Melissa and The Great Walnut Caper: Queer Eye for The Straight Girl Episode 1.2

Melissa and The Great Walnut Caper

Quick, happy, stylish feet scamper into the SUV for another round of Gal Pal fun. Someone explain Danny’s outfit to me—a vest with an X on the shoulder. Robbie has on a sleek black jacket. Cause he’s The Look. Our four fearless fun-seekers discuss Melissa, a dancer turned eating disorder therapist who has decided to take fate into her own hands by proposing to her boyfriend. Yet she doesn’t know how to propose. Robbie suggests, “I’m going out on a limb here, but what about, “Daniel will you marry me?” She’s a recovering anorexic herself because of the dancing thing. Danny understands. He’s a dancer. He knows the woes of keeping a fit body for dance. Damon loves a woman with a cause. Her boyfriend, Daniel, loves her. Adores her! Then why hasn’t he proposed? Their mission is to prep her for proposing.

Credits. Wow, that animated silhouette can dance!

They arrive at Melissa’s house. She’s wearing a red tee, comfy pants, and a hoodie. She has dirty blonde hair and a bubbly aura about her. Her living room? Not so bubbly. An old gray couch. White walls that border on gray. Robbie plays with a very interesting coffee table. The top is glass but it has a sliding second layer that holds magazines. Robbie calls it “such a curiosity” as he slides the bottom half in and out. Damon exclaims, “It’s crazy! Craziness!” Then Robbie holds up a fuzzy thing and asks, “Is this a purse?” Melissa responds, “No. It’s a pillow my mom made for me.” It looks like something to dust with.

Honey and Danny my love make their way into the kitchen which is countryesque. Honey says it’s “very woody, a wood feel.” Danny calls the kitchen a motor home and is appalled by a leaking cow. He holds it up yelling, “What is this?” I have no idea what it is either. When I moved into my apartment, my one rule was no animal décor. Melissa should also follow this rule.

Robbie finds the closet and exclaims, “I spy with my little Queer Eye… is that Gucci?” and holds up a strappy black heel. Melissa says that she has some nice stuff. Robbie calls it “Cute!” just like himself. Then Robbie comments that they’ve come a long way from New York and The Streets of Phili.

In the bathroom, Honey munches on some strange thing. Then she reads a box that says, “Not for Consumption.” One, why would you eat something in a bathroom? Two, why would you eat something before reading the box? Ew. Honey immediately spits the mystery non-snack into the sink. Nice aim. She washes her tongue off, maniacally wiping it. She then goes through all the products, listing off, “hair removal, hair removal, hair removal.” Those are the only products apparently. Then she asks Melissa if the fly swatter hanging on the wall came with the house. Melissa says that it’s decoration. I think she’s kidding. Please be kidding.

Damon finds a clown lamp in the kitchen. Mommy, I’m scared!

Melissa and Honey talk about Daniel’s family. He has four older sisters who she’s met and gotten along with. She shows Honey some pictures. One big happy.

Meanwhile in the kitchen, the boys want to take the clown lamp to the antique road show.

Robbie finds silver in the kitchen and alerts Damon immediately.

Honey talks to Melissa about recovery. Melissa says she was a ballet dancer since she was three. Three! She said that dancing took away her humanity because she thought about controlling her weight all the time. Eventually, she told her mother she had an eating disorder and recovery began. During this discussion, Danny straps a ballet shoe to her foot.

Back in the kitchen, Robbie calls out, “Damon, distract them!” as he hides some silver in a towel so he can steal it. Robbie is becoming a klepto.

Cut to Danny and Melissa out back, dancing up a storm. They squat and leap and do ballet things. They’re both quite agile.

Meanwhile, Robbie tucks one of Melissa’s purses into his jacket. He takes being The Look one step too far with every episode. He wants it all for himself. Honey sprays some hairspray and gets the aerosol spray stuck so it just keeps spraying. She whisper-yells, “It’s stuck! It’s stuck!”

Robbie suggests to Melissa she get rid of the clothes in her closet she doesn’t wear. That way, she can work with the outfits she really loves and not be distracted by the clutter. She agrees. I’m thinking ulterior motive here. Robbie wants it all to himself.

Danny asks Daniel to describe Melissa in three words. He says, “Hilarious, sincere, and sweet.” Then calls Melissa his soul mate. Danny asks if Daniels sees himself with her forever. He says that he doesn’t know who else he could be with. Basically, Danny’s digging up the dirt to make sure he’ll say yes.

In the living room, Damon asks Melissa what she wants to do with the house. It’s a blank slate for Damon because Melissa and Daniel just moved in from New York. They didn’t bring a lot with them, and the house is stark. Melissa wants color but thinks that it could be claustrophobic. Damon corrects her; he says it would be warm.

Robbie and Danny have found a bunch of scarves and handbags in Melissa’s closet. As Daniel leaves for work, they meet him out on the front lawn swathed in headscarves and holding handbags on their forearms like two little old ladies. Robbie calls out to the neighbors in old lady fashion, “Could you keep it down?!” Then he hits Daniel on the butt while Danny hugs him. Heehee!

The Gal Pals surround Melissa on the couch and now get to talk about the proposal. Melissa wants to wear something classic, like a movie star. Danny asks what she would do if he said no. That’s a great question to ask. Real nice. Instead of hitting him with a pillow, which is what I would have done, Melissa says she’d be okay and would know that Daniel would have a good reason for saying no, but she hopes he says yes. He makes her better and loves her the way she is. For someone with body issues, she needs someone to accept her. Honey agrees that she’s perfect the way she is and offers her “one gay day” to take hold of perfection.

Melissa’s brother says she doesn’t spend time on herself.

Daniel says that her hair has been ten different colors since they’ve met and it’s hard for her to buy clothes for her body type.

In the SUV, Melissa says she’s most nervous about knowing what to say during the proposal and not tripping over words.

Back at the house, Hunky Helpers arrive to move furniture for Damon. Damon is perfectly positioned during the furniture moving—he remains behind the hunks. Up-close and personal butt shot! Wow, they must do deep knee bends daily.

Cut to the SUV, where Robbie suggests Melissa hide the ring in a baked potato at dinner. Daniel would be able to fish around for it in the potato. Um, no. They get out at DKNY, which Robbie says has amazing clothes for real women. Now he’s talking like a print ad. He shops for an outfit for Daniel to wear that night, but winds up shopping for himself, of course. Then he moves on to Melissa.

Outfit #1: A brown skirt and jacket with a deep orange-red color top. Robbie exclaims, “If I was you, I’d never wear pants again!” She’s very well-put-together here. The clothes fit her very well, which is hard when you’ve had recent weight fluctuation.

Outfit #2: A gray skirt with a slit and a flowery pattern. Blue shirt. Strappy metallic heels. Melissa admits that high heels make a difference. As a 4 foot 10 inch woman, I know the power of the pump. Wear them whenever you can!

Robbie asks Melissa if she likes the outfit he picked out for Daniel to wear. He points at himself because he’s wearing the outfit. Melissa nods. Robbie offers himself as a substitute for Daniel and Melissa says sure. See? It’s all about the clothes. Honey notes how she didn’t really hesitate all that much. Melissa and Robbie change back to their original clothes and then it’s bye bye DKNY.

Out in a parking lot somewhere in California, Danny meets Melissa and says, “We’re here at Swork, but I have no idea why.” Neither do I. I don’t know what the heck a Swork is, but it sure is fun to say. They go inside to meet Damon, who explains that they’re going to shop online. Oh! So Swork is an internet café. Gotcha. They choose a round chocolate-brown table with angled legs. Melissa says she really likes the opposing angles. Danny pokes Damon: “She said ‘opposing angles!’” “I know!” Damon responds in awe. They also choose a narrow table and some ottomans for other rooms. The whole time Damon finds new items to add, Danny makes these mmm-hmmming noises that get longer and deeper with every new piece. It’s semi-orgasmic shopping. Damon says the biggest advantage to shopping online is that you can see an entire collection in one glance. Very true.

Everyone clap for IKEA, cause that’s where they’re going. IKEA is like a little town unto itself. It should have its own government. The last time I was at the local IKEA, a huge fight broke out between this twenty-something guy and this forty-something woman in the pillow section. I guess that’s not really relevant. Anyway, Robbie and Honey shop for bathroom accessories and Melissa, Danny, and Damon shop for the kitchen. Danny rides in the cart and finds contemporary spatulas for her new contemporary kitchen. Ah, that reminds me of my college days when we used to go to Wal-Mart at two in the morning and do Shopping Cart Gymnastics. Next, it’s all about plates. Melissa chooses green and orange plates.

Meanwhile, Robbie and Damon stuff a pillow into a pillowcase. Robbie asks if it fits well. Damon says it’s a perfect fit. Robbie asks if it’s good for him. Damon says it sure is. Wow. How to make pillows erotic in three seconds flat. Too bad these guys weren’t in the pillow section of my IKEA when the fight broke out. There may not have even been a fight had they been there.

Back to Honey, who is now in her own shopping cart with Robbie pushing her. Robbie holds up a toilet paper holder that he originally thought was a “love making device.” Well, you never can be too sure. Before leaving, Danny and Melissa play in a tub of blue balls. Man! My sarcastic-comment-nerve just blew a gasket! Sorry.

After IKEA, Honey tells Melissa that every woman has the right to propose. Therefore, she takes her to Tacori, a jewelry store that makes one-of-a-kind platinum rings. They design the rings on a computer and then make them to your liking. They meet Paul, the ring guy, who is wearing a suit very similar to the one Robbie picked out for Daniel that night. Didn’t that happen last time? Paul the ring guy explains that platinum is the perfect symbol for love because it’s enduring, rarer than gold, and naturally white. Yes, love can be reduced to an expensive metal band. That’s exactly what I want to express to my future husband—you are as precious as this very expensive white metal. Melissa chooses her favorite ring and wants to engrave Marry Me and the date on the inside.

Honey then ships her off for a haircut. She needs one. Badly.

Melissa’s brother says her place is make-shift.

Melissa’s step-mom wonders where they eat because they have no table. Usually, here I would make a sarcastic comment about them not eating at all, but in light of the whole eating disorder issue, I’m not making a joke about it. There are plenty of other things to make fun of, I’m sure.

In the SUV, Melissa reveals a straight, angled haircut that works well with her face. Danny says he “loves, loves, loves” her hair. Hey! That’s my thing. I do the triple love love love thing! Oh, we must be made for each other, Danny! Wait, no, we’re not. You’re gay and I’m a lady. Never mind. Then commences the most awesome dance sequence I’ve ever seen in a moving vehicle. They flip through a bunch of stations and find a danceable tune. Danny and Robbie begin shimmying in the back seat. Then Honey busts a move. Melissa joins in with some arm Madonna moves. Then, Danny and Robbie are doing the spanking the dog, wiping the lap move. All in unison. How do they know this dance? Should I know this dance?

They arrive at Melissa’s house and she breaks out in tears. It’s great. The living room walls are now an aqua-mint color. The couch is an ice blue. The focal point is a wall hanging over the couch that has rows of simple flower paintings on frosted glass. The flowers are pink and blue. Damon has saved the coffee table but replaced the magazines with stones. This is the most awesome piece of furniture.

The kitchen is still woody but now has the new table with a vase of flowers on top. Melissa needs to sit down. The walls are a buttery yellow. Danny points out that Damon has put up shelves on the far wall.

Over in the bedroom, Melissa needs to lie down. The colors are no longer red, white, and blue. Instead, it’s all coral and gold and brown and very movie-star-classic-ish. Damon custom-made the headboard.

Damon, Danny, and Honey wait in the living room while Robbie steals Melissa away into the bedroom. They pretend that he’s dragging her away for an intimate moment but we all know that’s not happening. Not if he wants to keep his job. They come back to reveal “The Divine Miss M.” No, not Bette Midler. Melissa! In a sleek black dress, sequined wrap, and strappy heels. The Gal Pals shriek, “Gorgeous!” Danny says that the dress is classic for a classic body, reminding her that the classic movie star shape was curvy.

