Interview With Cori of The Road to Stardom With Missy Elliott

by Driven Ambition

Cori, when you came onto the scene the judges including Missy Elliot saw something special in you. When you were picked as a finalist, what was going through your head?

Not only was I surprised and excited, I was a little nervous. I really had no idea what to expect except that we were going “on tour with Missy Elliott,” whatever that meant and I’d probably be singing and dancing at some point. Regardless, I couldn’t wait for whatever was going to happen.

Your bio said that you received classical voice training, not to mention your dance training. What made you go from being a dancer, and operatic trained vocalist to Rock?

I did do opera when I was little for a few years and danced my whole life. I also loved musical theatre and did quite a bit of that as well. I came to do rock by sort of just falling in to it. All of that stuff actually gave me an incredible foundation to build from. It really isn’t so strange. Pat Benatar did the same thing. She was an opera singer as well before she did rock music. I would love to be able to follow in her footsteps.

Being that rock is your genre of choice, how did it feel to be at Electric Lady Studios, where the legendary Jimi Hendrix Recorded?

It really was surreal. There was just some inexplicable vibe that we all got just by being in there. It truly was incredible.

Who is your favorite Rock Star?

Steven Tyler. Not only do I love his music, but he is simply electrifying on stage.

How did you feel when you saw Busta-Rhymes at a party that was thrown for you and the other contestants?

It was pretty neat. He’s a huge guy. At least 6 foot five. We didn’t really get a chance to talk to him but he seems like a nice person and his music, I think is really great.

When you heard some of the other singers singing, did you feel intimidated?

I wouldn’t say intimidated is the right word. More like humbled and at the same time proud. I was humbled because everybody on the show really is extremely talented in their own way and it made me look twice at my own talents (like it would to any normal person). Proud because I thought of all that it took to get there and how many people I had beat out to be sitting in that spot at that moment.

The tour bus was horrible; we all thought so, what did you think?

I’d have to agree with you. It really was disgusting. We tried to clean it up as best as possible, but there really was not much we could do. I guess the bus started to grow on everyone after a while as did the smell (literally).

What was it like to perform in front of Dallas, Teena, and Mona?

Now I would say that was intimidating. They are such respected people in the music business and I really wanted to impress them more than anyone. I am just glad that I had the chance to do that and meet them. Not everybody gets an opportunity like that.

How did you feel when the judges critiqued you on your performance, and did you think they were accurate?

Honestly I think they were right on. I’m pretty realistic when it comes to my performances as I am my own worst critic. I know it wasn’t my best performance ever, but at the same time one must look at the circumstances under which I had to perform. If I had gotten the chance to do it again, I’m sure things might have gone differently, but I guess that is what happens as a performer, you only get one chance to do something. There are no do-overs. I take that as a great learning experience for me that I can definitely utilize in the future.

With the exception of only a few, the rest received tough critiques as well. Did you know that you were going to be in the bottom two?

I didn’t know before hand, but I thought that it would be a possibility. I knew that I hadn’t given the performance of a lifetime and that meant that I might possibly be brought up for elimination.

When you were in Missy’s tour bus, she asked you to sing a song and then said that the performance reminded her of Britney Spears. Missy isn’t pop or rock, she’s hip hop; do you think that her observation was correct, considering her style is not the style that you want to pursue?

No. I don’t think her observation was correct. I’m really nothing like Britney Spears. I don’t have any choreography, I really sing, and did you notice I have brown hair… not blonde? But seriously, no. You are right, hip-hop is not the style of music that I want to pursue, but that doesn’t make what I do “Britney”; it just makes me not hip-hop. In Missy’s defense, I wasn’t really (nor was anyone else) given much of a chance to really do what we do in a real performance situation, so really, she would have no reason to think otherwise. Regardless, what I do is rock and I’m sure if I wasn’t just singing one verse to one part of a song, with no music, she might have gotten it. So, in short, no, her observation was incorrect.

What was the scariest part of the show for you?

The scariest part of everything really was not knowing what the hell was going on ever. We really didn’t know what to wear or what to be prepared for at all. We had to be on our toes at all times ready to jump for whatever. That can be a little nerve racking.

After being around the other contestants, who did you think will win?

Well, I’ll tell you that it isn’t me (or Heather for that matter). Really, though, everyone is super talented and it really is anyone’s game at this point. I guess we’ll all just have to watch and see.

If you wanted to pursue rock, why did you enter this competition?

I kept asking that same question throughout the entire audition process and was continuously baffled how I kept making it to the next round. At the same time, I was always assured that this show was looking for the next “Super-Star” not necessarily the next “Hip-Hop Superstar.” And so I figured… “Hey, why not? What an incredible opportunity? They must want you for some reason, so you might as well.”

What’s next for you?

Right now I’m working on my album to come out sometime in February. I’m so excited. It’s turning out really great. After that I’ll be going on tour with my band and then just take everything from there.

What advice would you offer to other aspiring rock vocalists?

Really just to follow your dreams. Rock isn’t the easiest route to go and it really takes a lot of groundwork and perseverance, but it’s definitely all worth it. Even if you don’t make it big… its not about the destination… its about the journey. Have fun while you’re on it, or really, what’s the point?

Interview With Yelawolf of The Road to Stardom With Missy Elliott


Yelawolf
Age: 24
Occupation: Contract Artist (Mural Painting)
Hometown: Rainbow City, Alabama

By: Chantae Benson
cwriter@realityshack.com

Did you expect to be eliminated so soon in the competition?

Yelawolf: I got kicked off just for being real and that’s obvious. All the other contestants are just going to tell her what she wants to hear. When I opened up my mouth about the beat I knew what was up right away.

Missy Elliott spoke highly of your skills as an artist. Why do you think you were eliminated?

Yelawolf: I think Dallas Austin had something to do with the elimination. I didn’t deserve to leave then…. I represented on that show period.

Your bus mates seemed very disappointed by your elimination. Do you think it was unfair for you to be judged based upon one performance?

Yelawolf: We were up there three minutes and then some and they showed a little under eight bars of a verse. I came out there crunked. I had the crowd participating. They didn’t show any of the intro and outro, they showed what they wanted to show. It was all a set up, it was so obvious. Everybody else in the world was thrown by it. God did not intend for me to win that contest. I was there for a reason and that was to expose a little bit of truth, so I did my part.

During dinner you mentioned to Missy Elliott that you did not like the track/beat she made. Do you feel you overstepped your boundaries with that comment?

Yelawolf: I think some other people thought I did. But who is Missy Elliott besides Missy Elliott the girl who was in school just like me… How come I can’t get open with her?

What was the most difficult part about being on the road?

Yelawolf: Missing my family was really hard. I had a newborn on the way which really had me nerve racked. I would say that affected my energy a lot. If anything affected my appearance, my energy, or my attitude the most it would be missing my family.

You mentioned during the last show that you had a tough decision to make because you were missing your wife and kids while being on the road. At any time did you contemplate dropping from the tour?

Yelawolf: The first day I was like this wasn’t for me. I truly felt like whoever was going to win the competition it definitely wasn’t going to be me. When I first auditioned it was the search for the next hip hop superstar. Later I found out it was the Missy Elliott Project then the Road to Stardom. When I made the cut I was like this ain’t about no hip hop.

In retrospect, would you have done anything differently. Do you have any regrets?

Yelawolf: I would have never said I could have been a superstar. It doesn’t even sound right coming from my mouth and that is something the people should determine. That’s just a naive statement. I would rather people label what they want me to be. My job is to just put out this music.

Are you still going to pursue a career in the music industry?

Yelawolf: I’ve recorded over 100 records in the past maybe six years. I’ve got an album ready to go. I have songs ready to go. I have contractual agreements with the Missy Elliott show. Once the green light on that is clean, it’s over. I put my heart and soul into this music and I’ll never stop because I feel like I have something to say, a different aspect of something that needs to be heard.

What did you learn about yourself through the competition?

Yelawolf: I learned that keeping your composure is priceless. I’m so glad I didn’t snap hard on the table. I had a lot on my heart I didn’t say. I think keeping your composure goes a long way.

What is your most memorable moment on the show?

Yelawolf: My dedication to my grandfather, that was the highlight of my trip. To be able to do that was a gift and he deserves it.

What advice would you give to the remaining contestants?

Yelawolf: Don’t do anything that’s going to be demeaning to your character or who you are during this show.

