Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Glee Project: Sexuality (7/31/11)

This week on The Glee Project, the theme was sexuality.

First and foremost, this week's episode was tough for Cameron (I got kissed, then cried and called my mom boy) and Hannah (I'm just exploring my sexuality girl). The challenge song was Like a Virgin by Madonna.

The guest judges were Mark Salling (Noah "Puck" Puckerman) and Ashley Fink (Lauren Zizes).

During the performance, Samuel was steamy. Like, really good, up in Hannah's face, steamy. Hannah looked nervous at first but got better (although the guest stars liked her). Cameron looked like he was going to throw up. Alex rocked it and Lindsay didn't stand out as much as she usually does.

Samuel won the challenge, which was not a surprise.

The week's music video was Teenage Dream by Katy Perry. Alex was paired with Samuel, so they shared one-on-one time with Mark and Ashley. Damian was paired with Lindsay portraying a jock and cheerleader relationship. Cameron and Hannah were paired and asked to have a flirty food fight.

Note: Cameron's on Twitter as this show airs, and just posted "I knew that me and Hannah were going to have fun. We're like brother and sister. I was excited!" I think that's a bit creepy based on the whole sexuality theme. Just sayin'.

Samuel struggled a bit with playing a gay character because his mom raised him Christian, and she'd be displeased with him playing a gay character. That being said, he had shown a connection with both the girls and guys in the challenge, so it's not a game stopper for him.

Samuel's singing was interesting - it sounded off key to me, but it was probably just in a different note. It went over well. Alex sang pretty close to what Katy Perry sounds like, which isn't necessarily a good thing because I'm not convinced that Katy Perry sang this song that well. Lindsay struggled with her singing today as well, which is weird because she usually rocks it. (I'm a Lindsay fan all the way.)

In the music video, Alex was over the top as he tried to play sexy, but it was a bit scary. During Lindsay and Damian's shoot, it was noted that she's very musical theater based and doesn't have a lot of versatility. And, Lindsay kissed Damian to kick up the heat. Hannah, who has a crush on Damian, was upset by their kiss.

Cameron was asked to kiss Hannah during his shoot, but he refused due to his religious beliefs. Hannah was obviously disappointed because this could hurt her because their performance might be missing the 'it' factor.

During the video, it was evident that not all of Alex's singing reached the point of being great. It was also evident that Cameron and Hannah did not play sexy well together (mostly because of Cameron, I would say). However, Hannah's hair looked awesome straight. Alex's acting was over the top, which I think made acting interested in him difficult for Samuel. Lindsay made up for her singing issues by making her performance with Damian practically ooze sex. I did think they chose good vocals for her because she sounded great.

Instead of first naming a bottom three, the top three were named. First named was Hannah. Samuel took the second spot in the top 3. Cameron was criticized for not doing the kiss, landing him in the bottom three. Alex was also in the bottom three for being over the top. Damian took the third spot in the bottom three, making Lindsay safe.

For the last chance performance, the cast members were given songs that they might use on the show to audition for New Directions. Alex got I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor. Cameron was given Blackbird by The Beatles. Damian was given Danny Boy, the traditional Irish ballad.

Damian's performance of Danny Boy was good but didn't do his voice justice. He sounded a bit tired or nervous, in my opinion. The judges said he sounded disconnected, but he'd had growth. He was told at times, he could be seen as the next Cory Monteith (Finn Hudson) but didn't show it in this performance.

Alex performed second. In my opinion, he was so over the top again, which is just what he was criticized for in the first place. That being said, the judges seemed to like it, although they did say that they wanted to see something different and real from him.

Finally, FINALLY, after his performance Cameron was called out on his lack of sexuality and inability to kiss anyone on screen. After all, Glee has a lot of sexual references and it would hardly be realistic to think that Cameron's character would have less than a kiss if cast on Glee. I have to say, Cameron's singing was good, but I agree with the judges' assessment: he may just be a singer, not an actor, because of his self-imposed restrictions. After his performance, Cameron noted that he has issues with sexuality because of his religious beliefs. Ryan Murphy noted that he respects Cameron's beliefs, but he can't guarantee that Cameron, if cast, would never have to kiss Lea Michele (Rachel Berry). After that, Cameron dropped a bomb. He said that he didn't think it was fair for him to stay in the competition because of his convictions. He said that the competition isn't for him. Ryan said that he shouldn't quit and asked if the judges can make the decision whether he stays or goes. He agreed, and Cameron did not quit the competition. Ugh, why do the judges keep defending this guy? He wants to leave and I think he should!

Ryan went backstage to talk to Cameron after this all went down. He said that he was not going home this week on the judges' accord, and he can make a decision based on that. Ryan said that they respect his values, so he shouldn't quit and should keep trying. When asked if he'd do another week on The Glee Project, Cameron said that he had to leave. Ryan was sad but had to respect his decision.

Okay, I am seriously over this. Why is Ryan begging Cameron to stay? I think there are way more qualified, talented contestants to star on Glee, namely Lindsay and Samuel. Hannah's great too, although I think Ashley Fink's Lauren Zizes and Hannah's character might be a bit too similar. I don't think Alex should take the prize, but at least he'd be willing to kiss someone onscreen!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Hef's Runaway Bride - Reviews & Takeaways

After watching Hef's Runaway Bride, the show that detailed the wedding planning and cancellation between Hugh Hefner and Crystal Harris, I actually have some more sympathy for Crystal.

When the news broke that Crystal Harris was calling off her wedding with Hugh Hefner, many people called foul. After all, the future Mrs. Crystal Hefner was launching a music career, and it seemed pretty convenient that her single broke on the same day that she broke up with Hef. There were also rumors that Crystal was secretly dating Jordan McGraw, who was working on her album with her.

However, after watching Hef's Runaway Bride on Lifetime, we realize there was more behind the split than we heard in the initial news reports. After all, the relationship would have been for the rest of Hugh Hefner's life, but where would that leave Crystal? Probably in her mid to late thirties taking care of the geriatric man and realizing she's about to miss out on her chance to have a normal relationship and kids.

- Crystal got to the mental state she was in when she met Hef through a series of tough events. Her grandparents died, her father died and her high school sweetheart died in Iraq. She was broken down and because of that, being with Hef at the mansion seemed like a good idea, even though she was very young and being in a relationship with an 80+ year old man wasn't really the best idea.

- Crystal did go to Hef before she ran away and told him that she didn't feel prepared to marry him. He agreed, as he wanted to get married because he thought Crystal wanted it. (Hef later admitted to Holly Madison and Kendra Wilkinson Baskett that his desire to marry Crystal was partially stemmed from the mistake he made with his relationship with Holly.)

- As Hef's wife, Crystal wouldn't have been able to pursue her music career at all. I highly doubt that she'll become a music star now that she's single, but as Hef's wife, she didn't stand a chance. Her role as his wife would have been to stay by Hef's side at home and during press events. As is evidenced from the show, being Hef's wife would have been Crystal's career. She'd have to portray a public image as Hef's wife, attend press events and more. She wouldn't have her own identity. Plus, to even enter the marriage, she had to sign a bunch of contracts and legal documents, proving that although this would have been a marriage, it would have been more of a full-time job.

- Crystal genuinely did not seem happy in the weeks leading up to the wedding. It was evident from her facial expressions and words that she was either freaking out or very unhappy. When asked about her wedding, she couldn't even answer questions without looking sad and defeated. She may have just been tired, but she genuinely looked unhappy and even a bit scared. Although it may just be creative camera editing, it looked like others around her understood her emotions as well.

- The marriage between Crystal and Hef would hardly be a real marriage. Hef would continue to have lots of women around. Essentially, nothing would change, except that Crystal would be bound to Hef via contract.

- Anna Berglund was, and is, a good friend to Crystal. She stuck up for her friend throughout the interviews on Hef's Runaway Bride, even noting that she wasn't told that Crystal wanted to leave the mansion. She even said that Crystal still calls her to ask how Hef is doing. Rumors came up that Anna is now dating Hef, but Crystal and Anna's mom are quick to say that these rumors are just to drum up publicity.