Robbie now dives into changing her hair color to compliment her new do. Back in her red tee, she sits in the bathroom while Robbie helps her rub dye into her dry roots. He helps her comb it through as well but makes her do most of the work.

She meets Danny in the kitchen in her cape and hair clips. Danny knows that she keeps a healthy diet but since it’s a special occasion, he wants to make something a bit unhealthy. Cleopatra’s Walnuts. Yes, Cleopatra’s Walnuts. They’re an aphrodisiac. Can’t you tell by the name alone? It screams sex! These are walnuts covered in caramel. Mmmmm. Okay, now I’m having a food orgasm. He’s right about that aphrodisiac thing. Basically, they’re little nut sandwiches. Danny asks her how Daniel will take her proposing to him. She says that Daniel knows she’s untraditional so he shouldn’t be too surprised in the end. Danny tells her to let her heart do the talking.

Robbie pulls Melissa out of the kitchen to check her hair. He rinses out the dye until the water is clear. Then adds some highlights and aluminum and sends her back to Danny. Ping-pong between two gay men! Back in the kitchen, they drizzle caramel, which seems dirty but isn’t. What IS disturbing is all the hair-kitchen stuff. Shouldn’t she not be near food with chemicals in her hair? Anyway, they finish making Cleopatra’s Walnuts.

Then Robbie washes out the highlights. Whoa. Her hair is DARK. But it’s still wet, so it probably looks darker than it is.

Honey teaches Melissa how to do make-up for romance. Beginning with plucking. Plucking and romance never go hand-in-hand. Plucking is the bane of my existence and should never be encouraged. Yet Honey encourages it. Then she gives Melissa an eyebrow pencil to fill in her eyebrows. Um, why did she just pluck then? Next she wets the brush and puts it in the eye shadow to use the shade as eyeliner. Okay, Honey, what are you doing? I’m trusting her on this one. A warning: Be careful with shimmer in your creases! Then, after all the make-up, Honey hands her a Wet Wipe and makes her wipe her face off for a clean slate. Then she gives her Crest White Strips. Oh, Come On! These things take a week to work, so why bog her down with this step that won’t make a difference when she needs to propose later?

Melissa tells Honey she can’t believe how much more confident she feels in just a few hours. She feels good because they didn’t focus on what’s wrong with her. Honey says that she didn’t NEED a make-over. Melissa agrees that body image has to do with helping come up with a better version of yourself.

In the living room, Melissa starts crying again because she’s learned to trust people. She learned about style, but also how to share herself. Damon is all weepy and says that she should share herself. Danny makes a toast saying that they all “fell in love” with her as soon as they met her. Cheers! Honey is so proud. On the way out, Danny takes a Buddha bow towards her. I have no idea why.

Hip Tip: Robbie says use a comb accessory on your blow dryer when you blow dry frizzy hair. Or shave your head. Whichever.

Melissa’s step-mom says Daniel is Melissa’s soul mate.

Daniel says Melissa is great.

Gather round the critic couch for some commentary. Honey is wearing a white suit that I would like to own one day but never will because I’m too short and would look horrible! The boys are in all black. How Euro. Damon says that they left her in “great spirits” so she should do a good job. Didn’t they leave her in tears? They watch Melissa in a red cushy robe blow out her hair, which is now brunette and beautiful. I think it’s borderline reddish. It compliments her fair complexion; she’s no longer washed-out. Then she tweezes as previously instructed and then does up her eyes. She dons her black dress and golden sandals. And then she cooks! Yes, she gets all gussied up and THEN cooks. Robbie says that he, too, likes to cook in an evening gown. Danny mentions that he appreciates her cooking efforts but would have liked it better if she cooked before getting dressed up. At least put on an apron.

Melissa goes about making Cleopatra’s Walnuts. She’s very precise. Robbie says that he would have loved playing Operation with her as a kid because she would have kicked that guy’s electrified ass. Suddenly, there’s a knock at the door and Melissa is all a-tizzy because she can’t get her shoes on. Damon notes that now she’s getting nervous. All that preciseness has gone out the window as she can’t find the hole in the strap in her sandal to buckle it shut. Daniel keeps knocking and she yells at her shoes. Then, she gets one on and runs to the door with the other one in hand. “Hang on a minute! I’m coming!” she yells as she hops on her heeled foot. She jams her foot in her shoe, finally gets it on, and opens the door to the waiting Daniel. His face lights up and he thinks she looks awesome. Danny, MY Danny, says that she has the most beautiful smile. Melissa is such a lucky girl to have two Dan’s love her so.

Daniel begins to notice the house. He loves the stones in the coffee table. Robbie said that Damon does a good job of keeping some old stuff and re-making it new. Daniel’s vocabulary has been reduced to “awesome,” “amazing,” “Holy Jeez,” and “Omigod!” That’s all he says over and over as he walks through the house and sees all the pretty things. Because of this overwhelming excitement, Danny says that there’s no way he can say no to the proposal. Honey agrees, saying that Melissa is “stunning and deserving.” Daniel dons the outfit that Danny picked out for him earlier. As they leave, Melissa asks if he minds wearing pink (the shirt is a deep pink, bordering purple—kind of like the HyperColor shirts Damon reminisced about last episode, but in a good way) and the rest of the suit is black. Daniel says that he’s enough of a man to wear pink. Just like Homer Simpson when he was sent to the insane asylum for wearing a pink shirt. Yup, we’ve come a long way.

The two of them take Cleopatra’s Walnuts with them. Just the tray in the car. No container. No Seran Wrap. Honey points, “Look, Danny! Look at him carrying your nuts!” Ha! In between nut bites, which Daniel savors and loves, he gushes over Melissa, “You’re so beautiful. You’re so beautiful.” Robbie turns to Damon and says, “You’re so beautiful, Damon.” Without hesitation, Damon says, “I know” in a dreamy sort of way. Heehee. Oh, long lost brother of Roger Lodge, you floor me.

Before the restaurant, Melissa takes Daniel for a walk near a marina at sunset. It’s so pretty. The wind blows just so. She gushes about loving him and being thankful that they’ve found each other. Gush, gush, gush. She plays with her sequined wrap. They walk. They lean on the railing of the boardwalk marina thingie. Danny says that this is where she plans to propose; she wants to do it at the beginning of the night and get it over with so she can enjoy and celebrate the rest of the night. So where the hell is the proposal? Yeah, she doesn’t do it! She says, “Ready to go eat?” and they walk back from where they started. Danny says she “Chickened out” while Robbie takes the more tactful approach of saying, “She must not have felt the right moment.” Not the right moment? Gushing I love you at a marina during sunset. Definitely not the right moment to propose to anyone. So unromantic.

The couple heads into the restaurant and Danny thinks that dinner may present another opportunity. Maybe Robbie’s baked potato idea wasn’t so bad after all. Now there’s a close up of the couple talking and Honey comments about how they’re meant for each other and Melissa’s finding the courage to propose, but the comment is about ten times louder than the other Gal Pal comments, so it’s obviously voiced over and was probably added in during editing. I hate that. It’s so friggin’ obvious and it distracts from the moment. The waiter comes over for the order and Daniel orders a lot of food for them to share. Melissa can’t even speak at this point, so she can’t ask for a last-ditch-effort-proposal-potato. Damon and Robbie want a “cup of courage” on the side. Then Robbie adds he wants shrimp “with a side of Marry Me.” Heehee. Danny becomes impatient and berates the screen, “PROPOSE!” Now there’s some motivation.

Melissa smiles at Daniel and says, “Now that I look so different, I guess I don’t feel like myself and don’t know how to act.” Seriously, she’s acting like a crazy person. She’s rocking slightly towards and away from the table. She flips her hair behind her ear, in front of her ear, and behind again. She is one big pre-proposal nerve. Danny mentions that she’s nervous because they’ve been dating only a few months. But he moved across the country with her, so she shouldn’t really expect him to say no. Daniel tells her to embrace the new look because it’s her true self or something along those sentimental lines. He really is very supportive, but he has no clue what’s coming. Melissa then starts rambling about love, repeating word for word some of the same stuff she said before at the marina. She says “I love you” about a zillion times and Daniel automatically answers back, “I love you, too,” but I think he’s getting nervous. It’s as if she’s saying it so much that he’s expecting her to say something bad next. As in, I love you so much, BUT I’m not IN love with you. Or as in, I love you so much BUT I’m moving to Uruguay and no one named Daniel is allowed in the country.

Finally, she says, “I couldn’t wish for someone better and I wanted to know if you’ll marry me,” and she expertly slides the ring across to him. His reaction? “Omigod! Holy Jeez! Omigod!” He covers his mouth as if he’s eaten twenty jalapenos. He stares at the ring. She internally dies a thousand deaths. Then, “Sweetie, of course I’ll marry you!” Everyone cheers! Daniel and Melissa can’t keep their hands off each other. They make mad, passionate love on the table and potatoes go flying everywhere. Well, not exactly. They do keep kissing each other. Honey exclaims, “Now we get to be at their wedding!” The Gal Pals toast to Melissa and Daniel. Gush, gush, gush. How romantic.

This week’s tips:

Honey says that a change in hair color means a change in the make-up you wear. Darker hair means brighter make-up.

Damon says that neutral colors lighten up a small bathroom.

Robbie says that you shouldn’t discard old clothes if you change sizes; have them altered.

Danny says that oysters really are an aphrodisiac because they have zinc, which sperm really love. Is there an overnight oyster delivery service that will send some oysters to Danny’s sperm, from me with love?

Melissa wins one for the female team by showing guts and giving a guy ring of platinum, which is the universal symbol for everlasting love. And is really, really expensive!

— Christina M. Rau/ GatsbyGirl

Ever propose with a potato? Email me: Christina@realityshack.com

When Adam Met Dirk – American Idol 4 – 1/19/05

When Adam Met Dirk – American Idol 4 – 1/19/05

Simon, Paula and Randy (attired in his best pink loafers) arrive in St. Louis to a large enthusiastic crowd of contestants confident that this is going to be the best season for American Idol yet. Tonight’s episode gave us a few good singers and plenty of bad ones who continue to be totally oblivious to how bad they really are.

First up is the Maynard Triplets who harmonized a wonderful version of It’s Raining Men. The girls admit that Erin is the best of the three which leads to their own demise as the two are dismissed but not before Simon tells them they all look like overweight Jessica Simpson’s. After the judges decide to also pass on Erin she exits to the hallway where her sisters are in tears because Simon called them fat on TV. One of the sisters claims they are not fat. She goes on to say “Mandy weighs 160 pounds.” Bickering ensues as one hears Mandy’s voice scolding her sister for telling her weight on TV. The sister assures her, “They won’t play that on TV.”

Next up is Katrina Reese who admits to having eaten human flesh in a college class (“It tasted like bacon.”). She also shares that her family had a “panic room”. Simon impishly implies this must be where her parents hid from her. Katrina also tells the judges that her job is to talk to mental patients all day. Simon is beside himself with laughter and says things aren’t looking good so far. Katrina’s song is Whitney Houston’s “I Want To Dance”. Her performance is average and Paula thinks her voice won’t stand up to the previous talent they’ve seen. Randy says she can sing but is on the fence. Simon passes but not without one more fat joke.

After Ryan Seacrest throws the opening pitch for the Cardinals’ game, we are introduced to Osborne Smith II. Osborne is son to Cardinals’ Hall of Famer, Ozzie Smith. He says he’d like to be just as successful as his father and from the way he belted out Stevie Wonder’s “All I Do”, it’s my bet he’ll succeed. Paula said he had great tone and grabbed their attention. Welcome to Hollywood, Osborne!

Next up was Johnny Hayes who sang “My First Love”. Johnny had stated that his family adored him “since the age of three” but I think that his family was probably a bit biased because Johnny was simply awful. His nasal-ish voice prompted Randy to reassure him that there must be other things in life he could do well.