Daddy's Little Girl – Starting Over, 01-24-05

by LauraBelle

As the sun is rising at the beginning of today’s shows, it’s foreshadowing of Denise and Candy’s relationship, just like the thunderstorm a few shows ago. After their dinner together, they are enjoying a new beginning after sharing some personal secrets. These two seem to always be ahead of the plan, overachievers, if you will, in self-healing.

As Candy meets with Iyanla, she says she is beginning to realize other people have always seen her as more feminine than she herself has. Iyanla also notices she has always defined who she was by being a caretaker of others. Iyanla asks her to finish the sentence, “Being alone with myself helps me feel …”, and Candy finishes it saying, “helpless.” Iyanla furthers it with, “and helpless is …”, while Candy completes it again saying, “weak.” Asked if women are weak, Candy says sometimes. Candy is realizing more and more that her fear of vulnerability comes form her dad trying to make her be a male. To show her that she is worthy and “enough”, and to help her learn how to receive, Iyanla is going to send Candy for a spa day with Rachael. She recognizes Candy misses her eight children, and being with parent-less Rachael helps fill that void.

The past few days of writing and learning about her father have left Denise very emotional. In a one-on-one with Rhonda, Denise shares her dad’s life story. Among the things she learned was that he wanted to be an entertainer, but was forced into the family business of a meat market/deli. This left him very frustrated. Her father began hitting her mother for the first time when she was pregnant. Denise realizes now it was brought on by the anger of being forced to marry her instead of the other woman he had gotten pregnant. The final straw for her mom was when he nearly killed her. Stalking her and finding her in a Greyhound bus station, he beat her so severely, she was sent to a hospital.

Denise’s parents divorced when she was twelve, and she went to live with her dad for a short time when she was fifteen, but left once the violence continued. She realizes for the first time, she can now look at her dad with compassion. She now feels she is finally ready to write that letter to her dad. After all her earlier resistance, she is finally ready. Denise hugs Rhonda, and through tears, says, “Thanks for making me see he was human.”

Iyanla meets with Renee, and looks at her list of the nine people she feels she has wronged. To make amends, Iyanla is having Renee be “President of the Giving Club.” In a continuation of this confusing project started a few days earlier, Renee has to assign some of her prized values and an action to be taken to a person on her wronged person list. For instance, for Neely, who was an animal lover, Renee tries to contact the Humane Society, but instead finds a Pet Orphans organization. She will donate time to the Pet Orphans to right the wrongs she has done to Neely. She goes to Pet Orphans later in the day, and makes arrangements to be back in the following day to volunteer her time.

Iyanla opens Group, talking about what else, Secrets … what Denise and Candy have realized that could help bring them close. She explains to the women that when you combine Guilt, Fear and Judgement, you wind up with a a secret. Iyanla asks everyone to write down their biggest secrets, and everyone is so fearful that she tells them it seems she has asked them to give up their two front teeth and an eyeball. They eventually do as asked, and they are then asked to hold them up. When asked if they are ready to give them up, all the women agree hesitantly, and are horrified when Iyanla makes them all exchange their secrets with each other. Holding everyone else’s secrets, everyone feels guilt and fear, and is afraid of being judged. The women are allowed to take their own secrets back, and then are encouraged to destroy them. Iyanla winds up the session telling them that the fear they were feeling about their secrets being exposed is what is holding them back in their lives.

Candy and Rachael enjoy their spa day together. They start with a mud rub and follow this with a facial. Rachael says she is so proud of Candy, knowing Candy doesn’t do “body” work, but is wiling to try everything openly. In the end, Candy even enjoys her very first manicure.

Denise and Rhonda continue Denise’s healing process, and are sitting facing an empty chair representing Denise’s deceased father. She reads the letter aloud to him, and says she realizes now that people we don’t forgive want to be forgiven. She tells him she needed him to tell her he loved her, as she never knew where she stood. She says she just wanted to be daddy’s little girl. Denise explains she is sorry they spent his last five years alive being strangers, and ends it telling her dad she loves him. Rhonda gives Denise a present, and it’s a picture of Denise’s dad. She says it’s hard to look in his eyes now, knowing what’s behind them. She hugs Rhonda and asks why Rhonda never told her forgiving her dad could be such a high.

Renee meets with Iyanla after returning from the Pet Orphans. Iyanla wants to continue to discuss the relationship, or lack thereof, between Renee and Rachael. Renee admits to previous problems trusting women, and doesn’t understand why women see her as such a bad person. Iyanla tells her she needs to have a fierce conversation with Rachael, and ask her why she sees her as bad. She warns her, though, to make sure she is ready to hear the truth before she asks for it.

Denise is feeling very free since forgiving her father, and shares the picture of her dad with Cassie, who says she feels her father never left her, and is perhaps responsible for Denise finding her way to the Starting Over house to heal. Looking at the other pictures on the wall, Cassie notes how courageous Denise’s mom was to be so open and honest about her story. Cassie tells Denise what she could also be telling herself, that she sees how much she has grown.

Denise wants to continue feeling better, and wants to unload more secrets. She suggests they all play the Secrets game again, but say them out loud this time. Bethany says it’s like playing Truth or Dare without the Dare. I liken it more to playing Scruples. One question asked is when you got your period, or “Aunt Sally” as Denise calls it. As some people say they don’t remember, Bethany says, “I truly don’t’ remember,” with everyone busting out laughing. When the question is asked when was your first kiss, Candy says her first kiss tried to rape her. As she explains the details, all the women sit gaping. I hate to say it, but Candy telling of her near-rape experience makes her seem more feminine. I wish it wasn’t the case, but the vulnerability makes her seem so female.

The sun doesn’t set this day, as it is raining. There is still some trouble ahead. But Denis has her own sun shining on her right now. The exposing her dad’s secrets, she has never appeared warmer.

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

'ello, My Name Is Simon: Queer Eye for The (British) Straight Guy Episode 3.3

’ello, My Name Is Simon

The Fab Five find themselves gearing up to go abroad for an episode of “Queer Eye for the British Guy.” Already, this has international incident written all over it. Instead of watching happy feet scamper off into an SUV, we see a plane! And the flight attendants serve champagne! Thousands of feet in the atmosphere, Thom (I think) and Ted go through the little bag of goodies each passenger gets on the flight. Thom says his favorite feature is the ear plugs. Ted agrees so they don’t have to listen to “you know who”—“the loud blonde” of the bunch. Do I detect all that underlying animosity finally surfacing?

Speaking of, the loud blonde Carson is lecturing about how planes can be fun because the seats go all the way flat. Not the cheap seats, Carson!

Ted sidles up with a laptop and reminds them that they’re on a mission. Simon Britton is a 34 year old ‘80s pop star icon. He’s no longer an icon, otherwise they guys wouldn’t be heading across the large pond to make him over. The picture on the laptop is not the most complimentary pic of poor Simon. Ted describes him as “Simply Red,” which Thom says is “simply tragic.” Heehee! That does describe Simon perfectly. He’s like Carrot-Top gone wrong—as if Carrot-Top weren’t so wrong already. Simon Red is a music producer and is in a band called “Red Rhythm.” So the theme for tonight is RED. He has a girlfriend named Mary, a small health-hazard flat, and style reminiscent of what Carson calls Cajagoogoo. And I have no idea if I’m spelling that right, but I don’t care because, I mean, come on! What kind of band name is that? Okay, fine. It’s Kajagoogoo. I hope you children of the ‘80s are happy. Their mission, they decide, is to get Simon Red ready to show his woman a good time and have a successful CD release party.

The guys are very excited about this whole international thing. Carson says he’s never done a British guy before. Thom doubts that. They all settle into their seats and the plane flies in very Monty Python-like fashion through paper-cartoon London landmarks.

Credits. Kyan can blow me with that hair dryer any day. Apparently London also has an intersection of Gay Street and Straight Street. And we end on the Union Jack. Because they’re in England, you know.

The boys voice over a cheer as we see an obligatory shot of Tower Bridge which most people think is London Bridge.

