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Long time no postie. And it might be a while before I post again since I no longer get to watch shows the same day. But there’s been more than a few times where the fingers are itching to get on here and type, so I’m finally gonna do it.

Since I watch my shows on the ‘net when I get a chance, it’s easy for me to get behind and not realize it. So I actually watched the last two shows of Glee in reverse order; I only realized I’d missed one when I spotted two new kids in the club. But I’m glad I did, because that episode was better than “The Rise and Fall of Sue Sylvester”. Because we went back to the beginning, sorta, and got to know the new kids. And maybe actually get to care about them. Loved that Kitty called them out on the alumnus crap.

I noticed the spark between Mason and Jane when the did their first duet, so it’s nice he’s getting out of Madison’s shadow. (And I agree with the previouslytv recapper when he said mother issues are NOT how that duo has been presented. More like Flowers in the Attic than Psycho.) Speaking of duets, that interaction with Sue and Will played right into why I started this blog to begin with. See, every other recapper and commenter would bitch and whine whenever Glee started a song in the auditorium and then switched into some unbelievable performance sequence. So the Glee club watching those two play air guitar while prancing about on the stage, intercut with their hair band antics, really spelled out what I’ve been maintaining all along — IT’S A FANTASY. IT’S ALL IN THEIR HEADS. Get over it.

And the interplay between Roderick, Alistair, and Spencer was sweet and well done. The only thing that pissed me off about the last two shows is that, very shortly after Rachel got Kitty back in the Glee club by promising her that she’d stick it out with them, she was back auditioning for Broadway and now she’s got two reasons to go back to New York. But what else have we come to expect from Rachel Berry?

Anyway, here’s the main dealio I wanted to talk about: Does when you first hear a song influence how you feel about it? See, here’s the thing: A very long time ago I was dating a guy who absolutely loved Whitney’s version of “I Will Always Love You” because he first heard it in “The Bodyguard”, whereas I preferred the original songstress (and author!) Dolly Parton’s version because I first heard it in “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.” (Which I saw here in Juneau at the downtown theatre, FWIW).

I bring this up because Glee has definitely influenced my music choices over the years. Sure, it’s been a rich home of my favorite classic rock anthems and ballads (I’m an old fart who doesn’t think there’s been much decent music past 1984), but it’s brought me to liking some new stuff, too, like Britney, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga. And it did it again last night, when I was watching “The Final Countdown”. See, there’s a new song out there that everyone’s into — “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars. Everyone’s so into it, that it’s already been copied and aped and mimicked and redone to death. I finally decided to give it a try when, a couple weeks ago, the Huffington Post assured me that I’d get a kick out of watching a bunch of old people shake their groove thang to it. Except I didn’t. I hated it. I watched for less than two minutes before I shuddered and turned it off.

Then, last night, I’m watching Glee, and the kids start in on a song. It’s a great song. It’s catchy. It makes me drum my fingers along to it. I want to boogie in my seat. And then the chorus hits me, and I’m damned if it isn’t “Uptown Funk”. WTF? How come I like it now? How come, with these kids bopping around and singing, I think it’s a great song? This definitely isn’t a “I heard that version first” thing — I already turned it off once. I just don’t know. What do you think?

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So, not only has my episode count been off (mainly because I was counting the two hour episodes as one, like tonight), but I’ve been unable to live blog for the past month. In that time, Bri came back and went home again, but not before Jordan finally walked out of the MasterChef kitchen for good.

The judges’ sons will be filling the mystery box. Joe’s sons are 13 and 11, Gordon’s is 13, and Graham’s is two-and-a-half. I’m not sure what he’s going to contribute, but he seems to know what he wants to do. So do the others. White chips, chocolate hazelnut spread, ketchup, a coconut, peanut-butter, rainbow marshmallows, passion fruit, baby pineapple, bacon, cheese slices, bananas, blueberries, strawberries, and puff pastry. It looks like there’s a jar of sprinkles there, too. I’d make a fruit pastry type thing – I saw a technique once where you did something to the middle of the puff pastry so it stayed flat; I recall scoring around the edges, and I think poking holes in the center with a fork. Probably the bananas, blueberries, and strawberries, with marshmallow cream topping. Another option would be to go tropical with the coconut, passion fruit, pineapple, and banana. I’d probably use the white chocolate with that, although I don’t consider white chocolate chocolate, since it’s not made with cocoa beans.

As time is called and we go to commercial, the judges have been worrying over Krissi’s problems, and she’s bleeped as they call time. It looks like she wasn’t able to finish. Fingers crossed! When we come back, the boys are sent off, which I’m a bit bummed by. I would’ve liked to have heard their commentary, too. Luca’s up first, with a pineapple napoleon with white chocolate. Gordon says it’s beautiful, and he loves the filling. Graham asks him about the passion fruit, and Luca says it was too sour. Graham congratulates him on editing. Joe likes it, as well.