- Hef and Crystal are still friends, per the end scenes of Hef's Runaway Bride. And, during the show, there are a few times that Hef jokingly talks about the relationship ending (or not ending, technically). Plus, the 'Runaway Bride' sticker placed on Playboy magazines were created very quickly. This makes it seem that Hef and Crystal knew that the relationship was over and Crystal would be leaving before the public was let in on the secret. Plus, Hef (who looks like he's aged a lot since The Girls Next Door was on TV), didn't seem devastated in the least about the breakup. He even gave a speech joking about it as he showed The Runaway Bride movie on what would have been his wedding night.

- I am by no means saying that Crystal didn't make mistakes with the way the relationship dissolved, or by blurting out the comments that she made on The Howard Stern Show. (Hint: they're regarding their lack of a sex life.) Through that and other articles, the truth seems to be that Crystal and Hef used to have sex, but that part of the relationship mainly ended, and after that, they mostly cuddled.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Dance Moms: Some Takeaways

Dance Moms is a fascinating show - and there are a few interesting takeaways from the first few episodes.

The show seems to want to play the moms against each others, but on several occasions, the moms call themselves a group, showing a sign of unity. That being said, it's often when Cathy is involved, and groups can bond strongly against a common enemy. In fact, Melissa was even criticized for trying to be friends with new people (followed by saying she can't keep friends).

Abby Lee Miller doesn't talk to moms if she can help it. She spoke directly to the kids in some cases where it was inappropriate. For example, she said something like, 'Your mom had a problem with the revealing costumes' to one of the kids. I'm pretty sure the mom was in the room, so the intent of the statement was clear, but it was spoken to a kid.

Cathy and Vivi-anne seem to have been 'planted' in the show to create controversy and drama. Even with the Christi / Melissa mini-dramas, there would be pretty much no conflict between the moms without Cathy's very strange presence. Plus, Abby openly bashes Vivi's dancing skills and dislikes Cathy, yet Vivi's included in competitions. And, Cathy's clearly a trouble starter - she wanted to talk to Melissa to get dirt on the others, and got dirt on Melissa from the others.

Competition studios like Abby Lee's are very different than studios that specialize in traditional dance. This was made evident (more than usual) in episode three, which featured an acrobatic dance routine. The dance at Abby's studio is good for stage performances, like in Vegas (which I think she said any of her graduates can do), but not for classical ballet or other dance. It's also way more expensive than many non-competitive studios, as I found out when I questioned a real life dance mom.

Abby Lee said that a 13 year old is not a kid. I'm kind of confused by this because as much as 13 year olds can think they're adults, they're kids. Teenagers, yes - and barely at that - but they're still kids.

The moms have said that Abby's missing a mom gene, and I agree. She's a tough teacher who produces great dancers, but she doesn't have compassion for the kids. It's almost like she has no fun in her life, so she has to make everyone else lose their fun as well.

Dance Moms is really the wrong name for this show. I guess the name was chosen because it would attract viewers more than "Bad Dance Teacher" or something, but the show is primarily focused on Abby Lee and her horrifying teaching methods, inappropriate dance outfits and cruel ranking of her students.

While cruel, Abby Lee seems to be addictive and effective. One of the moms was a student of Abby Lee as a child and still submits her children to Abby's teaching. And, I read that a graduate of Abby Lee's studio appeared on So You Think You Can Dance. (I can't find the source, so that may not be true, but I think it is.)

In the 6/27/11 episode of Dance Moms (the Starbound competition in Voorhees, NJ), Cathy switched Vivi's dance routine without Abby's permission. Abby flipped out and threatened to change the submission to 'independent entry' so it's not affiliated with the Abby Lee Dance Company. After seeing the dance, Abby relented and allowed the entry to remain under her name. However, when Vivi took seventh place in her solo competition (which I'm not even sure was any good, based on the number of entrants), Abby got mad when she said her dance studio was her mom's studio, Candy Apple Dance Studio, instead of Abby's. This confuses me because allowing Vivi to compete under Abby's name goes against all of the strict rules Abby has designed for her studio, especially because the dance wasn't that good or well executed. Even with the not so great dance, I can understand Abby's anger with Vivi naming her mom's studio instead of hers during the awards ceremony because she went against her judgment to allow Vivi to compete using her studio's name. (That being said, I bet Vivi was coached to say Candy Apple Dance studio because I firmly believe Cathy was planted on the show to cause drama.)

Not that other reality shows aren't, but Dance Moms has to be played up to create television drama in so many ways. First of all, Cathy and Vivi-anne were clearly planted to stir up problems and drama. Secondly, some of the mom arguments seem fake. Third, while I do believe Abby would dress up her students like prostitots, it seems a bit strange that she'd do it for a Pennsylvania pageant that wouldn't accept the costumes. Abby's been teaching for years. She's a professional dance instructor. She knows better.

I really hope that the whole Cathy and Vivi-anne thing is entirely fake. Cathy said she'd slit her wrists or something if Vivi wanted to play softball instead of dance in episode one, which is crazy. Secondly, if she owns another dance studio, how is she spending so much time at Abby Lee's? Also, how is it possible that Cathy wants Vivi-anne to be a dancer (and therefore sends her to Abby) but hardly pushes her to improve at all, like when she switched her dance routine to an easier one without Abby's permission. And, either Vivi's either a very convincing actress or she doesn't really enjoy dancing. I hope it's the first, but I doubt it. Oh yeah, and Cathy said that she can't keep Abby's dance for Starbound because she has to consider her daughter's mental capacity or something. Wow, way to insult your kid, mom!

Monday, July 25, 2011

My Thoughts On Cameron Mitchell of The Glee Project

I kind of hate to say it, but I'm not in Camp Cameron on The Glee Project.

This past week, we saw the talented Marissa Von Bleicken go home in place of Cameron Mitchell. I'm not saying that Cameron isn't talented, I'm just confused as to why he's lasted so long on The Glee Project.

Let's backtrack a bit. First, I think Cameron's a bit one-dimensional. I don't think he'd make a sustainable character in the ever-changing world of Glee. Look at the changes that Rachel, Quinn, Finn, Santana and Brittany have made - they've had to rework their personas several times as the show progressed. I don't think Cameron has that flexibility. Don't get me wrong - I think Cameron might be good as a specific character (perhaps in a Christian movie or something), but on Glee? Not so much.

Secondly, Cameron's strict religious beliefs are going to be hindrance to his participation in Glee, to say the least. When the judges complimented him for his convictions and said that kids could relate to him, I had to say "what?" I think as a character on Glee, kids can relate. But as an actor, it's a setback. Let's step back to when Lindsay kissed Cameron in their video shoot. He called his mom and cried because he felt like he'd cheated on his girlfriend. So, what happens if the Glee writers script a kiss for his character? Will he say no and want to quit? Will he do it but have a breakdown afterwards? I just don't think it's going to work.

Additionally, as a commenter on a previous blog post noted, what would happen if Cameron is asked to play a gay character or have an interaction of the sort? It wouldn't be out of the ordinary considering what other topics have been featured. Would he be able to handle that? Would he even be okay with really sexually charged songs?

I also have to say that I think other participants on The Glee Project are better suited for the role of Sue's nemesis on Glee. Cameron's a nice guy - he wouldn't be well suited for the role of an enemy of Sue Sylvester. Unless she hates him for being too nice or something. I think better choices would be Sam as a bad boy, Alex as the guy who puts the girls on The Cheerios to shame, or Lindsay as a long lost half-sister to Rachel or something like that. All three can play mean, abrasive or irritating (and I mean that in a good way) so they would be a better fit to battle it out with Sue Sylvester.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Real Housewives of New Jersey: Boo Kim Granatell!!!

Before we get into the BS that Kim Granatell caused on The Real Housewives of New Jersey, can we discuss the fact that she's reportedly dating Michael Lohan? Can we say famewhoring, much?

It was funny - Melissa Gorga said that Kim G. and Teresa Giudice are a lot alike, but Melissa and Teresa are more alike than Teresa and Kim G! In any case, it was great to see Melissa and Teresa getting along.

Kim G. started issues as soon as Monica Chacon was asked to leave. She started bashing the fact that Monica was asked to leave. Caroline Manzo came around and asked Kim to be quiet and show a bit of respect. When Kim wouldn't do that, Caroline got mad. She called Kim out on the fact that she came just to cause problems. Caroline's son Chris Manzo came up to diffuse the situation. Kim G was told to leave, and she started protesting.

