Friday, September 30, 2011

Week In Review: Dance Moms, Housewives, Girls Next Door and More

It's been an interesting week for TV wives, moms and a single woman who matches people up but can't find love of her own.

Dance Moms

First and foremost, I am elated that Dance Moms has been renewed for season 2! It'll be interesting to see what happens since Chloe announced that she wants to quit dance and Maddie's dad Kurt claimed he would do anything to pull Maddie and sister Mackenzie out of Abby Lee's dance studio. He also said that dancing ruined his marriage to wife Melissa, so it's sure to be an interesting season if we get to see more of their drama play out.

I hope that next season focuses a little bit more on the moms of Dance Moms. We only get to catch glimpses of them, and that mostly happens when they're yelling at Abby. I'd like to see them interact with their kids a bit more and see what the moms and kids do outside of dance.

Well, she looks happy here...
What's especially interesting about Dance Moms is that, per RealityTVWorld.com, "Lifetime has ordered 13 second-season episodes of Dance Moms, which has averaged 1.6 million total viewers and a median viewer age of 38 during its first season, making the series the network's youngest skewing original program." That makes sense, as Lifetime does seem to trend towards an older audience, but I think the drama of the show would appeal to many younger viewers if they knew about the show or had time to watch it. My suggestion for season 2, in order to attract a larger, younger audience, would be to not put the show on in the same time slot as TLC's Toddlers and Tiaras. Many people would probably like both shows, but without DVR, can only watch one. With Dance Moms being in its freshman (and upcoming sophomore) season, it could have a tough time competing with the multi-season hit Toddlers and Tiaras.

The Girls Next Door

This week, Crystal Harris and Holly Madison both took measures to ensure their future finances. Crystal put her $90,000 engagement ring from ex-fiance Hugh Hefner up for auction, stating that it brings back bad memories. While the ring is only estimated to bring in between $20,000 and $30,000, that's still a nice chunk of change. Do I blame Crystal for selling the ring? Honestly, no. She can't wear it, and she's certainly alienated Hef enough by insulting him and his, um, sexual aptitude, so she probably should get rid of it and put the past behind her. Plus, since she and Jordan McGraw are clearly serious at this point, she needs to get rid of the ring for his sake...he probably can't afford one nearly as nice!

Holly Madison took another approach to making sure she has income in the future - she insured her boobs for $1 million. I guess she has a point - if anything happens to them, she won't be able to work for at least a little while. And her boobs are part of her appeal in Vegas. Does this seem like a publicity stunt? Absolutely. But is it working, and probably bringing her more income than she spent on the insurance policy? I would say yes.

Patti Stanger Digs The Hole Deeper

Patti Stanger, the seemingly angry star of Bravo's Millionaire Matchmaker, keeps digging a deeper and deeper hole for herself. She first caused problems when insulting gay men (they can't commit) and Jewish men (they lie) on Watch What Happens Live. The host of the show Andy Cohen and the Bravo network made it clear that they don't agree with Patti's sentiments, but she hasn't had much luck claiming her words were a mistake.

Patti Stanger, full of anger. (Bad pun!)
Bryce Gruber, a millionairess who appeared on Millionaire Matchmaker, told the world that Patti criticized her for looking too Jewish. She also claimed Patti told her who to choose for her master date if she wanted to look good for America. She ultimately stopped going to Patti because she was ineffective. Former assistant Chelsea Autumn spoke out against Patti as well, noting her abrasiveness and the fact that she clearly has unresolved issues.

I'd definitely agree with Chelsea on the issues front - Patti's very unlucky in love and is probably frustrated with that because creating love is her career. She clearly hates young, pretty women (out of jealousy, most likely), so why not move on to others? Plus, her show has been kind of lame lately, and I wouldn't be surprised to see her show be the next to leave the Bravo lineup.

While former assistant Chelsea clearly isn't a fan of Patti, Destin Pfaff and Rachel Federoff clearly are. They invited her to their small, intimate wedding. That's right - wedding! Son Sin Halo was the best man as Destin and Rachel made it official. Congrats, Destin and Rachel!

The Real Housewives of New Jersey

Teresa Giudice, along with Kim DePaola, plotted to out Melissa Gorga as a former stripper...which Melissa claims she wasn't. And, sources claim that the other housewives all hate Teresa now. Much like Patti Stanger, she seems to be digging herself quite a hole. Although the hole may just get deeper - Teresa might appear on The Celebrity Apprentice! I highly doubt she'll come out of that looking squeaky clean.

Plus, Jacqueline Laurita is reportedly quitting the show for the sake of her sanity, and word has it that Bravo is trying to get Danielle Staub and Kim Granatell on camera, probably hoping for some drama that's more interesting than the Melissa/Teresa stuff and the Joe Gorga/Joe Giudice interactions. Reportedly, they both refused to appear on The Real Housewives of New Jersey.

Other Stuff

Jessica Simpson is flip-flopping about her wedding. Farrah Abraham shows remorse for leaving daughter Sophia with her mom Debra Danielson, but an ex-boyfriend claims that's not true, and she's all about partying. Vinny Guadagnino of Jersey Shore recorded an anti-bullying video, so listen to him!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dance Moms - The Starpower National Competition 9/28/11

This week seemed like it was going to be dramatic, and Abby Lee Miller certainly did not disappoint.

This week, the Dance Moms girls were competing at the Starbound national competition in Lake Tahoe. Abby opened the episode with a lecture about her name is on the line and the girls need to win. This was another lecture in the usual 'Abby Lee is the best and you need to prove it' series.

Maddie and Chloe were each given a solo and a duet. Brooke and Paige were also given a duet. All of the girls were participating in the group number. The group song was called This is My Beauty, and it was about finding inner beauty. However, the girls would be holding mirrors to show that the girls and dancing are beautiful, so...not inner beauty.

Abby Lee sat the moms down to discuss their kids' performance. She said that Nia needs to work on her feet. Abby said that Chloe needs to work on her confidence. (Keep in mind that Abby consistently puts her down in comparison to Maddie.) Abby stated that Brooke wasn't picking up on group routines. Mom Kelly stuck up for her and said that Brooke and her sister Paige aren't trying to be like Maddie or Chloe - she loves them for who they are, and they don't necessarily need to be the best. Abby disagreed, saying that she wants more from them. When Abby noted that Brooke had just one a title, Kelly told Abby to 'shove it up her ass' and asked to be excused.

Chloe Wants to Quit Dance

Chloe and Maddie had a duet called Black Swan in which they play girls battling each other for the prince. The dance included an onstage 'fight'. Chloe was playing the black swan, meaning that she got to break away from her goody-two-shoes image and play an edgier character.

Chloe's solo song was a contemporary lyrical piece called Seasons. While she practiced, her mom Christi noted that Chloe didn't have her usual glow. When questioned, Chloe told her mom that she wanted to quit dancing. Christi was torn - does she encourage Chloe to keep dancing or let her stop because she needs a break?

Christi approached Abby about Chloe's desire to quit dance. Abby made it clear that if she quits, there is a whole list of people who want to take her place. She said that everyone's replaceable. No 'I'd miss Chloe!" or "Chloe's special." Just that Chloe means nothing more than anyone else. It was sad.

Abby later pulled Chloe aside to discuss her concerns about dance. Chloe said she feels like dancing is too much at the time. Abby said her mom made it sound like she never wants to dance again, whereas Chloe said she needed a break. Like she told Christi, Abby told Chloe that people would be willing to take her place if she leaves (although taking a break is normal), but she thinks Chloe was born to dance and can make it on Broadway.

Melissa's Ex-Husband Shows Up

Melissa told the other moms that she'd be missing the competition to take a vacation to her boyfriend. Soon after, Melissa's ex-husband Kurt came to Lake Tahoe to check up on her. He was concerned that Melissa was taking a vacation from the girls and didn't tell him. This meetup resulted in a fight between Kurt and Melissa, with Melissa claiming she'd told Kurt about it and Kurt noting otherwise. The worst part of this was that this happened in front of all of the dancers.

Kurt noted that dance was a primary reason his marriage to Melissa didn't work out. That was interesting - it seemed that Melissa may have been more interested in her kids' dance careers than her marriage. Although really, this is not surprising.