The FF run up to a small yellow door in a large brick building and pile into Simon Red’s flat. Simon Red is wearing worn-out overalls and a neon green sweater. His hair? Still red and frizzy and curly and Medusa-like. He actually answers the door with his hair pushed forward to cover his face which, I guess, is humorous. Carson plows through Simon Red to find Mary and immediately console her. Ha. Mary looks like the woman with the big eyes from “Boston Public” combined with the woman with the big eyes from “Ally McBeal.” Kyan notes that Simon Red has a lot of hair. Thanks, Master of the Obvious. Thom says that Simon Red is very Dexy’s Midnight Runners. Yes! That’s what I was trying to think of when I saw the overalls. As in, “Come on, Eileen, is Simon Red for real?!” Actually, Simon Red reminds me of Brian the Artist in overalls who had a “crack den” of a living room in Season 1.

The flat is more of a Hazmat site and they should all be wearing big goofy rubber suits with helmets. The ceiling falls apart when Jai touches it. White stuff comes pouring down and they all laugh. Because asbestos is funny. He has a sagging blue couch in the living room with a dirty-white carpet. Kyan notes that there’s no toilet in the bathroom and is confused. But I think in London, people have water closets, which are little rooms specifically for toilets, separate from the rest of a typical American bathroom. Or I could be making that up, but that’s what I’m going with for now. Ted finds an old CD with Simon Red on the cover in black lipstick. It’s very Goth. Ted says he’s Cyndi Lauper. Simon Red corrects, “No. Kenny G.” Ted’s like, “Is that better?” Heehee.

The kitchen has crap all over the place. No counter space at all and all the cupboards are open. The bathtub barely fits Little Man Jai. The walls in the kitchen are all school bus yellow. The walls in the rest of the house are falling apart much like the ceiling. Large holes reveal live wires. And the walls are stained or growing something. Thom says it’s “real crud” on the wall, “not faux crud.” The bedroom is a pale yellow with oak wood furniture and really isn’t that bad. Mary says she likes it. Thom finds a picture of someone in heavy make-up and asks, “Is this your mother?” Simon Red exclaims, “That’s me!” Thom answers, “That’s so unfortunate!” Ha!

The one redeeming quality of the flat is the garden, which is outside and away from the bacteria. Lots of lush green plants.

Kyan is back telling Simon Red to cut his hair. The second theme of today’s episode is HAIR.

Jai examines a mystery food morsel on the couch. Apparently, that’s where they eat all their meals. Jai is wearing oversized lilac tinted sunglasses. I’m not sure if they’re Simon Red’s or Jai’s.

Back out in the garden, Thom says it’s his favorite room in the house. Hee. Is Thom always this funny? I think I may be, oh no, falling for him! It’s always been Kyan for me, but a gal can change, right? Oh, wait a minute, they’re gay. Nevermind. The garden is a little piece of heaven directly under the flight path of every 747 leaving London. My aunt lives in a house like that. You can read the numbers on the bottoms of the planes, they fly so low. Very loud. But kinda cool.

In the kitchen, they find pictures of Clifford the Big Red Dog. Oh, no, I mean Simon Red’s music partner Clifford. Or Cliff. While grabbing some more pictures, Kyan knocks over an ugly blue vase that crashes to the floor. Coincidence? Hmmm.

Carson and Ted find out that Mary and Simon Red have been together for ten months, and Simon Red eats everything out of tins (cans?). Nothing fresh. He doesn’t cook. Which is why he doesn’t need counter space. But he does own a bacteria-infested tea maker thing. Jai looks at it and says, “Omigod, you’re kidding me!” He’s horrified.

Mary follows Kyan in the bathroom, who’s going through the lack of products Simon Red has. Mary says that Simon Red has an eye-puffiness problem. Then, she leaves the flat. Kyan returns to the hair conversation, and Simon Red says he’s scared of change. I empathize! I had shoulder-length hair in second grade and then my mom made me get it layered (read: look like a boy) and thinned out (read: not styleable for the future). So now I have hair that goes almost to my waist and I’m never cutting it. Ever. By the way, Kyan is in a suit which makes him very yummy. He calls Simon Red’s hair a mask and suggests he think about cutting it. Obsess much?

Jai plays Simon Red’s newest single on a dusty CD player. They rock out a bit. Meanwhile, Carson still can’t get over how he can’t have tea because he doesn’t want to make it in a “vat of sea monkeys.” Save the Sea Monkeys! Back to Jai, talking about Simon Red’s performing that night.

Suddenly, Cliff appears. Carson calls out, “The hottie I ordered is here!” Cliff is pretty good looking. A bit built. Short spikey hair. Tight gray t-shirt. Clean shaven. Yeah, he’s hot. He’s happy about the make-over. He says that Simon Red has a really bad sweater that’s black with pumps. Pumps? That’s what I heard him say. Carson makes him put it on. It has bumps of black on it. Basically, Carson describes it best when he calls Cliff “the man of a thousand nipples.”

In the kitchen, Ted is appalled at the instant food diet.

Somewhere in the living room, Carson knocks over a CD rack.

Simon Red is in the garden, cheering about the flight pattern. It’s changing! All the boys gather round to wave at the planes. Fun. They all hop into a London taxi. As they drive away, they all talk about Simon Red’s RED HAIR.

Commercial break. British Airways flies to London, in case you were wondering.

Mary says Simon Red is too attached to his hair, which is too long and too stringy.

Simon Red’s friend says Simon Red’s hair is a trademark.

Cliff says, “I’m glad it’s his and not mine.” Hee. We like Cliff.

Back in the cab, Thom and Carson call Simon Red scary and show him how to wave like the Queen. Cut to Ted, Jai, and Cliff cleaning in fast forward mode. Cut back to Thom at the furniture store with Simon Red in tow. Some obligatory couch sitting. They search for “mini” furniture because the flat is so small. Thom wants to give him a hip place because Simon Red has hipness inside. He tries to be hip with his clothes but he fails. Ha. They choose armless black chairs that are very much like Todd Oldham’s collection of Snap furniture. Simon Red says that those chairs may cause Mary to move in. Thom says that his TV trays are depressing. Simon Red explains that they were a gift from Cliff. Thom says, “And Cliff is straight, right?” As if that’s the explanation of the bad taste. Or he’s getting the dirt on Hottie Cliff. Thom is also disturbed by the absence of a coffee table. I, for one, am opposed to coffee tables. They take up space in the middle of the room that could be used for other things like dancing and jumping jacks. Simon Red says that because of the lack of space, the coffee table would be in the way. Thom shows him a circle table that has different circles that spin outward and back in for more space and less space, depending on when you need the space. Well, that’s kinda cool but would still get in the way of my jumping jacks. Simon Red likes the glass and silver swirly table and thinks it could be his new toy.

Moving on to Jai at circus school. Yes, circus school. And now ensues the stretch of justification for being at circus school: Simon Red likes planes. Therefore, Simon Red likes to fly. Ergo, Simon Red will like swinging on a trapeze in circus school. What? The trapeze instructor is 80. Jai wears a royal blue jumpsuit. Mary’s there in a navy blue Juicy suit. Simon Red changes into some black spandex get-up.

Jai swings and has done this before. He’s upside-down. He’s flipping. He’s graceful. He wants to join the circus and make out with the bearded lady. Or is the bearded lady in the carnival? Simon Red goes next and swings less gracefully. Mary giggles. He loves it. Then Mary goes. And SCREECHES THE ENTIRE TIME. She sounds like a hungry alley cat. When she finishes, they gather around the 80 year old circus person and affirm that they’ve loved the adventure. Now can someone please make Simon Red change back into the overalls? Yes, they’re better than the black get-up.

Elsewhere in London, Ted takes Simon Red into the Café Spice Namaste. He’s going to teach him to cook a romantic dinner using curry. Cause nothing says “I love you” more than the aroma of curry. They get help from a snooty gourmet chef who has an accent but it doesn’t sound British so I’m not sure where he’s from. Snootyville maybe. They then fry up some beans, another ingredient that screams romance and helps to get your groove on. Simon Red suddenly realizes that there’s a big difference in taste between tinned goods and fresh food. Yes! Fresh food tastes fresh! Not tinny! Then they make flatbread. Mmmm, butter. Lots of banging is involved in the bread-making process. How many courses is this meal going to be? Isn’t this a lot for someone who has never cooked before? Come on, Ted. Have a heart. By the way, Simon Red’s hair is down and all over the place during the whole time. Because hair is the special ingredient that will win your lover over.