Chris took Kim outside to discuss the situation. He said that his family is looking out for each other. He said he sees Kim's son Johnny like a brother. After that, Albie Manzo came out and broke up the conversation because while Johnny and Chris are friends, Kim has gone after Caroline. Caroline then came outside and told Kim to leave because she came with the intent to hurt others. Melissa said that she found it interesting that the Manzo family kicked someone out of her party, but she said that she hoped her sons would do the same for her if she was put in the situation that Caroline was put in.

Chris was caught in the middle because he felt bad that he had to kick out his best friend's mom and he wanted to be respectful. Albert made a really good point about Kim G. - she brought a bodyguard to the party. That did indicate the fact that she planned to start trouble. The Manzo's mentioned that it was reminiscent of Danielle Staub and her bodyguards, and that's a good point.

After that went down, Chris took a call from Johnny, Kim Granatell's son. They had a long conversation and put it behind them.

Notably, Teresa and Joe Giudice stayed out of it, but couldn't help but gloat a bit, and really, can you blame them? Kim has been a major problem starter, and she deserved to be kicked out of the Gorgas' party.

Here's the thing - Kim has pretty much shown us that she is desperate to be a Real Housewife of New Jersey. And if she can't, she'll do anything she can to get screen time. It's sad - she's starting problems for her own benefit. She probably thrives on negative press and blog entries like these.

On another note, the Wakile family is causing legal drama with a local business because apparently they have a strong brand now. I guess fame went to their head really fast. They're hardly an established brand - if The Real Housewives of New Jersey went off the air, their fame could be gone in an instant. Their fame isn't sustainable yet. In fact, they don't exactly come off as a positive brand, so even if they do have one, it's not one that many people are going to respect and love. (If you want the synopsis, Rich Wakile and his son Joseph Wakile did a photo shoot for a local business in exchange for two expensive shirts apiece. All of a sudden, that's not enough for them and they're accusing business owner Ed Bergan of being cheap.)

The Glee Project 7/14/11: Tenacity

This week on The Glee Project, the topic was tenacity. The song was Bulletproof by La Roux.

This challenge brought out some interesting stuff from the cast members. First of all, Lindsay let us into her psyche a bit - she told us that she was adopted and it took tenacity to get through feeling like she didn't belong.

Alex gave us something we already knew, but it was entertaining this time: he changed the word tenacity into "tenasty."

Marissa showed us that she can stand out more now that she's gained confidence from her challenge win last week. She won again this week and won some time with Max Adler.

Max, the guest star who plays Dave Karofsky on Glee, asked the performers to stop their performance of Bulletproof in the middle and do it again and do something they'd never done.

The second challenge this week was to perform a mashup of Ice Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice and Under Pressure by David Bowie. During this, the cast members were told that they were going to get slushied, which is something that will likely happen again to the winner of the show during his or her stint on Glee.

Samuel had some issues with his confidence, and his belief in himself was clearly beginning to crack. Hannah hit some roadblocks with the choreography - she had trouble getting some of the dance moves down. She also broke down during the recording session.

Marissa, when confronted with being slushied, said she wanted to be tenacious and not wear goggles. In return, it was noted that she was electric because while being slushied, she didn't miss a beat.

Cameron did not respond well to the coldness of the slushie. It was noted that everyone's was the same temperature and Cameron didn't deal with it as well as everyone else.

The judges' decision about the bottom three, for the first time, was not unanimous. Damian, Samuel and Lindsay were told that they were safe first. The judges said they fought over the other four cast members. Alex, Marissa and Cameron. The choice between Cameron and Hannah is what left the judges deadlocked. The three were given songs from their original auditions.

Alex got And I Am Telling You That I'm Not Going. Marissa got Hate on Me. Cameron got Love Can Wait (his original song). Alex decided to perform his song in drag. Marissa's nerves were evident. Cameron shared his thoughts on his original song.

Alex gave a good story to back up his decision to dress in drag - he was getting into character, basically. He made a pretty convincing woman! And with his vocals being super strong in his performance, the costume definitely added a nice edge. (The boy can walk in heels, I have to tell you.) The end line of the song was "you're going to love me" - and the judges really did!

Marissa came out with nothing less than the tenacity requested from this week's lesson. Her singing may not have been as on point as Alex's, but her performance was solid. She threw Ryan's name into the song, which was fun but a bit played out. Marissa was criticized for being a bit out of control.

Cameron was told that his acting was a concern because most slushie scenes are only filmed once.

Of the three, Marissa was the only performer who didn't think she'd be going home this week. As it turns out, she was incorrect, and she was sent home. I'm going to say that I do not agree with this decision. I think Marissa had a lot of talent and tenacity, and the judges would have been much better off sending I-can't-kiss-a-girl-or-take-a-slushie Cameron home...but what do I know, right?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Toddlers and Tiaras: Rock Star Divas and Dolls in Georgia

Rock Star Divas and Dolls is a straight-up glitz pageant, Georgia style.

We first met Cindi and daughter Peyton. Mom said that as soon as she found out she was having a girl, she had pageant aspirations. Peyton, who is two years old, is spray tanned. She'd been spray tanning since she was 11 months old. Mom said she loves it, but the girl certainly looked unhappy as she was being tanned. The kicker of all this? The guy tanning her is a guy who sprays cars, so that's how he's qualified to spray tan kids.

Next was Karey and daughter Olivia. Olivia was sassy and bossy, but mom embraces it, saying that Olivia's spunky. She also said that Olivia's actions are a direct reflection of her. Olivia, even with a darker complexion, gets tanned. When she was done, she announced, "I'm black." I get that she's a kid, but that was still an "umm...okay..." kind of moment.

Third was Haley, daughter of Caliese. Haley likes to be herself, and prefers a natural glow from the sun to spray tans. Both of Haley's parents are involved in her pageant prep - dad even joins Haley and Caliese at the nail salon.

The pageant

Beauty is the most important part of the Rock Star Divas and Dolls pageant, because that's where the most points can be won.

Peyton went on stage first, and I have to say - I wasn't crazy about the yellow dress with Peyton's complexion and red hair. It didn't look bad, but I think with her hair color, she could have worn something more understated and still stood out.

Olivia had some serious attitude before going on stage. When she hit the stage, I have to say - I wasn't super impressed. She looked like a doll, so her makeup was done well, but her smile wasn't quite there and neither was her stage presence.

Haley looked awesome on stage. Her stage presence was great and her makeup was impeccable. The lavender color of her dress was perfect with her complexion and hair color.

Swimwear was next.

Peyton's swimsuit was age appropriate. It was ruffly and fun. Peyton ran around on stage and fell down, but she picked herself up and kept going. Olivia threw a fit backstage and could be heard on the stage. I feel kind of awful saying this, but in the swimwear competition, she kind of looked like a bobble head doll, based on the way she moved. Haley's beachwear seemed to stand out from the other girls' outfits in her age division. While many girls had single-colored, ruffly swimsuits, Haley's was patterned and fit her personality perfectly.

Outfit of choice was third.


Peyton, dressed as Pebbles Flintstone, was adorable, but didn't do much on stage. She was supposed to play drums, but had the drumsticks in her mouth. She was led around by her older male cousin, who had no idea what to do when Peyton wouldn't perform. Earlier in the episode, we were told that another girl was also dressed as Pebbles. Her name was Paisley (love the name, by the way), and she did a lot better than Peyton did on stage.

Olivia's outfit was cute, but once again, I wasn't enamored with her performance. I think it had to do with her stiffness and lack of facial expressions.

Haley's outfit of choice was awesome. She seemed to do her routine really well, and she had good facial expressions.

Crowning

This pageant does not double crown.

19-35 months

Wee Miss second runner up: Braylee
First runner up: Riley
Queen: Peyton

Tiny Miss Division

Second runner up: Alycesaundra
First runner up: Ava
Queen: Olivia (I guess I judged this wrong - so did her mom, who said she was surprised by the high title)

5 - 9 Age Division

Second runner up: Jadon
First runner up: Caroline
Queen: Anna

This means that Haley could go for a higher title.

Supreme Crowning

19 - 35 Months - Ultimate Grand Supreme: Paisley (who beat Peyton by rocking out in her Pebbles routine)

5 - 9 Years Old - Ultimate Grand Supreme: Haley

Takeaways

I think there was a girl named Chatham in the pageant. I kind of hope I'm wrong.

I heard a great name - Alessandra - until I saw the spelling: Alycesaundra. Seriously? Do you want your child to ever find anything personalized or be considered for a job?

