Monthly Archives: March 2006

We’re Heathens (Episode 12-7)

It was merge week on Survivor: Panama – Exile Island. All ten remaining castaways pretended to get along, until the members of the old Casaya tribe ganged up to vote off Nick.

The morning after voting out Dan (which happened three weeks ago in viewer time), the last three La Mina men, Terry, Austin, and Nick, received instructions to pack up camp and row to Casaya’s beach. Sally, who was still on Exile Island, was picked up in a separate boat.

Casaya was eating rice for breakfast when they noticed the three men rowing toward them. They quickly gorged on the rest of their rice because, as Aras put it, “We’re heathens, and we didn’t want to share.”

La Mina didn’t have a clue of Casaya’s true feelings, as their hosts quickly finished chewing and greeted them warmly at the beach. Sally was soon dropped off, and everyone enjoyed a crate full of wine and snacks as one big, happy family.

As soon as the snacks were gone, Terry approached Bruce about switching sides, as the ex-La Minans were outnumbered, 6-4. Shane and Aras witnessed the discussion from afar, and later tried to pump up Bruce’s ego to make sure he didn’t take Terry up on his offer.

Bruce was having a great time being the most powerful man at camp, until Nick hit him the face with a machete. It was an accident, of course, but the blow chipped a tooth and gave Bruce a nice gash on his lip.

Alas, Bruce was not the immobile figure ferried away by medical staff in the middle of the night that CBS has been hyping in their Survivor promos. Though I’ve had trouble imagining what could be more serious than a head wound from a machete blade.

The new tribe decided on the name “Gitanos,” apparently in honor of the brand of blue jeans (“Jordaches” was their second choice). Art teacher Bruce painted the tribe flag — with blood from the wound on his face! Or paint.

Terry broadened his pool of potential recruits when he approached Shane and Cirie with the ridiculous offer to “take the burden of Tribal Council” off of them for the next two weeks. Shane and Cirie laughed about it, and told Terry he wasn’t in a position to offer them anything. Cirie equated Terry to a dictionary salesman, and herself to someone who already had a set of encyclopedias.

At the Immunity Challenge, contestants had to hang from a horizontal wooden post by their arms and legs for as long as possible. Looking like pigs on a spit, almost everyone dropped within 13 minutes, especially after Jeff Probst told them there was no food to tempt them down later, as has happened in past seasons.

The three most vulnerable people, Austin, Nick, and Terry, were the last on the pole. Austin made a big show of struggling to hang on, later admitting at Tribal Council that he was trying to fool people into thinking he was the weakest of the three. After 30 minutes, he realized Terry and Nick weren’t going to budge and he dropped to the ground.

Nick made it to 46 minutes before falling off, and Terry was awarded the macrame immunity bib.

Back at camp, Shane irritated the former La Minans by loudly announcing a gathering of the old Casaya tribe to discuss how they would vote. Sally, Terry, Nick, and Austin agreed to vote for Shane just to get under his skin.

At Tribal Council, Cirie said she would be “flabbergasted” if any of her old teammates switched sides. Her intuition was right, as Bruce stuck with Casaya and voted Nick off the island. After this week’s episode, everyone who remains will either be a member of the jury or one of the final two contestants competing for $1 million.

Nick’s well-rehearsed parting words were a plea to directionless twentysomethings to take the time to find out who they really are. According to Nick, self-knowledge can be achieved by turning off your iPod and not eating “for a while.”

Nick is the slacker bodhisattva.

Next week, Terry admits to Sally that he found the hidden Immunity Idol on Exile Island. The entire tribe gets wind of the news and discusses whether it’s true and, if so, what to do about it.

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DwtS Offseason Update: 3-29-06

Drew News
Drew Lachey had a busy week, and Star Magazine was there to cover it all. Drew’s wife, Lea, gave birth to a baby girl, Isabella Claire, on Thursday, March 23. And it was announced that Drew will host this year’s Miss USA pageant. The pageant airs on NBC on Friday, April 21.

