Monthly Archives: February 2007

TAR All-Stars: Episode 2

Memo to all future Amazing Racers: When you’re going down the highway at 40KPH, and pretty much every other team on the entire Race has flown past you–some more than once–you might have missed a Speed Limit sign somewhere along the road.

Teams left Ecuador for Santiago, Chile, where they entered the headquarters of Codelco,
the largest copper mining company in the world. There, teams
encountered a Roadblock, which required the team member with the best
eye for details to scour a boardroom for clues to their next
destination.

A bunch of actors portraying Executive Vice
Presidents of Something-or-Other doodled letters on their notepads, and
had other letters embroidered onto their ties and suits. Those letters
could be rearranged to form the name of the teams’ next destination, Chuquicamata. Clever contestants would notice a picture of that next destination (and a plaque with its name) hung on the boardroom wall.

Most of the contestants were not clever.

Beauty
Queen Dustin was the first to notice the picture, and she escaped the
boardroom without anyone seeing her copy the name from the picture’s
plaque

Joyce and Eric had been the first contestants to the
boardroom, but because they didn’t pay attention to the photos on the
wall, they left in two of the last three places (Only Ian lagged behind
with them). Ultimately, it didn’t matter, as all teams bunched up at
the airport while waiting for another domestic flight, but it was
embarrassing.

The next destination was the largest open-pit copper mine in the world. There, a Detour forced teams to either drive a gigantic front end loader (fun) or change the nuts and brackets on one of the front end loader’s 10-foot-tall tires (tedious).

Amazingly,
most of the teams chose the tedious work of changing the nuts and
brackets. Rob & Amber drove the front end loader and finished the
Detour first, while having more fun than the other teams. Joe &
Bill also drove the loader, and finished quickly, as well.

Once
teams finished their Detours, they hopped into trucks and drove toward
the Pit Stop, which was in the Valley of the Dead. Charla & Mirna,
who’d hired a cabbie to lead them, became incensed when they noticed
Dustin & Kandice following.

The cabbie pulled over to make
sure that he would be paid his $100 fee, and both of the teams behind
him stopped. Dustin & Kandice seemed interested in working with
Charla & Mirna to get directions from the cabbie, but the two
cousins wouldn’t stop shrieking at the Beauty Queens for following them.

When
they weren’t able to get Charla & Mirna to calm down for even a few
seconds, Dustin & Kandice drove off on their own. Charla &
Mirna then realized that they couldn’t afford to foot the cab bill
alone. Oops.

They tried to offer their cabbie all of their money
and belongings, even promising not to eat the next day, for whatever
good that would do the cab driver. Charla & Mirna gave up and
pushed on alone, crying about the Beauty Queens all the way to the Pit
Stop.

Charla said, “Beauty is sometimes skin deep. It’s easy to
make yourself beautiful with plastic surgery. But to have a pure heart,
and to have morals, is not easy to make up.” Lucky for you, Charla,
producers have decided that this season’s Race winners will not be the team that finishes first, but instead the team that judges itself to have the purest hearts.

As
teams drove through the desolate but beautiful Valley of the Moon, the
shifting terrain forced them to adhere to a forty kilometers per hour
speed limit.

Unfortunately, Drew & Kevin didn’t notice a
sign at the end of the Valley that told them they could resume regular
highway speeds. They grew confused and angry as all of the other teams
passed them once, and then passed them again after Kevin and Drew
figured out they were all going the wrong way.

Rob & Amber
were the first team to reach the finish mat in the Valley of the Dead,
winning a pair of offroad motorcycles, which, sadly, cannot be used
until after the race. Oswald & Danny finished in second place,
meaning this week’s top two teams were the same as last week’s.

Kevin
& Drew puttered into the Valley of the Dead in last place, and by
the time they reached the mat, Drew had had enough. He stomped away
from the mat upon hearing he and Kevin were last to arrive. Phil
Keoghan had to beg Drew to come back to the mat so that the team could
be properly eliminated.

Next week, Danielle flips out when she has to pick up some fish.

Survivor Fiji: Episode 3

Last week, clumsy Boo chopped himself with a hatchet and poked his eye
with a spear. This week, “Papa Smurf” Gary slipped during a Reward
Challenge and almost broke a rib. At this rate, Moto’s going to start
losing members without ever voting anyone out.