Arriving at the competition is a voice teacher and her student. Both are trying out for American Idol. The teacher, Angel Higgs, goes first with an adequate version of “Ain’t Nobody”. The judges didn’t sound very enthused but put her through to the next round. Later in the show, her student, Jeremy Wakefield, is rejected by the judges with his version of “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg”. Angel is inconsolable when she receives the news and wails that she should have never come. Jeremy takes it all in stride.

Jessica Pontius says she has the looks, confidence, kindness and voice to be the next American Idol. However, her squeaky and off-tune “Over the Rainbow” says otherwise. In the words of Simon it was “honestly excruciatingly awful”. The judges did suggest she try voice over for cartoon characters. Jessica walks out while Paula is attempting to explain the virtues of voice over work.

Joe Shane showed up with his own fan club. He sang “My Girl” and sounded much like a cruise ship entertainer. When this was pointed out to him, he didn’t take it very well and declared he only did cruise ship singing once. Joe was aggressively insistent about his talent and felt he should be given a chance since he put his “heart and soul” into this audition. He snaps at Simon and questions “What’s that look for???” Simon was clearly not pleased.

Then along comes Justin Smith who had endless smiles and energy. He was filled with infectious fun and he made me smile with his dancing. However, he couldn’t sing. He attempted “Rollin’ On a River” which made the judges moan and complain that too many of the contestants pick that song. After being treated to a montage of terrible voices singing how they left a good job in the city, I could see why the judges were moaning.

I wasn’t quite sure what to think of the next contestant, AA’Shia Jackson. AA’Shia enters the room rappin’ some fast lyrics which she later claims to be her “originality”. Immediately after she goes into a chipmunk version of “I’ll Be There”. Randy says she’s definitely unique and gives her the thumbs up. Paula also gives her the nod and says she hopes she makes it to the top 12. Simon was thinking more like me as he told her she sounded like she had inhaled helium. He said they would fight this out in private but she is going to Hollywood. AA’Shia left the room and immediately told the cameras what she thought of Simon. Every reality show does better when there’s someone you love to hate. This could be it for me.

My favorite for the evening was Carrie Underwood, a farm girl who had never flown before. Looking gorgeous in pink, she sings “I Can’t Make You Love Me” flawlessly. I’ll be cheering this one on all the way!

Then we are treated to a touching story of when Adam met Dirk. These two remind me of the guys you did NOT want to ask you to dance at the school parties. They met earlier in the week and became inseparable friends, rooting each on. Dirk is up first and admits to the judges that he’s obsessed with Baywatch. His choice of song is (surprise!) David Hasselhoff’s Current of Love. It was pretty bad. Randy said it sounded “almost as good as Hasselhoff’s version”. Dirk had a good attitude and quickly refocused his energy to support his new friend, Adam. Adam came in and did a very bad impression of Simon and then sang “This I Promise You”. It was bad too.

All in all, the St. Louis auditions netted 32 contestants who will move on to the next round. I’m kind of sad that Adam and Dirk didn’t make it. The show closes with a shot of the new best friends walking off into the distance under the St. Louis Arch with “That’s What Friends Are For” playing in the background.

I welcome your comments. Annie@realityshack.com

Interview With Candida of The Rebel Bilionaire

by atarus

Candida had her share of ups and downs on ‘The Rebel Billionaire’, but in the end she stood up for herself and showed that she is truly a strong person with a good heart. Read on to learn more about Candida!

When you were team leader, your team accused you of being bad at leading. What are your thoughts on being the team leader for that challenge?

Well, in retrospect, I was bad! There were many factors that may have contributed to this (i.e. my team didn’t listen to anything I said from the outset… it was the most difficult task, in the most extreme heat, we had no translator for the first time during a challenge, we were an hour away for the first during a challenge, I was working with a team who believed I would be going home no matter what if we lost, and 1,000 other reasons I could cite.)

The bottom line is, construction/decorating in a pinch is not my strong suit, and I also failed at picking a team that would work best and work with a sincere effort under these extreme conditions (with one exception).

Did you ever feel like you were included in the group, or did you feel like an outcast from day one? Is there anybody from the game that you are still friends with?

Sure! For the first few days after Aisha & Spence’s elimination, there were no challenges and we all were bonding a great deal. I was definitely part of the group before the first Hong Kong challenge (at least I thought the bonding was sincere, though I was warned it was not).

I am the closest with Jen, Sam, & Aisha whom I would consider friends for life. I have great love & admiration for Sara & Gabe as I watch the show. In the short time I got to know Tim, not only did I hear positive things about him, I found him to be someone I would like to know better… actually there is a special spark I see in almost everyone and I definitely wish each and every person only the best.

What was Sir Richard like in person? How much of the time you were out there was spent interacting with him?

Richard was much as you see him. The man could party all night, then get up in the early morning and repel off the side of a building. What struck me the most about him though is his philanthropic heart –part of the reason I wanted to be involved in this experience. I believe we all would like to have spent more time interacting with, and learning from him. Most of our personal time was limited to the group dinners, and an occasional airplane conversation or something along those lines. I have not yet had the opportunity to pick his brain, but it’s coming!…

How do you feel about your editing on the show?

I’m sure it’s no surprise that I wasn’t pleased with it. I am a person who is honest, maybe to a fault, and the dishonesty of much of the editing was difficult to watch. Events were changed, statements were taken out of context, and characters were created. (Interestingly people who came across as really mean didn’t seem so on camera and nicer people seemed flat, whiney or ineffective.)

I was prepared, to some extent, to become the victim of ‘reality editing”. I’m sure it happens to the best of us. What doesn’t happen often and I‘m hoping won’t happen again, is words being put in the mouth of someone in a socially and racially insensitive way. During the Dumphries Village episode, I was ‘edited’ to say critical comments about ‘being in the bush’ that I never said. I found this to go beyond the bounds of acceptable reality editing. I’m hoping that I am the last person that something like this happens to.

Tell me a little bit about the business you run/own.

I own a packaged foods company by the name of Earth Café that makes raw frozen desserts sold in health food stores. Our desserts are made 100% without the use of animal products, yet they taste like typical dairy, sugar laden desserts, without the cholesterol and refined sugar, even without wheat, harmful oils or heavy processing that goes into most desserts. The desserts are made ‘raw” because raw foods protect the vitamin, mineral & enzyme content of a food, along with its life force and ability to heal. Many people have found they lose weight, double their energy, even cure themselves of depression and diseases by consuming a diet of raw foods. We try to make it easier for them by creating something that is indulgent and fun to eat, while being very healthy for you as well. Ok, this is starting to sound like an Earth Café infomercial so, if you’d like to find out more, you can visit us at www.earthcafetogo.com , and get the whole spiel.

I started this business after a lifetime of battling various health conditions myself. I also noticed that after eliminating dairy products, I started to have less headaches and look younger. As an entrepreneur, you know there’s a business opportunity here. However, manufacturing and getting the products to market was the difficult part. We still encounter many obstacles that being on the show has helped me to learn new and exciting ways to overcome.

What did you learn from this experience to take back into the business world, and for your life in general?

Speaking of which, first of all I learned that really, nothing IS impossible. If you had asked me if I would have thought that some of the things we accomplished were realistic, I would have said never in 1,000 years. I honestly thought that Gabe and I crossing the ropes was next to impossible. I would have thought getting pulled under a riptide in level V rapids, then rowing for two more hours, hiking for two after that, with bruised ribs in 110+ degree weather would have been impossible. Some of the business feats we accomplished in the span of time we were allotted … same thing. When I came back home, I applied that same sense of ‘nothing is impossible” drive to the tasks and obstacles I’m always met with with Earth Cafe, and it really has helped me tremendously (though boy am I exhausted)!

I have also learned that I am not perfect. I have the ability to say and do things to other people that may hurt, just as they have the ability to do that to me. I haven’t enjoyed seeing myself in situations where what I’ve said may have hurt someone’s feelings. Although this is a surreal situation involving extreme circumstances that don’t happen in everyday life, I still feel that a lot can be learned about a person’s spirit. At the end of the day, someone may be able to say that I was a terrible leader, or that I had too many suitcases, but I don’t think that they would ever say that I am not a good person. It’s that side of me that I always want to shine in my business world & in my life in general. This experience taught me to never lose site of my ‘inner candle” (as Sara would say). If ever it was tested, I would say that these 8 weeks brought me to the limit, but they do say, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger – especially true of The Rebel Billionaire.

Was there any hint to the real prize while you were out competing, or were you kept in the dark the entire time?

We were kept in the dark LITERALLY the whole time. We guessed, I had my own ideas – but the prize wasn’t revealed until the moment after the winner was revealed.

Given the chance, would you do this again, or perhaps another reality show?

Hmm. I don’t know if I would do this again. Because of the people I met and had the opportunity to connect with (including people who have written me letters that have so touched and moved me) I’m glad that this experience was part of my life. Are you asking if I would do another reality show vs. this one if given the chance, or if I would do another reality show (in the future) knowing what I know now? I can say that if I were to ever do something like this again, I would play a little closer to the cuff, be a better listener, be a little more guarded, & pack more of my own food for sure! If I had the choice I would love to have participated in the first season of The Apprentice, and being on The Bachelorette wouldn’t be half bad!

One more time, thanks so much for doing this!

Thank you, it’s been a blast!!! Blessings always, Candida.

Interview With Scout Cloud Lee of Survivor: Vanuatu

by LauraBelle

Hi Scout! Thanks so much for taking our questions today, and congrats on making it to the final three!

RS: How has life post-Survivor changed for you and Annie?

Scout: Annie and I just moved from our Ranch in Stillwater, Oklahoma to our new Ranch Home in Tryon, Oklahoma. We have both been public figures, authors, trainers, and motivational speakers. Now we are getting lots of requests to speak. Since I am both a Survivor and a cancer survivor, I’m getting requests to inspire those with cancer. I’m also an emcee and host of stage shows, and am getting opportunity to work with some exciting projects. More on that later. People stop us everywhere with hugs, kinds words, and expressions of pride.

I’m getting lots of emails regarding my integrity. I have a scent that I created 20 years ago. I always wear it. It’s based in patchuli oil, musk, cedar, sage, and something secret. I decided to make it available to the public. I call it “Integrity By Scout”. We also have a book out called The Circle Is Sacred , and a new one coming out in March called Sworn to Fun: Celebrate Every Little Thing. These and my music CD’s are increasing in sales due to Survivor.

However, the main changes in my life are two-fold. First and foremost, by being honest about my relationship with Annie, I have found that people embrace and accept me for the good relationship that I maintain with everyone. I don’t flaunt my personal life, and people accept and love me just the same. The freedom from no longer living a secret is an unspeakable joy. I spoke at a Stillwater auditorium the other night and over three-hundred people packed in to hear me. They gave me a standing ovation when I walked in the room and another when I finished. Very amazing love from Oklahomans!

The second major change is that I have a peace and internal patience that I didn’t have before. As I’ve seasoned with time, I find less and less “hills to die on”. There were many, many times that I kept my mouth shut in Vanuatu. The gift of this silence continues in my life today.

RS: You kept your alliance with Twila throughout the whole show. What was it you saw in those early days that caused you to form this strong alliance with her?

Scout: From the very first night with our treacherous walk through lava forests in pouring rain, I knew Twila was a keeper. She was a very hard worker from day one. I was the major builder of our tribe. Twila was the best worker with me. We both got up early and worked non-stop from dawn to dusk and beyond. We both were willing to get up at night to keep the fire going. We both, together, chopped wood, carried water, and kept fire all day and night.

Twila was there to win the money. I was there to play the game. We fit. We had similar work ethics. We both came from hard working families. Twila didn’t take any crap off people. I didn’t either. However, I did have the composure to collect my emotions and thoughts before interacting with others. While Twila lacks that composure, she is “the real deal”. What you see is what you get. I trust that in any person. Finally, of all the players, Twila needed the money to improve her life.

RS: You also seemed to have a dislike for Eliza since the beginning. What was it about her that you didn’t like?