O’Hurley to Preside over Feud
Thanks in large part to the notoriety he gained during DwtS‘s first season, John O’Hurley has earned himself a gig as the new host of Family Feud. His duties coincide with the show’s 30th season. O’Hurley previously hosted another game show, To Tell the Truth, from 2000 until 2002.

Max’s Charity
Some of Max’s students were featured on DwtS, but he’s also on the board of directors of Dance Team USA. The organization works to encourage youth participation in Dancesport in America. They participate in a number of events each year, and one is coming up in April: the Philadelphia Festival Dancesport Championships.

Lisa Rinna: The New Face of Tupperware
According to her MySpace blog, Lisa is spending some time this week helping launch the new line of Tupperware products. That’s an endearingly goofy brand to endorse, which makes me like Lisa that much more.

Do The Math (Episode 4-3)

USA Network’s celebration of country music and cross-promotion continued on this week’s episode of Nashville Star. USA plugged its Monday night wrestling program, and, after the other contestents performed, Monique LeCompte was eliminated from the competition.

Kenny Rogers got the show off to a surreal start, as his bad plastic surgery distracted from an uptempo, solo version of “Islands in the Stream.” He closed out the show with an uninspiring new song, “I Can’t Unlove You.” Perhaps he can rework the song to promote his chain of chicken restaurants: “I Can’t Unroast You.”

To promote USA’s Monday Night Raw, the reigning WWE champ, John Cena, filled in as guest judge. Kudos to John for showing up despite having taken multiple blows to the head from a sledgehammer the night before.

Last week’s guest judge, Larry the Cable Guy, contributed nothing to the show. But John Cena earned his place at the judges’ table when he told the evening’s first performer, Jared Ashley, “I’ve watched this show the last two weeks, and TV does you no justice.” It was nice to see a guest judge who’s actually been following the competition.

Cena wasn’t afraid to criticize contestants, either. After Kristen McNamara’s rendition of “This One’s for the Girls,” he told her that he didn’t believe her performance. “You’re singing about women’s empowerment. I didn’t believe you felt it.”

Judge Anastasia Brown handed out some criticism of her own. She urged Matt Mason to stop picking songs just because he likes them, and start thinking about what his fans want to hear.

Casey Rivers made the bold decision to perform without the backup band, and the judges felt the gamble paid off. Later, Chris Young gave what Anastasia called a “smooth” performance, but she said, “Casey took the bigger risk. There’s only one winner, so you do the math.”

Chris’s style and vocals still make him the lead contender among the men, with Nicole Jamrose is at the top for the women. She’s the only singer with anything close to gritty vocals, she hits no sour notes, and her authentic country style is a far cry from the pop polish of her female competitors.

Next week, Sara Evans performs and Naomi Judd serves as guest judge. Matt could be on the chopping block after his nasally performance this week, as could Jared, who always sounds like he’s doing an impression of a song’s original vocalist. Or it could be Melanie Torres, who’s talented, but can’t compete with Nicole’s vocals or the buzz Kristen is generating.

I’m Coming Like Christmas (Episode 9-5)

Luck finally ran out for the perky girls of the Pink team, Dani & Danielle. At the Roadblock, Lake & Michelle Yielded the girls, putting an end to their Amazing Race.

This week’s leg started in Munich, Germany. Frat Guys Eric & Jeremy were the first team to leave at 2:15 a.m. Their clue instructed them to fly to Palermo, Sicily, via Rome. Ticket counters at the airport were closed for the night, but the guys learned from airport information that the first flight to Rome left at 6:35 a.m.

Hippies BJ & Tyler arrived at the airport an hour later, along with Lake & Michelle, who headed immediately for the public internet terminals. The Frats and Hippies killed time racing in wheelchairs through an improvised obstacle course.

After BJ lost his wheelchair race with Eric, the Hippies also researched flights on the internet. Lake and Michelle found themselves frustrated, because the airline’s site was in German. The Hippies, however, figured out how to change the webpage’s language to English, and they booked seats on the 6:35 flight. By the time Lake & Michelle figured out the website, the flight was booked.