At the Reward
Challenge, Ravu was actually in decent shape for a change. Using a pair
of glasses, Michelle was able to start a fire, meaning that her tribe
could finally boil water to drink. It’s one of the few times in Survivor history that a contestant was able to make fire without flint.

For
the challenge, two greased-up contestants from opposing tribes slid
down a slippery incline, grabbing a numbered ball along the way. At the
bottom of the incline, the first contestant to toss the ball into an
elevated basket earned a point.

The first team to six points won
their choice of rewards: a set of fishing gear, the luxury items they
brought from home, or a basket of fresh fruit. Also, the winning team
sent one of the losers to Exile Island. That person would return in
time for the Immunity Challenge.

Many of the contestants dove
head first down the incline, in traditional Slip n’ Slide style. Gary
took a few steps onto the slippery surface and fell hard on his back.
He completed the challenge, and Moto won again, choosing the fishing
gear and sending Sylvia back to Exile Island — a smart strategic move,
limiting the number of people who could potentially have the Immunity
Idol.

Back at camp, Gary was disoriented and couldn’t take a
deep breath, leading him to fear a broken rib or possibly heart
trouble. The show’s medics didn’t find anything seriously wrong with
him and prescribed painkillers and rest.

Luckily for Gary, the Immunity Challenge wasn’t physical in nature. It was an old-fashioned Survivor
eating contest, meaning that contestants had to eat gross things like
sea cucumbers and peanut worms. It’s one event I can always count on to
make me glad I’m a vegetarian–until the next time I see my husband eat
another delicious hamburger.

Rocky and Mookie were the only
members of Ravu to win their face-offs, in part because the rest of
their tribe was dehydrated and didn’t have enough saliva to swallow
their food. The final battle came down to Anthony and Gary, and Gary
earned Moto’s fourth consecutive victory by eating two disgusting,
hairy pig snouts before Anthony could swallow his first bite.

Although
Sylvia was still Ravu’s biggest outsider, Mookie felt that Anthony
hadn’t tried hard enough at the challenge. Because they feared Sylvia
might possess the hidden Immunity Idol (meaning that the person with
the second highest number of votes would be eliminated) a couple of
people agreed to vote for Anthony.

As the day dragged on, Mookie
became even more convinced that Anthony wasn’t a committed member of
the tribe and told as much to anyone who would listen. At Tribal
Council, Mookie told Anthony off, and it looked as if Sylvia might last
another week.

As the votes were read, Anthony and Sylvia were
tied at three votes each. But Rita decided to branch out on her own and
cast her vote for Earl. The tiebreaking vote was cast for Sylvia, and
since she hadn’t found the Immunity Idol, she was eliminated.

Next week, concerns about Gary’s health linger.

Full Cast of DwtS 4

Here’s an expanded description of the celebrities of Dancing with the Stars 4, including their professional partners.

Laila Ali
Partner: Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Laila Ali is the 30-year-old daughter of Muhammad Ali, as well as a women’s boxing title holder. The discipline she’s learned through boxing should mesh well with Maksim’s occasionally tough training style.

Billy Ray Cyrus
Partner: Karina Smirnoff
The singer of the infectious (not necessarily a compliment) country hit "Achy Breaky Heart" is now a regular on the Disney Channel show Hannah Montana. Something tells me Karina won’t let BRC rest on his line-dancing laurels.

Clyde Drexler
Partner: Elena Grinenko
While this NBA Hall of Famer played, he was nicknamed "The Glide." Clyde is over six-and-a-half feet tall, so don’t be surprised if Elena has to dance on stilts.

Joey Fatone
Partner: Kym Johnson
Joey Fatone is a former member of boy band *NSYNC (their name was all caps preceded by an asterisk), and he now performs on Broadway. His dancing skills should be a welcome change for Kym, who danced last season with the less-than-nimble Jerry Springer.

Shandi Finnessey
Partner: Brian Fortuna
Shandi Finnessey parlayed her victory in the 2004 Miss USA competition into hosting gigs on the Game Show Network. She and new DwtS professional Brian might be this season’s underdogs.