Kurt stayed for the competition in Melissa's absence and was such a supportive dad. That being said, Christi noticed that Maddie didn't want her dad around. He seemed to be distracting for her, or made her feel nervous. When asked about it, Maddie said her dad creeps her out a bit.

The Competition

Abby and Gia spent time training Maddie while Paige and Brooke (who were doing a duet) were sent to a guest choreographer. Kelly took offense. She took this as a snub, and per Kelly, this is why Maddie always wins. Abby could hear Kelly's rant, and she was not happy. They proceeded to fight through the wall. Eventually, Abby called Kelly in. Abby said she'd be happy to teach Paige and Brooke, but they'd have to wait. Kelly said that only one teacher should work with Maddie while the other worked with her kids. Kelly gave up and took her kids to have fun at the pool because if Abby planned to ignore them, she'd at least let them have fun.

Maddie's solo performance was first and she was amazing as usual. At this point, Chloe addressed the competition between her and Maddie, but still, you could tell that they're genuinely friends. Maddie stood at the sidelines to cheer Chloe on. Unfortunately, Maddie's support wasn't enough, and Chloe froze during her solo. She looked so sad and terrified. It was awful. After the dance, Maddie hugged Chloe as she cried. Chloe then cried to her mom. It was so sad - she was probably trying so hard that it got overwhelming. Maddie won this competition and took home the crown.

Brooke and Paige performed their duet to the song Ooh La La next. They were good, but they weren't completely on point. Abby and Brooke both noticed it. Maddie and Chloe did their duet next. They did really well and their timing was perfect. I think the song was a bit edgy for the young girls, but the performance was on point. At this point, Kelly commented on the fact that Maddie and Chloe had better choreography and costumes. Paige and Brooke took fifth place. Chloe and Maddie won first place.

The group number was last. Before the girls went on, Abby gave the girls a lecture. Kurt came into the dressing room, and Abby immediately kicked him out because he makes Maddie nervous. Abby also noted that Kurt is rude, which embarrasses them. Kurt got mad and yelled at Abby. Then Kurt accused dance and Abby of ruining his family. She said that Abby put fear into Melissa and the kids. He also said he'd do anything he can to get his daughters out of Abby's studio the next year.

During the group number, everyone did really well. The girls were in sync, and Maddie's solo moves really made the dance. Two groups were very close - Abby's group and a group that danced to Rolling in the Deep. By a very small margin, The Abby Lee Dance Company won the competition.

After this, Abby surprised the moms and girls with a surprise - they were going back to LA for a surprise. According to the preview, they'd be participating in a music video. Should be interesting!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Patti Stanger Criticized For Bashing Gay Men and Jews

If you watch The Millionaire Matchmaker, you know that Patti Stanger loves most gay guys and is Jewish. In fact, her Jewish heritage is part of what makes her a matchmaker. Despite that, when she criticized both groups, people were quick to express their anger.

Patti Stanger appeared on Bravo's Watch What Happens Live show with Andy Cohen. She spoke some words mostly likely out of frustration, but people took offense.

Per TMZ.com:

Patti appeared on Bravo's "Watch What Happens Live" -- when she said gay men are incapable of monogamy ... adding, "There is no curbing gay men ... I have tried."

But gay men weren't the only target of Patti's unprompted criticism -- she also generalized, "Jewish men lie."



While trying to defend herself against the anti-gay and anti-Jewish allegations, Patti dug herself into an even deeper hole. On Joy Behar's show, she stated:


"But the gay men, they whip it out at eye lock. They get involved and they find out later if they want a serious relationship."


Patti is issuing an apology, and so is Bravo, stating that the network doesn't agree with Patti's statements. Patti is saying that she didn't mean any offense, and I believe her. After all, many of her matchmaking clients are gay and/or Jewish. I think she was simply having a tough time with her matchmaking business and needed to vent. When we watch her show, we see Patti talking about how much she loves gay guys and Jewish guys, although she seems to hate pretty, straight women.

Patti's probably lashing out due to stress. Her show The Millionaire Matchmaker is getting played out. The show is starting to seem the same week after week and is getting criticized for being fake. Plus, with Bravo's recent Real Housewives of New York shakeup, who knows if Patti is next to get the axe?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Some Random Things - 9/26/11

Why LunchBots Are a Good Alternative to Plastic Containers

I think we all realistically know that our reusable plastic containers might not be the best things ever. Sure, I got mine in bulk at a discount retailer for about 50 cents each, but I've managed to melt or destroy several of them. The ones that are still in use are getting a bit mangled and discolored. You know what I mean - they're getting the weird white melted plastic spots or turning orange from the tomato sauce that sat in the fridge for a few days.

When I signed into BzzAgent.com today (because I'm a BzzAgent and love it!), I got a look at LunchBots food containers and said "Oh my gosh, I need these!" They're made of stainless steel, so they aren't going to turn weird colors or leak toxins into your food. Plus, they're cute and practical. The lids come in fun colors, they come with or without partitions and they come in varying sizes. I think my favorite product is the leak-proof thermal container. Have you ever trusted anything not to leak from plastic? I don't think so. But I genuinely believe that the LunchBot isn't going to leak everywhere. And I definitely appreciate that!

As a BzzAgent, I have a chance to earn a LunchBot product, and I can't wait to see if I'm chosen. I try to pack my lunch every day, and this product will allow me to pack food and snacks in a portion controlled size. With the strict, healthy diet that I'm on, this looks like it will be a great product for me.

"Secrets of a Jewish Mother" by Gloria Kamen, Lisa Wexler and Jill Zarin

When Borders was going out of business, I stopped in to pick up whatever books I could find at a discounted price. In my travels, I found a copy of Secrets of a Jewish Mother by Jill Zarin of The Real Housewives of New York, her mother Gloria and her sister Lisa. I thought it might be interesting, so I picked up a copy.

I think the most interesting thing about the book was reading the reviews online. The hardcover edition of the book was criticized for listing Jill Zarin's name first in the credits, even though the leader of the book is Gloria Kamen, Jill and Lisa's mother. The publishers may have taken this to heart, as the softcover has the authors listed alphabetically and in the same font size. I can see why the publishers listed Jill's name first on the hardcover, in any case, because Jill Zarin is a recognizable name in the way that Gloria Kamen and Lisa Wexler are not. It's a reality: a famous name sells books. The publishing company used Jill's name to make the book sell.

Additionally, the book took a hit for having everyday advice. Not bad advice, necessarily, but advice that most people already know. While I do agree with that, I think some of the info was good to have reinforced - be kind to others and such. That being said, I don't agree with all of the advice, but at least some of it is worthwhile. I also think a lot of the book came off as contrived - sob stories, stories where the author is the heroine, etc. I also think the parts about the other women on RHONY were kind of snubs. After all, Jill doesn't hesitate to call people TV-only friends.

In their defense, Jill & the other authors got some grief for some things that they said in particular: they're going to be matchmakers for their kids without their consent, it's wise to marry rich and a woman should marry a man who loves her just a tiny bit more. While these thoughts may sound weird to some, they are part of the quintessential Jewish-American culture. I was raised very loosely Jewish, and these are concepts that I've heard hundreds of times. Many Jewish women are matchmakers by nature. We love to make connections. It's not that Jill and Lisa think they can determine their daughter's future match by their sheer will, it's that they want to make their daughters a match if it's possible.

As for the marrying rich thing, the authors aren't saying that a man has to have money to be worthy. Gloria even said that her husband Sol had nothing when they got together. But let's be realistic - money does help. And we Jewish women love 'stuff.' A man doesn't have to have money to be great, but if he can be great and buy you a Burberry handbag? That's the icing on the cake.

The third topic is about a man loving a woman just a tiny bit more than the woman loves the man. This doesn't mean to not marry for love, not by any means. It just means that having a man who really, truly loves you will keep him around, even when you have your moments. And all women have our moments.

Overall, the book isn't that great, but it's an interesting read, especially for someone raised in a Jewish household or has an interest in learning about somewhat typical Jewish culture. You won't become an intellectual by reading Secrets of a Jewish Mother, but you'll at least get some interesting takeaways.

Just so you're aware: Jill's taken criticism for secretly reviewing this book positively under false names. She's accused of having friends and family do the same. While this is shady and does make me question some of the positive reviews on Amazon, don't automatically discount the positive reviews. The book does have interesting stories, and if you skip the self-help aspects of the book, you can enjoy the anecdotes and bits of Jewish wisdom.