Next is Jessie, presenting vanilla cream puffs with coconut and fruit. I forgot the mystery box challenge won’t send anyone home, so if Luca wins, I know he’ll target Krissi. Joe calls James forward, and he brings up a passion fruit turnover with blueberry mint puree. Hmm. I wonder if his passion fruit wasn’t as sour as Luca’s? I could see if the blueberries were very sweet, they’d offset it, and I think I could even see them with mint, but the three together? I just don’t know. But I haven’t been tasting these as they went along, either. He also has a whip of cinnamon sugar on the side. Bizarre. Joe likes it, though. He asks James who the best bakers in the competition are, and he says Krissi and Natasha. Joe points out they’re not up there. James is all happy about the judges’ comments until Krissi snarks, “You used pre-made puff pastry. Congratulations.” OK, if he wins, she’ll *definitely* have a target on her back, and I hope it goes better than it did when Luca tried last week. I don’t know about Jessie.

Krissi claims she’s offended because she made something from scratch. Well, you didn’t finish it, so no, you didn’t. Shut up, Krissi. Of course, we must go to commercial before Gordon announces James as the winner. It’s his first mystery box win. As they’ve been doing all season, the winner doesn’t have to take part in the elimination challenge. I like this new rule. The theme is the greatest dishes the three judges have ever eaten. Joe’s is marinated Botan shrimp with sea urchin and caviar. Oooh, give that one to Krissi, that looks difficult. Luca might have problems with it, too. Graham’s dish was taught to him by his grandfather. It’s a soft-shelled crab sandwich. That could be difficult to reproduce exactly. Gordon’s dish, while served on a boat, is not seafood. It’s a Vietnamese noodle soup with slow cooked pork. That will be extremely difficult to pull off in an hour, but I suspect Krissi could do it, so I hope he doesn’t give it to her. Then it occurs to me that he may only get to pick one dish, so I’m going to stop typing now and hit play. He gets to taste all three dishes before choosing one. Turns out Luca’s his prime target, so I suspect he’ll pick either the soup or the sea urchin.

I’m right; he picked the soup. I’m not surprised, because his comments about the broth led me to suspect that it was simmered as long as the pork was cooked. The remaining contestants get to taste the dish before heading into the pantry. It sounds like they only have to recreate the broth. Both Luca and Krissi express concern. Natasha says she’ll use her palate. They only have five minutes in the pantry, though. Krissi hangs back enough to copy off the others just like she did in high school. As Gordon talks about not seasoning it all at once, we see everyone putting various seasonings in. I see star anise and what looks like coriander seeds. I also see vegetables being chopped, including what look like a green Serrano pepper. I can also see carrots and parsley in someone’s broth. Natasha reveals she forgot to grab garlic, which she feels is a requirement for this dish. Since it’s Vietnamese, probably. I hope Krissi copied off her.

She asks Luca for some, and the producers have told her to say he’s her biggest rival, and try to build up the tension with shots of people looking concerned before cutting to commercial. Luca gives her some, and I’m not surprised. He says that’s not how he wants to win, but Gordon thinks he might live to regret it. I doubt it. Luca’s pretty chivalrous, Gordon, maybe that’s something you should think about. Now we get to listen to Krissi whine, but I’m going to fast-forward as usual. James says he wants to see Luca leave “professionally” because he’s the best competitor, and Natasha “personally”. Joe tells Luca to salt his broth, and asks him about giving Natasha the garlic. Luca says if he goes home tonight, it’s not because he gave her the garlic. Gordon tries to boost Krissi’s ego, and Graham goes to critique Jessie, who’s just added some lime.

Jessie’s roasting cardamom and cinnamon and her ship experience is showing. The judges ask James to comment, and he says Luca’s looking the best. The countdown begins, and when it’s over, Natasha’s up first. Graham likes the color on the pork, but says the broth is a little sweet. Gordon says the pork is delicious, but she should’ve added more of the pork juices to it. He says it’s very good. Joe says it has good depth, but he thinks it’s under-salted, and that’s why it’s so sweet. Well, the pork stock would’ve been salty, so I can see that.

Luca brings his bowl up. Again, Graham likes the color. He says it’s perfect. He tells Luca he’s in the zone. Gordon tells him it’s so close, it takes him back and it’s mind-blowing. They high five. Joe calls Jessie up, and tells her it looks beautiful. He says it’s complex and has depth. He thinks it’s very close to Gordon’s dish. Gordon catches the too-soon addition of lime, but says it’s delicious. Last, and hopefully least, is Krissi.

As usual, she’s whinging in a voice over. Joe looks at it and says she got it all in there. He says the flavors are also all there, but it’s a bit over-spiced and not concentrated enough. He calls it a valiant effort. With two near perfect dishes, I’m not sure I see her going home over Jessie. Joe also says the broth is flavorful and says it’s an impressive effort. Gordon, of course, is the one who starts to point out all the flaws. He tells her the foundation’s there, though. He also says it’s a good effort. He also claims they’re all so good, it’s going to be a difficult decision. Since we hear the judges discussing technique before we go to commercial break, the only one I’m confident of is Luca.