Leeza Gibbons
Partner: Tony Dovolani
Leeza Gibbons is a talk show host and founder of a charity that assists people with memory disorders. Until Tony’s partner, Sara Evans, quit last season, he seemed on his way to his second straight season in the finals.

Heather Mills
Partner: Jonathan Roberts
At least early on, Heather Mills is sure to be the most talked about member of the cast. She’s in the process of divorcing (Sir) Paul McCartney, she’s a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador, and she’s got a prosthetic leg. Jonathan’s classy style and background in Standard should be a great fit for Heather.

Apolo Anton Ohno
Partner: Julianne Hough
Apolo is an Olympic gold medalist in speedskating. If he’s been willing to put so much work into an amateur sport, he should be a eager student for Julianne — especially now that he’s getting paid.

Vincent Pastore (Since Replaced by John Ratzenberger)
Partner: Edyta Sliwinska
After his character Big Pussy got whacked on The Sopranos, Vincent Pastore gained a lot of weight and suffered some serious heart problems. He lost 29 lbs. on VH-1’s Celebrity Fit Club, and ballroom dancing is the next step in his new heart-healthy lifestyle. He’ll be the fourth partner for Edyta, the only pro to compete in every season of DwtS.

Paulina Porizkova
Partner: Alec Mazo
Paulina Porizkova twice graced the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition during the 1980s, but she’s perhaps better known as the wife of gangly Ric Ocasek, former singer of The Cars. Paulina and Alec are the best looking duo in the competition. Actually, anyone and Alec would probably be the best looking duo in the competition.

Ian Ziering
Partner: Cheryl Burke
Ian (pronounced eye-an, not ee-an) Ziering portrayed middle-aged high schooler Steve Sanders on Beverly Hills 90210. Cheryl’s won every season of DwtS she’s participated in, so Ian is in very good hands.

DwtS 4 Celebrities Announced

The celebrities are:
Paulina Porizkova
Laila Ali
Ian Ziering (who will be partnered with Cheryl Burke)
Shandi Finnessey
Billy Ray Cyrus
Vincent Pastore
Apolo Anton Ohno
Joey Fatone
Leeza Gibbons
Clyde Drexler
Heather Mills

I’ll
be updating the list later today with more detailed descriptions of the
contestants, and, hopefully, more information on the professional
dancers they’ll be partnered with.

Dancing with the Stars 4 premieres on March 19 at 8 p.m. EST.

Apprentice L.A.: Episode 6

In this week’s episode of The Apprentice, the candidates’ skills were put to the ultimate test of executive aptitude: registering people for a giveaway at the mall.

I’m
not exactly sure how the ability to sign up mall shoppers for a
vacation sweepstakes qualifies one for an executive position at a
corporation. But I suppose the inability to do so could certainly be a
disqualification.

Aimee and Surya lead their respective teams,
Kinetic and Arrow, despite being utterly disrespected by their
teammates. No matter which team lost, a Project Manager was dead meat.

Kinetic
had the more challenging location, as a large number of the patrons at
their mall spoke only Spanish. Derek and Jenn had that information in
advance and didn’t tell Aimee. But Aimee failed to make any adjustments to
address the issue during the task, instead focusing on unimportant
details, like a goofy inflatable octopus that Jenn had included in
their kiosk decor.

Instead of hiring a native Spanish speaker,
Aimee left Muna and Derek to translate the online sign-up form for
customers. The extra time that took may have hurt the team, as Kinetic lost the
task to Arrow by fewer than 50 customers.

In the boardroom, everyone ganged up on Aimee, and Trump had no choice but to fire her.

The Apprentice takes a break for the Academy Awards this Sunday, but will return with a new episode the following week.

DwtS 4 Pro Dancers Revealed

ABC will announce which celebrities will be competing in Season 4 on
Wednesday, February 21. Jerry Springer will be making the announcement
on Good Morning America, which airs from 7-9 a.m. CST, but we’ll post the list here at MOIB for you late sleepers out there.

The list of professional dancers participating in DwtS 4
has already been leaked. Returning to the show are Cheryl Burke, Kym
Johnson, Karina Smirnoff, Edyta Sliwinska, Elena Grinenko, Alec Mazo,
Jonathan Roberts, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, and Tony Dovolani. New to the
cast are Julianne Hough and Brian Fortuna, two of the company dancers
from the DwtS Tour.