Back in the London taxi with Carson, who wants to visit Chuck and Liz. Huh? Oh, Prince Charles and Queen Elizabeth. That may sound like a really corny joke, but Carson’s delivery had me keeled over with laughter for a moment. On the street, Carson runs into Graham Norton. He’s a talk show host. And he lives in London. And because London is such a small city, of course they would run into Graham Norton. He asks Simon Red if he works in children’s television because his hair is rather clown-like. Graham hops in the cab to shop with the boys. They get out at Harvey Nick’s (Harvey Nichols—the top fashion store in London). Oh, wait, Graham is leaving. So he went for a two-minute cab ride to make fun of Simon Red’s hair. Okay then.

Carson shows Simon Red a bunch of tailored jackets that are from British designers, who started the whole tailored look. Okay, I need to go into a diatribe here. I know that Carson knows all about fashion and he dresses everyone else fabulously. But why do fashionistas get away with wearing, oh, let’s say a back shirt with a big red Pegasus on it like an 80s iron decal and plaid pants? I’m just wondering.

Simon Red gets dressed in deconstructed, rock’n’roll, tailored clothes. He’s got on a maroon t-shirt, gray blazer, jeans, and brown boots. Carson switches the jacket to one with stripes for a bit of a different look. Then sends him to change into a more dressed up look in a different gray jacket, lilac shirt, and black, knee-length top coat over gray pants. Almost a suit but it’s still separate pieces. Separate, unlike the overalls.

After the clothes shopping, it’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Enter into the Daniel Hershehon Salon. I know that’s spelled very wrong. Move on. Kyan has wine. Enter theme three: GETTING SLOSHED. Simon Red is whiney. Kyan gives Simon Red the option to leave. Simon Red admits that cutting his hair is the only thing he’s scared of. Kyan calls him a big baby which is funny, but still not very sympathetic. Simon Red drinks and tells the stylist he wants something funky. Kyan then hugs Simon Red. The cutting commences. The drinking continues, glass after glass. When it’s all said and done, Simon Red looks amazing! It’s really short! A bit shaggy on top, but not very long. Simon Red might keel over. He needs another glass of wine. He’s gone from a straggly caveman to boy-next-door-with-a-great-jawline. He still has a scruffy beard which I think Kyan might tell him to clean up but leave on his face. Cause he’s a rock star.

Mary says Simon Red can’t boil water.

Simon Red’s friend says Simon Red knows only two things in the kitchen: the tins and the microwave. Hopefully, he doesn’t put the tin in the microwave.

Mum says he’ll need a lot of practice.

Back in the taxi, Simon Red says he doesn’t love the hair but Mary will. They enter the house and uncover his eyes, and…He keeps his eyes closed because he’s scared to look. Aww, that’s cute. Finally, he opens his eyes and screams like a little girl. He loves it. Gone are the scummy walls, replaced by octagon patterned blue and white wall paper. Optical illusion like. The armless black chairs are pushed together to form a couch. He has a flat screen TV and the circle table to save space. He also has a gift from British Airways—a model of a plane signed by a pilot. Not a specific, special pilot. Just a pilot.

The garden is a little piece of heaven, but more so now. There’s an outdoor fireplace, tiki torches, and an awning. The walls are white-washed. There’s now furniture out there. Simon Red exclaims, “Brilliant!”

Into the bathroom for Kyan’s “Grooming Magic.” He gives Simon Red cleanser, moisturizer, exfoliant, and eye pads. Apparently, he needs to soak these little pads in water and then stick them to his face to reduce the puffiness around his eyes. Yeah, he’s really going to do that every day when the Fab Five aren’t there.

Carson schools Simon Red on color in the bedroom. He says to go for colors like purple and maroon. No orange or red because his hair is red. He dresses him in dark jeans, a purple toned sweater, and sunglasses. Whoa. Simon Red is red hot! The boys agree. Then Carson puts him in a semi-glittery black outfit which he should wear on stage for the performance.

Ted takes him in the newly-clean kitchen to set him up with dough and jumbo prawns. Simon Red asks, “Are they still alive?” Heehee. They make a garlic-ginger-corriander-lemon-chile thing in the food processor. Simon Red begins to second-guess his ability to do this dinner thing. Ted tells him to have a glass of wine and just relax. He and Kyan are really attitudey-put-you-in-your-place-quit-your-bitchin in this episode. Simon Red is going to be ossified by the end of this episode.

Jai takes Simon Red aside to get him pumped. Jai’s label shouldn’t be Culture Vulture. It should be the Electronics Fairy because he gives Simon Red a digital surround sound system.

They guys gather round to recap. Thom gives him a bacteria-less tea maker. Simon Red thanks them for coming to the UK and changing his life. They all toast cheers, and the FF leave. Simon Red sinks into his couch and mumbles, “Peace at last.” Ha.

Hip Tip: Ridiculously large centerpiece on your table? No, no, no. Small is better. You keep telling yourself that, Thom. Whatever gets you through the day. (just kidding—you have my heart).

Mum says that Mary is good for her son.

Mary says, “We’re serious,” and she wouldn’t be with someone with that awesomely bad hair if she weren’t serious. Hee. I like Mary.

The “London Loft.” Not the normal critic couch but it’ll do. Jai says he’s homesick. Ted says “making over guys in London is a little different.” They answer that Simon Red is a little different.

Simon Red trims his beard but doesn’t shave, as I suspected. He has serious problems with the eye pads. Those are going out the window when this is over. His towel hangs off of him all disheveled and thin. Thom says, “It’s amazing he can find food and water all by himself.” Heeheehee! Oh, God. Close up of Simon Red scratching his ass. Kyan yells something about “digging” which makes it ten times more disturbing and he’s lucky he’s in that suit because that’s saving him from crossing over onto my I Don’t Like You List this episode.

Simon Red dons his purple shades sweater and fitted jeans. He gets into the clean kitchen and dumps out a bunch of huge Madagasgaran prawns. They’re moving! That’s why he had asked Ted if they’re alive. Because dead things usually do not move. Jai is mortified. His face is indescribably priceless. His eyeballs might pop out. Kyan! Ted! Get Jai some wine.

Simon Red then does some odd grunting at the food processor. The guys are finding the grunts to be animalistic. He then frets over touching the prawns. Jai says he’s in “prawn panic” mode and Ted yells that he’s “Shrimpaphobic.” Simon Red moves onto the bread. He puts it in a pan. And flips it, omelet style. Pretty good for someone who doesn’t cook. Kyan reprimands Ted for putting Simon Red through a “culinary obstacle course.” That’s what I’m sayin’! Back to more grunting and running between garden and kitchen. He sets up candles and then, much to the guys’ amusement, finishes off another bottle of booze.

Mary knocks at the door and Simon Red calls out, “Coming, Love!” Awww. Mary, who waits outside while Simon Red gets his jacket on to complete the look, calls back, “It’s cold!” Heehee. He opens the door and her eyes get even bigger, which I thought wouldn’t be possible. She loves the hair. She loves the clothes. She loves him. Hooray. He takes her into the kitchen and shows her how he can flip the bread. She’s impressed.

He brings her out to the garden and she gasps. Carson calls the garden her “G Spot.” Hee. Isn’t it cold outside? I guess it’s warm near the outdoor stove thing. Simon Red continues calling her Princess and Sweetheart and he fixes his hair in the mirror in between. He needs to learn the whole rule about not playing with hair when cooking. They sit to eat and Mary gushes over his new young look. He feels good. She says that the old hair was just so wrong. Simon Red exclaims, “Now you tell me!” Heehee.

Kissy kissy kissy. Planes fly overhead. Carson calls out the flight numbers a la some airport PA announcer.

Simon Red breaks out the sunglasses (it’s night and inside, but he’s a rock star, so it’s okay I guess), and they head out for his gig at Scala. This will be his first time on stage in six years. Cliff and the rest of the band barely recognize Simon Red when he comes in. Cliff’s jaw literally drops and he can’t stop smiling. He says that Simon Red looks so much better. They pour some alcohol into glasses and toast to Simon Red’s new look. Carson says that they’re too busy getting drunk to care about anything else. At least someone has caught on to the domino drinking effect going on here.

Mum comes backstage and gasps. “Is that for real or is that a wig?” Mum is on the verge of tears. Simon Red comes over and hugs her. “It’s real.” She says it will take some getting used to. Kyan takes this very personally and says, “It’s always the mothers!” He huffs. Then yells at the screen, “It looks great!” Cause he’s the expert and the hair was his Project. Carson says the hair criticism is from the woman rocking the dark auburn Dorothy Hamill haircut. Ha!