Scout: Let me be very clear about something. I loved Eliza. Lovin’ is easy. We humans are designed to be loving beings. However, I didn’t like Liza. She talked non-stop. She interrupted everyone’s conversation to “top their story with one of her own”. She talked like a high school Valley Girl, using the word “like” a million times. Everything is “like” something. She lacked the ability to pause in her expression. She filled every natural pause with the word “like”. She talked incessantly about herself and lacked the ability to ask others about their lives. She was very disrespectful of elders. She was simply annoying to just about everyone. However, she was a strong competitor and had an innate honesty about her that I found endearing.

RS: What was tougher on you – the challenges or living with Eliza?

Scout: The Challenges were fun for me, particularly the sling-shot, shuffleboard, history of the Ni-Vanuatu, puzzles, and the vertical maze. I also loved all the swimming. It was the balancing that was hard on me, and, of course, running. Living with Liza was sometimes very challenging. However, living 24-7 with anyone would be very challenging.

Remember, I was out there 38 days. That’s a very long camping trip to take with little to eat, wear, or drink. The hardest part for me was the hostile environment. It was sooooooooooo cold in Vanuatu. We had little clothes. Attempting to sleep in pouring rain on bamboo poles was almost impossible. Thus, sleep deprevation was difficult.
The vines were knee deep and the beaches were covered with sharp coral. Our sores got very infected. The bathing in the creek was sooooooo cold. Not being able to have toothpaste, soap and shampoo for 38 days was also challenging. This game is made for the tough.

RS: You have mentioned since the show that you found your artificial knee didn’t fit right. Is there a story behind why you needed the replacement, and is this why you didn’t fare well in some of the challenges?

Scout: Twenty years ago, I injured my knee snow skiing. The repair in those days was ineffective. The result was that my knee fell off to the side. I had a knee replacement so I could qualify for Survivor. The repair was done one year prior to Vanuatu. It should have been great for the game. It, however, was too small (unknown to me) and was very inflexible. I had it replaced after I returned from Vanuatu. It is working soooooooooo much better now. With a good knee, I could have “kicked butt and taken names”. I’ve always been a stellar athlete, even for my age. However, the very fact that I was able to compete at all, and remain in the game, let’s me know that “relationships” are more important than physical prowess.

RS: How did Chris break through that tight female alliance?

Scout: When Leanne returned from her trip to the volcano, she had “bumped” me down from the final four to the final five. Twila and I both saw the writing on the wall. Both Leanne and Ami intended to bump me and Twila as soon as all the men were gone. We, thus, needed Chris to improve our chances of making it to the final three and final two. Plus, Chris was a likable guy who helped out around camp. He was fun to be around.

RS: It was great after the last challenge when you were honest with Chris and told him after he had asked, that Twila had not tried to make a deal with you. You had to have known your honesty could cost you Final Two. Was this honesty out of loyalty to Twila and a sincere desire to see her in Final Two, or are you always that honest?

Scout: Chris had already told me that he didn’t think he could beat me in the final two. However, I had managed to play the game with a basic integrity. Why ruin it in the final throws of the game, knowing that Chris wouldn’t take me anyway? Twila had been my faithful friend in the game. She really wanted to win, and I wanted her to win. Again, I was never motivated by the money. Money isn’t worth stepping away from the core of our beings. Yes, I’m an intregris person. However, I may not always tell you my truth, because sometimes my truth is none of your business. In these cases, I can make up stories as good as the next person.

RS: What do you credit with your success of coming in Third Place?

Scout: Totally, my ability to make “good relations” with people; keep my mouth shut; allow others to take credit for things that may not have been theirs; keep track of what people said and did so I could use it to my advantage; and coach myself to hang tuff.

I have been a Florida State swimming champion, a sports coach, and a corporate coach for most of my life. I have coached many people to continue on even when their best effort seemed to always land them in last place. I had to use my best coaching skills on myself to “prop” myself up and encourage myself to give a full effort, knowing that there was not a chance of a snowball in hell that I would win.

However, I was a great asset to my tribe in all the mental and upper body challenges. We won the important stuff: fire, blankets, pillows, Dah (the native Ni-Vanautu). I didn’t mind not winning beer and pretzels or steak. I am a life coach for many successful people. One must be a very good observer and strategist. I was central to the strategy of the game, both in Yasur and Alinta. I’m very good at dropping ideas into a circle and watching people take ownership of them. This happened many times.

Finally, I was naturally good at nurturing people, building, finding food, making tooth brushes, hair pics, spoons, bowls, etc. I also cleaned up the camp and worked my butt off. Several people called me “Mama”. It’s hard to kick “Yo Mama” out of the tribe. Before the merge, I was the hardest worker and was called the Chief. After the merge, my physical limitation allowed me to be less of a threat. Overall, I think I played the game for all it was worth, given my abilities and the result took me to the final three.

Thanks again Scout – we wish you and Annie the very best!

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

Burgers Plus Brian Plus Jets Equals Romance: Queer Eye For The Straight Guy Episode 3.2

Burgers Plus Brian Plus Jets Equals Romance

The Fab Five jump into their SUV and discuss Brian, a 38 year old Jets fan who has been married twice already. Apparently his second wife calls him Satan, and Ted is intrigued because they’ve “never made over the Lord of Darkness before.” He has a new girlfriend, Rachel, who learned all about the Jets from him. They now have season tickets and go tailgating (read: get plastered all day and yell obscenities at fans of the opposing team) at every game. Their mission, they decide, is to have him propose to Rachel at the next Jets game. Thom hopes it’s not on the jumbotron. Ted suggests they make him do it from the field instead. I’m with Ted on that one.

Credits. What exactly is Carson looking up at when he comes out of the animated store with animated bags? What’s up there, Carson?

Run run run into Brian’s suburban abode. First, the guys have to jump over about 18 pairs of shoes and sneakers on the enclosed porch. Then Brian opens the door. He’s wearing a black shirt and jeans, a bit sloppy but not that bad. What’s bad is his hair. Kyan asks if he cuts his own hair. That’s a yupper.

They run into the girlfriend, Rachel, and the two daughters.

Carson asks one of the daughters, “Are you Rachel’s daughter?” She answers, “Rachel is my dad’s girlfriend.” A bit confusing. Carson catches on, “Oh, so you’re Brian’s daughter.” She nods. He continues, “So is it your mother who thinks he’s Satan, or was that the other wife?” The girl keeps her composure and answers something to the affect that a lot of people may think that but she still loves him. That’s kind of nice I suppose.

The home décor has Thom in a tizzy. All white walls. Grayish sofas. Brian and Rachel own a cool coffee table—glasstop and bean-shaped. So Thom compares the sofa cushion to the coffee table: Frightful, fabulous, frightful, fabulous. The office has no room to walk. The desks are huge and face away from each other. Carson finds out that even though there’s one phone, the home business has about ten voicemail options, which he finds hilarious. The kitchen has a floating island that doubles as a dishwasher. Interesting.

Carson makes his way into Brian’s closet, as he tends to do. He finds a plaid collection, as he usually does. What is it with straight guys and plaid? I swear, it’s all about Old Navy. That’s all that store sold for about five years straight and every guy bought one shirt in every color. All Brian’s plaids are in shades of blue and green.

In the living room, Thom breaks out Brian’s underwear and asks him if it’s part of his seduction routine. Ted covers the daughter’s eyes, as well he should because no one needs to see her daddy’s undies. Ew. Rachel then talks about tailgating and how they love to do it at every game. Yeah, it’s fun to get trashed and be gluttonous in parking lots at huge sporting events.

In the office, Carson finds some old socks. He finds the use for them—they’re good to wake you up when you’re falling asleep on the job. Heehee. Kyan then uses the multi-line phone’s intercom system to call all heteros to the office.

Rachel tells them how she met Brian on the internet. At first, she thought he was a little creepy because he told her something like as soon as he met her in person, she would never want to leave his side and he wouldn’t leave hers. Umm, I would have run away. But she stayed and good for them because they haven’t been apart since. Okay, you lucked out and didn’t find a sociopath on the internet. Aww. However, the most romantic Brian gets is giving her the first burger at the tailgate party. Nothing says romance like charred ground beef.

Back in a different room, Carson gives Brian a play-by-play about how to go about proposing at the game. He tells him to put on the jumbotron, “Will you marry me, Raquel?” In this case, if Rachel says no, Brian can just say it wasn’t for her, it was for some girl named Raquel. Smart.

In the living room, Thom is still fretting over the horror! the horror! Now, it’s the plaid recliner that is pretty heinous. He sits in it and tries to break it.

Back in the other room, Carson and Ted go through Brian’s underwear. Why would they touch another man’s undies? That’s gross. Brian apparently color-codes his underpants. Red ones are for Mondays, and so on. Basically, Ted finds out that he’s holding Brian’s dirty underwear. See? Told ya. Then Carson asks Brian what he’s planning on wearing to the game/proposal that night. Brian holds out a Jets jersey. Carson says, “That’s not even your name on it.” It says Martin, obviously a Jets’ player. But that’s funny. Carson explains that, although it’s a game, he’s still proposing and can’t wear only a jersey. Brian nods, chuckles, and agrees.

Meanwhile, Rachel shows the guys what they eat off of while tailgating. These old, metal things come out from nowhere and are kind of gross. Thom tells everyone to “gather round for botulism.” Hysterical! Ted ponders the menu for tailgating, seeing as how he usually caters indoor gatherings and makes sauces.

Kyan goes through Brian’s bathroom products. A rule of thumb? Avoid all products that smell like bubble-gum. What about the body spray I use that smells like bubble-gum on purpose? Oh, that’s right. That’s supposed to be for twelve year olds. Moving on. Kyan notes that Brian likes environment friendly products. He needs to combine good for the environment with doesn’t smell like gum.

Elsewhere, Ted and Carson find a bright red wall that’s hollow and apparently fake. Carson strokes the wall and laments, “If these walls could cry.” Now that’s really funny to me at least because I have an inside joke with two of my friends about the HBO special, “If These Walls Could Talk 2.” And yes, I’m well aware that Carson doesn’t know about my joke, but in my world, he said that just for me.

Brian tells Carson that Rachel is his soul mate. Aww. So Brian really is romantic. He is a nice guy. It’s just that haircut that throws you.

Rachel tells Kyan that Brian always says to her, “I want to be your guy.” That’s one of the sweetest things a guy could say to a gal. It’s as if he’s giving himself over to her. Romance! There it is! Complete with the first burger in the parking lot.

Elsewhere, Thom is wearing a giant green fist. Must be a Jets thing. As is everything else in the house. Fanatical, Brian is.

Rachel and the girls leave. Brian tells Jai that he and Rachel were meant for each other. Sure they are. They haven’t left each other’s side since Brian said that really cyber stalkerish thing to her way back when. The boys get ready to make Brian over.

Brian’s friends think Brian is fashionless.

Rachel says Brian has pit stains.

In the SUV, Brian talks to Jai and Ted about getting married again. They ask if he really wants to do it again because of his two divorces. I guess that is a lot. Especially, since his ex calls him Satan. How can she say that about him? I mean, did she not get the first burger? Seriously, though, this guy is not Satan and the divorce was not completely his fault. Brian says that he’s positive he wants to marry Rachel, even with two divorces under his belt.

Ted and Brian get out at the barbeque superstore. Wow. The closest thing I have to a barbeque is my George Foreman grill. This store is a world of wonder! Lots of stainless steel and grills. For some reason, Jets legend Marty Lyons is there. Apparently, retired NFL players either become color commentators for FOX or they sell shiny barbeque equipment. Marty the football star says that every tailgating party needs a table, an umbrella, a football (actually, Ted adds that), and a gas grill. The guy who works at the store, who is also named Brian, comes over to show Straight Guy Brian different tables. So, just to make it clear, Marty Lyons doesn’t work at the store; he just hangs out there and tells people, “Hey, that’s a nice grill.” Store Brian sets up a bar table that has game boards on its surface in case they break out into a random game of chess before the football game. The best part about it? It comes in Jet Green. “The way I BLEED!” Brian screams out. Scary. Very. Scary.