The Kim Kardashian / Kris Humphries Relationship...Post-Wedding

It's been barely a few weeks into Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries' marriage, and news sources are already claiming that Kim's sisters Khloe and Kourtney, as well as mom Kris Kardashian, hate Kris Humphries. This sounds like yet another Kardashian publicity stunt to me. After all, as part of Kim's wedding 'contract', Kris Jenner is now Kris Humphries' manager. So if it takes perceived hate to keep him Kris H. in the news, the Kardashians will do it. Although word has it that Kris was a big jerk in high school, so who knows.

Staged, much?
I firmly believe that anyone who believes Kris and Kim had a real wedding for pure reasons is sadly mistaken. I read a reaction to the story in People magazine where someone said to leave Kim alone because this was the wedding she always dreamed about. Really? And how do you know that, random person? I'm guessing you get your news from the tabloids and don't know Ms. Kardashian herself. Just saying. And for the record, it probably was Kim's dream wedding...the only pesky thing in the way was Kris Humphries himself.
 
My personal thought is that Kim Kardashian married Kris Humphries for two reasons. First, her mom and manager Kris probably said "Khloe's married, Kourtney's got a kid...you need to make a move!" Second, Kris fits the Kardashian profile. He's got a K name (the Kris part is just a bonus!) and he kind of looks like Kim. If Kim wants a kid as much as the media wants you to believe, it makes sense that she'd pick someone with similar genetic characteristics to her own. She wants a Kim clone, and Kris can help her make that...all while ensuring that the kid's a bit taller than she is, which I believe she thinks is an asset.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sister Wives 9/25/11: Vegas, Baby! (Literally.)

Robyn found out that she and Kody are having a baby together, and Robyn was concerned about sharing the news with Meri, who could only have one child.

If you recall, the Sister Wives moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, and are now each wife has a home of her own. Despite Kody's thoughts on the subject, some of the women liked having their own space.


Robyn decided to break the news of her pregnancy to Meri first, because Meri could only have one kid, Mariah, and Robyn's pregnancy could be potentially hurtful. Fortunately, Meri took the news well and was genuinely happy for Robyn. That being said, Meri wasn't thrilled that Robyn had to be extra sensitive about her feelings - she didn't think that should be the case.

When Kody and Robyn gathered the whole family together to break the pregnancy announcement, Robyn wasn't as lucky as she was with Meri. While Christine and the younger kids were happy, some of the teenage girls weren't happy, notably Aspyn and Mariah. In fact, Mariah left to go cry in the bathroom. Her sadness wasn't over Robyn's pregnancy, but the fact that she always wanted a full sibling and mom Meri couldn't have more babies.

While Janelle didn't react favorably to Robyn's pregnancy, it wasn't the pregnancy itself that bothered her. It was the fact that her life was in turmoil. She used to work, but in Vegas, she was unemployed and didn't have access to career satisfaction or monetary resources. She was in a bad place emotionally. Her kids weren't all doing well either - her son Hunter had become withdrawn and was having trouble adjusting. Kody encouraged Hunter to try football, but he refused, as he did with all other options.

The family had been holding church at home together, and it was not going smoothly. Mykelti chose not to attend because she said it was morally wrong that Kody was allowing the family to be filmed as they held church. Gwendlyn also seemed to not want to attend. That being said, the adults believed firmly that the family must maintain their faith.

Kody knew the move to Vegas was negatively affecting the Brown family, so he and the wives made a move to enroll the teenagers in youth group at a local Presbyterian church. They wanted a positive venue for the kids in an accepting environment, but not a new religion for the kids. Christine, at the meeting with the church, stated her dissatisfaction. She thought she was opening up her kids to a new religion, and they should be allowed to find their own social outlets. She felt that bringing them to a Presbyterian youth group was leading them away from their own religion. When the adults in the Brown family regrouped on this subject, they couldn't come to an agreement on whether or not having the kids join the youth group was a good idea. The decision in the end was to ask the kids what they thought about the subject.

The parents and kids gathered at Christine's house. The kids were first asked if they're making friends at school (yes) and if they share their moral values (yes and no). The adults mentioned the youth group at the Presbyterian church, and the fact that Kody and the moms were divided on the issue. The concept of going to an LDS church was mentioned, but the family was afraid they'd receive a negative reaction like they did at their own home. Madison brought up the point that she was told that she can choose her own religion, but Kody refuted saying that is true when the kids become adults. Mykelti was all for the idea. Meri and Janelle believed that the church idea was a good one because it's just social, but Robyn, Christine and Kody were opposed because they're going so far to maintain their faith, and this goes against that. Ultimately, Kody decided to tell Pastor Ray of the Presbyterian Church that his family would not be attending at the current time.

Christine decided that she wanted to put up a pool and a playhouse in her backyard. The family came together to build it, and then hosted a family party in the new yard. The kids went nuts when they saw the new setup. It was nice to see some happy moments after all of the stressful moments on this episode. The next day, the family hosted a pool party for the teenagers and their friends. The parents enjoyed meeting the friends and allowing the kids to expand their social lives. Being that the Brown family is conservative, the co-ed pool party pushed some limits, but they let it happen and even enjoyed it because they got to meet some local parents. Logan had a great time surrounded by a gaggle of girls, but Hunter still refused to participate. He instead opted to spend time with Christine and baby Truely. In the end, the family was happy that the party took place because they met the kids' friends and parents, and realized that they're good people with good morals. It was a refreshing moment because it showed that the Brown kids would most likely be okay in Las Vegas after all.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Alex McCord Blames Jill Zarin For Her RHONY Firing

As Alex McCord and Simon Van Kempen take in the fact that they'll no longer appear on The Real Housewives of New York, they are turning their anger towards Jill Zarin.

Despite the fact that Jill Zarin, Kelly Bensimon and Cindy Barshop are also on the Real Housewives of New York chopping block, Alex McCord thinks that Jill Zarin is the reason that she and husband Simon Van Kempen were released from the Bravo show.

I personally think that Alex and Simon are blaming the wrong person. While I believe that Jill Zarin did try to get the Brooklyn based pair ousted from the show (per Alex's claims), this was clearly bigger than Ms. Zarin herself. After all, Jill was also let go from RHONY, so Bravo would have no incentive to listen to her if she was also getting the axe.

Word has it that Bravo was hoping to recast RHONY with 'real' society women, and most of the current cast didn't fit that profile. The only one who really fit was Countess LuAnn De Lesseps, and she made it through the cut. Ramona Singer and Sonja Morgan also made it, but I'm not entirely sure why.

To be fair, Jill, Kelly, Cindy and Alex didn't really have much to offer RHONY anymore. Jill was becoming a highly disliked instigator who reportedly hired people to post positive things about her on Twitter. Kelly was Jill's sidekick, so without Jill, there's no need for Kelly. Cindy was pretty much universally disliked from the start and got bad press for being racist. And Alex was interesting at first, but there's only so much we can care about when she and Simon shop for pretentious clothing and call their kids by their pretentious names, Francois and Johann.

Alex should remember that RHONY wasn't originally cast as a 'Real Housewives' series. The show was originally called Manhattan Moms, although it never aired under that name. So the women weren't cast to fit the Real Housewives stereotype, which Bravo seems to be migrating towards with the new cast. The new castmates seem to be more wealthy than the originals, and Bravo reportedly specifically sought out specific 'types' - Carole Radziwill as a single woman and Aviva Drescher as a Wall Street wife. The show also cast Heather Thomson, creator of Yummie Tummie, who has links to big name celebrities.

Bravo may also be trying to keep interest going in the RHONY series. The show saw increased ratings after Bethenny Frankel's departure, so Andy Cohen and the other Bravo execs may expect this shakeup to cause even more of a boost. And, Alex McCord shouldn't be too sad...Andy's offered her and hubby Simon guest spots on other shows, so she can at least keep her name in the Bravo spotlight a tiny bit.

Millionaire Matchmaker 9/22/11: Epic Failures for Frank and Emma

Patti said that she needs to do "a whole U-Haul" makeover on one of her clients. That makes it sound so lovely.