Simon Red changes into the black outfit with glitter accents. He has an in/out dilemma as he can’t remember whether or not to tuck his shirt in. He then heads out on stage, beer in hand! Thom says he’s nervous that Red Rhythm will “really really suck.” Heehee!

Simon Red plays to the crowd, asking them if they came to see his haircut. They cheer because that’s what audiences do. A rock star can say anything, and the audience will cheer. “I like malaria!” And the crowd goes wild. So Simon Red then gives a shout out to Mary. Then the song ensues.

The lyrics are: “Will someone call a doctor”. . . “Tell me lies.” Are they aware it’s not the 80’s anymore?

Carson and Thom boogie down. The lyrics include the word boogie. Jai joins in. Bra-less girls dance in the audience. The song ends in a rap. Everyone claps. I’m not sure why.

In the London Loft, the FF all agree that Simon Red secretly loves the short hair and needs to take some time before he admits it. He’s a rock start. Cheers Queers!

The tips for this week? Well, there are none. Only rolling credits. Because they’re jet lagged, I assume.

One international make-over complete without much incident, but with much Red Red Wine.

–Christina M. Rau/GatsbyGirl

Will you buy Red Rhythm’s album? Email: christina@realityshack.com

Ladies Underwear and Red Lipstick – American Idol, 01-25-05

by LauraBelle

The third audition city for American Idol 4 is New Orleans, one of my favorite places on earth. As I watched the show tonight, I hoped to see some of my favorite street performers auditioning; what a success story that would be. One of my favorite of all times was a man that looked to be in his sixties and had no teeth, but sang the most beautiful version of Sitting On the Dock of the Bay I have ever heard, and took Al Green requests from us. Of course, the hard living conditions for street performers in New Orleans means he was probably only in his forties, yet still way out of the new American Idol age requirements, and Simon would never let in a person that has no teeth. Regardless, the Big Easy is full of characters, and this promises to be an entertaining hour.

We join our judges Simon, Paula and Randy in the Louisiana Superdome, a mere few blocks from where we stayed visiting New Orleans back in November. They are also joined by Gene Simmons, lead singer of KISS. I don’t picture him with white and black makeup on, though; I can’t stop picturing him as the bad guy he portrayed on Third Watch not too long ago. Kudos to Faith for getting rid of that louse.

The first performer up for the evening is David Brown. Asked by Gene why he finds himself here, David says he is following his heart. He sings absolutely beautifully, and is met after with several “Wow”s. Randy says this is the best he has heard in all four Idol seasons. Simon adds “one-hundred percent, yeah,” and Paula says the real ones don’t need to do nothing but sing. Gene makes it unanimous, and David is on his way to Hollywood. Later, Ryan catches up with David at his church. Ryan announces to them that David has just been invited to Hollywood, and the congregation cheers while David tears up.

The next performer up is Bobby Barfoot, who brings with him a card collection of past American Idol performers. He has a slot empty, waiting for his own card to be in there. He starts out … yodeling. All judges shout enthusiastically at the end, “Yeehaw!” Paula is stretching to find something to say, and says he has a good voice. Simon retorts, “Where?” Paula fires back at Simon that he is being rude and they being to argue. Paula says it’s not his voice, but an image problem. He is asked to go behind the screen and sing something more current. He sings Lately and doesn’t sound as good as Paula had hoped. Gene mocks Bobby’s vibrato the whole time, and tells him the yodel has to go. Bobby is sent away, back to his dreams in his card collection, and I wonder if he met anyone this day whose card he will soon put in there.

Up next is Daron Beck who definitely has a unique look with dyed black hair hanging in his face and a suit, and says he wants to change the music industry. He sings Delilah and is quite theatrical. Gene tells him, “You’re killing me; do you have another one?” Daron sings I Put A Spell On You with the same odd theatricalness. Gene is barking after this and says, “No, no, no.” All I can picture with this is David Spade’s commercials. Simon tells Daron he should be wearing ladies underwear and red lipstick in a cabaret. Gene finally tells Daron he is peculiar, and says he himself has spent his career being peculiar, and although it can be a great way to make a living, it is not right for this. I have not ever seen this guy’s act in New Orleans, although I must admit he is very indicative of the types of people you can see performing down there.

Lindsey Cardinale enters and sings Standing Right Next To Me. Gene tells her he likes her a lot, and she made a positive impression. Paula adds a list of adjectives, saying she’s interesting, unique, hypnotic, pure and beautiful. Simon says she is one of the best in so far that day. She obviously makes it through to Hollywood.

Simon asks Robert Solomon, wearing a white t-shirt and red pants if he is a gymnast, and he says no, a projectionist at a 24-plex movie theater. He says he spends a lot of time alone, (No, really?) and has lots of time to work on his singing and reading. He sings Dancing in the Street, and Paula holds up her hand to tell him to stop. He tells her that was an interesting stop motion, reads the writing on the Idol-themed walls, and walks out.

Very tall accountant Sundeep Achreja is up next to sing Eye of the Tiger. Before he starts, we see one of his coworkers saying Sundeep dressed up for Halloween as a punk, then changes her mind to pimp. Are they really that similar, or are they just four-letter words that start with P? He sways before the song to find his beat, then sings very monotone. No one is impressed, and he is dismissed.

Michael Luizza introduces us to Bourbon Street, and says both of his parents used to be street performers, and that was how they met. Asked why he is here, he says he wants to give good love around. He sings Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans. Yes, Michael. I do. He adds he learned this from his grandmother. Gene says he sang that like an old performer from the fifites, sounding much like Rosemary Clooney. (Is that a compliment to a man?) Randy says he was different and unique. Gene votes no. As Paula begins to say he made her feel joyful, Simon cuts her off, and they argue again, with Paula saying Simon is being very obnoxious today. Simon decides to give him another chance, and lets him through to Hollywood. Even though he made it, I am thinking one of the rules should now be men shouldn’t be channeling women performers from the fifties with songs learned from their grandmother.

In a take-off of the movie The Incredibles, Ryan introduces us to the Incomprehensibles. Leading the pack is Leroy Wells. Honestly, I like to consider myself as being good with words, but I have no words for this man. I … just can’t describe it, but will try. He is spontaneously moving around, and can’t stop. A forever pee-pee dance. No one can understand a word he is saying, yet Paula can pick out bits and pieces, like “Shrimp Boat.” Simon asks if they have subtitles on American TV. As he sings, Paula, Gene and Randy clap along. Gene moves over and makes Simon’s hands clap and Randy and Paula dance. Randy tells him when he is done to tell Simon to put Jesus first. He does, and is absolutely hysterical. He shows off his Flav-A-Flav gold teeth,and says his look with them is for TV, without them for Mom and Dad. Simon is cracking himself up imagining what it would be like for Leroy to win Idol and appear on Jay Leno. Finally Paula tells him he is very entertaining and fun … but not for American Idol.

Jeffrey Johnson, who works for a ministry, is up next, and says he is shocked by what he has seen on Bourbon Street. He sings In The Still of the Night. Gene tells him he should sing country, because pop would be a problem with his ministry because of the leading lyrics. The rules are different for country, and he would be allowed to sing songs without that. Paula tells him he needs to find a direction. Simon says yes, Gene says no, and Randy says yes. Welcome to Hollywood, Jeffrey.

It’s time for the twins. The first set is Lamar and Jamar Jefferson. Simon tells them they are very good. Gene says he doesn’t know how to say it, but dons a pair of glasses in the shape of dollar signs. They obviously make it through.

Twins Rich and JP Malfetta are a different story. Randy says they both can sing, but questions why they chose Boyz 2 Men. Gene is more direct, and says they can make girls swoon singing that type of music, but he feels they are becoming too old for that. Paula disagrees, and tells them melodically the Boyz 2 Men is right there. Simon says individually they wouldn’t be interested in them. He asks the two to stand separately, and they get identical marks to how they scored as a team. Paula gets upset with Simon and says he did this for the sport of it. Rich and JP are dismissed, and are very upset after. It sounds as if they intended on signing separately, but were forced to sing together, which is why they feel they didn’t make it.

By the end of the auditions, only sixteen made it through, which is the lowest for any of the audition cities. I have seen far more entertainment and talent in New Orleans. I think they should extend the age limit to sixty year old men, and perhaps Leroy could lend them his gold teeth.