There were some great names in this pageant: Giovanna and Paisley, just to name a few.

It's cool to be proud of your kid being strong willed, but when she's super bratty, it's just not that cute.

Dance Moms: 7/20/11 - Dancing Way Too Sexy

I put on Dance Moms this week hoping for some trashy TV, and Dance Moms did not disappoint.

Abby Lee gave us some good stuff this week, including:
- Saying that she raises the kids at her dance studio
- Having the kids dance ridiculously sexy
- Dressing the young dancers like 'prostitots'

Christi, Chloe's mom, expressed her concern about the sexy costumes. While the costumes seemed similar to those worn in west coast dance competitions, the upcoming competition is StarQuest in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, which may not be an appropriate venue. When the outfit was criticized as being sexy, Abby said, 'let's just call it skimpy.' I don't really think that makes it much better, but whatever.

Cathy and daughter Vivi-anne came back to this week's episode. If you recall, Cathy is a dance teacher at a different school, but wants her daughter to have her own coach. Vivi-anne was allowed to compete with the other girls right away, even though she was much less talented than the other girls.

Cathy came in flinging the insults. She said that at her studio, a seamstress puts the crystals on the kids' outfits, whereas at Abby Lee, the moms need to know how to sew.

Abby Lee criticized the moms of her competition kids for making other people's kids want to quit because they sit there and critique everyone. She advised that the moms get jobs, rather than sit there. Meanwhile, if the moms had jobs, they probably couldn't bring their kids to their 4 PM to 10 PM dance practice every day.

Christi's concern became more evident as the episode progressed. Yes, there's jealousy within the dance school with Maddie being the star and Chloe playing second string, but it really does seem as if Maddie gets more attention than Chloe and some of the other girls. That being said, I think Maddie's mom Melissa gives Abby less trouble than Christi does.

Cathy, although very nice, seemed to not quite fit in with the other moms. When she went up to the viewing booth, she asked if the women were applying rhinestones again, and then said, "Well, I'm not a stoner!" or something - it was a pretty bad joke.

Towards the end of rehearsal the day before the competition, Christi started to lose it. She began to cry and asked Abby what was going on. Abby needed Chloe to stay, so Christi had to back away and let Chloe stay if she wanted to keep her solo. We got to learn more about Christi at this point - she said she had a tough childhood. She wanted to be a dancer but couldn't be, so it hurts to want the best for Chloe's dancing, but also have to push her so far. Sadly, Abby criticized the crying and hugging that went on between Christi and Chloe, comparing Chloe to Maddie, who was still dancing. Chloe had a mature attitude about the situation, later commenting that she and Maddie shouldn't be compared because they are different people.

Chloe had a solo dance and she did great. She was happy and her mom was happy. But immediately after leaving the stage, Abby had something to criticize.

Maddie was next, and the girl has stage presence. She dances and her face speaks volumes. Her facial expressions were phenomenal. While Abby said that Maddie and Chloe were neck and neck, she didn't criticize Maddie when she left the stage.

Maddie took first place in the solo competition, and Abby said she expected nothing less from her.

Mackenzie (Maddie's sister) and Vivi-anne did a dance together, which turned out well despite Vivi's mistakes in rehearsals. Mackenzie was more of the featured dancer, and despite that, mom Cathy said that Mackenzie was not far ahead of Vivi talent-wise. Additionally, Vivi doesn't seem to really want to dance (she actually says it), but in the last episode, mom said something like 'she'd slit her wrists' if Vivi didn't want to dance.

After this, we saw all of the girls in their 'skimpy' costumes. One of the moms said they look like street walkers, and I can't say I disagree. The outfits were definitely not age appropriate. The dance moves were also horribly inappropriate, and the song was pretty obviously sexually charged.

The girls didn't even place for this dance. While Melissa was okay with the dance, the other moms said it was clearly inappropriate, and they thought the judges agreed. Abby actually took the rejection well, saying that the judges just didn't get it. Nia's mom Holly and Chloe's mom spoke up to Abby, saying that they were horrified when they saw the dance moves. Abby was having none of it - she even criticized Christi, saying that Chloe loved the dance. Abby went on to tell the cameras that kids are replaceable, and if her mom's not into it, she can leave. She also said moms ruin their kids. Lovely.

Oh, Dance Moms. You are so messy but I can't look away. You are my new favorite trashy TV show.

Famous Food: 7/20/11

Probably due to no one watching it on Sundays, Famous Food on VH1 was moved to Wednesdays at 8 PM.

We picked up this week after Danielle Staub's chef fiasco - and by that I mean she refused to find a chef and instead used her own recipes.

The episode began with the guys from Three 6 Mafia complaining that since Ashley came up with the picnic theme for the restaurant, she thinks she's in charge of everything.

Next, Mike and Lonnie suggested that the team have a chef-off, in which chefs in the celebrities' price range compete for the job at Picnique. Danielle immediately called Chef Clark, a chef that she knows, because clearly everything that Danielle likes is good (note sarcasm). Heidi Montag called high-end chefs that she knows, and because of that, Danielle said that she's trying to get under her skin. She said that because Heidi was on the design team, so she should have stayed out of Danielle and Three 6 Mafia's menu team. Because, you know, getting help is such a terrible thing.

Vinnie joked around about how this restaurant was nuts and he was in trouble with this team, and I can't say I blame him. Although he hasn't really stood out as much as many of the others, he also didn't annoy us nearly as much.

Heidi brought in Chef Greg, and while he seemed to be good, Danielle said that she wouldn't want Heidi's choice because the chef choice was hers. In her own words, it's "mine, mine, mine, mine, mine." Very mature, Danielle.

The chefs were tested and each person had their preferences. Jake Pavelka was a fan of Chef Bradley, who made food that looked awesome. Unfortunately, Heidi's chef did not initially seem to please, but when she determined that the awful pasta dish was based on Danielle's recipe, it made more sense. At this point, Heidi noted that she doesn't think that Danielle asked the chefs about their salaries, but didn't want to step on her and ask.

Danielle's choice, Chef Clark, closed up the competition. While Danielle said the contest was just a formality and her chef would obviously win, DJ Paul did not appreciate Chef Clark's raw chicken.

Ashley said she was confused at being called the head of the design team, but she was okay with it because the picnic concept was her idea. At this point, Danielle decided she wants to get all up in Ashley's business because, of course, it's Danielle's way or no way.

Unfortunately, Ashley fell from grace at this point - she said she was leaving for the weekend to see her boyfriend. The other team members were less than impressed, and said that if Ashley's boyfriend really cared about her, he'd fly out to LA to see her, rather than making her fly to visit him.

Some members of the group, including Danielle, visited a flea market to look for things for the restaurant. They picked up a bench for $350 and some other stuff. Not bad spending, considering how much of the budget was already spent. Still, Vinnie was mad because he wanted to spend some cash previously and wasn't allowed to. (If you look, and not even carefully, you'll see that the difference is that Danielle thinks her ideas are good and everyone else's are bad.)

Jake Pavelka got a call from his attorney saying that Picnique was a no go for the restaurant name because a New York restaurant already has that name. The team revised the restaurant name to Lemon Basket. I'm not sure I love it, but it'll be a whole lot easier for people to spell and search than Picnique.

The chef cook-off came next: Bradley, Greg and Clark competed for the spot as the restaurant's chef.

Heidi said that she likes the name "Al Fresco" for the restaurant because it's American and not Italian. She also told us about her many plastic surgeries...so it was an interesting week for Heidi.

Danielle's favorite, Chef Clark went first and made a tempura peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Immediately, the team (except for Danielle) said it might be too unhealthy for the LA audience.

Chef Brad came next. He made a honeycomb peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Chef Greg finished up with an almond butter and jelly sandwich.

The chefs then competed with a grilled lemon pepper chicken dish. Danielle only liked her chef...shocker. She also claimed that Heidi's chef should be disqualified for not staying exactly on par with the request, like using almond butter instead of peanut butter.

Danielle dropped the ball on telling the chefs the salary, and when they told Chef Bradley the salary they could offer, he said he makes twice that and can't work for that kind of money. Danielle and DJ Paul said they told Chef Bradley the salary previously and he agreed to it, but I have a feeling that they may be incorrect. The Three 6 Mafia guys made a good point - they think Danielle sabotaged the competition by not talking money so the others could get priced out and hers would be the only one available to win.