Frank Stile

Rachel brought in Frank Stile, a control freak plastic surgeon worth $10 million. He is rigid and has a God complex. He likes motivated women with a brain that are over 30...and they need to speak English fairly well. Patti had a hissy fit when she watched his video, stating that he thinks "he's so great, he's so great, he's so great!"

His last relationship broke up because the woman wanted commitment, but he didn't want it. Patti brought in 'the king of breaking control' to undo Frank's control issues.

Patti told Frank that she can't put him in a mixer because of his personality, so she did a two-way mirror.  He would see the girls that Patti interviews and choose one for a master date. Patti told him that during this, he needs to think about what a woman would like, rather than focusing on only himself.

During the two-way mirror, it seemed as if Patti led in with some bad candidates until moving into some good ones. Even with the rough candidates up front, Frank looked like he was trying to concentrate, even though Emma, the other millionaire, was taking this as a joke.

Frank's choice was Natalie, who was younger than he wanted, but seemed to be the best match. Frank started their date at 7 AM, which was really early for a date. Frank took Natalie for an MMA lesson with his coach, Danny Davis. Then, he had her go one-on-one with Michele, an up and coming MMA fighter. Natalie was scared, but she made a joke about it, stating that if Michele broke her nose, Frank could fix it because he's a plastic surgeon.

Frank then took Natalie to an Italian restaurant. Natalie hit Frank with some tough questions, like asking if Frank's job of creating perfection spills into his personal life. That being said, Natalie was confident with her questions since she was genuinely into building a relationship. Natalie was not happy with Frank's desire to wake up at 5 AM - she found him a bit rigid and controlling.

Natalie told Patti that the date started too early, and she found Frank to be controlling and guarded. She said she didn't want to go out with Frank again. Frank actually seemed a bit taken aback by that. That being said, the experience did positively affect Frank - he realized his flaws and what he needed to do to find a serious relationship.

Emma Wridley

Destin brought Emma Wridley, a 38 year old with 3 divorces, 3 kids behind her and $3 - 6 million. The former child star owns pole dancing fitness facilities. She first got married at 15, then at 25. When divorcing her second husband, her son set the house on fire, and Emma married the contractor that was fixing her house. Patti criticized Emma for her masculine energy.

Emma said her worst love trait is her inability to pick a good guy. She said we wants a nurturing man who's more successful than she is. Patti got her to admit that she's aggressive towards men, and she's the one who pursues the sexual relationship. Patti said she'd fix this trait, which would allow Emma to be more feminine and attract a man. Emma was not convinced - she thinks it's all about chemistry, not about who initiates a sexual relationship.

Patti told Emma she's going to take her for a makeover. Emma wasn't thrilled because she thinks she shouldn't have to change to find a man. Patti brought Emma to see stylist Randy, who was instructed to tame her wild side. Patti's first order of business was telling Emma to cut her hair. Emma eventually gave in, but complained about how the cut and style made her too conservative. Patti outfitted Emma in an Ann Taylor little black dress, and Emma wasn't happy. Additionally, I don't think she looked that good in the dress, despite the fact that Patti insisted she did. It didn't fit her shape or personality. Then again, Patti was trying to squelch her personality, so it makes sense.

For the two way mirror session, Emma rebelled and only straightened her hair, rather than following all of Patti's requests. But I can't say I blame her - if she's not herself, she can't find a long-term relationship that will work.

Emma barely paid attention during the two-way mirror event, and seemed more intent on flirting with Frank than watching her potential love matches. Even though Emma was disinterested, Patti knew that Kelly, a businessman, would be the right match for Emma. Fortunately, Emma made the right choice and picked Kelly.

Kelly and Emma confided that they were both on their first blind dates. In typical Emma fashion, she defied everything Patti said. She wore her hair curly, dressed strangely, and set up something between a strip and pole dancing show in her home. It was disturbingly over-sexual for a first date. Emma is a good pole dancer, and putting together a show with her and several other girls was creative, but Kelly looked horrified. Kelly said he wasn't expecting that and now realizes why he avoids blind dates.

Fortunately, Emma went along with the rest of the date that Kelly planned. Emma liked that Kelly brought her flowers and took her to a sushi restaurant. Kelly admitted to Emma that he was taken aback by her strip show and he didn't love it.

When Kelly asked Emma about her relationship, her lead in line was, "I'm divorced. I've been married three times." When asked if she'd marry again, she said, "When I meet a real man." It got silent, and when Emma commented, Kelly said he wasn't feeling it. Emma's response to this was that Kelly's not a real man. I think she may be a bit misguided...Kelly probably just doesn't enjoy when a woman leads in immediately with a somewhat disturbing strip show and info about her multiple divorces. Kelly said he would not be seeing Emma again.

When Kelly filled Patti in on Emma's pole dancing antics, Patti was not thrilled. Emma's side of the story was that there was no chemistry. Emma then said after her three divorces, it may be her time to be married to herself...and she had a point. She clearly wasn't ready for a serious relationship.

Patti made it clear that she was done with both millionaires, and I don't think that I blame her.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Toddlers and Tiaras 9/21/11: Once Upon a Fairytale

TLC aired the season finale of Toddlers and Tiaras tonight, and I can definitely see why they saved this episode for last.

The show began by introducing us to Tami Shomper, director of Storybook Pageants of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The winner would take home a 14 inch Cinderella crown, trophy, teddy bear and more. Tami was realistic - she said she'd like to say that pageants are all about fun, but she realizes that they're definitely competitive.

Carley

The first contestant we met was five year old Carley, daughter of Melissa, who spent $30,000 on pageants in the past year. Melissa believes that every winning pageant girl has a great pageant mom. Carley has an alter ego when she's in pageants - she said Carley goes away and Darla comes out. Carley let us know that if she doesn't win she's "gonna be pissed".

Melissa says that Carley is her replica, the two are best friends and Melissa feels like it's her on stage when Carley is performing. (If you want to prove the whole I'm-living-vicariously-through-my-daughter theory, this does it.) Melissa said her dedication is a huge part of Carley's success.

When Carley said she wasn't excited about the pageant, mom Melissa corrected her. Melissa also forced her to dye her hair blonde, despite the fact that she wanted her hair brown. Mom had Carley's dress custom made because she'll do anything to give her an edge in pageants.

Did anyone else notice that mom Melissa looks a bit like Vienna Girardi from The Bachelor?

Alessondra

Alessondra, nine, was next. Her mom Alane (who dresses like she really liked the 80's) likes to do things the frugal way. Mom had Alessondra via in-vitro fertilization, and eight years later had Arabella from the same batch of frozen eggs. The Storybook Pageant was Alessondra's first glitz pageant. Mom bought Alessondra's pageant dress from a consignment shop. Alessondra said that she would differ from the other girls because they'd have the 'cupcake' style dress, while hers was long.

Alessondra was not allowed to tan or wear fake eyelashes. It was refreshing. Mom asked "Who needs false eyelashes?" and Alessondra said, "Not me." That sounds like healthy self esteem to me! That being said, it didn't sound like it would help her win a glitz pageant, but still, it was nice to hear. Mom said she wanted Alessondra to look how she wanted her to look and how Alessondra felt comfortable. That's definitely not something we hear every day...a pageant mom wanting her daughter to feel comfortable!

Berkeley

Third was mom Kirsten with her four year old daughter Berkeley. Mom loves pageants, and says she's even more competitive than her daughter. When Berkeley was taken for a haircut, she cried and had a bit of a tantrum.

Berkeley has a pageant coach named Ashley. When Ashley asked Berkeley to practice, she threw herself on the floor and had a fit. When getting her hair done before the pageant, Berkeley cried and said she wanted medicine. She clearly didn't want to compete. Still, mom encouraged her to give the pageant a try.

The Pageant

The beauty competition was first. Berkeley was the first to compete. She looked like she was moving a little too slowly, and she certainly wasn't smiling. She looked like she was in a daze. (Maybe from too much Benadryl or something.) Still, mom praised and encouraged her, which was awesome. Carley was next. She was great. She has fantastic stage presence and looks truly happy to be onstage. Her facial expressions and movements reminded me of the prize girls on The Price is Right. I thought she was almost perfect on stage, yet mom criticized her for going too fast. Mom said she needs a Mountain Dew so she can step it up. Carley protested, saying she doesn't need the soda. Alessondra was the last of the girls. Her smile looked kind of like a snarl, and the judges did not look amused at her long dress. Apparently the judges' displeasure was obvious, because Alessondra noticed. The judges said the hoop under her dress was noticeable and did not look good.