When we come back, they’re discussing his technique. Graham calls him an alchemist. Jessie and Luca step forward first, and Luca is the winner. I won’t miss either Natasha or Krissi, but I’d rather Krissi went home first. Alas, it is not to be, and I don’t really understand. They just said Natasha’s techniques were worthy of a professional chef, and I thought from their comments her dish was better. As she breaks down in tears, Gordon tells her that yes, she did a very good job. Such a good job, that they decided it was too close to call, so she, too, is safe. Guess that explains the two hour special tonight.

In an attempt to catch up, I fast forward until I see everyone walking around a ranch that the narrator says is just outside of Los Angeles, and it kinda reminds me of the farm that the celebrity chefs on the Guy vs. Rachel cook off had to gather their own food from. A mystery guest is hosting a huge party, and they’ll be cooking. Very soon, Paula Dean rides up on a tractor, and I’m glad to see her. Luca’s concerned and Jessie is thrilled.

This is not a team challenge. Each one will be cooking one meal for ten guests. Paula picked five Southern proteins, and they’ll have to serve it with two sides. Now Natasha’s concerned. Kentucky chicken, Alabama pork chops, Georgia shrimp, Mississippi catfish, and alligator. I’m not surprised by the last two, though I only know one way to cook either of them, but frying is Southern.

As winner of the elimination challenge, Luca gets to assign the proteins. I’m not surprised that he picks pork chops for himself, but I don’t think he’ll be able to go Southern with it, unless he goes for Cajun blackened. His biggest targets are Natasha and Jessie, so I suspect Krissi will escape once again. I hope he doesn’t underestimate Jessie again. Remember, she’s from Paula’s home state, Luca! He knows that catfish and alligator are the two most problematic, and luckily, he hands Jessie the latter. Out of the remaining proteins, that was probably the best one he could’ve made, and it turns out she’s not familiar with it. Natasha, of course, gets the catfish, Krissi gets shrimp, which she’s happy about, and James gets the chicken. Paula will pick the two top chefs, and they’ll be safe. They have 90 minutes.

Gordon voices my thoughts about Luca underestimating James by giving him chicken. He tells the judges he picked the pork chop because he doesn’t want to play it safe. His side dishes are sweet potatoes and roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon. Jessie’s got coleslaw, and Krissi has fried green tomatoes. The guests start to show up as James shows off his dishes. They must be free-range chickens, because the chicken breasts are huge. Gordon cautions him to make sure they’re cooked through. After the break, he advises Natasha to take her fish off the grill and finish it in a pan on the stove, then checks one of James’ extra breasts. It’s not done, so James has to hope they can finish in the less than five minutes remaining. Both Luca and Krissi are confident in their plates.

Jessie deep-fried her alligator, which is exactly what I would’ve done with it. But I would’ve timed it like I’d time calamari. She’s serving it with Andouille mac and cheese, and garlic-buttered green beans. She says her alligator is Cajun, so I’m guessing she put a whole lot of red pepper in the coating.

Luca’s dish makes me hungry. It’s a spiced pork chop with Brussels sprouts and creamy mashed sweet potatoes. Krissi’s looks good, too. It’s citrus grilled shrimp with collard greens and fried green tomato. Natasha also went the “Cajun” route, and I can see the red pepper on the catfish. I admit, I would’ve done the cornmeal fry for that, although I guess one of the reasons they were sticking to the grill was buttermilk. It looks like she’s got a biscuit on the plate, but the chryon says it’s potato au gratin. Her second side is cabbage slaw. She also put Andouille sausage in her starch.

I’d try James bourbon BBQ chicken, but I don’t care for legumes or cooked carrots, so I wouldn’t touch the black-eyed peas and honey glazed carrots. Otherwise, I’d like to try all five dishes, even including Krissi’s fried green tomato. There’re a couple sides I wouldn’t have thought of, either. When James describes his chicken breast, he says it’s bone-in, which explains a lot. You always have to cook chicken with the bone in longer than you would normally think to. I hope he got them all finished okay.

The judges circulate. Gordon notices one of James’ breasts is underdone. He has to cut it apart and put it back on the grill, and when he does so, Joe says it’s raw. It turns out that Natasha’s fish was uniformly undercooked. I’m not surprised, what with her having to change heat sources. The judges sit down with Paula to discuss the dishes, and agree with me that some things (Natasha’s catfish) just have to be fried.

My guess for the top two is Luca and Jessie, and I’m right. They get a glass of champagne. The next day, they also get to go in the pantry with the judges, where they get to decide who has to cook one of the judges’ top dishes from one of their restaurants. Gordon’s dish is an appetizer, a sea scallop salad with confit potatoes and a truffle vinaigrette. Joe’s is a filet Rossini. Graham’s is a dessert, which got him his second Michelin star. It’s a Greek yogurt panna cotta. They are both targeting Natasha, so I’m kinda bummed.  Natasha gets the salad, of course, and Krissi gets Joe’s, so even though she claims she’s out of her element, I think she’ll manage it just like she did the soup. James, of course, is way out of his element. They get to taste the dish and are given 45 minutes.