The Frats successfully opted for standby tickets on the earliest flight, but Lake & Michelle settled for a flight that left at 9:30. Here’s the order in which all the teams left the airport:

1st Flight to Rome – Hippies, Frats
2nd Flight to Rome – Lake & Michelle, Fran & Barry, MoJo, Nerds
3rd Flight to Rome – Ray & Yolanda, Pinks

1st Flight to Palermo – Hippies (arrived at 10:15 a.m.)
2nd Flight to Palermo – Frats (unknown arrival time)
3rd Flight to Palermo – Fran & Barry, MoJo, Nerds (arrived at 1:15 p.m.)
4th Flight to Palermo – Lake & Michelle, Ray & Yolanda, Pinks (arrived at 2 p.m.)

When teams arrived in Palermo, their first clue instructed them to drive to a seaside village and look for a cluebox along the waterfront. Because the box was incredibly obvious, Fran & Barry walked by it several times before finding it.

The cluebox held a Detour: “Foundry” or “Laundry.” “Foundry” required teams to lug a heavy metal bell up hundreds of stairs to a church. In “Laundry,” teams searched 2400 articles of clothing hanging on lines for one of 16 articles with a red and yellow tag sewn on the inside.

After having luck with the Russian dolls two episodes ago, the Hippies decided to search the laundry. When they found a tagged piece, they affected their best Super Mario Brothers accents: “That-a didn’t take a long-a time.”

The Frats also searched the laundry, observing that one of the items looked like “Phil’s turtleneck.” They succeeded, and the next clue directed them to the site of an ancient amphitheater — which doubled as the site of this season’s first Yield.

Monica & Joseph (MoJo) and Ray & Yolanda were the only teams to choose the “Foundry” Detour. Both teams finished the task rather quickly, with Joseph and Ray doing most of the heavy lifting.

Fran & Barry lost time looking for the cluebox and were still searching laundry when Nerds David & Lori arrived. Fran & Barry finished and moved on, and the Nerds’ patience started to wear thin.

After initially having trouble figuring out their stick shift, the Pinks caught up with the Nerds and with Lake & Michelle, who bled time searching the streets for the laundry. Eventually, the Nerds found a tagged shirt. They were soon followed by Lake & Michelle, which left the Pinks in last place, again.

After teams parked near the old amphitheater, they needed to hike nearly a mile uphill to find the cluebox. There, they had the opportunity to Yield another team, forcing that team to wait a predetermined amount of time before continuing with the task. None of the early teams exercised the Yield option.

The next clue was a Roadblock. One team member had to build a replica of a Greek statue from disassembled pieces. However, there were two extra pieces that didn’t fit with the statue, and were just thrown in to confuse teams. Tyler wasn’t fooled. Upon assembling his statue, he said, “Maybe these extra pieces are just extra pieces!”

Tyler received the team’s final clue of the leg, and he and BJ headed to the Pit Stop. They walked back down the hill to the ruins of an ancient temple. Tyler told Phil he hoped that their prize for coming in first place was “pizza pie.” Phil told them it was actually a digital imaging hardware and software package, eliciting the enthusiastic response, “Whoa! Digital Imaging!”

As Eric assembled the statue for the Frats, Jeremy helpfully offered to remove his shirt and pose as a demonstration model. The statue’s extra pieces didn’t trick Eric either, and the guys finished quickly. But they were disappointed in their second place finish for the leg.

Monica was the first statue builder to get hung up on the extra pieces, although only momentarily. MoJo came in third.

Fran & Barry were next. As they made their way to the Pit Stop, they met up with Lake & Michelle, who had gone to the temple instead of the amphitheater. Lake asked where the cluebox was, and Barry refused to tell him, even though it wouldn’t have hurt his team.

Lake & Michelle eventually found the right path to the amphitheater, and they noticed the Pink team pulling into the parking lot. By then, the Nerds had already arrived, and Lori was assembling her statue. Lake & Michelle, unaware that Ray & Yolanda were also behind them, yielded the Pinks.

Lake decided to tackle the puzzle because, in his words, “I’m a dentist. I’m good with my hands.” He quickly assembled the statue, as Lori — convinced that the two extra pieces were required — started to melt down. Only after taking her statue apart several times and breaking down in tears did she realize the pieces were red herrings.