The four men agree that charcoal barbeques are great. However, a gas grill will cook food faster and it’s more convenient. Marty the football hero points out that you want to have your food by game time. Ted throws some steaks on the grill. He tells Brian that he can’t have any because he’s a scary yet nice man. No, really he just sends him off to shop with Thom.

Thom and Brian arrive at Ethan Allen, which will be the only store name I can spell and that I’ve heard of in this episode. Thom says that it’s a great store because it has all your furniture needs and hot salespeople. However, once they’re inside, I don’t see any salespeople. The two men sit at a small table and Thom sketches out the living room, pointing to dead space and where furniture should go and how to separate the space to make the most out of it. Brian nods and says “right” and “uh-huh.” He has no clue. He’s just smiling and nodding. He says that Thom’s doing “fong shwa” and Thom says, “Yes, fung shui.” Heehee. That’s how I correct all my students—“it ain’t cold out” “That’s right, it isn’t.” Obligatory sofa sitting. Thom chooses a brown rattan-like chair with navy cushions. Brian says that this is the most fun he’s ever had. Do I detect a hint of sarcasm? But Brian is a good sport and seems to be having at least some fun. Thom suggests he also look into some smaller desks for their completely dysfunctional office.

Next, Carson takes Brian to an Italian clothes store that Brian can’t pronounce and neither can I, so it has nothing to do with him being a clueless straight guy and everything to do with Carson studying fashion for years and years and being accustomed to Italian brand names that no one else knows. And I’m Italian and I still have no clue what he said. So this store has dressy sportswear that Brian will fit into and feel comfortable wearing. Carson explains that you need only four pairs of shoes: a dressy black or brown pair; a casual shoe; a sophisticated sneaker; and your everyday run-of-the-mill sneaker. Then Carson asks Brian to beat him because he can’t believe he said you need only four pairs of shoes. I need at least four pairs of dress boots. Then there’s snow boots. And then some sneakers, a dark pair and a light pair. Then some hooker up to the knee boots. And a pair of silver strappy sandals. Beach sandals. Flippies. Slides. Mules. Loafers. Maybe he meant that men need only four pairs. And I might add, I’m happy he said pairs and not four pair without the “s” because that’s just not right and so very irksome. Thank you, Carson.

Carson dresses Brian in an off-white button down with skinny navy blue plaid but the good kind of plaid. He puts a blue zip jacket on followed by a tan jacket. Layers are the key here as he’s going to be outdoors at the game. For a dressier wedding look, they look at a navy suit and a gray suit. Here’s a tip: the gray is more useable than the blue in the winter. Who knew? Brian feels like Deon Sanders. I think his nickname was Neon Deon, which is just plain stupid because Neon has nothing to do with athleticism. Then again, neither does a refrigerator and still that guy on the Bears had that as his nickname. I guess I just don’t understand these sport things sometimes.

Moving on to Jai in the flower shop with the florist, Luis, who has tattoos on his forearms and I get the sneaking suspicion that arranging flowers was not Luis’ first calling in life. In any case, Jai reveals some flowers that he picked from Brian’s yard. Luis pairs them with some flowers from the shop. He mocks Brian’s semi-wilted flowers and Jai says they’re lesser but they’re from Jersey so that’s okay. There’s a hidden insult in there somewhere. Luis tells Brian that he should wrap the flowers in tissue paper but the paper looks like brown packing paper or butcher paper. But I’m not about to fight with Luis the “florist.” Wink wink.

Off to Kyan. Santa Maria Novella? The original pharmacy by this name (or close to this name) is in Italy, and it’s the oldest working pharmacy in the world. Kyan smells Brian’s neck. Oh, it’s a fragrance store. Now that makes sense. John the Fragrance Seller, who looks like he could be an undertaker, brings them over to a bunch of testers. Brian notices a bowl of coffee beans, and Kyan explains that the aroma of coffee cleanses the olfactory nerves between cologne samples. Hey, remember that Hulk Hogan commercial for that deodorant where he says olfactory? I loved that commercial. Anyway, Brian reveals that he loves the smell of wood. Oh, yeah, hardwood floors. Someone hold me back. John the Fragrance Seller has him try sandalwood and Kyan nixes it right away. Then they try pomegranate which Kyan says smells like someone’s Aunt Suzy. Ha. Finally, they come to Amber Lavender, which both Kyan and Brian say sounds like a stripper. Yeah, a stripper who falls into porn and cocaine and shoots off her own toe and then finds Jesus. They love the smell and decide it’s the perfect wood scent.

Rachel says their home is all white and hospital-like.

Brian’s friend says his home is made of the stuff other people get rid of.

Back in the SUV, Jai gushes over Brian’s new haircut. He runs his fingers through Brian’s hair. Wouldn’t it be funny if he kicked Kyan out of the SUV and ran off with Brian? Maybe that’s just me. They return to the proposal conversation. The guys ask him if Rachel will say no. Brian says there’s no chance of her saying no. If there were a chance, I don’t think he’d be proposing at a Jets game. Plus, when a guy proposes, does he ever think there’s a chance that she’ll turn him down? That’s something I would be sure about before I did it.

They arrive at Casa de Brian and go inside. AWESOME! I love this house and want to move in, even if they are Jets fans. The gray couch and white walls are gone. The walls are now brown and red with some black trim. Large orange-red couches fill the space. Thom has used the “fabulous” glasstop coffee table, the only remnant of the old room. And, every man’s dream, a flatscreen TV has found its way into the living room. Plus, a huge-ass clock is in the center of the huge room, which separates the space into a definite living room and a definite dining room. The dining room is pretty, too.

Up into the bedroom where, as they say on MTV Cribs, the magic happens. In this case, it’s Jets magic. Jets paraphernalia abound! Not my idea of a romantic bedroom but he seems to like it. I get the feeling that Rachel will like it, too. If she agrees that the Jets bedroom is romantic, then the woman has no right to complain about the hamburger thing. She’s urging him in this direction.

Down to the office. There are smaller desks that are organized. Beige walls. Some plants. You can actually walk around. Wow, a functional space! Imagine being functional in an office. Jai brings in some flowers, picture frames, vases, photos, and jellybeans. Either he has an arts and crafts project or he’s trying to woo Brian because of the great new haircut. Jai tells Brian that he needs to frame some pictures, give his wife some beans, and make a nice vase of flowers for the desk. Then he needs to make another bouquet for after the proposal and hide it in a bin for the tailgating party. Jai hands him some sunflowers to start and Brian smiles wide. “These are her favorite!” Aww. Again, I’m pleasantly in awe of Brian’s subtle romantic side. He’s so sweet! I love sunflowers, too. But usually I get a single 50 cent rose from the local 7-11.

Then Jai tells Brian that he’s talked to someone at the Jets and they’re going to call Rachel down on the field for the Half-Time Field Goal Kick-Off Extravaganza. Then Brian should present the ring during the kick. Jai starts to actually tell Brian what to say. Wait a minute. This is Brian’s proposal. Jai is clearly overstepping his bounds—maybe he’s actually trying to propose to Brian here. See what a great haircut can do?

Brian cuts off Jai mid-sentence and says some stuff about love and fun and being happy happy happy. It’s all very sweet and Brian gets higher and higher on the romance list. Aww. (Have I said Aww enough yet?)

Carson calls the guys into the bedroom and has Brian model the clothes they picked out at the store with the difficult Italian name. He instructs Brian to take his clothes off and pretend he’s in the locker room. Hee. He models khakis, brown shoes, a brown jacket with a light blue shirt underneath. The blue shirt matches his eyes perfectly. At least, that’s what Carson says, and I’m trusting him because I have a ten inch screen across a rather large living room and I’m lucky I can make out their heads without using binoculars let alone the guy’s eye color. Then Carson shakes his head at people who paint their bodies in the colors of the team, and Brian mumbles something about having to support the team. He could be doing a Puddy impression from the Seinfeld episode when Puddy goes to the NJ Devils game and paints himself red and black. But I could just have Seinfeld imbedded in my head and Brian just sounds like him. In any case, Brian supports body paint and Carson doesn’t. Instead, Carson breaks out a pair of khakis that has Jets patches all over it. Brian loves them. I don’t. As much as I don’t approve of face painting, I’d go with the green body over these dorky pants. Then he gives Brian a green t-shirt that says Marry Me on it. Oh, God, how cheesy! But I guess the whole proposing in the middle of a football field is a bit cheesy to begin with. Or maybe hokey is a better term. I’m not completely sure of the subtle differences between hokey or cheesy, so make your own choice here. Carson instructs Brian to wear the shirt under his zipped-up jacket.

Brian says he loves the guys for thinking outside of the box and admits he’d never think of any of this on his own. Obviously, or else you wouldn’t be on the show, buddy.

Kyan takes Brian into the bathroom one more time to show him some new products that don’t smell like bubble-gum. Recycled toilet paper, a flow-reduction showerhead, a line of body stuff from Jason. He then gives him a choice of two flavors of body wash. Flavors? He gonna eat it? Then again, some guy from last season tasted the shaving cream for no reason, so I guess now Kyan encourages tasting the products. Or he means SCENTS instead of flavors. More organic, fragrance-less products. Then a lesson on cologne: spray it on your chest after you shower and your body heat will make it emanate from you later on. Groovy.

Back in the kitchen, Ted makes orange-squash-onion-bacon-butter-thyme things that he wraps in aluminum foil. I have no idea of what they are because this is the show where they say things that I can’t spell. And I have no idea how you eat these things because it’s just a bunch of food thrown together. Very messy and doesn’t seem to be a very good thing to eat when there’s no big picnic table to sit at. Then for the entrée, Ted wants to grill buffalo steaks because the Jets are playing (dramatic pause) the Buffalo Bills. This, too, is messy, but more tailgate-ish. Finally, Ted provides him with Busch. Beer.

The guys recap all their instructions as they normally do. Ted warns Brian not to drink too much before or at the tailgating party because he has a lot to do. The boys make a huddle and break, leaving Brian alone. With six beers all to himself.

Hip Tip: Jai says don’t use cute nicknames in your work email. Does that apply to Neon Deon and The Refrigerator Perry too?

Brian’s daughter says he’s such a great guy.

Rachel says that Brian is giving her the longest first date. Aww.

The Fab Five gathers round the critic couch to watch Brian in action. Brian first makes a photo collage and a flower arrangement for Rachel’s workspace. That’s very nice. Then he makes the post-proposal bouquet, wraps it in the butcher/tissue paper, and hides it in a tailgating bin. He’s following directions to a tee.

In the kitchen, Brian falters a bit, dropping stuff from the oven onto the floor. I think it’s the botulism trays, so no big loss there. The guys all yell, “RELAX” in unison at the screen. As if he hears them, Brian does just that. He again follows directions to a tee, and Ted calls him confident.

Brian makes his way into the bathroom for some grooming. At first, they approve of his shaving technique. He shaves very slowly unlike some other straight men of seasons past. But then he starts shaving completely against the grain. Ouch. Kyan cringes. Carson notes that Brian’s using Crest White Strips. Obvious product placement. I mean, Crest White Strips don’t make your teeth so much whiter on the first usage, so why is he adding an extra step to getting ready when it won’t make much of a difference for the proposal? BTW—the white strips work miracles! I had stains from my braces on my teeth from when I was 13 and after using the strips? No more stains! Fabulous. But that was after two weeks, not one usage. Brian moves on to fixing his hair (Jai swoons on the inside) and then sprays himself with Stripper Scent, more commonly known as Amber Lavender for those not in the porn industry. He sprays it at himself as if he’s spraying poison. His face is all fear, as if he’s scared he’s spraying it wrong or he might inhale some or something.

He gets dressed in the Cheesiest Outfit Known To Man. Or is it hokiest? Can’t decide. Rachel and the girls arrive at the house. She immediately grabs HIM and says how she loves HOW HE LOOKS! Now that’s how you know she’s going to say yes. Instead of gushing over the house as a lot of the other ladies do, she’s impressed with him. Ted notes that as well. It’s so nice to see that she’s happy to see him and she likes his new look (it’s all about the hair.) Then she tries to take his jacket off of him because it’s semi-warm outside. All the guys cry out, “NO!!!” because the Marry Me Tee is merely one thin layer away. To divert her attention from his jacket, Brian begs, “Smell! Smell!” and shoves his chest in her face. Heeheehee!!!! That is Hil. Air. E. Us.