The judges talk about the intricacies of each dish, most of which involve timing. Natasha’s confident with 30 minutes remaining. James puts the panna cotta in the fridge, not the blast chiller, which upsets Luca, because that’s a huge mistake, and he wants Natasha to go home. Krissi also makes what Jessie thinks is a mistake. Although James tells Graham he put the panna cotta in the fridge, Graham doesn’t tell him of his error, which is fair. It looks like it set, though. They agree with Jessie that Krissi might’ve overdone her filet, and worry about Natasha’s timing on the scallops, but she seems to do what they were hoping she would. Gordon likes her sear, and the uniformity of the sizes. He says it’s not perfect, but a bloody good effort. Graham tells her the scallops are perfect, and says it’s a good effort. Joe calls her out for not quite looking the same, which is the other thing they want in a duplication effort.

Joe is proud of Krissi’s presentation, but when he cuts into the meat, there’s a definite line where she cooked it on one side too long. She also left the skin on the pear, but Joe’s still impressed. Gordon likes the polenta, but thinks the filet is overcooked. James’ presentation doesn’t really look like Graham’s dish, and when Graham puts his spoon in, you can see the panna cotta has not set. Gordon says it tastes nice, but it’s not set properly. He calls it a shame. Krissi thinks James is going home and she’s safe, and I’m afraid I think so, too. Although I shouldn’t, I notice she’s wearing a different outfit in her interview, and he isn’t. To no-one’s real surprise, James is sent home. Gordon tells James to go marry his fiancée and get into a kitchen. James thinks Luca’s recent roll will take him to the end.

Requiescat in pace

I join many others in expressing my shock and grief over the untimely death of Cory Monteith (aka Finn Hudson on Glee). I can’t help but recall three other similar tragedies; the losses of Heath Ledger, Brittany Murphy and Amy Winehouse. Here’s the thing. Rumors are going around that Cory lost his battle with drugs. I wish and pray that isn’t true; that he did not die of a drug overdose, accidental or otherwise. Amy had gotten clean, but drugs had destroyed her body so that her heart just gave out. I hope the tragedy of Cory’s death might be lessened if the same is true of him. But what I’d really like is for people to not speculate until the autopsy results have returned. IRL, it takes longer than the hour on CSI. I am a huge fan of Glee and cannot even fathom what his TV family and real family might be going through. I wish peace for all of them and desire that everyone leaves them alone in their grief to mourn.

Nina Lisa

Catching up soon

You’d think, what with the holiday we just had, where most shows were repeats, that I’d’ve caught up on my blogging. But if you’re reading this, you already know you’re wrong. I’m going to post *last* week’s Switched At Birth recap/review, probably skip this week’s, DDD, and Teen Wolf (sorry, Jules), and perhaps tomorrow I’ll be able to cover SYTYCD. I’m hoping to “liveblog” MasterChef tonight, but I’m not making any guarantees.

Nina Lisa

Although Bones premieres on Sept. 16, I’m no longer planning on watching/recapping it. I prefer to watch DWTS, and right now that’s most likely to be on only on Mondays. And when Bones switches to a new day on November 8, I definitely won’t be watching it opposite Grimm and Hawaii 5-O. As for Sleepy Hollow, a new show premiering as the Bones’  Monday night lead-out, we’ll see. I’m interested, but I may be watching it online.

Also slated for online watching are Glee, premiering Sept. 19, and new show Masterchef Junior, premiering Sept. 27. I’m undecided about new show Enlisted, which will be the second half of the Bones’ lead-out when it switches to Fridays.

NT

Ugh, a cold open. With a remix of Putting on the Ritz (originally written by Irving Berlin, which was a shock to me). Backstage footage done like this isn’t really my thing, except during awards shows. Hello, Tabitha! And Travis Wall! Yay! They dance down a hall filled with production members nodding their heads to the beat. OMG, Nigel doing animation? I might have to change my mind. Travis wanders through again with a boa that looks smashing on him, and there’s Nick, too, I think. I’m glad to hear Shaping Sound is still doing well and going strong, though I don’t know what happened to their world tour. There’s Mary dancing with Jason Gilkison. The only thing that could top this would be if Cat joined in, but she doesn’t. Pout.

Cat gives a shout out to Herb Alpert, who was the guy behind the bar in the hall, with his trumpet clearly laid out on top of it. D’oh. The dancers have ten seconds to give us their life story, accompanied by silly bullet points.

Mariah and Carlos. Jive by Jason Gilkison. For a krumper, she’s doing pretty well, as far as I can see. She’s a big girl, tho, and Carlos seems to be struggling a bit with the lifts. Mary agrees with me, and, per uzh, gives great technical advice. Wayne does, too. Yes, he’s not known for dancing, but he does have training, people. Triple threat, that one. Quadruple if you count comedy/improv. Nigel thinks if the audience votes for energy, they’re safe. We’ll see.

Cat tells us all about some new super vote app. Evidently you can vote up to 20 times for however many dancers you like. Well, at least we’re no longer suffering mediocre dancers being dragged along by superior partners. I don’t have a smart phone to use the app on, not that I’m planning on voting anyway. America tends to eff it up on a regular basis in my opinion, and with the new “only one night a week” business, there’s no opportunity for me to vote to save someone everyone else wants to throw under a bus. Yes, I’m still bitter about this show (and DWTS) going this way. I’d rather see it done on a show like American Idol or America’s Got Talent. Or even The X Factor.

