Thursday, March 31, 2011

Top Chef All Stars: Richard Blais is Top Chef

I liked the change to the Top Chef finale format, having it between two instead of three.

I thought Wednesday night's Top Chef finale was the best in Top Chef history.

The judges judged that the food coming from the Richard Blais kitchen and the Mike Isabella kitchen was the best in Top Chef history.

I liked how all the Top Chef's from the All Star season were brought to the Bahamas for the finale.

The Quickfire where the returned chefs had to make an amuse bouche, with Isabella and Blais then picking their 3 favorites, with the makers of those favorites being their sous chefs for the final Elimination Challenge, was a clever way to pick the sous chefs.

When Isabella and Blais discussed who they did not want helping, Isabella said he did not want Jamie. So, of course Isabella picked Jamie's amuse bouche.

But that worked out fine. In the end, Isabella was happy with Jamie's help.

Isabella's other sous chefs were Carla and Tiffini, while Blais got Spike, Angelo and Antonia.

The finale challenge was sort of like Restaurant Wars on steroids. Mike and Richard had an hour to prepare a menu and 5 hours to cook. And they also had to make the restaurant of their dreams.

The Richard Blais restaurant was named "Tongue in Cheek," while Isabella's was something like "Iz's."

All the judges were impressed with all the food. Making it very hard to pick a winner.

In the end they picked Richard Blais to be Top Chef.

All the other chefs got to watch the final judgment, along with Mike Isabella's wife and mother. Richard's wife was about to have a baby, so an uncle was his relative in the room.

When they were in the Stew Room, Richard told Mike that if he won the $200,000 he'd give Mike money so he could start his restaurant too.

I doubt either of these two will have a problem getting financing for a restaurant. Richard already has a company called TrailBlais and a modern hamburger joint called "Flip."

Starting last December Richard has been hosting a show on The Science Channel called Blais Off, in which he uses his scientific cooking methods to re-invent classic foods.

I was sort of surprised to learn that Mike Isabella had a wife and had reproduced. You could sort of tell he may have gotten his good looks from his mother.

I've yet to watch the Watch What Happens Live show to see who won fan favorite. My guess is Antonia. Or Carla.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Is the Top Chef All Stars Winner Richard Blais or Mike Isabella?

Tonight is the Top Chef All Stars finale, I think, where we learn if it is Richard Blais or Mike Isabella who wins Top Chef All Stars.

I'm okay with either winning. Yes, Mike Isabella has an annoying personality. But, the more exposure I got to that annoying personality, the less I found him annoying.

I was disappointed that Antonia lost the one bite challenge against her new found Isabella cousin and that it was not she, rather than Isabella who was in the final two with Blais.

One thing about Mike Isabella that you can not deny. He has improved on his cooking from when we first met him. And he came prepared to cook Caribbean food in the Bahamas.

I've seldom seen a guy who is so hard on himself as Richard Blais. He is so good at cooking you'd think he'd be real confident about it. Maybe it's the constant self-doubting that makes him so good.

There was a little buzz on the Internet that former Top Chef winner, Hosea, was going to be real happy if Mike Isabella wins, because, supposedly, this would have Isabella replacing Hosea as the most undeserving winner.

Methinks not.

Earlier in the Top Chef All Stars season, when there was speculation that Mike  Isabella wins, I opined that this would be a travesty worse that when that awful Mike "Boogie" Malin person, who was definitely not a Big Brother All Star, won Big Brother All Stars. This was an absurdity so offputting that I've never watched another episode of Big Brother.

That will not be my reaction if Mike Isabella wins Top Chef All Stars tonight. But, I hope Richard Blais wins.

Dancing With The Stars: Mike Catherwood First to Leave the Ballroom

With the lowest scores last week and Monday night, it was not a shocking surprise that Mike Catherwood was asked to leave the tribal council area immediately, I mean, leave the ballroom on Tuesday night's Dancing with the Stars.

I had never heard of the "star" Mike Catherwood before he became a "star" on Dancing with the Stars.

Mike Catherwood is a "star" because he is a radio personality on a radio station with the call letters, KROQ. He is also on something called "Loveline" which he co-hosts with Celebrity Re-hab's Dr. Drew.

Dr. Drew was in the audience watching his co-host get low scores Monday night.

Mike Catherwood seemed to be an amusing guy. He took losing his chance to go home with the glittering disco ball trophy with good humor, saying something like he was honored to be in the Elite Loser's Club along with Kenny Mayne, Jeffrey Ross and the Hoff.

Mike Catherwood heaped praise upon his pro partner, Lacey Schwimmer, who also lost her chance to take the glittering disco ball trophy home for the first time.

My favorites, so far, are definitely Kirstie Alley. Plus the Karate Kid, Ralph Macchio. I did not know that Ralph Macchio had reproduced. His son looked to be about the age Ralph was when he was the Karate Kid. The kid's name was Daniel. Wasn't that also the Karate Kid's name?