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

They Went Away – The Amazing Race 6, Episode 11

by LauraBelle

With Jonathon and Victoria gone, I didn’t have nearly the same amount of sound bytes to pull from for a title for tonight’s show. In fact, I had to pull the sound byte from one of the locals in Sri Lanka. That’s right; Sri Lanka. As Phil points out at the beginning, this episode of The Amazing Race was filmed before the tsunami hit Sri Lanka. Phil dedicates the show to the memory of the thousands of lives lost and rescue workers that dedicated their lives to saving others.

Hayden and Aaron are the first to leave the Laibela Lookout in Ethiopia at 1:16 AM. They will need to catch one of two charter flights to Addis Ababa, and then find the stadium. Aaron feels that when they work together, no one can beat them. Lori and Bolo are next to leave with Bolo similarly saying if they take the time to slow down a little and read and double check everything, that they have a good chance of winning.

Kris and Jon leave, followed by Freddy and Kendra. Because of being yielded by Adam and Rebecca last week, Freddy feels they need get ahead of everyone else this time to be safe. Adam and Rebecca leave last, and she is still looking for him to grow up a little and knows if he can believe in himself, that they have a real chance of winning.

With everyone rushing to the airport to catch the charter flight, Freddy and Kendra fall behind, as she has to stop to puke. She doesn’t think Ethiopian food agrees with her very well. Kris and Jon, Hayden and Aaron and Lori and Bolo catch the first charter, and Adam and Rebecca and Freddy and Kendra catch the second, leaving thirty minutes later.

Lori and Bolo are the first to arrive at the stadium, and their clue says they need to run a four-man relay race. They need to choose a pair of Ethiopian runners that are waiting, and each take turns running with them around the track. Once completed, they will receive their next clue. I don’t understand why, but talking to the runners, all obvious athletes, Bolo tells them they need to run like they are being chased by the police. He tries to cover up saying this (apparently seeing it as wrong) by saying he knows, he’s been chased often, but it still comes off as extremely odd.

Hayden and and Aaron arrive, and Hayden feels they will have an advantage as she ran track in school, and the 4 x 4 was her favorite. I’m not sure who it is, but we hear either Hayden or Lori say they wish they didn’t have to pee. It did seem like it was probably Lori’s gravelly voice. Kris and Jon arrive as Bolo is finishing, obviously running out of gas going around the track, as he says, “I ain’t no track star.” Hayden and Aaron finish quickly, saying they smoked Kris and Jon. Freddy and Kendra arrive, and she needs to make another pit stop into the bathroom to throw up again, and says running around a track is the “last fricking thing” she wants to do right now. By the time she is done, she says she ran like an eighty-year old woman. Rebecca doesn’t fare much easier, asking when she is done, “Pack of Oxygen, Somebody?”

Their next clue sends them back to the airport to catch a flight to Colombo, Sri Lanka. Lori and Bolo, arriving at the airport first, find there is only one flight leaving at 2:30 PM, and making a pit stop in Dubai, one of the old haunts from The Amazing Race 5. Everyone makes it onto the one and only flight to Sri Lanka this day, with Freddy and Kendra just barely making it, as she had to stop to throw up again.

Once safety in Colombo, the teams need to catch a taxi to the train station, where they will take a train to Galle. Rebecca explains to the taxi driver where they want to go by saying, “Train, Toot! Toot!” Obviously catching Adam’s joy of riding on trains. Kendra says there are fumes everywhere, and needs to puke again the minute they board the train. I can’t imagine being on something that dirty, hot and stinky with an upset stomach. No one can find a seat, and they either stand or sit on the floor.

Somehow Adam and Rebecca miss the train, as it leaves just as they arrive. They ask a local if the train left with all the other teams, and he says they all left, they had backpacks. Adam and Rebecca excitedly say it’s those people they are looking for. The local just smiles and says, “They went away.” Adam and Rebecca now need to sit for an hour and twenty minutes to wait for the next train. Adam wants to leave, and we realize he wants to quit the race. It must be his obvious disappointment on not riding on the train, as he seems to find great joy in trains. Rebecca gets furious with him and says facetiously, “Yeah, let’s give up! That’s a great idea!” Adam follows with, “I suggest you stop talking to me.” Rebecca bites back, “That’s an easy one!” They eventually make nice, and she says it is in interest of finishing the race.

As the others’ train arrive at Galle, they board Tuck Tucks, three-wheeled covered motorcycles that are being driven by a driver. They need to travel to Fort Galle. At the fort they are met with a Detour – Tree Trunks or Elephant Trunks. In Tree Trunks the teams need to find their way to a coconut plantation, and each person on the team needs to climb a tree fifty feet, walk across a tight rope contraption, collect a jug of sap, walk back across the tightrope, and back down and turn in their jugs of sap. In Elephant Trunks, the teams need to travel to an elephant polo field, and each person needs to board an elephant and score a goal. The only team to choose Elephant Trunks is Freddy and Kendra. Self-proclaimed Master of Pachyderms, Freddy, says they won’t ever get that kind of opportunity again, so may as well have fun.

Lori and Bolo, Hayden and Aaron and Kris and Jon all choose to climb the coconut tree. Kris and Jon finish this with ease, but Lori and Hayden both struggle. Hayden is afraid of heights and gets stuck up there. She eventually makes her way down. As everyone is finishing, Adam and Rebecca arrive in Galle on their train. They choose to climb the tree as well.

Their next clue sends them to the Galle bus station to board a bus to Kandy, Sri Lanka, and then find their way to the Kandyan Art Association. Hayden states the obvious, saying the U.S. has nicer buses and trains. Kris and Jon, Lori and Bolo and Hayden and Aaron all catch the first bus. Freddy and Kendra catch the second, and Adam and Rebecca the third. Once at the Art Association, they find they will all bunch up together again, lucky for Adam and Rebecca. The hours of operation are 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM, and they all will spend the night there on the streets of Sri Lanka. I just can’t help but imagine what would have happened had they been sleeping on the streets when the tsunami hit.

Once the teams are allowed inside the Art Association the next morning, they need to purchase a bowl of rice, and take it to a monk at the Temple of the Tooth. The monk ties a string around their wrists and chants something, that Lori believes must be a blessing. Kris says her and Jon are both very religious, and that ceremony meant a lot to them.

The next clue sends the teams to the Lion Rock, which they travel to in their Tuck Tucks. Adam and Rebecca get delayed as their driver stops for gas. Once at Lion’s Rock the find a Road Block. One member of each team needs to climb the more than one thousand steps to the top of Lion’s Rock, use binoculars to find the flag designating the pit stop, and then climb down the rock, join their teammate and finish at the pit stop.

Adam, Jon, Freddy, Lori and Aaron are the climbers of the rock. Lori gets most of the way up and finds she doesn’t have her ticket she is supposed to have. She climbs back down, reaches Bolo, and starts screaming, “Bring me the freaking ticket!” She is furious at Bolo for not reading the directions fully to know she had to take the ticket with her. Kris grabs Bolo by the shoulder and attempts to send some positive thoughts to him.

Jon is the first to reach the top, and finds the pit stop flag is next to a pool. He races down the Rock, joins Kris, and they race in their Tuck Tuck to the pool. Once there, Phil instructs them to swim across the pool to reach him. Doing so, they, of course, find they are the first to arrive, and receive a European vacation for doing so.

Freddy gets back down the rock, saying to Kendra, “That Adam’s such a nancy-boy, I passed him.” Freddy and Kendra, Hayden and Aaron and Adam and Rebecca all race for the pool. They all run up to Phil who instructs them to go back to the beginning of the pool and swim over. Hayden and Aaron arrive second, Freddy and Kendra third, and Adam and Rebecca fourth (of course, he’s such a Nancy). Lori and Bolo come flying in, but are last of course. They are hoping for a non-elimnation leg, but are eliminated. They argue over the Rock mishap, yet when prodded to do so, Bolo praises Lori saying she is the strongest woman you will ever meet. She feels they get along so well, and knows now they will be together forever.