Then he drags the three females into the living room where they all ooh and ahh. Brian calls the TV their new baby. They all laugh. Ted says that they have so much family energy. Thom says that this is the best tour any straight guy has given to his loved ones. That’s very true. Brian’s doing a good job. Rachel laughs and falls speechless when she sees the office. She blurts out, “Be still my heart,” and walks through. The daughters joke that now they can actually work in the workplace.

They make their way upstairs chanting “Jets! Jets! Jets!” for no reason other than he loves the Jets. Come to the bedroom that’s decked out in all Jets Jets Jets stuff. Next, Brian shows Rachel all his new Jason Line Products. He’s a pro at this. Rachel loves it and is so proud of him. Aww. He calls the family into a huddle and they yell, “Go Jets!” Then it’s off to tailgate.

In the stadium parking lot, a lot of people are already set up. Ted makes fun of all the other lame tailgaters’ set ups. Brian and Rachel jump out of their car and now Brian is wearing the scary green Hulk Jets hands. Thom and Carson reminisce about how they tailgated at Fashion Week. Heehee.

Cut to the daughters decorating one of those football carts that carries things around the stadium. I think it’s also used to take injured players off of the field. Now that spells romance. They attach streamers and beer cans to the back of the cart. It’s for after the proposal, Carson explains.

Back in the parking lot, Brian gives Rachel the first burger. Keep the romance alive! She jokes that it’s a little gamey, but then says it’s perfect. Then there’s a lot of “J! E! T! S! Jets! Jets! Jets!” going on. Cut to Brian and Rachel entering the stadium. Jai comments that he got them really good seats. Hell, yeah. They’re about three rows from field. On the sidelines, there’s a guy waving a Jets flag and the guys gush over the Flag Dancer and love how the Jets have a color guard. Ha.

The Jets Rep that Jai talked to earlier comes down and tells Rachel that they’ve been randomly chosen to do the Half-Time Field Goal Kick-Off Extravaganza. Rachel’s first reaction is to cover her face with her hand and exclaim, “Oh, no!” That’s never a good sign. Brian may have been convinced that she’d say yes to the proposal, but did he ever think this part through? The part where she needs to agree to go out onto the field and kick a football, something she’s never really done before, especially not in front of a bunch of football fans? And how many is a bunch? Thom says 80, 000. Thanks, Thom. She doesn’t want to. She doesn’t want to. Brian’s nerves kick in and he coaxes her gently at first by saying he’ll hold the ball for her. The Jets Rep says, “Great idea.” Rachel still says no. So Brian does what any guy would do. He starts berating her like a four year old, saying, “Oh come on it’ll be fun do it do it I’ll do it with you come on come on.” The guys think he’s blowing it by doing this. Finally, she gives in, I think partially so Brian will shut up.

Cut to Brian and Rachel in the tunnel before the field. Carson calls Rachel oblivious as she practices some kicking motions. I’m impressed she’s actually doing this. Then, they go out on the field. Brian kneels on one knee and holds the ball. Rachel backs up in her cute Jets jersey, jumps up and down for a moment, and then has at it. She runs to the ball but then Brian pulls it away a la the Peanuts comic strip with Charlie Brown and Lucy playing football. He quickly grabs into his pocket for the ring box but Rachel, still oblivious, turns away and runs back to her original position to do it again. If she had waited just a second longer, she would have seen Brian taking out a ring box. But she is too preoccupied with the kick. So Brian has to call out, “Wait! Come back! Come here!” which she doesn’t hear at first because they’re in the middle of a football stadium with 80,000 plus people making lots of noise. Finally, she turns around, sees the box, then turns away, then turns back. He then opens his jacket to reveal, MARRY ME. She beats him on the arm with the stupid giant Jets hands. Then they get a microphone shoved between them as he slides the ring onto her finger. He says, “So you’ll marry me?” and she says, “Yeah.” Yeah? That’s a hearty answer.

The announcer tells the stadium to congratulate Brian and Rachel on their engagement. And the crowd goes wild! The daughters come out onto the field to bring her Brian’s arrangement of flowers. Then they all ride off in the medical mobile.

The Fab Five comment that he did everything right. If they needed a sixth guy, it would be Brian. But they don’t even need five, so why another one? Oh, because Brian has a new haircut and Jai wants to marry him. They toast and yell, of course, Jets! Jets! Jets!

This week’s tips:

Jai says that real fans go to every game because they join fan clubs and get pre-sale tickets.

Thom says that you can fill nail holes in the wall with soap.

Kyan says eat six meals a day to lose weight. Umm, wasn’t that last week’s Hip Tip?

Carson says you can antique a belt buckled by bleaching it.

Ted says to season your grill with veggie oil and your steaks won’t stick. And no one likes a sticky steak.

There you have it. Another sweet straight guy off the market and some free promotion for the Jets franchise.

–Christina M. Rau/GatsbyGirl

Questions? Comments? Know the difference between cheesy and hokey? Email me: christina@realityshack.com

Interview With Lisa Keiffer of Survivor: Vanuatu


by Grant

Hi Lisa! Thanks for taking all of our questions! You were fun to watch on the show and you got a raw deal at the end. Congratulations on all you were able to accomplish!

You seemed to have little to no problem adjusting to the elements. You were always one of the stronger competitors in all of the challenges. Was there any challenge that was tough for you?

As far as the elements, the only thing that bothered me was the weather. It always seemed cold especially at night. Being from the south I wasn’t use to that. However, I don’t think anything else really got to me, even the lack of food. I really felt prepared for all the challenges. I do believe I was one of the strongest, if not the strongest as far as the woman go when it came to competing.

The only challenge I had trouble with was the diving challenge, and that was because I had lost so much weight in my face that the mask didn’t fit. Consequently I couldn’t see a thing. I had to pass and give it to the next person.

Watching the show at home, were there any challenges later on down the line that you are thankful you weren’t around to participate in? Anything you wish you HAD been able to participate in?

There was not one challenge that I was glad I didn’t participate in. In fact, when I watched the show from home I was frustrated that I was not able to participate in all the other challenges. I would have especially loved the challenge where they flipped Eliza and Julie around all the obstacles. Also, I would have loved to participate in the vertical maze towards the end.

Your elimination seemed quick and unfair and it seems that the main force behind it was Ami. Have you two talked about it after the show and made peace or are you not on speaking terms?

You’re right about my elimination. I did feel like it was quick, unfair and unreasonable, and the force behind it was definitely Ami. However, I do realize it was a game and I’m sure that she knew I was a threat.

We did not actually talk about it at the finale (that was the first time I had seen her since being on the island), but I sensed she felt a little guilty about it. I also got that impression from Leann who was also partly responsible for my elimination. I do know this, and I think Ami knew it as well. Had I gone to the merge, I would have kicked her butt!!!

What was the toughest part of the game for you? Did anything surprise you about the way things happened or did you have a fairly good idea about the way other people were going to play the game and how tough the elements were, etc.?

The toughest part of the game for me was getting voted out when I knew there was no reason, especially when I was playing a very good game. The biggest surprise to me was how quickly the game changes. I thought I knew that going in, but sitting on the couch watching it is a lot different from actually being in the game. The elements just didn’t bother me a bit. In fact, on the 15th day when I was voted out I knew that physically I could have gone all the way.

You had applied for several different seasons of Survivor. What do you think they saw in you this time that they didn’t see in you the previous times? Is there any key to success that you can share with us about getting on the show?

I had previously applied for Survivor 3, 5 and 7 making it to the semi-finals for Survivor 3 and 5. Deep down I knew that if I would make it to the final round in LA, then the producers would see my passion for the game and that I would be a great representative of a mom (having 6 kids).

When I applied for Survivor 9 I had made it to the semi-finals again, but was rejected for the final round in LA. As luck would have it, about a month later I got a call about applying for “The Amazing Race”. I submitted a video and when they called me back to tell me they received it, I was actually in LA visiting my son (who is an actor). When the casting agents found this out they asked me to come in for a “quick interview”. Little did I know it was an interview for Survivor (the final round was going on). That quick interview led to me staying in LA an additional week for the rest of the round and then making it on the show!

I really believe that not only was I right about them meeting me face to face, but I know they liked my persistence and passion for the show. The don’t want quitters, they want winners!!!!

Did anything surprise you about the way you were portrayed on the show? Were you pleased or upset by your depiction? Do you think anybody else was portrayed a lot differently than they were in real life?

I have to say that I think everyone was portrayed exactly like they were (even Ami!). You have to remember that in normal conditions we probably all act a little differently, however, we’re not much different than what you saw. For me, the only thing I was shocked about was the focus on my body. Although I was flattered, I was also a little embarrassed.

You and Eliza seemed to have quite a feud going on for a while. Have you two made up or is there no love lost between you?

I totally love Eliza. There was really only one argument that we had and it was because she was mad because I voted out Mia. I didn’t want to argue with her, but she was kind of “in your face”. I couldn’t believe how hypocritical she was being considering she had just done the same thing by voting out Dolly, and I guess that hypocrisy just pushed my button. Anyway, later that night we talked about it and from that moment on we were ok (or so I thought). That is until Ami got to her and talked her into voting me off. Ha.

What was the most exciting part of the whole adventure? What was your favorite part? What was your least favorite part?

I’ll never forget the day the game started and we were in that big beautiful boat. I looked out over the ocean and saw all those Vanuatu natives coming at us and I thought “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe my dream has come true and I’m actually on Survivor!!!”. I’ll never forget that as long as I live. I felt so blessed.

Another great moment was the very first challenge when I heard Jeff say “Survivors ready, go”. It all felt so surreal to me.

My least favorite part of the game was night time. We would get in the bamboo hut as soon as the sun went down (which was probably somewhere around 6:00 pm) because it was so cold and we were so tired. The sun wouldn’t rise till around 6:00am (or so) and that made for a very long uncomfortable night on bamboo.

Looking back, is there anything you would’ve done differently? Is there anything you would change or are you happy with the way things turned out?

There isn’t a day that goes by since I’ve been out of the game that I don’t wish I would have picked the Lopevi tribe instead of the Yasur tribe at the split. I thought the women were all sticking together and so I had the numbers on my side by going back to the Yasur tribe. Little did I know I couldn’t depend on the women. Also, one of the reasons I voted Mia out was because I didn’t want there to be a tie. Looking back, I wish I would have taken my chances on the tie and not have voted her out. She was a great player and I probably would have had her loyalty.

The reason you were voted out seemed to be because of a slip of the tongue. You said in interviews after the show that you have a nasty habit of not completing your sentences. Was that the only reason you feel you were voted out, because of what you said to Ami, or do you think there were other factors playing into it?

I was sincere when I said I wanted to go with Ami to get the food “just in case” (someone else had to go food hunting while others got wood and water). I just didn’t finish my sentence and Ami basically finished it for me. Looking back I know she just used that to get me out because I was a threat. Ami saw that I got along with the others (even the guys) and also that I was physically strong. No way did she want to go to the merge with me much less end up in the final two with me. She was a very smart player in that she had the opportunity to get me out and use Eliza the rest of the way.

What was the reasoning in keeping Scout around? It was shown that she did a lot around camp, but she had the worst challenge performance of any Survivor in the history of the game. The moment Eliza brought up writing her name down you seemed to shoot it down. Was there a relationship there that wasn’t shown?

Scout was incredible. She really did seem to know everything there was about building shelter, finding food and keeping peace in the camp. I had a whole lot of respect for her.

It’s obvious that the game of Survivor is not all about the physical challenges. Look at Chris. He lost the first immunity challenge for Lopevi and ended up winning the million dollars. And really, Eliza wasn’t that great at challenges either. It just looked like she was towards the end because most of the strong players were out. Remember, Survivor is outWIT, outPLAY, outLAST. A combination of the three is the key.