Fairytale wear was the last part of the competition. Berkeley was dressed as some kind of princess in blue, maybe Cinderella. Again, her performance was a bit off. Carley was dressed as Cruella DeVille. She was criticized for staring at her mom and being coached the whole time. She did well, but mom looked like she was having way more fun offstage than Carley did onstage. Mom was quick to criticize Carley after the performance for ripping off her eyelashes. Alessondra was dressed as Jasmine from Aladdin. Alessondra actually has talent - she didn't just walk around in a costume, she did gymnastics. You could hear by the applause that people were actually impressed by her moves. Unfortunately, she had trouble opening up one of her props (a popper), which made her upset. Fortunately, mom and the judges were supportive. Mom said she did great and got in more gymnastics moves because the popper failed, and a judge complimented her ability to move on from a failed prop and continue flawlessly.

Crowning

0 - 23 Month Division
Third place: Annyah (pronounced Anaya...although it certainly doesn't look like it)

 4 - 5 Year Old Division
Third place winner: Aubrey
Second place winner: Caylin
First place: Berkeley


8 -  9 Year Old Division
Fourth place winner: Alessondra
First place winner: Shayla


Supreme Titles

Georgie, Carley, Page, Jessie, Lexie and Olivia were called to the stage for supreme titles.

Georgie got Talent Supreme
Alexa got Mini Supreme (0 - 5 years)
Carley got Grand Supreme (0 - 5)
Jessie got Ultimate Grand Supreme

At the end of the show, Carley said she wants a break from pageants because she's had enough of them. However, mom's already talking about the next pageant. I wonder who will win this dispute!

Reacting to the Teen Mom Season Finale - 9/20/11

The season finale of Teen Mom was hardly unpredictable, but it was interesting. The theme of the Teen Mom episode seemed to be fighting - trying to avoid it, mostly.

I gained some respect for Farrah's mom. Was she right to hit Farrah a while back? Absolutely not. But it becomes more and more evident each week that Farrah does everything she can to show her disgust for her mom. I totally understand a girl Farrah's age still disliking her mom and rebelling a bit, but as a mother, she's not setting the proper example for her young daughter.

Farrah also came to the realization that leaving Sophia with her mom was the best decision for her and Sophia. It's much healthier for Sophia to be in a stable household with Farrah's mother than practically abandoned living with Farrah. And while Farrah has responsibilities as a mother, if she doesn't take this time to grow on her own, she may never properly get over losing her childhood and might resent Sophia. And while Farrah did make a mistake with her pregnancy, Sophia doesn't deserve to suffer because of it. While staying with Farrah's parents, Sophia will most likely be happy - and I hardly think she'll hate Farrah for being in Florida, especially since she'll visit frequently.

Amber realized that her actions set an example for her daughter. In a way, it's sad that this just seemed to kick in, but at least it did. That being said, she's since attempted suicide so I don't think she's in the best place, even after coming to this realization.

It's a shame that Amber and Gary can't get along for their child. And while I genuinely believe that the pair wants to get along, Amber just gets so angry so often that it destroys their relationship. I don't blame her for being angry - having an unplanned child at a young age isn't exactly a thrilling situation. But Amber has a lot of growing up to do, and until she does, I don't think she and Gary will be able to have a healthy relationship.

Maci told Ryan that she doesn't think that she and Ryan should communicate in front of Bentley because it's unhealthy for him to see them fight. When Maci calmly brought this up to Ryan, he started to argue with her, which proved Maci's point. It's evident that the two need to get past their own issues for Bentley's sake, and for now, not being together in front of Bentley is a great choice.

I clearly don't understand the situation that Maci and Ryan are in, but I can't understand why they can't try to get along a bit better. It seems to me that Ryan is the major roadblock in this situation because Maci's willing to get along. I would still say that Ryan has feelings for Maci and can't get over the fact that she's with Kyle, not him. Maci and Ryan did almost get married, after all. They've come a long way from a young couple in love to bitter enemies. Towards the end of the episode, Maci and Ryan made an effort to get along, which is great, but I doubt that they will be able to get along properly overnight. It seems like they're going to lapse again.

Butch Baltierra temporarily moved in with Catelynn and Tyler. Fortunately, Catelynn and Tyler were smart enough to set down some ground rules. Also fortunately, they realized that having both Butch and Carly at their graduation might not be the best idea. Butch clearly isn't over the fact that they gave Carly up for adoption, and he's hardly the best influence. I can't blame Brandon and Teresa if they don't want Carly being exposed to her biological grandparents. Especially because they've seen Butch's actions on Teen Mom and know that he doesn't support their adoption of his grandchild.

I'm glad that Tyler realizes how good his mom is to him. While Tyler doesn't always agree with her thoughts (like her opposition to him moving in with Catelynn), she's very supportive and has done a lot to keep Tyler on track as much as possible. As Tyler noted, his mom is the one who ensured that he went to school every day. She's clearly the positive influence in his life - Butch is hardly a role model for Tyler. Just as a note: at the end of the episode, Butch went back to jail.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Lindsay Pearce of The Glee Project Makes Her Glee Debut

The new season of Glee premiered tonight, and with it, we got to see Lindsay Pearce from Oxygen's The Glee Project.

If you recall, Lindsay Pearce didn't take first place, but she still earned a small guest spot on Glee. And, she has a major advantage over the others: she snagged a spot on the season premiere. And let's just say that she absolutely rocked her role.

Lindsay played Harmony, a girl representing the college that Rachel and Kurt want to attend. She played a hyperactive girl with acting history. She sang Anything Goes from the musical of the same name mixed with Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better from Annie Get Your Gun. She was awesome and the musical selection was perfect for her musical theater voice.

Lindsay looked thinner than she did on The Glee Project, which made her look less like Lea Michele than she did during the competition. She actually looked a little bit like Reese Witherspoon.

The show also brought us:
- Quinn with pink hair and a nose ring
- A new glee club hating friend for Sue Sylvester
- Donated pianos that Mr. Schuester painted purple
- Sue trying to stop music in schools by pursuing a political career
- Santana and Becky became Cheerios co-captains
- Sue asking the co-captains to destroy Mr. Schuester's pianos
- A food fight after the Glee Club performed in the cafeteria
- Sugar, a talentless wannabe with self-prescribed Asperger's
- Blaine's transfer to McKinley High
- Rachel and Kurt being taken aback by Harmony's talent
- Mr. Schuester denying Sugar from Glee Club
- Santana being kicked out of Glee Club for setting a piano on fire

Some Random Things

Two and a Half Men Premiered Last Night

 Ashton Kutcher made his debut on Two and a Half Men alongside Jon Cryer and Angus T. Jones. He played a dull, suicidal millionaire who women find attractive and has no qualms about being naked. The main objective of the episode was to introduce his character, Walden Schmidt, and explain his poorly attempted suicide because his wife left him. At first, he seems to be the antithesis of Charlie, but by the end of the episode, he might as well have become Charlie 2.0. At the conclusion of the episode, Walden decided to buy Charlie's house, and thus began the new story on Two and a Half Men.

Ashton's appearance gave Two and a Half Men a ratings boost. In fact, it set a ratings record, attracting 27.8 million viewers. I think part of the ratings boost, aside from people wanting to see Ashton Kutcher, was wondering how Chuck Lorre would decide to get rid of Charlie Sheen's character Charlie Harper for good. The answer, if you're curious, is that his girlfriend pushed him in front of a train after he proposed to her and then cheated.

Things I'm Loving: Burt's Bees

Burt's Bees is a good brand. It's got a strong brand image and uses natural materials in its products. However, I think most people don't know about all of the Burt's Bees products. Sure, we've seen the lip balm at the drugstore, but I didn't realize that the company had a lot more to offer. The new product line I'm planning to try is the sensitive skin line, which includes moisturizing cream, facial cleanser, eye cream and night cream. I discovered this product line on BzzAgent.com today (I'm a BzzAgent!) and am ready to purchase these items right away. I have sensitive skin and I love the idea of using natural products from a company with a great reputation. (Basically, I know that I won't have to expect any surprises - this is good, natural stuff.) BzzAgent has an upcoming campaign for the Burt's Bees sensitive skin line, and I'm hoping to be accepted so I can give it a try.