Notably absent from the list are Jesse DeSoto and Louis van Amstel. Ashly DelGrosso elected not to return because she’s expecting her first child. Makes sense to me.

DwtS 4 Rumors
The GMA
cast announcement will confirm whether or not a couple of new
celebrities rumored to be possible participants are actually in the
cast: Olympic speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno and the soon-to-be-former Mrs. Paul McCartney, Heather Mills.

Gossip
According to People Magazine, Cheryl Burke is dating Matthew Lawrence, younger brother of DwtS alum Joey Lawrence.

Appearances
Surrounded
by piles of (slowly melting) snow here in suburban Chicago, Florida seems like the most
appealing place in the whole world right now. Those of you lucky enough
to be in the Boca Raton area on February 26 can stop by the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County’s gala to see Maksim Chmerkovskiy perform with both of his celebrity partners, Tia Carrere and Willa Ford.

TAR All-Stars: Episode 1

If executed poorly, an all-star season of a reality show can easily
alienate the very fans it’s trying to please. Case in point: too much
Rupert on Survivor: All-Stars. Fortunately, the premiere episode of The Amazing Race: All-Stars
had just the right balance of jokers and jerks — even if they’re
missing some of the jokers (Ken & Gerard) and jerks (Colin &
Christie) I was hoping for.

The eleven teams started the race in
Miami, Florida, before departing for Ecuador. In the shuttle ride from
the parking lot to the airport, it became apparent which teams were
really on the ball and which weren’t.

John Vito & Jill, Rob
& Amber, and Ozzy & Danny all realized that the flight leaving
first might not actually arrive in Ecuador first. They checked with
their shuttle drivers and learned that the second flight on American
Airlines arrived nearly two hours earlier than the flight on a smaller
airline, Copa.

David & Mary, who were not widely regarded as
a shrewd team during Season 10, booked their seats on Copa before
asking the ticket agent if it was the faster flight.

The shuttle
ride to the airport also confirmed that, just like in Season 7,
everyone’s gunning for Rob & Amber. Ozzy & Danny, who were
sharing their shuttle, jokingly congratulated Rob & Amber for
having “your own cable channel,” and said they were familiar with
“Romber” simply by virtue of living on the planet Earth.

The
anti-Romber sentiment apparently ramps up next week, which strikes me
as funny, since they didn’t even win their season but are still seen as
the most fearsome team. Meanwhile, no one seems worried about Uchenna
& Joyce, the actual winners of Season 7 and the only TAR millionaires competing in All-Stars.

In
Ecuador, Drew & Kevin were in big trouble. After already losing a
footrace with Charla, Drew fell while stepping out of cab and lay
moaning and rolling in the street for what seemed to be several minutes.

Eventually,
Drew accepted that, were his shoulder actually dislocated, he would not
be able to wave his arm around in pain, and the team was back in the
race.

But Drew & Kevin fell behind the pack on the way to
the Detour the next morning, which was located in the middle of a
nature preserve. Things only got worse when they blew out a tire on the
muddy road, but rather than put on the spare, Drew simply drove on
three wheels and a rim.

Drew’s willingness to go offroad
four-wheeling on three wheels saved Kevin and him from elimination.
Season 3 favorites John Vito & Jill had gotten bad directions along
the way, and they wound up entering the vast nature preserve on the
wrong side. (Earlier in the day, the same thing had happened to Charla
& Mirna — due in no small part to the pseudo-Spanish they spoke
throughout the episode (e.g., “Exallante,” and “Muy dinero.”).

The
outcome of the first episode was all that show producers’ could have
hoped for. Everyone’s nemeses Rob & Amber finished in first place,
making them sure to inspire the hatred of the other teams. And the nice
but boring ex-couple, John Vito & Jill, were eliminated.

Eric
& Danielle, the only “new” team on the race, finished in fourth
place, which is very respectable considering they originally raced with
different partners. And the two most sluggish teams, David & Mary
and Kevin & Drew, finished at the back of the pack–as sluggish
teams tend to do.

Next week, in addition to the escalating Romber bashing, Charla takes on the Beauty Queens, Dustin & Kandice.