Jasmine M and Alan. Contemporary by Travis Wall. If you’ve read some of my other dance recaps, you might already know I don’t like contemporary. But I love Travis’ choreography as much as I love Derek’s, so I think I’ll dig this. They’re dancing blindfolded to an Ingrid Michaelson cover of Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love”, which I always thought was titled, “Fools Rush In”. And the routine is simply gorgeous, as we can expect from Travis. They do quite well. Alan’s a little cutie, but I’ll try not to lust too much since he’s well below my cut-off. He’s almost as tall as Cat, who gives a shout out to Gene (and Elena) cheering wildly in the audience. Nigel has a good comment for Alan regarding showing emotion, then turns creepy uncle, again per uzh. Mary could feel the chemistry.

Malece and Jade. Jazz by Travis Wall. During Jade’s segment, we get to learn a new word, coulrophobia. That’s what Seeley Booth has. Malece is a beast. I’m in love with her now. Jade is doing OK. Nigel agrees with me about Malece’s strength, and compliments Jade on his partnering. Good point. Wayne gives some good technical advice to Jade. Mary likes Jade better than I did.

Jenna and Tucker. Broadway by Tyce Diorio. Tucker makes a great nerd, and he is just amazeballs. Such control over his body. Jenna kills it, of course. Two of my favorite dancers. There’s a spinning bit where they’re a mite off, but overall it’s fantastic. No, Mary, Dancing in the Sheets is a different song. Wayne loses his words and unintentionally pulls a Lil’ C for a second. Nigel calls them a power couple and I couldn’t agree more. That’s what I was thinking while I watched the routine; I just couldn’t put it into words.

Brittany and BluPrint. Afro Jazz by Sean Cheeseman. Hmm. I thought it was African Jazz. Pretty sure that’s what DWTS called it. Afro jazz sounds like they should all be wearing big, puffy, 70’s style wigs. They’re both completely out of their styles, but I think they do an incredible job. I don’t know much about African Jazz, but I’m just going to say Mark Ballas needs to watch this show. He could learn something. When the camera cuts to Sean in the audience, I realize he was also part of the opening number. Wayne and Nigel are complimentary, and Mary puts them on a train. Not sure it’s the Hot Tamale one, tho, since she doesn’t specify. Hard to believe I truly missed her screams the season she was gone.

After the break, we get to see a clip of Nigel and Adam demonstrating one of the moves from the Everybody Dance choreography for National Dance Day, which will be July 27. Cat asks Nigel if he’s done anything else. He denies it, and fake tries to cut her off as she segues into a funnyordie video of him and Adam parodying the latest exercise fad, prancing. At least the “woman” leading them is too tall to be Pearl McKay.

Alexis and Nico. Hip hop by Christopher Scott, with an assist – or not – from Cyrus. The two seem to me to have plenty of swag, and might even be bucc, for all I know, even if Nico does remind me of Justin Bieber in that getup. (No, MSWord, I am NOT adding that surname to my spelling dictionary.) Chris threw in a couple of moves for each of them in their own styles, and Nico does this amazing flip. He also manages to convince me Alexis really did connect further up on that kick than planned, but Cat quickly disabuses me of that notion. Continuing that theme, Nigel quickly disabuses me of the idea that anything about that was bucc. Or even swag. His mention of down and dirty reminds me it did all seem like they were just going through the motions.

Makenzie and Paul. Viennese waltz by Jason Gilkison, who seems surprised that Paul’s never done it or any other ballroom. Guess the Armenian SYTYCD didn’t require it, or, more likely, he never drew it. Paul’s another cutie, and though he’s older than Alan, he’s still below my cut-off. Sigh. But the routine just leaves me cold, and I don’t know why. I think their dancing is just fine. The judges all disagree with me.

Jasmine H and Aaron. Jazz by Sonya Tayek. Jasmine H. is another gal I love, and evidently they’re well matched in height, so I’m excited to see this pairing. Unfortunately, although they’re both great dancers, this is one of those routines I have difficulty separating from contemporary, and at times, it even reminds me of Sean’s Afro Jazz one. It’s definitely a Sonya Tayek routine, however. But you know how I feel about contemporary, and this looks like the only thing remotely jazz-like about it is the music. So different from Travis’ routine.

Wayne grabs Nigel’s dirty old man cape and asks Jasmine where she was when he was 20. He then cuts loose with another Lil’ C imitation, this one intentional. After that, he correctly uses an adverb, telling Aaron he dances “amazingly”. Nigel calls them another power couple, which I’m not sure I see, and calls out Jasmine’s incredible legs. He’s also glad that Aaron made it on the show. Mary agrees.