Is there anything you’d like to say to your fans out there reading this?

Survivor is no doubt the best reality game of all time. I will never forget my experience and how truly grateful I am for being able to participate in the show. My advise to anyone trying to get on Survivor is to NOT give up. I also want to thank all those pulling for me. Although I didn’t win the million, I did get my dream. God truly gave me the desire of my heart. Thanks to everyone.

Thanks very much Lisa! We wish you the best of luck in whatever you decide to do next.


You Sing Terribly, But Spank Well – American Idol, 01-18-05

by LauraBelle

American Idol Four, 2005, is officially on its way. Some changes have been made to the semi-finals to even out the ratio between the sexes, and the age limit has been extended to twenty-eight to give some more seasoned performers a chance. The celebrity judges have been voted out of the live shows and are now along for the ride in the audition cities. We have also been promised, as with every other season, that this is the best year so far with the talent. I hope it lives up to its promises.

The opening audition city this year is Washington, D.C. Fittingly, the first song for the year is the National Anthem, being sung by Leandra Jackson. The blank stare on Simon’s face when she is done says it all. Absolutely no way.

Sitting alongside judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson today is Mark McGrath, lead singer of Sugar Ray, and responsible for hit songs such as Someday and Every Morning. We hope he will be an honest judge, and not one of the worthless ones, just adding some face time to their resume.

After opening with Leandra, tonight needs some good talent quickly. We find it in Sean McNeill, a married youth director with a baby on the way. He sings a very inspired Isn’t She Lovely by Stevie Wonder. Randy believes he has a good voice, Paula a warm tone, and Simon points out that while his voice isn’t amazing, people like him. Mark agrees, and adds that his mom would love Sean. Sean is on his way to either Hollywood or Mrs. McGrath’s house.

Twenty-year-old Jessie Grazella is up next. Simon and Paula renew their four year long argument on whether the contestants are really rooting for each other or not. Jessie backs Paula up, and says they really are. Jessie just can’t get past the words “Raise Me Up” in the song. In a very odd twist, Simon allows him to go out and ask the people outside if they know. Receiving the next line, he comes back and gets stuck again. Jessie cries, then quietly walks away. If you are that nervous in the audition, you will have a hard time on the show. Camille Velasco last season proved this.

Music teacher, Anwar Robinson is up next, singing … what else? More Stevie Wonder. The producers really need to find a way to finagle a spot as guest judge for him. Anwar makes his way through You Are The Sunshine Of My Life, and Randy notes it was great he didn’t do runs, just sang the melody. Mark proves he can provide humor and says the dreadlocked Anwar looks like both Milli and Vanilli, and adds he thinks he is a star. Simon and Paula make it unanimous; he’s moving on to Hollywood.

Wearing a short, tight black dress with lots of silver dangling from her, Melissa Considine believes she looks very classy. Simon asks why it looks like she was dragged through the bushes. Melissa says the store at the mall kept it open for her the previous night, but didn’t know how to turn the lights on, so she shopped in the dark. Melissa makes it through her song very nasally, and when it isn’t well-received, tries America the Beautiful, still without success. Simon tells her she dresses better than she sings, and as she walks out, she says she’s crying because not one of the judges said she was good. I found myself feeling sorry for her, for going through all that and not making it.

Derek Braxton is up next. He is asked if he is related to Toni Braxton, and he says yes. Listening to him, it’s hard to believe the same blood line could have created both voices. Randy does his patented move of laughter behind the paper, then tells him to check his hearing. Mark laughs and says it sounded like a different language. Toni Braxton’s sister, Towanda, was on Starting Over the past few months pursuing a solo career, and often talked of how rigidly success was demanded of them. Derek being part of the clan is very hard to fathom.

Seeming to fit that mold more is Regina Brooks. She had no money and had to choose between pawning her karaoke machine, CDs and wedding rings to go to D.C. for the auditions. She chose the rings. After she is done singing Misty, Mark said he was torn. He loved her voice, but wasn’t sure she was American Idol fabric. Paula and Randy like her, and Simon asks if he can speak to her husband, who walks in carrying their four-year-old daughter. Asked how he would feel if she made it, he says he wishes her the best, and he’ll be waiting for her in the end. She makes it through, and says it’s confirmation of her hard work.

Another mother, yet single, Marlea Stroman, sings All At Once. They love her, and send her through, telling her to add some life into her performance. Sarah Mathers (… as the Beaver), makes it as well, singing Rescue Me. All four judges like her voice, but add they thought her dance moves were a little awkward.

Aven Moore enters, singing Tomorrow, ending with what the show was calling the longest note of the season, and which my son clocked at one whole minute. After Simon tells him it was bizarrely dreadful, he asks if that means yes or no. He then asks if they would like to hear another song, and Simon tells him no, because he is too tired. You’re not alone, Simon.

The lead singer of a garage band, Constantin Maroulis, has snuck out of his band’s practice to get to the audition. He sings Cryin’ by Aerosmith, and as a rocker at heart, even though he wasn’t the best, I find myself rooting for him. Mark tells him it was rockin’; Paula felt he was unique, and Randy thought the verse was all over, but he pulled it together with the chorus. Simon would have said no, but lets him through three to one. Ryan goes to Constantin’s band practice and tells them he made it on American Idol. The drummer says he doesn’t like American Idol, but is happy for Constantin.

Amanda Hubert thinks God sent her there to sing. Mark tells her she is extremely hot, but no one likes her talent … singing talent. She even tries begging on her knees, probably leading to an other talent. Jillian Bennett is also denied, because they thought she was real showy. She walks away, vowing to “make a CD, damnit!”

Brian Bagley, a dancer/janitor tells Paula she inspired him with her dancing. Everyone agrees that his dancing is better than his singing. Janitorial services must not be paying what is used to, as right after, he is begging on on the corner. Travis Tucker proves you can dance and sing, doing the night’s second rendition of Isn’t She Lovely. Everyone likes him, and Simon adds his look is very commercial. He is through, and not begging on the corner.

Mary is singing Hanky Panky, spanking herself at the appropriate moments in the song. Simon says she “sings terribly, but spanks well.” Paula tells her it’s the wrong audition. What would be the right one, for Hugh Hefner? I was shocked … shocked, that Ian Holmes II made it through with a weak rendition of I’ll Be, as I always like all the choices. Apparently, normally I have loose standards, or something.

Showcased next is two sentimental favorites that don’t make it. Jason Smith wearing a hat that says, “5.9% alcohol” sings Papa Was A Rolling Stone in five different voices. He explains the hat slogan is because he is a recovering alcoholic, and has found God. Paula tells him she had a blast watching him, and says she’s proud of him for making the changes in his life. Boxer Franchon Crews also doesn’t make the cut, but they tell her at seventeen, she just needs some tweaking, and has plenty of time.

The mayor of Hackensack’s son, John Zisa, sings Baby Come To Me. Although not blown away, they do like him, and send him on to Hollywood. Mary Roach is a different … something. I’m not sure. If she doesn’t make it, she says she’s going to cosmetology school. She sings I Feel The Earth Move, and Simon tells her it’s the worst he’s ever heard. She tells him she thinks he’s saying that to annoy her. She asks if they’d like her to sing in one of her other voices. Asked if the other voices are speaking to her now, she says yes; they’re saying Mark is a hottie. She leaves and has a conversation with herself in all her different voices.

I feel the show has held to its promises so far. I felt there was more talent as a whole from last season, but no one has really blown me away yet. Luckily, we have many more cities and auditions to go through still. I’m pretty sure we won’t top Mary Roach though.

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

Jonathon, Help Her! – Amazing Race 6, Episode 10

by LauraBelle

As has been the case all season, there was a plethora of sound bytes to use for tonight’s title of the recap. But I had to go with a Jonathon one. The best quotes are usually about him, to him, or by him. He is definitely an odd bird, and hard to figure out.

Rebecca and Adam are the first to leave the island of Corsica at 12:12 AM, and are to take a ferry to the City Garden in Nice, France to find a bust of a famous World War I hero. Rebecca figures there will not be any ferries at this time of night, or early morning, and suggests they head to a hotel. She also states that her relationship with Adam is in the air; sometimes it’s good; sometimes not. She isn’t sure where they will stand when the race is over.

Freddy and Kendra are the next to leave, and checking the availability of ferries, find they won’t leave until 11:30 AM, so they too head for a hotel. Lori and Bolo leave next, and he is upset that he doesn’t get to eat the way he should, noting he has lost a lot of weight so far during the race. Looking at him in the face tonight, you can easily see it. Kris and Jon, Jonathon and Victoria and Hayden and Aaron leave shortly after, and all end up at a hotel for the night.

The next morning finds Hayden and Aaron up early begging for money, since they were not eliminated, despite coming in last place last week, but had to give up all their money and not receive any more for this entire leg of the race. They receive just enough to catch the ferry. Jonathon and Victoria are leaving today with a new resolve. The want to get their communication skills (what communication skills?) back on track, and Victoria will control the ground, and Jonathon the air. Sounds like a plan.

Once at the bust in the City Garden, the teams receive a clue saying they now need to fly to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, and then take a small charter to a very small town. On the way to the airport, Rebecca begins thinking of how it will be hard, hot and impoverished there. Adam points out maybe they should just get there first, before making assumptions. Good thinking, Adam. Kendra, of course, is thinking along the same lines as Rebecca, saying they are going to a depressing third world country, and they just left one.

Jonathon and Victoria try going to a travel agent to make flight arrangements, only to find their computer is down. Jonathon gets upset at Victoria trying to plan it, since he is now supposed to handle air. Lori and Bolo are the first to the airport, and get the only flight out tonight, much to everyone’s chagrin. Especially Kendra’s, since she feels Bolo had cut in line in front of her, and began referring to them as the Barbarians. Kris and Jon have stopped at a travel agent, and find the same news as everyone else. No other flights out today. Victoria ends up booking a flight the next morning with everyone else, and Jonathon comments that she did a flawless job handling it. It is so surprising to see him hand out a compliment here and there.

Bolo and Lori are on a stopover in Rome, and sleeping in the airport, not having enough money for a hotel two nights in a row. Adam gets up early in the morning and finds an earlier flight. He then gets mad at Rebecca when she tells Kris that they had found it, as now Kris and Jon and Jonathon and Victoria are all on the same flight. Adam notes Rebecca can’t keep her mouth shut to save her life, which upsets her very much. She tells him she hates being with him, and that he makes her miserable all the time. He tells her he doesn’t hate her, and she retorts back he is abusive like Jonathon and Victoria. She says she wasted two years on him, and she won’t waste another minute. She then pulls her sweatshirt hood over her face. Adam then comes over and says he loves har and apologizes.

Adam and Rebecca, Kris and Jon, and Jonathon and Victoria stop over in Rome, and end up on the same flight as Lori and Bolo. Adam and Rebecca, Jonathon and Victoria and Lori and Bolo catch the 8:00 AM charter flight, leaving Freddy and Kendra, Kris and Jon and Hayden and Aaron to catch the 8:30 AM charter flight.

Once they land, they need to get into marked vans, and direct the driver to Lewz Village. Jonathon begins looking for a guide again, and it upsets Victoria as she sees it as wasting time, now that the second charter has arrived and they are still walking around. In the van Kendra says something I don’t quite understand. She had made some very derogatory comments when in Senegal. But here in Ethiopia, she says, “People choose to be this way. I find it refreshing. The animals aren’t even as skinny.” What the heck does this mean?

Once at Lewz Village, the teams are met with a Detour, their choice of two manual labor jobs in Ethopia. In Raise the Roof, they will carry a thatched roof two-thirds of a mile to a house with the help of some locals. In Mud the Hut, they will use a plaster made of dirt, straw and water to cover an entire wall of a house; not that that’s a lot, as these houses are very, very tiny. Adam and Rebecca, Hayden and Aaron and Kris and Jon all choose Raise the Roof, and have no problems whatsoever. Lori and Bolo, Jonathon and Victoria, and Freddy and Kendra all choose Mud the Hut. I was left surprised that Lori and Bolo made this choice, as they always choose the faster, strength necessary tasks.