Dancing With the Stars

I don't have much to say, except that The Parents Television Council didn't win the battle of wanting Chaz Bono off of the show! Thank goodness! In my opinion, the PTC should get a life and start worrying about real things in their communities, rather than worrying about shows that some of us, as adults, can watch happily. Their argument that Chaz's transgendered status will confuse children is ridiculous because hiding your face behind your hands also confuses young children. And people still do that. So relax, PTC, and shut off the TV if you don't want to see sex, violence, or anything that doesn't fit into your squeaky clean belief system.

Teen Mom: The Teen Dad Special

I hate to say it, but this episode was pretty inconsequential, aside from the fact that it reminded us of how bad Corey Simms and Leah Messer's relationship (or lack of) has gotten lately. It also reminded us why Tyler Baltierra is awesome, and did the right thing by sticking by his choice to have Carly adopted, rather than listening to dad Butch Baltierra say, "all a kid needs is love!" Keep in mind that Butch has been in and out of jail, therefore not providing for his kid, and was recently accused by Catelynn Lowell's mom, who is also his wife, April that he beat her. Yes, clearly, love would protect Carly from this unhealthy environment. (Sarcasm.)

Where to Shop

I've been on a major Hautelook kick lately and highly recommend it to anyone who loves to buy high end clothes at reasonable prices. The site's been featuring amazing sales lately, like on my favorite shoe brand, Kelsi Dagger. I also just bought some gorgeous black and white jewelry. Hautelook's known to feature some of my favorite brands, including Romeo and Juliet Couture and Sweet Pea. For a listing of all of designer sale sites, click here for invitations to RueLaLa, Ideeli, Beyond the Rack, etc.

NBC's The Playboy Club

The Playboy Club premiered on NBC last night to very low viewership. While I found the show to be interesting, former Bunnies at the club were not fans. Former Bunny Marilyn Miller said the show does not accurately portray the club environment and is degrading to those who were actually there. For example, Bunnies did not dance with keyholders and there were no mobsters at the club. I find this interesting because Hugh Hefner seems to be very involved with the show (including being the narrator), and he should probably know a lot about his own brand. Although as we learned on Undercover Boss, many bosses don't realize what really happens within their organizations, so maybe Hef isn't the most reputable source after all.

Find Your Style With StyleFind.com

 If you love fashion and haven't been on StyleFind.com yet, you're missing out.

I'm a big fan of StyleFind.com, a site I found by being a BzzAgent at BzzAgent.com. StyleFind gives you exclusive access to designer deals, and helps you pick the clothes and accessories that will help you build your signature style.

Membership for StyleFind is free, and it's a must have for any fashion fanatic, even with a limited budget. Plus, you can sign in using Facebook, so you don't have to worry about forgetting your login information. Which I do...a lot. So this is awesome.

Anyway, when I went to the website today, I was immediately greeted with the image of a gorgeous Botkier handbag, which put me in the mood to shop. Then, I clicked on one of the top searches: LC by Lauren Conrad. Since I like to mix high-end and affordable pieces, this website appealed to my sense of fashion right away. Plus, I think even those who like to spend serious cash on clothing can admit that the LC by Lauren Conrad line is pretty awesome. I have a couple of pieces and they look perfect, even after several runs through the washing machine.

I continued by looking in the deals section. This is where I got super excited. I absolutely love a good deal, so this was thrilled to see an archive of coupons. I looked through them and planned my online shopping for the remainder of the evening. (I've got some time to shop before the new season of Glee premieres tonight!)

After looking around at some amazing pieces and prices, I clicked on the site's Ultimate Wardrobe & Closet Makeover Sweepstakes. If there's one thing I love more than great deals on designer clothes, it's winning free clothes. So this was an added bonus to an already great website.

If you're a fashion lover, you need to check out StyleFind. With editor's picks, great deals and information about trends, StyleFind has something every fashion lover will enjoy.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Was Bravo Right to Fire the Women of RHONY?

Bravo has kicked Jill Zarin, Alex McCord, Kelly Bensimon and Cindy Barshop off of The Real Housewives of New York, although the network insists it was a friendly departure. Did Bravo make the right decision?

My initial thought on this is no, Bravo did not make the right decision. First of all, I wonder why Ramona Singer, LuAnn De Lesseps and Sonja Morgan made the cut over the other women. I can see why the countess was kept, especially because word has it that she's friends with the women being added to replace Jill, Alex, Kelly and Cindy. And, she's got a lot going on with her new boyfriend and everything. However, Ramona isn't too exciting and Sonja's just kind of a mess...and she's no longer rich or a housewife! If I recall correctly, the point of the cast change was to bring in real society women with real money, and while Sonja still may be a society woman, but she no longer has the money.

I will definitely miss Jill Zarin on the show. I also think she'll really miss being on the show. I read some of her book, Secrets of a Jewish Mother, and she not only focuses on motherhood but her friendships on The Real Housewives of New York as well. Not everything was positive, but she was open about her feelings. It also came across that she truly values her time on the show and the benefits that come with it.

As for Alex McCord, Kelly Bensimon and Cindy Barshop, I can see why they were let go. Alex and Simon Van Kempen were fun, but they were kind of a novelty on the show, and they lived in Brooklyn, not Manhattan like the others. Kelly's nothing without sidekick Jill, and Cindy just didn't make a splash during her debut season.

It's notable that Patti Stanger of The Millionaire Matchmaker was quick to stand up for Jill, and in doing that, noted that the two are collaborating on a possible new project. It's possible that Bravo anticipates this new show hitting the air and didn't want Jill appearing on RHONY and the new show. Or, Bravo's just sick of Jill's shenanigans. Word has it she's quite a diva and she's pulling all kinds of fake publicity stunts, like hiring people to post positive things about her on Twitter.

I'm not totally surprised by the RHONY shakeup, especially because RHODC was cancelled and RHOBH took on new castmate Brandi Glanville. The Bravo network seems to know that their shows may be losing their moments in the sun and may be trying to shake things up to retain viewers.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Drama Regarding Eden Wood and Kelly Bensimon - Reality Crossover!

This story is a reality TV lover's dream - a dramatic story involving Eden Wood of Toddlers and Tiaras and Kelly Killoren Bensimon of The Real Housewives of New York.

Image from DailyMail.co.uk
Kelly Bensimon hosted a fashion show for children's footwear brand Cicciabella at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, and Toddlers an Tiaras star Eden Wood was featured. Okay, no big deal, right? Well, sure, except for the fact that Eden's performance included gyrating on stage.

If you're a Toddlers and Tiaras fan, you'll know that Eden was a pageant princess until mom Eden and mom Mickie Wood decided to pull her out of pageants for the big league: modeling and acting.  It seems to be working, since Eden landed this gig at fashion week, but her career may take a step back after this appearance.

Some people are placing blame in inappropriate places, like blaming the producers of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week for allowing this event to occur. But here's the thing - I highly doubt they knew exactly what would happen, and even if they did, I bet they didn't know it would cause this kind of controversy. (In fact, I bet it wouldn't have caused controversy at all if Eden wasn't involved - she's famous enough to make this a headline, rather than a back page story hidden in a newspaper somewhere.) If blame is to be placed anywhere, it should be on the people in charge of Cicciabella's fashion show and on Eden's mom and management team. That being said, Eden's mom is out to get Eden famous, and this is certainly getting her there! Even Cicciabella will probably benefit from this because their brand has gained some fame. And all press is good press, right?


The controversy over the fashion show is based on the fact that Eden was being sexualized at a young age and this can be confusing for a girl growing up. I understand this - Eden shouldn't understand using looks and sexuality for attention - but it's also possible that the girl has no idea that her movements are considered sexual. She could just be doing a stage routine that she doesn't understand, much like what occurs in beauty pageants. Kelly Bensimon agreed with the innocence of Eden's appearance, stating that Eden was just having a "fun, girly moment." While I normally think Kelly's thoughts and sentiments are a bit wacky (and you may agree if you've seen her on The Real Housewives of New York), but I'm with her on this one. Was Eden's gyrating appropriate? Absolutely not. But was she aware that her moves were sexual? I doubt it. I don't think this fashion show will give Eden any more issues than she may have from participating in pageants and growing up in the spotlight.