Chef Greg could start soon and had would work for between $55,000 - $60,000 a year, which was the intended budget. The whole team voted for Greg...except for Danielle. At this point, Lonnie and Mike even discussed the fact that Danielle seemed to want to win the competition more than having the restaurant succeed. Greg was given the offer, but to bring down the happiness, Danielle said it wasn't unanimous and she didn't vote for him. Nice, Danielle.

At this point, $102,000 remained in the Famous Food budget.

Heidi won the MVP prize this week because she found the winning chef and stepped outside of her own team to help the chef finding team. Vinnie was a close second for revamping the restaurant name.

Ashley returned to the restaurant to see the bench that Danielle bought, and she was upset that no one texted her about the bench. She said it was a respect thing - but really, she showed a lack of respect by leaving to see her boyfriend. Danielle and the Three 6 Mafia guys did not take kindly to this and accused Ashley of leaving to go have sex. (If you recall, she was Elliot Spitzer's call girl, so this was an insult.) Danielle and the guys attacked Ashley. Danielle went off on Ashley for insulting her as a mother, even though I'm not sure that I heard an insult. I could have missed it, but I don't think it was that bad. One of the Three 6 Mafia guys (DJ Paul) started physically threatening Ashley - that's not cool. Even sadder was that Danielle looked happy about the situation. Vindictive, much? Arguing is one thing, but don't take it to a physical level.

To end, here is a quote I was told today regarding Heidi Montag and Danielle Staub: "You know a show is bad when you actually want to root for Heidi Montag."

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sunday Night Reality Recap: Glee Project, RHONJ, Famous Food (7/17/11)

The Glee Project

Mattheus went home on this week's Glee Project. I think it was justified. His rendition of These Boots Are Made For Walking was fun, but totally missed the point.

I also think it's Alex's time to go soon. His attitude is getting out of control. He did a good job on his duet with Hannah, but I don't think his out of control ego will fare well on Glee.

Lindsay once again stood out and shined. I can see her as the next Lea Michele, since the original cast members are going to leave the show at the end of the next season. The only concern would be that she looks a lot like Lea Michele and would be a very similar type of character.

Cameron was actually given credit for being upset when Lindsay kissed him because of his religious beliefs. It was noted that kids could relate to his religious struggles. But here's the thing - he's acting. What happens when his character has to kiss someone? Will he freak out and want the script changed?

Marissa stood out for the first time this week. Usually, she blends into the background, and is much less noticeable than some of the standouts. This time, she was awesome in her video, and she and Samuel got their chances to shine.

My pick for the winner of the show is Hannah, because there's no one on Glee like her. Although I don't know if she's got the attitude to play Sue Sylvester's nemesis, as the new character will. I also think Lindsay will be brought in for a more permanent role in later seasons. Yeah, she makes people mad on the show sometimes, but the girl's got talent.

Real Housewives of New Jersey

While I'm still firmly on Team Teresa Giudice, I'm starting to add Melissa Gorga to the list of positive people. She really stepped it up to kick out attorney Monica Chacon from the Christmas party. Melissa got a bad rep in the beginning of the show, but she's really trying, and I give her credit. I still think that Joe Giudice and Kathy Wakile are the problem starters, and if it were just Teresa, Melissa and Joe Gorga, everyone will get along fine.

The worst person of all is Kim Granatell. She's so desperate for screen time that she'll do anything to stir up drama. And in this case, it worked! She brought Monica (who has some legal drama with the Giudice family) to Joe & Melissa's Christmas party just to cause drama with Teresa. (I'm sure she did it to make Teresa flip out and look bad, but it doesn't seem like that's going to happen on the next episode, and Kim's the one to flip out.)

Famous Food

Danielle Staub once again got on her high horse and said that the checkbook was handed to her to be her sole responsibility. Does anyone remember last week when she took the checkbook for herself? It wasn't exactly handed to her. She then proceeded to give people problems for spending money, when she spent the restaurant's money for herself and Heidi Montag to drink wine. In this episode, Danielle once again has to defend herself and say she didn't attack someone, but when it comes up that often (between Famous Food and Real Housewives of New Jersey, she must be doing something to instigate things.

Heidi was willing to shift sides based on who's in the lead in the game, but in this case, she at least had a point. The picnic concept of the restaurant can work, and I give props to Heidi for stepping up and defending it.

It was good to see Ashley Dupre stand up for herself. Yes, she made some mistakes in life, but she seems to have grown from it and actually has some good ideas.

Danielle eventually walked out, and then stuff actually got done. This is not surprising. Other than that, budget issues caused arguments and Danielle made more comments about how money is power, so she has the power. Blah, blah, rinse repeat, blah. She later gave money to a vendor without the permission of her teammates, and generally caused more trouble because the group went over budget.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

MTV's True Life: I Want To Be Straight

I watched an interesting episode of MTV's True Life. It featured two formerly gay people who were working towards being straight.

This episode was so strange. We met Melanie, who was a lesbian until her mother found out and scared her into trying to be straight. She then started dating many guys, but not finding the right one for her since she still wanted to be with women. While many friends and family members were supportive of Melanie's desire to date women, she was still afraid that she'd lose her mother if she chose to date women.

Melanie's struggle was evident - she didn't even know if she wanted to be with a woman or a man. When she hung out with a lesbian friend, she realized her desires were still alive. She finally decided to talk to her mother. Unfortunately, her mother told her that something was broken about her and it needed to be fixed. Her mother also said she wants what's best for Melanie, which Melanie disputed by asking how her mother knew what was best for her. Melanie realized that she'd never have her mom's approval (although her mom handled this discussion much better than the original confrontation they had when Melanie was younger), but she needed to live her life in the way she wants to live it.

Melanie met a lesbian named Tiffany, who seemed to make her life a lot better. She and Melanie were just friends at the time of True Life's taping, but she helped Melanie come to terms with herself. Melanie even admitted that she didn't want to deny her true feelings anymore. She said she isn't sure if she will end up with a man or woman, but she's going to go with the flow.

The other featured person, Kevin, hit rock bottom at a time when he was having gay relationships. After that, he decided to find God and become straight. At the point the show was filmed, Kevin seemed to believe that he was straight, but was open about telling people about his 'gay past.'

Kevin noted that he and his family were very distant when he was gay - and now that he's not, his family is close again. Kevin told his parents that he is finding his maturity by being straight, and God is setting him in the right direction because as a gay person, he was missing something and wasn't doing what was right for himself.

Kevin genuinely believed that he can go from gay to straight, which is fine if that's truly his goal. That being said, it seems like his change comes from a place of pressure, like his dad telling him how proud he is that he's straight. In the closing captions, we learn that Kevin still struggles because he has feeling towards men. He also stated that he's not going to date a woman until he's emotionally ready. The question is, will Kevin ever be emotionally ready to date a woman when he truly wants to date men?

It's sad that people aren't able to embrace themselves and their sexuality. Sexuality does not make people good or bad; it's simply a part of a whole person. And really, was Melanie really in a better place when she was dating multiple men, rather than being happy with a woman? Is Kevin looking to blame something that isn't to blame (homosexuality) for the fact that he was hurt when an ex-boyfriend cheated on him? Women cheat too...and Kevin may find himself being the cheater one day if he pursues a heterosexual relationship that he doesn't want to be in.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Toddlers and Tiaras: Ten Thousand Dollar Prize

This week on Toddlers & Tiaras, we saw the Universal Royalty Pageant. The competition ranged from babies to twenty-somethings. The winning pageant girl would be handed $10,000 cash, right there on the stage.

First we met Dianely, daughter of Fransoly. I think the daughter's name is pronounced like Dee-anelly. Dianely wanted to do gymnastics, but mom wanted her in pageants, so she made her quit. Mom said Dianely's muscles got too big and she didn't look pretty in a dress. Mom Fransoly was pretty brutal - she told her kid very clearly if she didn't like what she was doing.

Mom Fransoly was kind of awful. When Dianely said she likes all of the colors of the rainbow, her mom said she can't like them because that's ugly. She has to pick one color.

Next was Lola. Lola was coached by her aunt Lee, nicknamed Malee and mom Lynn. Lola is one of three daughters in her family. Her mom's got expensive taste - she likes custom made dresses and would never consider buying one secondhand.