Lori and Bolo met the same fate Jonathon and Victoria did last week. They didn’t take the time to read the clue, getting ahead of themselves, and this is precisely what Bolo promised at the beginning of tonight’s show he would not do. All of this seems to pale in comparison, though, to the things that have happened to Sri Lanka since the filming of this. It was hard to watch the show and not wonder how different this beautiful country looks today, post-tsunami. Just as the episode where Jonathon’s abuse of Victoria came to light with the slave house visit and the visit to the Berlin Wall, it is hard to think of fun, light things like a race. Phil winds up the show telling us we can make donations for the tsunami victims at CBS.com.

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

How Do You Say 'Wacko' in French? – The Bachelorette 3, Episode 3

The men get a message to meet Chris and Jen at a basketball court. Once at the court, they find out they will be playing four on four basketball to win dates with Jen. Fabrice and Ryan are team captains and get to choose their teams. Fabrice’s team wins, and then they find out that there will be two one-on-one dates, and one group date. John Paul, the highest scorer, and Fabrice, the lowest scorer, both get one-on-one dates.

Jen and Fabrice go to The Cotton Club, where they are serenaded by Vanessa Williams. After the song, they have some cocktails and talk. Fabrice says that he wants kids and he wants to settle down. He confides to Jen that he had his heart broken a couple years ago and he’s over it, but tears start to run down his face. Then, before you can say “wacko” he leans in for a very long, very racy kiss. His tongue is everywhere. Jen looks uncomfortable during the kiss, and when Fabrice really seems to go in for the kill, Jen backs away. Fabrice continues to maul Jen, saying, “I just want to hug you! I get so lonely at night.” Jen looks right into the camera with bewildered eyes. She later tells us that the moods were a bit extreme and it was the weirdest date yet. Apparently French men aren’t all that suave after all.

Back at the men’s apartment, the guys diss “Frenchie”. Josh The Virgin says that Fabrice told him that he doesn’t see marriage as being forever, then he would probably end up divorced. Jerry says that Frenchie makes him sick.

Jen goes out with John Paul next. Jen is nervous, as this is a carbon copy of her first date with Andrew, way back when she was among the hopefuls. They take a helicopter to a hotel were an ultra-romantic suite has been set up. The two eat and John Paul tells her about his company. Jen and John Paul then slip into bathing suits and are massaged, and then take a dip in a Jacuzzi. Jen says that she finds John Paul more attractive than some of the other men because he’s not throwing himself at her. They then share chocolate covered strawberries, and they both seem to be having a great time.

The men that were left in the loft discuss what Jen is looking for. Josh The Virgin says that Jen is looking for a soul mate and that being successful doesn’t matter much. Jerry says that maybe she’s looking for someone that is successful as well as a soul mate. They then ponder what it was about Andrew Firestone that made Jen say “yes” to him. Jerry seems to be looking at things strategically.

Now it’s time for the group date and they head to Central Park. They goof off and play football for a while. Josh tells Jen that he owns a home and he wants to be able to provide for a family. Jen says that she doesn’t feel that Josh wants to get to know her, that he just wants to impress her. She can’t get a word in when they talk. Ryan busts in on her time with Josh, and Jen is relieved. She feels comfortable with Ryan and likes to talk with him. Jen talks with Keith after Ryan, and he talks a lot about things being natural between the two of them, which makes things very unnatural.

Jerry is next, and the two row around in a pond and Jerry gives Jen one of the best kisses ever. Jen is thrilled about the kiss. She said that she feels comfortable with Jerry, yet gets butterflies. Jen then talks with Wendell, and she feels comfortable with him, too. She says that he’s the kind of guy her mom told her to look for. Awww.

It’s time for the rose ceremony! Tonight, six are staying and two are going home. She talks with Ben for a little while, and feels more relaxed with him than she has in previous conversations. Fabrice and Jerry chat for a while. Fabrice thinks Jerry is phony, and Jerry thinks Fabrice is an ass. Fabrice continues to ruffle feathers as he has conversations with some of the other guys. Wendell says that Fabrice is an idiot, and that Fabrice knew he was going to be sent home and was trying to start trouble before he left.

Jen talks to Jerry alone. She likes the way he makes her feel, but wonders if he is charming with all the girls. She is nervous about meeting with Fabrice. While he and Jen are talking, he says that he would be happy to tell her stuff about the other men. He says that Keith is nice but feels uncomfortable with her, Ryan is a nice guy and she should get to know him better, and that Jerry is a charmer. Surprisingly, he didn’t say more about Jerry.

Jen chooses her six. She keeps John Paul, Jerry, Ryan, Ben, Wendell, and Fabrice (Fabrice? Why?). Fabrice is chosen last, and he is pissed. He accepts the rose, but gives Jen a dirty look and doesn’t hug her or say much of anything to her. Jen was put off by his reaction, and Fabrice said that he thought it was ridiculous, that she picked him last to play with him. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new psycho to replace Stu! Fabrice says that he’s proven to Jen that he likes her, now she must prove it to him.

On the next episode, the guys have to write Jen a letter telling her why they would be a good husband to win dates. They also race to the Empire State Building. At the next rose ceremony, Fabrice interrupts the proceedings to make a confession. Stay tuned!

E-mail me any time: rachel@realityshack.com .

No Help at All! Growing up Gotti Episode 4

No Help at All!

Victoria is right, her hired staff is no help at all, but with that in mind I have to ask: “Why keep them around?” I love the woman but she couldn’t pick the right person for the job if her life depended on it! Instead she surrounds herself with incompetent morons like Luigi and Jay. But I digress.

The episode starts off with Victoria saying “Being a single mom is hard.” And I agree, especially when you have people like Jay and Luigi working for you. Jay is already in trouble because he forgot to remind Victoria to do something. Victoria’s friend Robert tries to give Jay a few tips on being a personal assistant but Jay doesn’t seem to like taking advice from others.

Meanwhile, Carmine brings home a coat that he bought for $1900 which he thought was chinchilla. Robert comments right away that there is no way a real chinchilla coat can cost that little. I wasn’t sure if it was real either, but Carmine looked gorgeous in it! Victoria finds out that the coat is actually rabbit with chinchilla trimming. She and Robert decide that the coat is way too expensive since it’s not chinchilla and that Carmine was ripped off. Victoria calls the guy who sold Carmine the coat and arranges to have it returned (but not without the receipt). I myself am also a big fan of chinchilla coats, but I can’t afford one.

Luigi asks Victoria if she has an ashtray and Robert brings to Victoria’s attention the cigarette butts on the steps outside the house. She immediately blames it on Luigi since he smokes there all the time. Then she realizes that Jay is also a suspect since he smokes as well. Luigi mumbles something to himself as the others go to inspect the cigarette butts outside. Jay denied ever doing something like that even though the butts were from his brand of cigarettes. Just admit it!

Back to the coat. Victoria decides that the coat needs to be returned, so who does she send on this mission? None other than her not-so-trusty assistant Jay. Oh boy! She gives him the Coat and the receipt. His job was simple enough that I could have done it! But Jay on the other hand lost the receipt and called Victoria to tell her. She starts yelling at him (as I would).

That night Victoria says to Luigi that she will give him a thousand dollars if he quits smoking for one week, and if he doesn’t make it he would have to work for her for free for one day. He asks for the money in advance for “inspiration” but she says no. He agrees and says it’s no problem. We’ll see…

The next day we see Luigi walking around a room, I believe, in the house and notices that there is a leak on one of windows. While he is doing that he lights up a cigarette. He goes to tell Victoria about the leak and she notices that he is smoking. She chases him out of the house and tells him that he lost the bet and now has to work for her for free. Don’t you love it when that happens?

Luigi is sent to work on the disheveled pool area which was ruined after a storm the night before. I don’t know if it’s just the bad editing, but Luigi doesn’t seem to do much and after kicking around a couple of chairs he sits down to have a smoke. Robert came out to have a talk with him but that didn’t work out.

That night, Victoria is trying to get some work done and asks where is Jay? She finds him in John’s room playing cards. What is he thinking? She tells him that she needs him downstairs and he follows her. As soon as they get down stairs and begin doing some work Jay runs off to play cards with the boys again! While he teaches the boys how to play poker, Victoria regrets ever hiring him. She finally gets him to join her and Robert and tells him that she can’t put up with him anymore and that he is fired. Victoria comments that she doesn’t like to fire anyone and I can kind of tell because she looks a little ill at ease.