Aside from the fact that Eden has a following, this story probably became popular because of the recent Paisley-the-Prostitot fiasco, in which a 3 year old girl featured on Toddlers and Tiaras was dressed as Julia Roberts' prostitute character in Pretty Woman. People are already on the rampage about kids in overly sexualized costumes, and Eden's story is just being tacked onto the list of reasons why people are angry about kids being sexualized and told that looks are what's important in life.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Reacting to the Toddlers and Tiaras Article in People Magazine

The September 26, 2011 issue of People magazine featured an article about Toddlers and Tiaras. It gave us an inside look into the show and to how some of the parents - and kids - feel about pageant life. This blog post includes some information about the article and my thoughts on the statements.

"Child beauty queens are taking the pageant world - and reality TV - by storm with spray tans, fake teeth and risque costumes. Should they be stopped?"

No, pageants in and of themselves are not wrong. When a child genuinely enjoys being onstage, is dressed in an age appropriate manner and has parents that can afford pageant attire, an occasional pageant is a healthy thing. It can help build self esteem and allow a child to make new friends. Pageants turn negative when they become an obsession for the pageant parent or child, cost more money than the parents can afford and turn kids into nasty little divas.

They are also inappropriate when parents force unwilling kids to compete or make them live a full-time pageant life. To cite an example, take a look at Baylen and mom Beth. Baylen clearly didn't want to be in pageants, but Beth forced it, and the end result wasn't pretty.

It's also problematic when kids give their kids attitude when they lose pageants. Even if a kid tries her best, she may not make the cut against more experienced, talented or beautiful girls. That being said, this isn't specific to pageants - this happens in sports, dance, school and just about any other venue that can even remotely be considered competitive.

The worst is when parents pit their kids against each other. The best example of this is the case of AshLynn Sterling and BreAnne Sterling. Mom Jamie Sterling clearly favored BreAnne, and AshLynn knew it. You could see the pain in AshLynn's eyes, and beyond that, she is sure to suffer from long lasting effects of mom's favoritism for her sister. Also take a look at Braxton and Alaska. Alaska, who was naturally talented and beautiful, took a backseat to her less talented brother in their mother's eyes.

Paisley as Julia Roberts
Lindsay Jackson outfitted daughter Madisyn Verst, then 4, with faux breasts and padding for her derriere to more convincingly play Dolly Parton; a week later, Wendy Dickey dressed up her 3-year-old daughter Paisley in Julia Roberts's streetwalker costume from Pretty Woman, complete with a cut-out dress and over-the-knee boots. (She won.)

Okay, this stuff is inappropriate, but I don't think there's any malice in the parents' actions. Would I put a kid in fake boobs or in a prostitute dress? No. But are pageants really about the kids when they're young? Also no. The goal is to appeal to the judges, which usually consists of three things: the child's beauty, the child's attitude and the creativity of the parents. Does Madisyn really know who Dolly Parton is? Of course she doesn't, or wouldn't without her mom providing a detailed explanation. Until the kid is old enough to understand what's really going on, all of the Wow Wear / Western Wear / Outfit of Choice competitions are all about the parents.


Accentuating their appearance with such accoutrements such as fake hair, teeth, spray tans and breast padding "causes the children tremendous confusion, wondering why they are not okay without those things."

I think most kids can determine the difference between a pageant look and an everyday look, but I can see where the need for these add-ons can lead. Here's the thing - some kids just aren't meant to win pageants. Not all kids are equally beautiful and talented. Especially when a child is not particularly beautiful and talented, her parents have to make up for that with extra glitz and ploys for attention. So, when that average kid keeps being entered in pageants and losing, her self-esteem is sure to plummet, and she'll move towards wanting to falsely inflate her self-esteem with makeup and other modifications. She may not feel beautiful even with the extras, but she'll really feel sub-par without them.


Conversely, many pageant parents argue that there's no better confidence boost than winning a pageant.

Well, yeah, I'm sure winning at anything is a confidence boost to a kid. And, kids who win pageants probably do have high self-esteem because they're constantly told how awesome they are. On the other side of that is the fact that one kid wins the overall title at a pageant, leaving the other kids in the dust. So, ultimately, one kid gains the self-esteem while the others don't. The ratio is a bit off with this. And, even worse is when parents criticize their young children for not placing well in pageants. A lot of the time, it's hardly the kid's fault - she can't help it if she doesn't have a winning smile or mom's lack of spray tanning skills cost her some points. If your kid constantly loses pageants, she probably has low self-esteem and shouldn't be in pageants in the first place.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Millionaire Matchmaker: Patti's First All Gay Mixer

Patti asked her friend Madison if she could fix him up by throwing him a mixer. Destin also brought in a gay man to be matched up this week.


Patti loved Destin's millionaire, 47-year old Eric Allen. Eric is a TV producer whose net worth was 3 to 4 million dollars. He wants a spiritual guy for a long term relationship. He claims to not be great at sharing his feelings, but wants someone who can bring his feelings out. His last relationship failed because his ex-boyfriend had a lack of passion. Patti said Eric's only into stray, wounded guys, and she wanted to find him someone better. Patti also brought in Dr. Nicki J. Monte to help Eric.

Dr. Nicki dug into Eric's relationship issues. It turns out he's resentful for being the financially responsible one in relationships. Dr. Nicki said that Eric is afraid of finding an equal - he picks shallow dates so he doesn't have to become fully invested in a relationship.

Patti's friend Madison Hildebrand is worth between 2 and 5 million dollars. He sells real estate. He loves traveling and being outdoors. Because Madison was recruited by Patti and not at The Millionaire's Club on his own accord, he seemed a bit hesitant. His last relationship became unhealthily codependent. He likes cute, South American guys. Patti criticized Madison for being lazy in love.

Patti seemed to love meeting the guys for the mixer. She seems to get along really well with gay guys, so she had a blast meeting with all of them. Plus, the guys she met were attractive and make good money, which is more than can be said for all of the girls Patti meets for her straight dates.

When he met Madison, Eric was immediately attracted to him. This made me think that the guys will pick each other in the end or something. It didn't work out that way, though.

Right of the bat, Patti told the millionaires which guys were there for each of them. Even with that, Madison was waiting for the guys to approach him and Eric acted like he was conducting interviews. In the end, Eric chose Chris and Madison selected Charlie. Patti approved of both choices.

Madison and Charlie enjoyed putting sunblock on each other and spent some time on the ocean. They really seemed to hit it off! After that, they shared a nice dinner. The guys talked about their dream vacations, and their ideas seemed to match well. They also had similar experiences with past relationships. Both guys told Patti the date was a success. The men currently speak on the phone, but haven't had a second date.

Eric and Chris went horseback riding, which seemed fun until the horses started running. Still, the guys laughed about it and moved onto dinner. The guys discussed vulnerability and how it can make someone loveable. It seemed that Eric was truly able to open up a bit, which is a big step for him. The guys even shared a kiss, even though it was just a peck. Both men told Patti that they enjoyed the date. The men are currently dating and having a great time.

Teen Mom's Farrah Abraham Gives Daughter Sophia To Her Mom!!!

Move over, Jenelle Evans! Farrah Abraham is the second Teen Mom to give her kid to her mom for a while.

If you saw this week's episode of Teen Mom, you heard Farrah Abraham have a total hissy fit when her mom, Debra Danielson, offered to raise Farrah's daughter Sophia while Farrah followed her dream of going to school in Florida. Even worse was that Farrah's therapist backed Farrah up 100%, despite the fact that Farrah and Sophia going to Florida on their own would be awful for both of them.

However, Farrah's had a change of heart and will be leaving Sophia with Debra while she pursues her dream of being, well, someone who isn't a teenage mother. Farrah said she wants time for herself and to pursue her freedom, and while that's horribly selfish because she decided to have and keep her baby, it's definitely best for Sophia. It's probably much healthier for Sophia to be in a more stable home with Debra than to be around Farrah and Debra fighting, or to be alone with Farrah. For those who are concerned about Sophia missing her mommy, there's no need to be concerned. Farrah's parents clearly have loads of cash and have offered to fly her back home as often as she wants to see baby Sophia.