Nielsen Rating's Top 20 TV Shows for March 17 - March 23

The Nielsen Rating's Top 20 TV Shows for March 17 - March 23. The first number is the ranking, the second number is the season average, then the show name and network. The last number represents the number of viewers in millions. An asterisk * indicates a tie.

Rank Show name
Viewers in millions
Season-to-date average(in millions)
1. American Idol (Wed.)
2. Dancing with the Stars
3. American Idol (Thur.)
5. NCIS: Los Angeles
6. 60 Minutes
7. Castle
8. Undercover Boss
9. The Good Wife
10. CSI: Miami
11. Amazing Race
* Survivor: Redemption Island
13. Modern Family
14. NCAA: UConn/Arizona
15. NCAA: Kentucky/Ohio State
16. Secret Millionaire
17. Grey's Anatomy
18. Hawaii Five-O
19. Mike & Molly
20. House

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Judges Save Casey Abrams From Leaving American Idol

Thursday's American Idol Results Show was a strange one.

Casey Abrams and Stefano Langone were the bottom two.

Stefano was not too big a shock, but Casey Abrams being in the bottom was a bit of a surprise.

And then Ryan Seacrest said after a nationwide vote Casey Abrams had the fewest votes and was leaving American Idol.

Unless the judges choose to use their once a season Judges' Save.

Shell-shocked Casey struggled to sing for his life on the show, creakily crooning about 25 seconds of "Don't Need No Doctor" before the judges stopped the singing with Steven Tyler telling Casey, "We made a decision to keep you on."

So, next week 2 will be sent home.

I find the Judges' Save to be a  bit bizarre. First off you have millions of people voting on who they liked. And then the next day those votes are negated.

The premise of the Judges' Save is that somehow a mistake had  been made. Viewers thought someone safe and so did not vote for them. Or someone had an off night.

In past uses of the Judges' Save the person saved did not go on to win American Idol. 

Methinks the Judges' Save needs to be eliminated from American Idol.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Fast Forwarding Through American Idol & Survivor: Redemption Island

I am finding I am not enjoying American Idol as much as I was before the live shows started. And I've not been able to get hooked on the latest iteration of Survivor.

I don't like the Redemption Island addition to Survivor.

Wednesday night I let the DVR get about an hour of American Idol recorded. American Idol and Survivor air at the same time.

I fast forward through a lot of American Idol. It did not seem to take long before I was caught up with the live broadcast.

So, I switched to Survivor. I do not remember using the fast forward button much, previously, while watching Survivor. But I did last night.

There just are not very many memorable characters on this iteration of Survivor. Russell did not survive. Boston Rob remains. The only other names I remember are the crazy federal agent, Phillip and Matt on Redemption Island.

I did not care who got the boot, so I fast forwarded to the end and then switched back to American Idol.

Part of the problem with American Idol is it is 2 hours long. I believe each singer sings for about a minute and a half. With 11 singers that is 16 and a half minutes of singing in a 2 hour show.

Near as I could tell none of the singers were did poorly, at least judging by the judges' critiques. The judges gave James Lusk a standing ovation. I didn't get that.

The only criticism I heard that sticks in my memory was Jennifer Lopez telling Stefano Langone he needed to work harder at looking at the audience. Or something like that.

It was Motown theme might. I don't remember what Motown song he sang, but I thought Scotty McCreery's countrified version was real good.

I did not care who got kicked off the tribe last night on Survivor and I don't care who gets the boot tonight on American Idol.

But, I will likely keep watching.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Feeling Sad About the Passing of the Last Great Hollywood Star Elizabeth Taylor

It has happened only a few times in my life where I hear of the death of a celebrity and it hits me like hearing a close family member has died.

As far back as my memory goes I remember Elizabeth Taylor.

Just last month, during the Academy Awards I opined that the Oscar show is no longer like watching living history, with the stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood mostly gone and the few still alive, not attending the Academy Awards.

Elizabeth Taylor was the last of the Great Hollywood Stars.

When Katharine Hepburn died I felt bad. I'd come to greatly like and admire Katharine Hepburn. But, Katharine Hepburn never entered my consciousness til I was well in to my teenage years.

I have been aware of Elizabeth Taylor all my life.

I don't think there is a celebrity/star today who quite makes the stir Elizabeth Taylor did in her heyday. It was like she was an ongoing news story. All the world followed her affairs. And then she hooked up with Richard Burton, during the filming of Cleopatra, with the storm that erupted from that burning throughout the 1960s. By comparison, later movie star assignations, like the fuss made over Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, are nothing.

Before Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor wooed Eddie Fisher away from America's sweetheart, at the time, Debbie Reynolds. After putting the world through the spectacle of the Eddie Fisher affair Elizabeth Taylor then started up with Richard Burton.

No matter what bad girl behavior Elizabeth Taylor indulged in, she was an ever brighter star.

