Now, I was watching them because in my house, it's like a party when my mom and I get together to watch these shows. On AI, we form a 2-panel judging team, with her judging singing and me judging everything else. (fashion, physical beauty, personality as based on interview clips) Plus she gets a kick out of my exaggerated expressions/reactions to things, like when Phil leers into the camera with his creepy alien-face, and I simulataneously lean farther away from the screen. It's fun. We crack each other up. And the whole family joins in the mockery of the 5th Grade show, with my dad putting on accents and pantomining the college graduates' struggles to fathom how many sides are on a rhombus. So there - that's my excuse. If I was all by myself, I wouldn't watch either of those shows.
1) "Special Performer" - Carrie Underwood. YAWN. Look, Carrie's gorgeous. And "Some Hearts" was a really fun and catchy song. But I'm sorry, "Jesus Take the Wheel"? That is the stupidest song ever written. It is the epitome of the reason people don't like country music. Her song tonight wasn't much better. I heard the phrase "ain't no" in there, and I don't care how pretty you are - attaching your name to a song with that kind of grammar automatically relegates you to Hickville with Gretchen Wilson. And the song itself just wasn't that interesting, not musically (except for the fiddle), and not in terms of storytelling.
2) The smarmy, cheesy schmaltz fest that was the special "raise money for the poor Americans/Africans" campaign fronted by Ryan & Simon. It always kind of makes me sick when celebrities visit Africa and wander through the impoverished villages full of mud huts and wide-eyed tots, smiling for camera crews and photo ops all the way. I don't care what the intent is - when you make a big show of it, it's just gross. You know what would impress me? If you went and visited without a professional documentation team, and/or you just donated money behind the scenes without turning it into a campaign. I especially love how they're going to give viewers "the opportunity" to donate - like, how big of you. As if people have never given to charity before. Ugh. Right now, this is actually worse than Ford pimp-o-mercials. At least those were funny in their cheese factor.
2.5) Mom & I were talking through this whole section, so I wasn't really paying attention, but when they were rattling off all those big-name singers, were those people going to be on the show in some capacity? Because I heard "Josh Groban" and nearly fainted in delight at the prospect. Then I nearly fainted again, recoiling in horror at the thought of Josh coming anywhere near this piece of crap. Just...no. Josh, you're too good for this.
3) Mother and I about got into a fight over Antonella this week. Being as Mother is an annoyingly one-track-minded supporter of the "singing competition" aspect of this show, she keeps agreeing with Simon that Antonella is "nice, and gorgeous" - during the audition episodes, she cheered her on - "but she's just not as good of a singer as the other women, except maybe Haley." I keep telling her I do not CARE, because PRETTY, DAMMIT! (Okay. I don't actually swear around my mother, but that was the gist of it)
So she goes up for Judgment Time, along with Stephanie. I let out a loud "Boo!" at the latter.
Mom: What's wrong with Stephanie [Edwards]?
Me: She's ugly and boring!
Mom: Aside from that?
Antonella looks like she's going to throw up. So do I, actually, because we both know what's coming. And sure enough, "your journey ends here." Oh, hell. Antonella looks crushed. You know, I would have been okay if she'd been voted out first of the top 12, even, but she should have gotten at least that far. She had enough star power to be on the AI tour. Especially given who IS going to be on that tour, and definitely not deserving it. But more on that later. I'm sure people will be happily ragging on her about the way she fell apart during her send-off performance, messing up lyrics and having trouble controlling the emotion in her voice, but hell if I'll join them. She's a 20 year old college student. Have you met one of those lately? They're frequently on the verge of mental breakdowns. And she's been maligned and blasted on all sides by the media, which hasn't done wonders for her confidence. She wanted this, okay, more than a lot of people who might talk about how it's been a great and life-changing experience, but when they're sent home will shrug and say "hey,that was fun while it lasted." She saw this as her one chance to shine in the spotlight. It's not like she couldn't sing at all; she was decent enough and with a little training, she'd get better. While I can't believe she won't get offered a ton of future projects (modeling/acting, are my bets), right now she has tunnel vision, and the tunnel just collapsed. Also, I bet it will be a long time before she can listen to "Put Your Records On" without crying. It's going to be a long time before I can listen to that song without wanting to cry.
4) Oh yeah, Jared's gone too. I find I am extraordinarily okay with this, even though Mom is sad because she thought he seemed nice and was one of the better singers. To which I say - hah! If I lose my darling, you have to give up yours, too.
5) So then it comes down to Sabrina or Haley. Well, this is an easy one; Sabrina's got a voice up there with all those other women the judges are always praising and predicting will win, while Haley is a mousy little thing who got blasted by all the judges last night, so obviously the latter is -- WTF SAFE?! The HELL is wrong with you voters? I didn't even like Sabrina all that much, but she was better than Haley. And also, listening to her sing that song for the second time, I all of a sudden found myself very much liking her. Better than Melinda, Lakisha, Stephanie, and possibly even Gina. Too bad, no tour for her! I can't believe Haley got into the top 12. That's just wrong. The judges have their first shocked/pissed-off look of the season, too.
6) And now it's down to Sundance and Sanjaya, and all of a sudden I want to bring Jared back and send both these guys home. I can't even decide who I want to see leave more. Sundance is ugly...but Sanjaya is weird and girly...eeney, meeney, miney, Sundance goes home. Well. The only reason I'm not cheering is because if you close your eyes and block out his image, Sundance is actually kind of entertaining when he sings. Sanjaya is not. And since he's not even attractive, he has no business getting on the tour. I don't mean to blast him, because he's a kid and looks rather emotionally fragile, and I'm not interested in hating him when there are much creepier people to trash, like Phil, but...