Hailey was third. She was the daughter of mom Joey. I believe that she is one of five siblings. Sister Samantha acts as her pageant coach because she was in pageants when she was younger.

The Pageant

This pageant made history: it was the first one to give away $10,000 to one winner. This pageant was hardcore - if a contestant is late, each judge will take off one point from her score.

Beauty is the most important competition because it gets three sets of scores from the judges, ranging from facial beauty to performance.

Of the featured girls, Lola went first. She underwent a major transformation when she had her makeup on - she looked much more like an adult. She did well but her smile wasn't great.

Hailey went next. She was very polished. Her mom commented that she knows two of the pageant judges, and she thinks their typical choice of winner (a blonde girl) puts Hailey at a disadvantage.

Dianely went third. She did well, although her smile looked a little scary, probably because of her flippers. As part of her bio, mom wrote that Dianely thanks her mom for making her dreams come true by letting her be in the Universal Royalty pageant. Umm...wow. We clearly learned that she'd rather be doing gymnastics than pageants!

Lola cried on stage before her talent because she wanted her aunt Malee, not her mom. As soon as Malee got there, Lola started her routine.

According to sister Samantha, Hailey did her dance perfectly. I don't think she's an extremely talented dancer, though. She was good but not spectacular.

Dianely did great at first, but forgot her moves in the middle of her routine. Instead of comforting her, mom seemed to be less than supportive. Despite her mistakes, Dianely continued on in the pageant.

Fransoly and Samantha thought it was ridiculous that teenagers were competing against kids and babies. Fransoly even said that the older girls should be embarrassed to compete against kids.

All of the kids did well in swimwear, but once again, Dianely's flipper was really distracting.

Crowning

3 year old division:
First runner up - Gwendolyn
Queen - Lola

6 - 7 year old division:
Third runner up - Madison
Second runner up - Hailey*
First runner up - Dianely
(I couldn't hear the name of the queen)

*At this point, mom Joey said the pageants are fixed because the same types of girls always win.

The $10,000 Grand Supreme cash winner was...

Hannah, a 20 year old contestant.

At this point, the moms got catty, and one said that Hannah should remove her cellulite with her winnings.

Takeaways

It really doesn't seem fair to have babies competing against girls in their twenties. Clearly, the older girls will be more polished. She was also blonde, which kind of fit into Joey's concept that pageants are always looking for a blonde, All-American type of girl.

If you like Toddlers & Tiaras, you'll probably love Dance Moms on Lifetime. I don't know what Lifetime was thinking putting Dance Moms in the same time slot as Toddlers & Tiaras on TLC, but whatever! I'll be DVRing it.

Dance Moms: A Show That Makes Toddlers & Tiaras Look Tame

Dance Moms premiered on Lifetime today. It was madness.

The show focuses on Abby Lee Miller and her dance studio, also named Abby Lee. We immediately learn that Abby makes girls - and their parents - cry. Abby claims she's doing the girls a favor by making them cry in her studio - she says she'd rather see them cry here than at an open audition.

Abby has non-traditional methods, like ranking her elite dancers. She places their pictures in a pyramid format and ranks the girls in order of best (top) to worst (bottom). Maddie is the star of the group, which creates dissent among both the kids and the parents. It's not her fault, though - Abby Lee perpetuates this. Abby believes winning is the only option, and she'll do whatever it takes to make the girls work as hard as possible.

On this episode of Dance Moms...

The Dance Moms premiere focused on a competition in which the Pittsburgh based dance studio went to Pheonix to compete in a dance competition. Abby Lee gave the girls a week to learn two new routines.

At one point, Maddie got sick, and rather than going home, she shed some tears and got right back to practice.

Image from MyLifetime.com
Cathy, mother of Vivi-anne and owner of another dance studio, showed up at Abby's dance studio. Cathy didn't want to coach Cathy going forward because she doesn't like making Vivi cry, but someone else can. Mom requested that Vivi compete in the competition this week, but Abby said that there was no way - it was unrealistic and Vivi wasn't ready.

When a mom barged into class after Abby kicked her daughter out for being dressed inappropriately, Abby told both mom and daughter to get out of her studio, calling them trash. Mom (who happened to be a minister) insisted that she allow her child to stay because she pays like everyone else. Abby told her to take her money and go, and a screaming match ensued.

The girls competed in the West Coast Dance Explosion competition. When they arrived at the venue, Abby immediately started with rules: the girls must be properly dressed at all times, no flip flops, etc.

Abby noticed that two of the girls had French manicures and made them remove them because white polish will draw attention to their hands and not everyone has that color nails.

Abby called all of the parents as bad parents because they stepped away from preparing their kids for competition to have some drinks. Here's the thing - with Abby around, they really need the drinks! She's brutal!

Right before the competition, one of the girls, Paige, walked into a curling iron that hurt her arm. At this point, everyone really banded together. There was no jealousy, none of the my-kid's-better-than-your-kid drama and no drama among the kids. That was refreshing after all of the mean things that happened.

Paige admitted that the girls don't like Abby to be backstage with them because she can make them nervous and mess up.

The girls did really well with their Party, Party, Party routine, but were disappointed to come in third place.

The trio of dancers (three dancers from the first dance) danced next. Chloe's headband fell off of her head and over her face. She may have been dancing without seeing a thing - her eyes were covered for part of the dance. Even with that setback, she kept dancing and didn't miss a beat. The headpiece eventually ended around her neck. Despite the great dancing, Abby went off on Chloe's mom Christi about the headpiece falling over her face. Mom was obviously upset, and was quick to remind Abby that she pays her bills. Abby said she'd Chloe out if she had to so she doesn't have to deal with Christi.

Even with the headpiece fiasco, the girls took first place, and we went into the previews of the next episode. We'll see dances that are too sexy, inappropriate outfits, and a whole lot of tears and fighting.

Takeways

One of the parents admitted that she pays $16,000 a year for her daughter's dance classes with Abby.

A mom stated that she sometimes puts dance in front of her daughter's schooling.

The girls and their moms seem to have matchy names. Christi has Chloe and Melissa has Maddie and Mackenzie.

What is particularly interesting is the differences between the dance moms: one is a principal with a Masters degree, one was a dancer when she was younger, one's a minister and one is a dance instructor who loves Botox.

The girls compete every weekend, and all competitions lead to the major goal: Nationals.

Some of the dancers were very, very thin.

The skimpy dance outfits rival those on Toddlers and Tiaras.

Dance Moms is a great show. It's got the meanness like Simon Cowell's attitude, moms like the women from Real Housewives shows, and the "I can't believe parents do this to their kids" feeling of Toddlers & Tiaras.

Some Thoughts on Teen Mom and the 16 and Pregnant and Pregnant Adoption Special - 7/12/11

Last night, I watched Teen Mom and the 16 and Pregnant Adoption Special.

Teen Mom

I realize that Catelynn and Tyler have been through a lot, but I think getting an apartment is going to be challenging. This was evident when Catelynn came to the realization that she and Tyler had to get jobs to pay for the apartment. Granted, the rent was low and they probably have loads of cash for appearing on 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom, but life still costs money. The thing is, it's not like Catelynn really had a choice - her mom isn't exactly thrilled to have Catelynn in her home. Tyler, though, is putting himself in a situation much harder than it has to be. I respect the fact that he's supporting Catelynn's choices, but it's going to make his life a lot harder.

I realize that television skews the truth, but I think Amber is way too hard on Gary. He seems to genuinely love her and want to be with her, but Amber keeps pushing him away. It seems like the issues she has with her own parents affect her relationship with Gary. And the cursing in front of Leah? Definitely inappropriate.

I understand both sides of Maci's situation in which she wants to move in with her boyfriend. Bentley has bonded with Maci's boyfriend Kyle, but Ryan has the right to be concerned about losing his status as Bentley's father. That being said, Maci doesn't even want Bentley around Ryan's girlfriends, so she really has set a double standard. On the other hand, Ryan has hardly been involved, it seems, so should he really have a say in this?

16 and Pregnant Adoption Special

It was pretty evident that there is a major difference between Catelynn's and Ashley's situations. I'm not just saying that Ashley has an open adoption and Catelynn's is semi-open. I'm saying that Catelynn's situation is healthy, and Ashley's really isn't. It must have seemed like a great idea at first for her aunt and uncle to adopt her daughter Callie, but it's created a major conflict of interest, because her daughter being accessible makes healing nearly impossible for Ashley, and Ashley not getting over the fact that she wants her child back makes her aunt and uncle's lives difficult.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Famous Food on VH1: Series Premiere

On Famous Food, some people from scandals, music artists and D-list celebrities had to work together to open a restaurant that will be financed by The Dolce Group.