Hayley and Curtis. Hip hop by Christopher Scott. The routine feels more contemporary at the beginning, but when they get into actually busting a move, Hayley shows me what Alexis and Nico should’ve been doing. Curtis, who was rather tentative in rehearsals about being sexual with Hayley, seems to have transferred that to this portion of the routine. But I must make a caveat: Christopher Scott’s routines in general usually seem to be a lighter, sweeter version of street dancing; in fact, I’m fairly sure that criticism has been used by one of the judges before. Nigel agrees with me about it being what Alexis and Nico needed to do. Evidently the judges saw more swag in Curtis than I did, and Wayne tells his “little brother” he’s all grown up.

Amy and Fik-Shun. Contemporary by Sonya Tayek. Two of my favorite dancers, so I hope I like it. Wow. I loved it. Fik-Shun remains my absolute #1 male dancer this season. His emotions, his partnering, his control, his lines, just everything about him is exquisite. I think he’s this season’s Cyrus. And Amy was also completely brilliant. Sonya’s nearly in tears, Cat has chills, and all three judges as well as the audience are on their feet. Well deserved. Mary loved it. Wayne didn’t get to see all of the auditions, and he thought Fik-Shun was a contemporary dancer. Nigel calls them his favorite couple of the evening, Beauty (Fik-Shun) and the Beast (Amy), and predicts they’ll easily be in the top four next week.

That was my favorite dance of the night, I think. Second was Travis’ contemporary, third his jazz. My favorite female dancers are Jenna, Jasmine H and Malece tied for 2nd, and Amy (and possibly Mariah) in third. Favorite males are Fik-Shun, Paul, Nico, and Alan tied for 2nd,  and Curtis, Tucker, Jade, and BluPrint in a dead heat for third.

A Grimm Long Wait

Grimm returns to our screens on Friday, Oct. 25th, followed by the premiere of the “limited series” Dracula. Should be watching this as it airs.

Ah, yes, tonight’s the horrible mystery box. Evidently it’s full of foreign food. And Joe’s mother joins the judges. Whee! The cooks file in. They don’t know yet who will be returning from Vegas. Of course, Krissi is upset because her BFF is gone. Wah. Hope it throws her off her game.

Hmm. I always wonder what the huge advantage is. It’s about time for the winner to get to choose one ingredient for themselves and another for everyone else. They lift the boxes and are completely confused at all the ethnic food labels. Graham tells them there’s stuff from Russia, Spain, China, and all around the globe. Then he tells them they’ll have to figure out what everything is on their own. Oh, boy. This should be interesting.

The clock starts ticking and the cooks start tasting and sniffing. Even Jordan gags over something and decides not to use it. The judges look over the collection. There’s venison; mohama, which Joe says is Spanish salt-cured tuna; Okinawa sweet potato, which Graham says is like a yam and very starchy; calf liver; Chinese ground moss, which Gordon tries on as a beard, Joe as a toupee and Graham as a mustache. As they go through the ingredients, we see the cooks reacting to each one. Bri tosses the moss, which most people are quite sure is hair, in a pot and crosses herself. The judges discuss what they’d make. I think this would’ve been an interesting one for Gordon or one of the others to compete with the cheftestant’s on. I’d think I could recognize the steak and the liver, and maybe try a steak and liver combo – I was thinking steak and kidney, but I’m not sure liver would apply itself to that; kidneys are chewier. And I’d probably do something with the sweet potato. Gordon starts the countdown, and I see what looks like green sauce over some meat. I really need to do a chimichurri someday.

The first dish brought forward is Eddie’s. He made an elk flank with Japanese sweet potato puree. Gordon has to tell him what’s on the plate; all he knows is that the meat is gamy. There’re some greens on top of the steak. Gordon loves it. Graham tells him he pulled it off. Joe compliments him for preparing a dish that looks simple but is actually complex.

Dish number two belongs to Jordan. Argh. Graham makes him say what it is. It’s a stack salad with Chinese moss and baby eels, according to the chryon, so that’s what I’m going by. Evidently he thought the moss was vermicelli. Graham likes it. So does Gordon.

The last dish is Bime’s. Lynn visibly winces, prompting Gordon to tell him that while his presentation was beautiful, he needs to season things more. Bime’s dish is elk flank with baby eels and sweet potato. His potato looks more purple than Eddie’s was. I wonder if he recognized the eels. Joe tells him he hit all the notes and compares it to a symphony. Gordon tells him he nailed it.

So I’ve got two dogs in this race against one I despise. Gordon says the advantage is unlike any they’ve given out in the history of the competition. I wonder if the winner gets Mrs. Bastianich as a sous chef/consultant? Eddie wins!!!! They head into the pantry. Joe starts off by saying the challenge is very near and dear to his heart: pasta with a filling, and my suspicions about Mrs. B’s role rise higher.  I don’t catch the name of the pasta he says, because he puts the full Italian spin on it, but it looks like gnocchi, and that’s possibly what he said. Graham shows off a dish of mezzelune. That’s a very thin pasta. Gordon introduces what he says is calamari pasta, but the cooked pasta doesn’t look like it resembles the rings of squid I associate with that word. Eddie’s first advantage is that he doesn’t have to cook. So he picks the most difficult pasta to work with. This time, Graham pronounces it, and it turns out it’s agnolotti. Which actually looks more like the dish he said was mezzelune. Since I just looked them all up on thenibble.com, I’m not surprised. The judges say they’re going to do a demo, and this is where Joe’s mother comes in. Krissi is already going nuts; she’s a huge fan, evidently. And James is quite happy, too.