The next day, Robert takes Victoria and the boys to a real fur shop so the boys can buy themselves coats. Robert explains to the guy that works there that Carmine was ripped off and they want to buy a real chinchilla coat. The guy brings Carmine the coat and he puts it on. At this point I was hyperventilating! He looked incredible!

Is it just me or do these boys just keep on getting better and better? When Frankie tried on a similar coat he looked absolutely breathtaking! Robert also thought they looked good and asked Victoria if they will be taking three coats and she agreed. Why didn’t they just buy one coat and then trade?

Today the boys had a party to go to. Robert, being the new assistant quickly gets them ready and on their way in a white limo. Victoria is satisfied.

With the boys happy with their new coats and Victoria’s new assistant I wonder who will be fired next? Victoria Gotti is starting to become the new Donald Trump.

By: Mrs.Agnello (Disclaimer: I am not personally related to any Agnello it is just a nickname)

Happy Campers Surreal Life 4, Episode 3

By: Tweetwara

It’s another day in the Surreal Life House. Jane gets up early and wakes up the “cheerful” cast. The paper comes and tells the cast they are going camping. Verne says he hates camping (Mini me seems to not like much of anything…).

The crew arrives at the farm and are excited to see cowboys, which Adrienne and Joanie think are “cute” and “hot”.

Verne doesn’t want to put on any of the western gear (and to think someone spent ALL that time making him an outfit). Jane says that Verne is always saying he can’t do things and most of the time the things have nothing to do with physical limitations. The cast gears up and is excited to ride. They put Verne on the horse. They try several ways to get him on the pony, but it doesn’t work cause his legs can’t stretch wide enough.

Marcus feels bad for Verne because he can’t ride the horse. He feels that Verne doesn’t try things because he is afraid of the disappointment he may face. The others are glad that Verne at least tried and put on the clothes.

The cast enjoys the horseriding, as they go out looking for cattle. When they see the cattle the horses start going crazy. They are then told that if they brand the cattle, they can have steak, but if they don’t they will have to eat franks and beans. Jane, who is an animal activist, strongly disagrees. In fact the whole cast disagrees besides Adrienne, who just can’t have franks and beans for some reason. Jane is upset and walks to the van. Adrienne feels that it’s okay because “it was going to happen eventually anyway”. The cast watches and grimaces as Adrienne catches and brands the poor little cow.

Adrienne goes to the van and tries to reason with Jane. Up until that point they had talked about being so similar and being such great friends. Adrienne says if she knew that Jane would be so upset she wouldn’t have done it (yeah now she says it). Jane forgives her and they hug (aw…)

They then ride to the campsite. It’s announced that someone gets to be “cowboy of the day” and will sleep in a tent and pick someone to join them. Of course cow brander Adrienne is picked and takes Jane as her guest.

As they cook the food Verne talks about being scared, so Marcus tells him he has his back and Verne says Marcus is “The Man”.

The cast sits around the fire and laugh and joke. They also say things about each other they don’t like (jokingly) and people don’t get offended (for now). Jane tells Verne sometimes he is really sweet, but then other times he is really difficult. Brat tells Joanie she would never have her do her makeup because Joanie uses too much and she is too pretty for all the rouge and stuff. Joanie thanks Brat and gives her a hug.

Joanie starts to talk about how she has no friends or family and has a rough time with relationships. She stuns everyone when she confesses to swallowing a whole bottle of pills and trying to commit suicide. The cast is shocked and says that Joanie always comes across as so happy. (Totally a Kleenex moment and it is only Episode 3. It usually takes ’til at least episode 6 for this kinda crying and drama!)

Everyone is glad they are able to open with each other and understand each other better. They end with a big group hug.

SOOO Surreal Life has totally gone after-school-special/Lifetime movie, sniff* 😥

Stay tuned for what another day brings!

Meeting Each Other or Meeting Ourselves? – Starting Over, 01-21-05

by LauraBelle

The only person you ever meet in a relationship is yourself. These were the closing words that Iyanla spoke in Group. How true they are. Perhaps what makes us close the door on a relationship is seeing too much of ourselves.

Cassie reads the letter to the Licensed Clinical Social Worker that she wrote to the adoptive parents of her birth son. The social worker asks for it to be redone, to address her birth son’s needs more. She guesses that Cassie is seen as a threat to them. Cassie says she has to believe they want to do the right thing. Rhonda tells her she is meeting with a private detective that night to help her find this birth son she has longed for for eighteen years. The confidence is growing in Cassie so much that she says she doesn’t need anyone picking apart her words in how to do this, she just knows it needs to be done. Later Cassie calls her aunt looking for support, and doesn’t find any as her aunt feels she shouldn’t be meddling in this other family’s business.

Iyanla walks into the group session and asks what is a friend? Bethany believes it’s based on knowing when you need each other. Denise thinks it’s about counting on each other. Iyanla realizes the women don’t see it as a give and take situation. They see what they receive, but they don’t know what they give. The topic arises if they are all true friends with each other and if they trust each other. Denise believes you choose your friends, and she really didn’t choose to be with these certain five people.

Asked if they trust each other, the answers are mixed, and vary from woman to woman. Candy admits she has clashed the most with Denise in the house, and Denise admits to feeling the same way. They bring up the situation from the day before over Candy controlling the way Denise makes her food. The say they have solved the problem, but Iyanla doesn’t believe it very much. Renee speaks up and says she has the largest problem with Rachael. Through tears, Renee says Rachael puts up a wall to her when she tries to open up. But when Rachael repeats the words back, she’s not picking up everything Renee has been saying. To help this situation along, Iyanla is giving Candy and Denise the assignment of going out to dinner together, and is asking Rachael and Renee to find an activity to enjoy together as well.

In discussing privately with each other why Rachael doesn’t get along with Renee, Rachael tells Denise that Denise is one of the first people she can really open up with, and they realize they trust each other and are willing to be vulnerable with each other. Rhonda meets with Bethany over her friendships. Bethany has cut all her friends out of her life after her amnesia. She doesn’t remember them, so has avoided the pain she feels in being around them. To begin to reconnect with them, Rhonda tells her to call those old friends today and ask how they felt when she lost her memory, and how they felt it affected their friendships. Bethany is afraid to open up again to them for fear she will lose her memory again and wind up right where she was before feeling all that pain. She needs to be able to feel that vulnerability that Denise and Rachael have found.

Rachael moves on to a meeting with Iyanla, and they discuss how Rachael felt when she heard Renee talk of her struggle in getting to know her. Iyanla gets her to see she easily dismisses people she selects not to trust. Rachael has a huge moment of honesty and admits to sometimes feeling that she is superior to Renee, and dislikes her because she used to be just like Renee and sees that as wrong now. In pressing her last words of the Group, and how we only meet ourselves in a relationship, Iyanla tells her the perceptions they feel about each other are true, and that is why they have problems facing each other, as they are really facing the truth about themselves.

The day before Rachael had been given the assignment to decorate shells for cancer survivors in honor of her mom. Iyanla is now asking her to collect memories and information about her stepfather to have a future memorial for him. She also tells her she will combine that knowledge with the knowledge gained of her mother, and write them singly on note cards attached to the shells, as she gives them to the cancer survivors.

Cassie share her story with the private investigator and he is assigning someone that specializes in finding people to her case. He feels they have a good chance of finding him in just a few days. She is so close to her fairy tale dream she’s been dreaming of for four years.

Bethany calls her friends as told, and finds out very interesting things. She finds out friends she is close to now weren’t particularly that close before. She also finds her friends were hurt that she doesn’t come to them with her problems now; she only feels safe going to her father. She also gleams new things about herself, such as before, she hated country music, now it’s her favorite. She finds that quite amusing. Meeting with Rhonda later, she sees how she has shut them out and made her situation worse.

Denise is not looking forward, at all, to her dinner with Candy, but tries to put a happy face on for the event. They begin forcing a conversation over their dinner, but soon find they are not forcing any more, but enjoying each other’s company and finding new things out. They both realize they bring out the parts of each other they are in the house trying to resolve. A common bond is found when they realize they both had abuse and violence in their past. They have very similar backgrounds; they have just approached it and dealt with it differently.

Rachael and Renee don’t fare as well trying to connect. The walls are still up. These two are not willing to face the truth about themselves, so are not willing to open up to what the other woman brings out in them. Denise and Candy were able to do that, and come to an understanding that they realize the worst about themselves when they are around each other. Hopefully they can lead Rachael and Renee by their example.

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

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