have to wait a little while before seeing the proposal.

John Paul gets to ask Jen some questions in front of a live audience. He asks what was missing, and Jen tells him it was that infamous spark. She also tells him that he’s a great guy and she wasn’t leading him on. He seems to be doing better now, and we all hope he finds a nice girl.

Now it’s Jerry’s turn. He comes out onto the stage and now we get to see his proposal before he is united with Jen.

Jerry walks in, greets Jen, and starts his speech. He tells her that he’s totally fallen for her, and then it starts to get confusing. He starts to go down on one knee, and she stops him, but then regrets it and tells him to continue, but the moment is already ruined. It’s a very awkward moment. He tells her that he doesn’t want to leave there without her. Jen tells him that she doesn’t want to leave without him either. He tells her that he wants to spend the rest of his life with her. She tells him to save the ring. She wants him to save it for a while down the road so he can be sure. He says that he’s already sure, but he’ll wait if that’s what she wants. Jen tells him that she is 110% committed to their relationship.

Now it’s time for the two love birds to see each other. Jen comes back out and they embrace. They sit. Chris Harrison, the host, tells Jen that everyone is waiting for an answer. Jerry looks at her, indicating the ring in his pocket, and says, “What am I supposed to do with this?”

Jen looks at Jerry. She starts out with stating that she was very committed to their relationship, but as he knew, they’ve pretty much decided that they’re better off as friends. The audience gasps. I admit that my jaw literally dropped. I didn’t necessarily expect the two to stay together forever, but I was at least hoping for a somewhat happy ending for the show. Jerry tells Jen that she’s opened his heart to love and trust again.

The audience wasn’t quite so forgiving. One woman asked Jen exactly what would make her happy. Jen didn’t give a good answer. I don’t think anything will make her happy. Another member of the audience asked if there were problems in the sex life of the pair. Jen refused to answer. Jen seemed like she was itching to get out of there. Jerry was a bit more enchanting.

It was a totally lame ending to the show. By taking a look at the message boards, it seems that there are a lot of disappointed viewers. There is another upcoming installment of The Bachelor, but don’t be surprised if it is the last one. Between sagging ratings and everything that went on with this finale, it seems the flame has gone out. The show’s track record isn’t all that wonderful, either. The only two couples still together are Trista and Ryan, and Byron and Mary.

Thanks for following my recaps of The Bachelorette. You can always email me at Rachel@realityshack.com . See you around the RealityShack!

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