Freddy cuts his finger badly. Kendra tells him he needs First Aid, and tells him he probably shouldn’t keep sticking his hand in “this crap.” He retorts that maybe it’s “Holy crap.” Victoria next cuts her finger as she goes running off screaming hysterically. Jonathon does nothing, and sits there and keeps working. While the workers there clean Victoria’s cut and wrap it, Kendra yells, “Jonathon, help her!” He yells back he doesn’t know what’s wrong with her. Not that it’s that hard to say, “Gee, honey, what’s wrong?” I think Victoria just needed to stick her hand in some of Freddy’s holy crap.

Once through with the Detour, the teams need to take two donkeys to St. George’s Church, carved into rock, below ground level. Lots of funny comments are made regarding the “asses”, and it is surprising to hear ass not connected with Jonathon tonight. Rebecca pulls a donkey and says, “C’mon you, Ass!” I knew she wasn’t talking to Adam, though, as her pet name for him is “Wussy Boy.” Aaron says he’s good at guiding asses, and points towards Hayden.

Victoria refuses further treatment on her finger, as she doesn’t want to be eliminated for that. As her and Jonathon run off with only one donkey, she tells him she needs to put her shoes on. For some odd reason, Jonathon is carrying only Victoria’s shoes, a local is walking with them, carrying Jonathon’s backpack, and Victoria is walking barefoot carrying her backpack.

It is very warm and touching to see the local kids taking such an interest in these Americans. The racers all respond very warmly, including Kendra who says the kids are unbelievable, and would love to take some of them home with her. Kendra thinks she is having an asthma attack, but notes she hasn’t had one in fifteen years, since she was a little girl. Freddy tells her it’s probably just a panic attack, and they are able to move on.

Once at St. George’s Church, they turn in their donkeys, and are met with a Yield, followed by the Road Block. For this, one member of each team will need to enter the eight-hundred-fifty year old church, receive a pendant, then search the worshippers outside for a matching pendant. They will receive their next clue from them. Hayden and Aaron choose to not yield anyone, then Hayden makes it through the church, and notices the energy there upon leaving. Receiving the next clue, they find they need to go to Laibela Lookout, the pit stop for this leg of the race.

Lori and Kris choose to do their Road Blocks, after each of their teams passed up the Yield. Getting to the Yield just before Freddy and Kendra, Adam and Rebecca yield them, and Adam chooses to do the Road Block. Freddy blames Kendra, since she was up on the hill instead of down below with him. Jonathon and Victoria make the sudden discovery they were to travel with two asses, not one, so they turn back to get their second. Note to Victoria, you were traveling with two asses and didn’t notice. Jonathon, of course, blames Victoria for her panic when they were leaving the Mud the Hut Detour.

Hayden and Aaron arrive in first place at the pit stop, winning a vacation to Mexico. Phil notes he was worried about them, after coming in last place last week, but now they have completely turned it around. Lori and Bolo arrive in second place, and Phil tells them they don’t smell so good. Kris and Jon come third. Freddy and Kendra get through the yield before Victoria and her three asses return, and Kendra does the Road Block. Victoria borrows one of the kids’ shirts to walk through the church, assumably because she saw it as disrespectful to walk through a church, her top half clad only in a running bra. Kendra has finished, but Aaron is still trying to finish this task. Freddy and Kendra come in fourth, and admit they thought they were going home after being yielded, and Adam and Rebecca arrive eventually in fifth place. This means … Jonathon and Victoria are last, but they arrive with great fanfare with a crowd of kids with them. He tells Phil he hopes it’s a non-elimination round, but this isn’t the case. Jonathon and Victoria are eliminated.

Jonathon’s parting words are that the world is a tough place, and if you can conquer anything, you are doing a good job. He also says he knows they fought a lot, but they enjoyed every minute of the race. I am glad they have not won the race, as I don’t think that behavior should be rewarded. Although, I am still left trying to figure out what type of person Jonathon is. At times, especially when he was with local kids, he could be the most kind person out there, but at other times, he was the ass, and not the ones braying alongside him on the walk.

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

Interview With Dolly Neely of Survivor: Vanuatu


by Grant

Hey Dolly! Thanks so much for taking all of our questions! You were one of my favorites on the show and we were all disappointed that you weren’t around longer. Congratulations on all that you’ve done!

It’s hard to come out of there with any life-changing views after only six
days, but lots of former Survivors say that the experience changed their
lives and opened their eyes as to the way they are living. Did you come out with any new views on the way people live or the way you’ve led your life up to this point?

It really only proved to me that I need to be a little more direct and make clear decisions. It was hard for me to choose which girls I liked and which I didn’t. That’s just me, Dolly in the middle!

I am a lot like Switzerland. I couldn’t have done anything differently
given another chance and wouldn’t want to anyway. Six days was plenty.

Your elimination from the game came as a surprise to many of the viewers at home, and it was all made possible by Eliza’s swing vote. Do you hold any grudges towards Eliza after she voted you out after you kept your promise with her, or have you moved on?

I definately don’t hold any grudges. Eliza is Eliza. I am just glad I didn’t have to share my entire summer with her.

Up until about the day of the Tribal Council that you were eliminated, it seemed like you really were the swing vote. Looking back, do you regret ‘advertising’ the fact that you were the one with the power? What would you have changed about the way you played the game?

Wouldn’t have changed much! I was in the middle. I liked everyone but that isn’t the name of the game. Besides, after tribal and being voted off – that’s when the fun begins…..

You were one of a few people this season who seemed to be a very hardcore Christian. Did your beliefs ever conflict with those around you? Any religious debates ever start up, or was everyone pretty accepting?

We did have a debate one afternoon by the fire, which envolved Eliza, who is jewish and Amiwho, well I dont know what she is but she is gay so she had some different opinions. I am open minded, never preachy so it was fun. I learned a lot in those six days.

After living six days without very much food or water, do you feel you would’ve been able to continue on for the other thirty-three days or would it have been too much for you? Do you think you would’ve been able to stick it out?

I’ve always heard the first week is the hardest, that’s when they really bare bones you out there. After that you start to win rewards, which includes some more food and comfort items.

I realize now that I don’t need to eat as much to get by and that’s nice. I could have made it, but I am not sad that I didn’t have to find out.

Was there anyone presented on the show differently than you saw them on the island? Were you happy with the way you were portrayed?

I think the producers did a good job showing everyone’s personality. I love what they showed of me.

I am certain that they have footage of each of us that would shock most
people. Hopefully that always stays in the vault!

Have you kept in contact with anybody from the show? Did you make any friendships that you can picture keeping for years to come?

I guess I loved Mia the most and well, actually the whole first 9. We spent a lot of time together over the summer. I hope to always be in contact with everybody.

Why did you, along with Julie, Mia, and Lisa, decide to vote for Leann over Eliza, who at that point seemed to be bugging everybody? What was the rationale behind voting out the “quiet one” over the mouth? Was it obvious that early on how close Ami and Leann were?

Eliza was just the obvious choice … or at least that’s what I thought. She really was annoying.

I had no idea about Ami or Leann, I just knew I didn’t want Eliza to win.

What do you think the future holds for you? Any plans on moving out to Hollywood and trying to make it on the acting scene or are you going to stick with the sheep?

I want to try and keep it simple. Maybe a soap or something like that would be good. You know … the new shepherdess in Salem Place or some such thing.

I do love Los Angeles …… keep your eyes open! In the meantime I am the spokeswoman for Mercer County and I have a few commercials airing now.

Is there anything you’d like to say to your fans out there?

I want to say thanks for the love and pray for Mark Burnett to do an
ULTIMATE SURVIVOR so I have another chance!

Thanks very much for yout time Dolly, and best of luck!


You Want What To Pop Out of Her Cake? — Season 2, Episode 3

It’s Mama Victoria’s birthday and da boyz are planning a fun and fancy shindig. With some help. Victoria finally fired her less than capable assistant, Jen. She’s got a new man in the job – Jay. He was an intern at Star. She’s hoping he gets along better with the boys, but she also tells him not to be their parent or their friend, either.

Victoria’s friend, Robert, is moving in to her guest house for a bit. He and Luigi are at odds. Luigi the Lazy doesn’t want to move the furniture into the guest house nor does he want to move the man’s clothing. Robert is a bit of a prima donna. But, Luigi is just a lazy ass. Jay, the new assistant is like, “I didn’t get hired to be a moving man.”

LOL! Looks like Vicky may have to find a new assistant at the end of this season too. It’s so hard to find good help and poor Victoria proves it time and time again.

Robert calls Victoria, who’s just upstairs, on his celly. She comes down, looking resplendent in her trademark white, and tells Luigi to just take care of it. Luigi mumbles as usual and she’s goes off to work. We find out that it’s Victoria’s birthday. She won’t say how old she is exactly. Only that she’s 34. (Hey, I still tell people I’m 25. So, by my math, I figure she’s got to be at least 41 to say she’s 34! It’s a complex formula that women use to reveal their ages. Even highly regarded mathematicians haven’t figured the exact ratio out yet!)

Victoria doesn’t want to make a big deal out of her birthday, but we discover that the boys are planning a party in her honor. They’re working with Jay, Vicky’s new assistant, her friend, Robert, and her publicist, Matt.

The boys wanted Luigi to jump out of a cake, surrounded by male strippers. It was going to be a real classy affair. Then, Matt stepped in. He decided that they would add some panache and style to the soiree. They got a venue that will be intimate – seating of about 100. (I’ve never had 100 people attend my birthday party. Wait! There was that year that the Spanish fleet was in town, but that’s a story for another type of site entirely!)

The party doesn’t take place on Vicky’s actual birthday. I guess that’s part of the surprise. Instead, she gets a happy birthday moment from her co-workers at Star during an office meeting. Editor Joe Dolce asks her if she’s depressed. She said yes. He told her that ‘being 38 wasn’t so bad.’ She replied, “I’m 34, Joe.”

That night, the boys invite Matt and Jay over for a planning pow wow. They discuss some logistics. Funny word, logistics? It usually implies that logic is used, but only Victoria’s sons seem logical here.

They’re pretty sharp boys, those ones. They know what their mom likes. They also know what will work.

They get into it a bit, especially with Matt, the publicist/event planner. I guess they don’t all get along.

Then, the big day arrives. Victoria and Robert head off to the salon for some pampering. Vicky tells Robert how macho he is while he gets his toenails painted to look like diamonds. She also asks him to tell her about the party. She knows it’s happening, but she doesn’t know what will happen during the event and, frankly, she’s a bit nervous.

Honestly, I think she’s concerned because this isn’t something she can control. Victoria, you are a control freak. I recognize it in you because it’s in me. Relax.
Have some vino.

Meanwhile, Matt and Jay are having issues over the cake. Matt goes to pick up this custom-chocolate cake, with real roses worked into it. It’s $1,200.00 y’all. Dang, it cost more than both of my weddings combined. Matt bangs it up against his car as he’s unloading it and the baker is upset.

Matt calls Jay on his cell phone and Jay is like “dude, I’ve got the cake. Stop talking ‘bout the f*&)(*& cake, man.” He’s driving it to the party right now.

Last minute preparations are being made. Victoria gets into the limo. She looks pretty in black. She and Robert talk about her shoes. The cake arrives. Luigi, who is supposed to wear body paint and a basic black speedo, says NO WAY. He’s not wearing the speedo. Thank you, Luigi. That’s the smartest decision you’ve ever made.

He gets into the cake to await Vicky’s big entrance. When he pops out, she smiles. She was most touched by the portrait of her boys, which was painted by an artist friend. Hopefully, she doesn’t notice the problems with her special cake. (The little run-in Jay had at the bakers put a huge whole in the back of the cake.)

All in all, the event was a success. In the end, Victoria takes Luigi home in her limo; but, he tries to put the moves on her. She threatens to throw him out of the limo and make him walk.

The End

Panndyra, Goddess of Chaos. Email me at panndyra@realityshack.com. Tell me why you think she fired Jen.

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