Lori wasn’t the only one in tears. As the Pinks waited out their Yield, they welled up, too. When it was finally time for the Pinks to start their puzzle, they realized that they weren’t in last place. That dishonor belonged to Ray & Yolanda, who were finally arriving at the amphitheater, after having some major navigation issues on the road.

Danielle was well on her way to assembling her statue by the time Ray started on his. But as Ray made up time, he started to trash-talk her, good-naturedly: “Uh oh. It’s getting close, Danielle. I’m coming like Christmas.”

Ray finished first, and he and his speedy girlfriend, Yolanda, raced down the hill to the Pit Stop. Danielle soon completed her statue, but she and Dani had no hope of catching up to Ray & Yolanda. The Pinks were eliminated, breaking the Frat Guys’ hearts.

Leaderboard:
1 – BJ & Tyler
2 – Eric & Jeremy
3 – Monica & Joseph
4 – Fran & Barry
5 – Lake & Michelle
6 – David & Lori
7 – Ray & Yolanda
8 – Dani & Danielle (eliminated)

Next week, teams have to sell fish to the Sicilians, and Monica suffers the emotional breakdown of the week.

Was That a Shipwreck? (Episode 5-5)

After two crappy commercials and a few lost diamonds, this week’s Apprentice ended with Trump firing Gold Rush Project Manger Dan. Even though Dan managed his team to a loss, he didn’t deserve to go before the world’s stupidest genius, Tarek.

This week’s task was to promote Norwegian Cruise Line’s (NCL) new “Freestyle Cruising” program. Freestyle cruisers can dine or use the ship’s workout facilities whenever they want — as if gorging on free crab legs for a week straight isn’t exercise enough.

Teams had to film a 30-second commercial while onboard one of NCL’s liners, the Norwegian Jewel. They had three hours to film before the boat left port.

Dan led Gold Rush with a frenzied style, yelling and gesturing as he rapidly tried to execute Lenny’s idea involving a shipwrecked man rescued by the Norwegian Jewel. The idea violates rule #1 in the cruising industry: don’t remind the customer that the boat might sink.

Dan shrugged off Lenny’s plan to tell the castaway’s story through a voiceover, and instead used Tarek’s idea of subtitles. The end result was a confusing spot that left the NCL executives wondering why the lead actor had seaweed on his head.

Synergy’s commercial wasn’t much better. They contrasted traditional cruises with the new “Freestyle” program by showing black and white footage of an unhappy couple being served champagne, followed by color footage of people having fun at all hours on the Norwegian Jewel. It was amateurish, but at least its message was clear — and it had a voiceover, so that people not actively watching the commercial would at least still hear it.

During the task, Andrea did her best to derail Project Manager Roxanne’s efforts. Still smarting from Roxanne’s recent boardroom assertion that Andrea wasn’t as good a leader as Tammy, Andrea objected to all of Roxanne’s proposals — good or bad — throughout the task.

Somehow, Andrea convinced herself that her objections were in the best interest of the team, not in the name of petty retribution. She was so focused on getting Roxanne fired that Andrea actually looked disappointed when Synergy won.

Maybe the task’s reward, $30,000 worth of diamonds, cheered Andrea up. But probably not, since she had Roxanne to thank for it.

Synergy was taken to a Brink’s warehouse to learn about diamonds. Inside of a vault containing over $100 million in diamonds, an expert instructed the team on how to carefully inspect the gems. The candidates struggled with their tweezers, accidentally flinging several diamonds onto the floor. Once they were able to get a grip on the stones, each member was allowed to pick a diamond to take home.

Before Gold Rush headed to the boardroom, Tarek strategized with Dan. The plan was to point the finger at Lenny and Lee. But Tarek reminded Dan that, inside the boardroom, no one was his friend.

That comment made it easier for Dan to bring Tarek back in with him once everyone blamed Tarek’s worthless text for their loss. Dan stuck with the plan to bring Lee as well, although no one understood exactly how Lee contributed to the team’s failure.