Turns out Lynn’s been wanting to learn how to make agnolotti, so he’s excited. And then, Gordon tells Eddie he gets to pick two of his competitors to sit out the demonstration. Krissi says she’ll kill him where he stands, and from the look he shoots her, it’s a good thing looks are harmless. I expect him to pick her just to be an ass, I know I would. But I admit I can have a bit of a temper, and what he needs is a cool head. He needs to pick two people he thinks would not only lose by not watching it, but who are also strong in the kitchen. Take Jordan, for example. I don’t think Jordan would lose by watching it, and he’s strong in the kitchen, so I wouldn’t pick him. I’d pick someone like Bri or Bethy. Eddie agrees with me. He picks James (yeah, good choice, even tho I like James) and Lynn. Yes, I would’ve picked him, too, but that’s because I saw the interview.

They’ll be making the pasta from scratch. My counter’s usually pretty damn clean, but I don’t think I’d ever feel comfortable making pasta on it. As the demo continues, James and Lynn promise each other they’re gunning for Eddie. I’m not paying a lot of attention, but I do catch that you shouldn’t use a food processor to mix this, and that you should use leftover meats. Demo over, James and Lynn return, and the 60 minute countdown begins. I expect Luca to do well. Howard starts talking about putting jalapenos in it. I don’t particularly care to try to fusion cultures, myself. Johnny’s making a maple alfredo, which he claims is popular in New England.

Gordon stops Lynn from using a food processor, but possibly not in time. Eddie’s hopeful he made the right decision there. When Gordon talks to James, I see stuff in his food processor, too. He’s making a tomato vodka sauce, which can be quite yummy. Joe tells the cooks to put their pasta in the water. The judges think Eddie may have dealt Lynn out of the competition. Beth can’t figure out why her water’s not boiling. The judges tell her to cover her pot and put the pasta in. With 90 seconds left, she throws it in a frying pan. Gordon starts the countdown. Mrs. B picks James to go first. She tells him it’s good. Graham thinks so, too. Lynn’s next. Whoever put the chryon up doesn’t know how to spell leek. Lynn didn’t fold the pasta correctly. Both Gordon and Joe are telling Lynn Eddie got a bull’s-eye on him..

Johnny’s smoked maple alfredo is next. Lydia warns him she doesn’t think it’s going to work before she tastes it. She thinks it’s more like a dessert and he should put cinnamon in it, but it doesn’t work for a pasta. Jessie’s dish passes inspection. Krissi interviews that she’s so sick of “Southern belle” Jessie. Krissi, I’m sick of your New Jersey ass. Shut up. Unfortunately, Lynn likes her dish, too. Beth comes up, and as much as I’d hate to see her go home, I’d rather she went than Lynn. But I don’t think the pasta was that bad. Howard put bell peppers in his, and Lydia doesn’t like it. She’s nice, but Joe chews him out. Howard gives him a bit of attitude, and Joe tears him a new one. I have to agree with Joe about his assessment of Howard as a narcissist in full denial. Howard’s interview about that doesn’t help his case, either.

Gordon calls Krissi out as being one of the two top dishes, saying they expected it from her. But there was one even better, and that was Jessie’s. Hee. And they’re bringing four people down: Johnny, Lynn, Howard, and Beth. Johnny and Beth step forward. Gordon tells them they’re lucky there were two worse dishes and sends them back to their station. From Gordon’s speech, I think Lynn’s going home. But he claims the person who’s going home knows who he is and tells him to do the honorable thing. And to my surprise, Howard takes his apron off, saying Lynn’s the better cook.

The chefs arrive at Paramount Studios, and Bri is the first to recognize the set of Glee. She’s ecstatic. They’ll be serving over 100 members of the cast and crew. Joe tells Jessie and Krissi they won’t be picking their teams; they’ve brought someone in to pick them. And in walks Jane Lynch!!! This must’ve been shot before she left for her Broadway gig. She calls Jessie a Beauty and Krissi a Beast, and divides the teams as she thinks they might be beauty or beast. Once they’re divided, she asks if they’re happy. Neither one really is, and Jane says she’s not happy, either. She swaps Beth for Natasha, and Johnny for Lynn. Jessie is now happy, since that puts Lynn on her team.

Red Team: Jessie, Bri, ??, Beth, Lynn, Luca, Eddie. Blue Team: Krissi, James, Bethy, Bime, Jordan, Johnny. They head to the back lot to find out what they’re cooking. Three of the regular lunch dishes: Fried chicken with fries and slaw, grilled salmon with asparagus and scalloped potatoes, and vegan lasagna with salad. Once the cast or crew member decides, they get one dish from each team and vote on their favorite. The teams have 90 minutes. Jessie and Krissi both seem to be strong leaders, and quickly get their teams to work.