Their goal was to get the restaurant up and running, and at the end of the show, one of the celebrities would get a stake in the restaurant. If it was up to the other investors' standards, that is.

First, we saw DJ Paul and Juicy J of Three 6 Mafia. They were fun! They brought a lot of liveliness to the group.

Next up was Ashley Dupre, the mistress of Elliot Spitzer. She said she's upset that tabloids call her an escort, because that's not all that she is.

Jake Pavelka was next. He was on The Bachelor and Dancing With the Stars. He said he's always looking for love in the wrong places.

We then saw Danielle Staub of The Real Housewives of New Jersey. She said her personality is controversial. Danielle said it was okay to be labeled as a villain, but she was treated badly on the show. Danielle started out by saying that everyone's ideas are important, but hers are more important.

Vincent Pastore from The Sopranos came next. He said he could be described as "a pain in the ass." Danielle started out by saying how she's met Vincent before, and he thinks she likes him more than she does.

Heidi Montag came next. She called herself a cultural phenomenon. She was on The Hills, but really became famous for marrying Spencer Pratt and getting way too much plastic surgery.

When Heidi came in, she immediately suggested a high class Mexican restaurant. Danielle disagreed, saying it should have fusion food and have a celebrity chef. Next, Mike and Lonnie, the guys from The Dolce Group, came in and reminded everyone that the show is a competition. The next day, the guys came back and overwhelmed everyone with lots of stuff that they have to do. Their first challenge was to come up with a concept and name for the restaurant.

The contestants were given $5,000 cash to begin. Immediately, the fighting began. Danielle took control of the money because it gives her power. (I think Danielle with a lot of power is a scary thing.)

Danielle claimed that she had an 'epiphany,' saying that the group should combine all of their ideas. Then, everything erupted into chaos.

The concept ended up being Italian and Soul Fusion. They chose a name for the restaurant: Fame. This is because the contestants are all famous.

Ashley suggested putting high-scale picnic tables in the restaurant. Everyone got silent because it wasn't a great idea, but Danielle outright criticized it. I really don't know why Danielle doesn't realize that she causes a lot of conflict.

Danielle said Heidi teamed up and pretty much named themselves the leaders of the pack. It was interesting that the two villains from different shows came together. Danielle claimed that she and Heidi have the most connections, which I think is pretty far from the truth. Heidi? Maybe. Danielle? Not so much. They also spent money from the budget to buy wine for themselves.

Mike and Lonnie met with the celebrities. Danielle did the presentation. She started by saying the colors are purple and gold because purple is passionate. The menu will feature the celebrities' own favorite recipes, but with the Soul & Italian fusion mix.

At this point, Mike and Lonnie look horrified.

They were told that their idea was bad. Their reasoning was because they only have 28 days to open a restaurant, and it's not smart to start with a whole new restaurant concept.

The investors said that Danielle stepped up to present the group's concept, but her ideas were way off base. After that, Ashley, who had been shut down before, suggested her picnic table concept again. Mike and Lonnie loved it. Heidi immediately turned on Danielle and said that Ashley is her new best friend.

Takeaways

Famous Food really isn't that good. It's pretty weak by VH1 standards. I don't think most of the celebrities on the show have enough pull to carry this show. If it was a great show, I think it would work. But if the premiere is an indicator of the season, I don't think it'll do that well.

I do not enjoy hearing Danielle Staub complain as much as she does on the show. I think she'll stand out the most on Famous Food, but not in a good way.

This reality show format is different from the traditional format where someone gets kicked off each week, and I think that hurts the show. It takes away the desire to watch every week to see who gets kicked off.

In the previews for the rest of the season, Danielle yells at people to stop disrespecting her. Flashback to Real Housewives of New Jersey much? I'm over her respect antics and don't want to watch them again.

Overall, I think you can skip Famous Food. It's not worth the hour of your time, unless you really like Danielle Staub getting mad at things.

The Glee Project: The Attitudes Come Out

The claws came out on The Glee Project this week, and for once, Lindsay wasn't the one causing the trouble.

Alex started telling others in the house how great he is, especially at dancing. Meanwhile, others criticized him for not being a good dancer at all.

Samuel had to freestyle rap, and he used a rap style he learned from Hannah, including saying the word "skidoosh." He took all of the credit for the idea and didn't even mention Hannah's name. Samuel was the challenge winner this week, and got to spend time with Harry Shum Jr., otherwise knows as Mike Chang on Glee.

Matheus let the success so far get to his head, and he started to become a bit cocky. He even snapped at Damian.

Episode details

The first song performed was Hey, Soul Sister by Train.

The song for the music video this week was U Can't Touch This by MC Hammer, and the cast had to rap. It was interesting. It came off looking and sounding a bit awkward, although some of it was good.

McKynleigh was criticized for acting too much for stage work, and not for recorded video.

Alex was criticized for not being on the top of his game. He even said that he didn't want to win the competition today because someone else deserved a chance to shine. As if he would be the obvious winner if he tried!

Hannah was told that even though she wasn't the best dancer, she did really well.

The bottom three was comprised of Matheus, Alex and McKynleigh.

McKynleigh's song was Last Name by Carrie Underwood. She sang it well, as she should, since she said she sings it in lots of country competitions. She was told that she needs to find her ferocity.

Alex
got I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston. When Alex performed, his talent was evident, but he sounded like he was really trying to show off. He was told that he needs to be a bit more humble. Then, we got into the emotional stuff. Alex told us how he's insecure about being gay because he was told during his whole life that being gay is bad. He said his mom is the only one in his family who knows, and she said she'd love him unconditionally. (I think that some others in his family might have had an inkling, and they certainly know now!)

Matheus was given Down by Jay Sean. He did make the song is own, even taking off his shirt during his performance. However, he was criticized for not taking notes well during the music video shoot.

In the end, McKynleigh went home. I agree with the decision made by the judges - she just didn't have the memorable personality that many of the other contestants had.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Toddlers and Tiaras: Brock Rocks the Pageant

Toddlers and Tiaras showed us an Illinois glitz pageant, which deviates from the typical natural pageants in the area. The Southern Celebrity Mini Nationals Pageant wanted to bring some bling to the table.

First we met Savannah, daughter of Shanna, who has won over $50,000 of savings bonds. Two years before this pageant, she left the pageant circuit, but she's back. I fully respect the fact that her mom let her quit pageants when she wanted to, rather than forcing her to continue. Savannah noted that she feels bad when she loses, which is sad, but she seems like a mature kid who can handle it.

Sydney, daughter of Kim, who has very high self esteem. I have dubbed Kim as Miniskirt Mom because the really short skirt she wears in her opening scene. Sydney was a natural pageant girl traditionally, and this was her first glitz pageant. Mom said that some people said Sydney can't pull of glitz and she's determined to prove them wrong.

Third up was Brock, son of Tori, described himself as a diva. He seemed to have tons of charisma, and he seems like the kind of kid that's going to grow up to be a really great person. In any case, Brock has dolls and dressed as Dorothy for Halloween. It's cool that Mom supports that! Brock was really excited to get his first spray tan - way more excited than most of the girls we see on Toddlers and Tiaras.

When he was two years old, Brock asked his mom if he could tap dance. The kid is great! In kindergarten, kids already started making fun of him for dancing, but he stuck with it. His goal is to be on Broadway. While that's a long-term goal, his short-term goal is to always take his dolls Lexi and Rebecca to pageants with him.

The Pageant

Brock was the only boy in the pageant. Even though he was competing against girls, he said he thinks he can beat them. I have to say, Brock was pretty good! Not spectacular, but really good. He had a lot of stage presence and charisma.

Savannah had a hair and makeup crisis because she didn't want to wear her hairpiece. Mom considered pulling her out of the pageant. She got seriously frustrated and started yelling at Savannah, asking if she'd rather deal with the hairpiece or skip the pageant altogether. To be fair, her hair was being pulled tightly by the hairpiece, which was later discovered and fixed. Onstage, Savannah looked awesome! She didn't wear a flipper, which was a negative, especially when her smile got a little scary. She also lost points for wearing a skirt that was too short. Overall, though, she did well.