The judges look even more shocked and pissed off. Really, really pissed off, since they pulled every string they could to hand-pick their Golden Boy and send him through way more audition rounds than he deserved based on those individual performances. I'm feeling a little vindicated by that, actually, since he might be entertaining now, but he shouldn't have passed Hollywood.
7) And on a side note, why does everyone keep calling Chris R cute? He is small, round and stocky, with scruffy facial hair nearly indistinguishable from the stubbly bristle on the rest of his head. He is the Caucasian version of AJ, a/k/a The Muppet. Look, I like piercing blue eyes as much as the next person, but surely they can't override all the other stuff.
Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader - real quick like.
I shall have thoughts on Survivor tomorrow, after it becames available for viewing online, because I was too lazy to set a tape.
5 AM Edit: You know, I think I'll just add on to this post.
Note to Self: Online streaming is highly unreliable with the home connection, prone to blurry imagery followed by the picture sticking and jumping while the sound plays steadily, followed by the sound deteriorating until it becomes robot-speak, problems which may or may not (temporarily) be corrected by playing in Real Player. Mostly not. I think I got the gist of last night's ep, though.
Good point. But much like her recap, I'll find some more words. In fact, I'll divide it up smartly into seven simple sections. (See Stephanie succeed at...uh, 's there a synonym for 'alliteration'?)
At Ravu: the guys whine because Rita & Michelle talk too much. And not just that, but they talk about stuff like *gasp* hair and makeup and fashion. And this is outrageous, outrageous, Rocky thinks! How dare they have discussion topics that do not involve directly attacking other tribe members and/or expressing rage at their inherent suckiness at challenges and bitching about how hungry they are! At the very least, they could be wandering around naked to lighten the mood! *eye roll* I thought it was actually rather cute, given that there are a good 20 years' age difference between the two, that Rita & Michelle get along so well. And not just because they're the only girls - because they genuinely have a lot in common and get along. Okay, and it was just plain "aw"some to see them fixing each other's hair.
At Moto: Lisi and Stacy snort piggishly/speak snottily and condescendingly to the po' black formerly-homeless man who doesn't know how to make instant coffee. Point and laugh! Point and laugh! Having finished mocking him, they saunter off, where despite repeated explanations designed to be perfectly clear to third graders, they fail to comprehend the idea that an alliance of 5 is in fact not a majority if you alienate the other two members of your tribe in such a way that will make them join the other tribe, who will already have at least 3 members of their own, at the merge. (barring one of Survivor's trademark game-switching twists) It's especially not a majority if by, say, refusing to listen to such talk, you piss off some of the people currently in your alliance enough to make them dump your ass.
Alex and Edgardo, clearly the brains of the camp (though that's not saying much) and also nearly indistinguishable from one another aside from the latter's accent, finally appear to be wising up, at least a little bit. You don't know how hard I laughed when Alex was like, "I'm going to kill myself. HOW CAN PEOPLE THIS STUPID EVEN LIVE?" Now I'm just waiting for one of them to go all the way and charm Cassandra into their alliance while quietly dropping Lisi from it. They'll lose Stacey that way, but hey - I'll bet they can convince Boo to their side; he doesn't appear to do much of his own thinking anyway. And then they'll have an alliance even without Dreamz (though they should include him anyway. He'd probably be happy to send Lisi packing). And on that note, Edgardo got his first interview! Woo! His accent isn't actually as charming as I'd hoped it was, but at least now I know that.
Animal Photography Shot: Gecko licks own eyeballs. It's actually kind of cool. I like when the stuff I used to read about on my Wildlife Fact File sheets comes to life on video.
Challenge 1: I always like the sparring matches, even when they're so poorly matched it's laughable. I mean, they matched people pretty well in terms of physical strength, but when you factor in how one is fed & rested and the other is sleeping without an overhead shelter and existing on scattered bits of fruit...yeah. Still, it was fairly entertaining. But why did the terrain surrounding the sparring platform have to be mud? What's wrong with water? Or even dry sand? What is with the producers always wanting people to get dirty during challenges; do they have some sort of mud fetish?
Challenge 2: The producers continue to subtly try and balance out the game by finally swapping out a physical challenge for a mental one. A test-your-memory game, to be exact - you know, flip two things over; if they match you get a point, if not you cover them both up again. Once again it's down to the wire, but Ravu's mental strength fails along with their physical strength, and Cassandra swoops in for Moto to prove that she is way better than Lisi at challenges, by succeeding on the final round for the second challenge in a row. Way to close! You're about the only truly likable person left in Camp Moto.
Voting: And it's bye-bye Rita, for talking too much, apparently. As opposed to Rocky, who apparently talks just the right amount. I'd say they were keeping him around for his strength at challenges, except...isn't this tribe's whole voting strategy usually based on whoever blows the final stage of the day's immunity challenge? Whatever. I almost wish Anthony HAD gotten voted out this week instead of her, because while I like him, at least Rita is fun to watch. Anthony is just the smaller, quieter, wimpier and less universally liked version of Earl.
Next Week: Realizing that all the post-game editing in the world will not hide the fact that their raw footage is shaping up to be an incredibly pathetic season thus far, the producers say "to hell with subtlety" and forcibly try to make things more interesting by throwing the players into a mixing bowl and creating entirely new tribes again. I'm guessing they're still holding hard and fast to the whole "luxury versus extreme poverty" concept, though. "This is one twist that's GOING to last longer than 2 episodes, dammit, even if it kills