Elizabeth Taylor was married 8 times to 7 men. Conrad Hilton, Michael Wilding, Michael Todd, Eddie Fisher, Richard Burton, Richard Burton, again, John Warner and Larry Fortensky.

When Elizabeth Taylor married Senator John Warner, she tried to live the life of a Washington, D.C. political wife. This caused her to put on an awful lot of weight. I remember thinking it was awful sad how badly she'd let herself go. And then she divorced the senator, lost the weight and was back being one of the most beautiful women in the world again.

Elizabeth Taylor made some of my favorite movies. "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof." "Giant." "Butterfield 8" "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolfe?"

Elizabeth Taylor was nominated for the Best Actress Oscar several times, winning for "Butterfield 8" and "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolfe?"

Elizabeth Taylor was an early activist in the AIDS fight, after her Giant co-star, Rock Hudson died from AIDS, Elizabeth Taylor went on to raise millions for research.

I remember months ago reading that Elizabeth Taylor was not expected to last longer than six months, due to congestive heart failure that had had her ailing for years.

Elizabeth Taylor, born February 27, 1932, died March 23, 2011 at 79 years old.

Nielsen Rating's Top 20 TV Shows for March 10 - March 16

The Nielsen Rating's Top 20 TV Shows for March 10 - March 16. The first number is the ranking, the second number is the season average, then the show name and network. The last number represents the number of viewers in millions. An asterisk * indicates a tie.

RankShow name
Viewers in millions
1.American Idol (Wed.)
2.American Idol (Thur.)
3.Bachelor: After Final Rose
4.The Bachelor
5.Criminal Minds
7.NCIS: Los Angeles
8.60 Minutes
9.Undercover Boss
12.CSI: Miami
13.Survivor: Redemption Island
15.Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior
*Secret Millionaire
17.Harry's Law
18.Amazing Race
19.Two and a Half Men
20.Mike & Molly

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

12th Season of Dancing with the Stars Premieres with Ralph Macchio & Kirstie Alley On Top

I did not realize the 12th season of Dancing with the Stars premiered Monday night til I saw in on my list of DVR recordings.

So, I started watching with well over an hour already recorded. Which makes for a much better viewing experience with the fast forward ability.

Of this batch of  "stars" the only ones I knew of were Kirstie Alley, Ralph Macchio, Kendra Wilkinson, Sugar Ray Leonard and Wendy Williams.

Speaking of Kendra Wilkinson.

Her ex-boy friend, Hugh Hefner was in the audience. Hugh Hefner is starting to look like an old man. The audience seemed to be dominated by former Dancing with the Stars "stars."

And other "stars."

The set for Dancing with the Stars seems to be amped up, with a lot more light and sound action.

There is no Derek Hough on this 12th season of Dancing with the Stars. Depending on ones opinion of Derek Hough this is either a good thing or a bad thing.

Derek Hough's best friend, Mark Ballas, is paired with one of them of whom I know nothing, Chelsa Kane. She seemed to be a nice girl.

The highest score of the night was earned by Karate Kid Ralph Macchio, now 49 years old. He is partnered with Maksim Chmerkovskiy's ex-fiance, Karina Smirnoff.

Speaking of Maks. Does anyone know if he found himself a wife on the Ukrainian version of The Bachelor?

Speaking again of Maks. He got the 2nd highest score of the night with his surprisingly good partner, Kirstie Alley.

Kirstie Alley and Ralph Macchio got the biggest audience reactions of the night, with, I think, Kirstie being shown the loudest appreciation.

Kirstie and Maks are very amusing together.

I was a bit surprised when Maks mentioned that Kirstie looks pretty good for a 60 year old broad. She's that told, I thought? Then I remembered Cheers ended almost 20 years ago.

One of the "stars" is a guy named Mike Catherwood. He is paired with Lacey Schwimmer. He is a radio personality I'd never heard of. He got the lowest scores of the night.

I did not think Mike Catherwood was as bad as Wendy Williams. Wendy looks to be in way over her head. She sort of plodded over the stage like a big ship being guided by a tugboat in the form of Tony Dovolani.

This year's dancing jocks are wrestler Chris Jericho, paired with Cheryl Burke, footballer Hines Ward, paired with Kym Johnson and boxer Sugar Ray Leonard, paired with Anna Trebunsakaya.

Of the jocks, Sugar Ray was the worst. Chris Jericho is very energetic, while Hines Ward appears to be yet one more NFL star who easily adapts to being light on his feet.

I have no idea who Romeo is. He was paired with Chelsea Hightower. He did not dance well.

Supermodel Petra Memcova is paired with Dimitry Chaplin. Petra was injured in the 2004 Indonesian Earthquake Tsunami. She had a bit of a breakdown whilst practicing upon learning of the tragedy in Japan.

I guess I am in for now with this latest iteration of Dancing with the Stars. If not for Kirstie Alley it'd be debatable if I'd be viewing.