Sydney's mom said she looks like a 16 year old little girl. I think it was a compliment. She really did, and she held her smile during her routine. Apparently, her nickname is Tiki or something, which was noted in the pageant.

Brock's outfit of choice routine was half choreographed and half improvised on stage. That's nice to see, considering how much some of the moms micromanage their kids. Brock's Outfit of Choice routine was awesome. He started with a ballet dance and went into a gymnastic-type one. He was so good. Even if you don't agree with his mom's way of raising him, you have to admit that the kid has talent.

Savannah's mom had a crisis - she and her daughter were running late, and when she finally got out of the hotel room, she realized she forgot the pageant number. When she went to get it back, her hotel key didn't work. (More tragic than that is that she was wearing a Twilight shirt, but that's off topic.) Eventually, the hotel manager went and got the number. Even after the madness, Savannah put on a great performance.

Sydney would have benefited from wearing some more clothing - it was a bit skimpy for a kid. Her outfit of choice routine went well, but she had to take off her gloves and her hat fell off, which may count against her.

Crowning

Obviously, as the only boy in his division, Brock won Most Handsome, Best Personality, Outfit of Choice and everything else. He was also told that he'd be coming back on stage for a higher title.

Savannah took home Outfit of Choice in her division.
Sydney took home the Natural Photogenic crown.
The division queen was Savannah. Not bad for not having a flipper and returning to pageants after a two year hiatus!

Sydney was told that she'd be coming back for a higher title.

The Overall Most Beautiful title went to Bria.

Overall Personality went to Brock. He totally deserved it. When asked if he wanted a boy or girl crown, he chose the girl crown because it was sparkly.

Beauty Supreme went to Sydney.

Brock was the Boy's Grand Supreme, but he was the only boy, so that was obvious.

The Ultimate Supreme title went to a girl named Ryleigh, who will probably have her name misspelled very frequently throughout her lifetime.

Takeaways

I think Tori is a good mom to Brock. He's an individual, and his dancing and pageants reflect that. Plus, while we see some girls hating pageants, Brock seemed to really enjoy them. He also will gain confidence and self-esteem from pageants, which he'll need when he gets teased throughout his school career.

I think Tori's going to be criticized for focusing on only Brock, not her daughter (who we see a few times), but I don't think she's ignoring her other child - I think the show just isn't focusing on her.

Glitz pageants have a lot of strict rules that cause points to be deducted. For example, not having a flipper hurt Savannah's chances at winning. While Mom supported the natural teeth look, the judges clearly did not.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Teen Mom Season Premiere: Welcome Back, Catelynn, Amber, Farrah and Maci!

This week on the season finale of Teen Mom, Farrah told us she wanted breast implants. She said it's an investment for her modeling career, which it probably will help, but is that really the best use of her money? I'm not convinced. That being said, I can definitely understand Farrah's frustration with her looks. Unfortunately for her, she had trouble getting financing for the surgery.

Farrah's relationship with her mom seems to have improved a lot. That being said, Farrah's mom suggested that she get a will, and seemed genuinely hurt when Farrah didn't immediately say that she'd be Sophia's guardian if anything happened to Farah. She ultimately chose her mom as the guardian, and that made her mom more supportive of her having the breast implants. Farrah ended up going for it and had the surgery. Her dad was super supportive - it was nice to see Farrah's family happy after all of the turmoil in previous seasons of Teen Mom.

Catelynn faced an attempted break-in. This led her family to have to move. Catelynn's mom did something awesome - she stuck up for Catelynn. Catelynn and her grandmother don't get along, and her grandma said that Catelynn's mom and little brother Nick could move in with her, but not Catelynn. Catelynn's mom said she wouldn't abandon Catelynn. This is a big step up from what we've seen in the past! At this point, Tyler brought up the pair getting their own apartment, but nothing happened immediately.

Catelynn brought up the idea of living with Tyler so her mom could live with Catelynn's grandmother, and her mother was supportive and rational. She noted that Catelynn can do it, but she needs to understand that there are a lot of costs associated with renting a place. While Catelynn's mom was easy to talk to, Tyler's mom was a bit more difficult. Tyler's mom made it very clear that he has a choice about moving out and he shouldn't do it. She said that Catelynn and Tyler are rushing through things. Basically, she was not supportive at all, and honestly, I can't say I blame her! I understand Catelynn and Tyler's perspectives about moving out on their own, but they really are trying to grow up fast.

Amber and Gary contemplated their relationship. Once again, it was evident that Gary loves Amber and really wants to be with her, although Amber remains unconvinced that they should try their relationship again. Part of Amber's hesitation to return to a relationship with Gary was her relationship with boyfriend Chris, even though she realistically knew he wasn't in the same life stage as she was. Chris declared his love for Amber just as she was going to tell him she was getting back with Gary, despite her reservations. She told Chris she wanted to break up and he asked her to stop by his place. Chris seemed heartbroken and asked Amber to give him a chance. Amber said that she just can't do it because they're at different points in their lives. Chris left heartbroken, but Amber really was doing what was best for her, Gary and Leah.

Amber and Gary went to counseling, and Gary professed his strong regret for kissing another girl. During the counseling session, Amber looked like she just wanted to leave, and Gary looked like he was really trying. Amber made a strong accusation: that Gary got her pregnant at seventeen. Sorry, Amber, but you were a part of the babymaking too! Amber did make progress - she discussed why she got physical with Gary and the pain she faces because she doesn't like herself.

Maci stated that Ryan wasn't paying child support. Things seemed really tense between Maci and Ryan. Ryan inquired if Maci's boyfriend Kyle is 'slow' because people asked him. It was strange. But Ryan brought up a valid point - he said he doesn't know Kyle. Ryan does have the right to meet the guy who's raising his kid.

When Maci confronted Ryan about the child support issue, Ryan claimed that he'd been paying it, although Maci hadn't received it. It turns out that Ryan was paying and Maci's bank actually made the error.

It looks like it's going to be an interesting season of Teen Mom. Farrah deals with the death of her ex-boyfriend Derek, Amber deals with legal issues and Maci deals with custody issues. Catelynn and Tyler are sure to bring us a good storyline as they deal with their families. It should be a good season!

Monday, July 4, 2011

A Question Raised by Crowdtap.com

I am a member of Crowdtap, and a question was raised to members of the community: "Which experience that you’ve had on Crowdtap has been the most significant to you and why?"

While I couldn't immediately come up with an answer, I realized the site has helped me in one major way: it got me thinking about social media. Not thinking about social media like, "Oh, I saw an interesting post on Facebook today," but really thinking about social media and society.

Crowdtap had some quick hits (easy questions) about social media, as well as more in depth discussions, like asking what social media sites we use and why, and discussing whether social media has impacted relationships with nearby friends in a positive or negative way.

Generic125x125I'd already had some thoughts on this topic, and was happy to share my opinion, which is primarily that social networking sites like Facebook and Myspace do more harm than good, but still have positive qualities. (Then again, I'm an advocate of blogging instead of social media, so I'm biased.) Even though my thoughts about social media are less than positive, the introduction of the topic gave me so much to think - and write - about. For example, since I've joined Crowdtap and started thinking about social media, I wrote articles about the appropriate age to start using social media and why it's healthy to take a break from Facebook.

Because Crowdtap made me think about social media, I started thinking about how social media affects my life and the lives of others. I thought about the good, but also the harm it causes. Primarily, it allows people to interact in a way that they wouldn't in person. For example, a girl who likes a guy can let him know that she likes him when she's too shy to do it in person (which is good), but people can also be given courage to insult others publicly (which is not good). Take the case of Phoebe Prince, for example. Even after she died, horrible comments were still left on her Facebook page.

So, to answer the question: the most significant experience I had on Crowdtap has been to take a discussion introduced by the website, write about it on Crowdtap and take the thoughts I had during the discussion and share them using other venues. Crowdtap has encouraged me to do research and learn more about social media and society, all because the site introduced some quick hits and discussions on the topic. I've also given myself some good advice while learning about social media on Crowdtap: I should stop reading Facebook and spend my time doing things that are constructive, like sharing my thoughts on Crowdtap!

Hollywood Darlings: Episode 2, My So Called Prom

On Hollywood Darlings (which is an improvised comedy, not reality), the girls drank a charcoal drink, which Jodie hated. Someone came up to ...