This season, Trump’s favorite criterion for firing people is to axe Project Managers who don’t bring obvious choices into the boardroom. Trump felt that Lenny belonged in the boardroom for suggesting the original shipwreck idea, and Dan was fired for declining to bring Lenny in.

This firing strategy allowed the weakest remaining competitor, Tarek, to continue. Despite three trips to the boardroom, and after making major mistakes during tasks, Tarek is still in the game. There’s no way an employer would tolerate that, especially if it came at the expense of a first time offender like Dan. Tarek has no chance of winning, and his presence reminds viewers of that, week after week.

The only reason Trump keeps Tarek around is to toy with him. Since the season’s first episode, Trump has made witty remarks like, “I think the Mensa people should change the test.” We already understand that Tarek isn’t as smart as he thinks he is. It’s time for Trump to move on to a new joke.

Next week, the candidates sing, and the show moves to 10 p.m. Eastern time. Since my NCAA bracket was decimated this weekend, I may actually tune into The Apprentice instead of basketball.

You Say You Want a Redneck Revolution (Episode 4-2)

Shy Blakeman just wasn’t country enough, and he became this season’s first Nashville Star contestant to fall prey to viewer voting.

Guest performer Gretchen Wilson provided the theme for this season’s second episode, entitled “Redneck Revolution” in honor of her current tour. It’s an unfortunate name. The last time the ‘necks revolted, we called it the Civil War.

The theme lent itself to a night of caricaturing the traditional themes of country music. Instead of heartfelt lyrics or vibrant melodies, contestants sang about drinkin’, trucks, and fried chicken. Family values, straight from the heartland.

‘Neck night was also the only way to work comedian Larry the Cable Guy into the show to promote his new movie. His comments as a guest judge were nothing but bits from his act, although he did thank contestant Chris Young for lending him a razor.

As co-host Cowboy Troy announced the singers moving on to the next round, he didn’t specify whether he was announcing them in order of highest vote-getters, or if he was reading them randomly. But all of the real contenders went first, so this appears to be the current pecking order:

Matt Mason
Nicole Jamrose
Jared Ashley
Melanie Torres
Chris Young
Casey Rivers
Monique LeCompte
Kristen McNamara

Shy Blakeman was left off of the list, as his bare-footed, long-haired style failed to resonate with fans. Judges Phil Vassar and Anastasia Brown were disappointed, as they’d been looking forward to his performance. Anastasia caught part of his rehearsal and said he channelled Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Watch for Monique to follow Shy next week. After two performances, she hasn’t shown that she can rock. Her vocal style is more suited to “Singing in the Rain” than singing about beer.

Although Kristen was in the bottom two, her powerful performance of Reba McEntire’s song “Fancy” earned the respect of the judges. Anastasia’s words of advice were, “Don’t change who you are, just what you’re wearing.” Apparently, red tube tops aren’t in fashion anymore.

Next week, the contestants will be overshadowed by guest performer Kenny Rogers. I’m hoping to hear “Lady,” but I’ll be happy if he and Wynonna duet on “Islands in the Stream.” That is what we are, after all.

DwtS Offseason Update: 3-22-06

DwtS Takes Over the Daytime Emmys
Tom Bergeron and Kelly Monaco have been selected to host the Daytime Emmy Awards. Additionally, Kelly was nominated in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series category for her role on General Hospital. Her fellow DwtS alumna, Lisa Rinna, is nominated for Outstanding Talk Show Host. The Awards show airs April 28 at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.

Max’s Website
DwtS pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy’s official website is finally up and running, although it’s a little light on content at the moment. They do have a forum for the Max-obsessed, where forum member LuvDance posted a link to this provacative photo of Max in competition.

Lisa Rinna Freaks Out Over Oil Painting
One of the Google Ads on our own Unofficial DWTS3 Fantasy Casting Contest advertised a website featuring Keanu Reeves art. Intrigued, I went to My DaVinci, and there was a clip of Lisa freaking out on Soap Talk over a painting of her with her mom. The clip is good, but not as cool as this picture of Keanu.

If anyone was able to make it to the Cheryl Burke meet-and-greet in Santa Monica last week, drop us a line. We’ll post your comments in next week’s DwtS update.