Jessie’s slicing potatoes, and forgets to put the guard back on the mandolin. She’s done some serious damage to her finger. The medic is putting one of those powders on it to stop it bleeding, but Gordon tells him it’s still coming through. Jessie almost passes out; she cut into the nerve and can’t handle blood to begin with, and then Gordon shows her and the medic her fingernail.  She loses almost an hour, she went out only 15 minutes in and comes back with only 20 left. The red team’s salmon is sticking to the grill, and as the judges converse, it looks like the blue team is so far ahead that the red team has to have incredible flavors to win.

Blue’s chicken is a spicy Latin fried chicken with jalapeno ranch sauce; Red’s is a traditional Southern buttermilk fried chicken. Blue has a balsamic marinated grilled salmon, Red has a soy ginger glaze on theirs (which is what was causing it to stick to the grill). Blue’s vegan lasagna has a spicy tomato sauce; the Red team’s has a pesto sauce. Both look like they’re topped with cheese, which is a no-no for a true vegan dish. Earlier, I caught a sound bite from Krissi hoping they didn’t run out of chicken, and my experience with reality TV made me take a mental note. Sure enough, they’re running out, but the narrator said neither team was prepared, and indeed, Jenna Ushkowitz will have to vote for Blue by default. And then Joe discovers at least one blue plate with chicken that’s still raw in the middle. I don’t know who’s going to win this one, but I’m so far behind on this recap vs. the show, I’m going to stop until the reveal. As Gordon starts to make the announcement, Jane and Matthew Morrison lead a marching band out to help. Jane steals the megaphone from Gordon to announce the score was 90-37, Red. Excellent!

Gordon breaks it down for them. It turns out Jordan’s salmon lost it for Blue. Krissi is given the decision to save at least one, but at least two must compete. She lets Johnny and Natasha go up to the balcony and gives a cock and bull story about saving herself for her kid. Jordan calls her out for giving him crap when he did the same thing, and, in a talking head, calls her a hypocritical bitch. For once, I agree with him.

The remaining cooks are not happy to discover the pressure test is a lemon meringue pie, and even less so when it’s revealed they can use any citrus except lemon. Again, I’m not going to discuss stuff, except to note that Bime used cream of tartar instead of cornstarch in his filling, and only discovers it when he starts on the meringue. As Gordon starts the countdown, the chefs start torching their meringues. Jordan’s looks good. James knows his is poor. It’s blood orange and lime. Gordon tells him is crust is raw, the curd is “way” insufficient, but tastes quite nice. And his meringue isn’t cooked all the way. Bethy made a lime meringue. It looks good, but her curd breaks when Graham serves it out. He says he likes the flavor, but her foundation is like a deck of cards. Gordon says her crust is raw. Jordan did a lime and Key lime meringue pie. Joe says his crust is thin and raw, but it held together. His curd looks nice and even, and tastes good. Bime’s looks a disaster. He also did lime. Krissi’s beside herself with glee. Gordon lifts a piece out, and his curd isn’t even cooked. I’m quite sure he’s gone. That is the worst pie out there. I’m not surprised that Jordan and James are safe, and Bime’s mistake sends him home.

Next week, the mystery box contains a pig’s head, and Christine returns to challenge the chefs to cook blind. Frankenediting would have us believe Krissi and Joe get into it. See you then!

NT

Drop Dead in June!

I was unaware Drop Dead Diva had been uncancelled, so I was very happy to see this item in Marc Berman’s TVMI newsletter:

Lifetime Announces Return Date for “Drop Dead Diva”
Lifetime dramedy “Drop Dead Diva,” which was actually canceled by the cable network last January and revived six weeks later for a fifth season, is returning with the first of 13 new episodes on Sunday, June 23 at 9 p.m. ET.

USA, USA!

Much thanks to Marc Berman, from whose TVMI newsletter I copied this:

USA Announces Summer Premiere Dates
USA Network has unveiled its summer series launch dates, which will include new episodes of dramas “Burn Notice,” “Royal Pains,” “Necessary Roughness,” “Covert Affairs” and “Suits,” plus new scripted drama “Graceland” and new reality series “Summer Camp.”  “Graceland,” the tale of a group of undercover agents from the FBI, DEA and US Customs who reside and operate under one roof, will premiere on Thursday, June 6 at 10 p.m. ET out of the new season of “Burn Notice” (which will hit the 100-episode mark this summer).

Next on USA are returning dramas “Royal Pains” and “Necessary Roughness” effective on Wednesday, June 12 from 9-11 p.m., followed by “Covert Affairs” and “Suits” in the Tuesday 9-11 p.m. block beginning on July 16.  “Summer Camp” from “Big Brother” producers Allison Grodner and Rich Meehan, will feature a diversified group of 16 adults who head back to summer camp for over-the-top competitions inspired by classic camp games.  It debuts on an unspecified day and time in July.

Next fall on USA, meanwhile, will feature the return of drama “White Collar” and the debut of inspirational reality series “The Choir,” which is based on the British series of the same name and follows choirmaster Gareth Malone as he brings people together around the country through the power of music.

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