If anyone thinks Teen Mom is anything like the lives of most teen moms, I think they're sadly mistaken. Farrah's got it really good, especially for a girl who doesn't appreciate it. Especially because she claims to be robbed of her childhood, which she was in a way, but her own decision led to part of that.

Toddlers and Tiaras: Fresh Faces in Missouri

Dena Jackson, director of the the Fresh Face Pageant for Missouri, said to be successful in her pageant, a kid must be a "facially gifted child". The pageant only judges on facial beauty and personality.

The first contestant we met was six year old Paige, daughter of Candace. She hasn't yet snagged high titles in her ten-month pageant career, but she's trying. Even without major wins, Paige had a pageant coach named Angee Jones.

Eleven year old Sydney was second. She was spunky and had a great attitude. Mom Marlo was, well, out there. She tried to be funny, and it was kind of funny to an outside observer, but I imagine it's not always pleasant for Sydney. One of mom's weird traits? She has a very realistic baby doll that they like to carry around and scare / confuse people. She actually used this doll, Morgan, to confuse someone at the pageant. Dad Donald was more conservative and less out there. For instance, he was not a fan of the swimsuit competition in pageants because it's too revealing.

Sydney is not only a pageant girl, but a cheerleader, and a very talented one at that. She's also confident - she said with confidence that she was going to take home the win at the Fresh Faces pageant.

Madison was third. She's coached by "Aunt" Jamie and Jamie's mom Tina. Jamie was a pageant girl herself, and quit when her best friend had Maddie. (Jamie and Maddie are not related.) Tina is known for making pageant clothes and has been involved in the industry for a long time.

Madison didn't have as much luck at dance practice as Sydney had at cheerleading practice. Sydney's technique was much better than Maddie's. She'd lost to Sydney before, so she'd need to step it up to take the win.

The Pageant

At the pageant, both Maddie and Sydney had a someone named Dane Dane doing their hair. I'm not sure what I think of the double name.


Paige did okay in beauty. She looked pretty but her smile was lacking, and her face had no personality. She did the movements (pointing at her smile, blowing kisses) but her face showed nothing.

Madison was next. Her smile was on point, but her dress seemed a little bit short. She had tons of poise and technique, but she does not have the natural beauty that some glitz girls have. That being said, pageant judge Karen Ivey disagreed - she said Madison's facial beauty always earns her high scores.

Sydney performed last of the three. Sydney was the clear winner of the three for me. She was beautiful, on point with her moves and incredibly poised. Plus, her hair was awesome. Mom Marlo was concerned that her skirt was too short, but I think Madison was having more of the short skirt issue. Judge Paige Williams agreed, calling Sydney the total package.

In typical Toddlers and Tiaras fashion, Paige's mom Marlo's room key wouldn't work, and they got delayed after the beauty competition.

Outfit of choice was next. Paige's outfit was nice, but again, she was incredibly uninspired. She looked like she was just going through the motions, not actually feeling anything. She did know that she messed up, because she said her coach would be mad at her. Madison did well and had great facial expressions. However, Sydney was nothing short of fantastic. Her dancing was awesome, and her smile and facial expressions were on point.

Crowning

If a girl placed Princess or Queen in her division, she'd be out of the running for a higher title.

5-6 age category:
Fresh Face Princess - Paige (Mom was disappointed, but Paige was happy.)
Divisional Queen - Shelby

9-10 age category:
Princess: Lexie
Queen: Makayla

11-12 age category:
Princess: Hannah
Queen: Ania

Supreme titles:
4-10 Grand Supreme: Madison (At this point, with less overwhelming makeup, you could see how pretty Maddie really is.)
10 and Up Grand Supreme: Sydney
Ultimate Grand Supreme: Samantha

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Dance Moms: iHollywood Pits Abby Lee Dance Studio Against Candy Apple's Dance Studio

This week on Dance Moms, the girls competed in the iHollywood competition. Melissa stayed home, leaving Maddie and Mackenzie in Abby's care.

In Hollywood, Abby rented out the practice studio where Britney Spears and Lady Gaga have performed. She said nothing is too good for her girls. She also brought in a special guest: drag queen Shangela, AKA Laquifa. Abby said that she wanted Nia to see Shangela because it will help her embrace her heritage.

Melissa stayed home during this competition because she was spending time with her boyfriend. The other moms were critical, stating that Melissa should be in Hollywood with her young kids. However, Melissa's boyfriend pays the girls' dance bills, so Melissa had to take some time off from being a dance mom to be with him.

Paige Branches Out With a New Choreographer

For this competition, Nia and Mackenzie did a duet. Chloe got a solo. Maddie also got a solo. Paige and Brooke didn't get solos because Kelly went off on Abby Lee last week. Abby told Kelly that Brooke and Paige are welcome to get their own choreographer and enter as an independent, but then they'd be out of the studio forever. Despite the threats, Kelly took the chance and hired a choreographer for Paige. The choreographer worked with Ke$ha, Lady Gaga and others, so he's sure to have some tricks up his sleeve. Paige was nervous about having a new choreographer. She was also afraid to make Abby mad.

Paige was tense during her rehearsal with Mike, the choreographer. Mike's dance had a lot of body movement but not as much technique. Mike called Paige out and said she was clearly scared of something. He then reassured her and told her that he wants her to do the best that she can. We never hear that kind of positive talk from Abby! Even with the positivity, Paige was upset and went to cry in the bathroom.

Later, Abby told Kelly that she won't allow Paige to be in the group number if she does a solo as an independent. After some back-and-forth between them, Kelly said she just wants her kids to have good choreography. Abby contended that she does good choreography, and although Kelly wants her kids to feel special, Abby said that's not her job.

As it turns out, Paige was only able to learn 30 seconds of her dance before the choreographer ran of time. Abby told Kelly that she can pull Paige out of the solo competition or stay in the group. Kelly cried and walked out, and Abby said, "Don't cry. It's all your fault to begin with." Kelly ended up pulling the solo, and Abby, of course, criticized Kelly going back and forth on her decision.

Cathy Presents a Poison Apple - I Mean, Has Candy Apple's Dance Studio Compete Against Abby Lee's

Cathy set out to get her revenge on Abby Lee by bringing Vivi, Justice and Taylor from the Candy Apple's Dance Studio to the iHollywood competition. Cathy played dirty - the solo song she chose for Taylor was the one that Chloe would be dancing to. Cathy lectured Vivi and Justice about how Abby didn't use Vivi to her full potential and told them she was ready for a showdown.

Cathy walked smugly into the Abby Lee Studio's dancing room, and Abby and the moms looked horrified. She immediately had Taylor talk about the three titles she's won. She made it very clear that she was in Hollywood for the challenge and she was there for the win.

Cathy was so confrontational with Abby. She said she doesn't typically do competitions but decided to give it a try. Then she said Abby's choreography was old and stale, and she'd be bringing new choreography to the table.


Abby Showed an Emotion Other Than Anger

Abby found out her mom was in the hospital, and for once, she actually seemed emotionally affected. Well, Abby has emotions a lot - but the emotion is usually anger. We don't often get to see her tough exterior crack like it did when she heard about her mother.

When Abby took Maddie to lunch, they discussed the fact that Abby missed her mom like Maddie missed hers since she wasn't on the trip. Abby, once again, broke down a bit. She called her mom to check up on her, and her mom said that her stomach was in a lot of pain. Abby looked positively defeated.

Abby then complained that the moms don't seem to understand that she has life outside of the dance studio, but that's a bit hypocritical, as Abby doesn't want the moms and kids to have life outside of dance. As we learned in an earlier episode, Abby encourages the girls to miss school for dance.

The iHollywood Competition Was Dramatic

Maddie's solo was a contemporary piece called Disappear about a girl who was abused and eventually commits suicide. Abby said that 'some would say it's too mature for an eight year old' but Maddie can handle it. I'm in the camp that thinks the concept is too advanced for an eight year old. Before Maddie dance, Abby cried and told her that she inspires her and wants her to do her best. Abby said she doesn't want the dance to be controversial - she just wants the judges to see that it's good. Maddie danced beautifully, as always. The music was haunting, but the dance was much more appropriate than the missing child related group number from a few episodes ago.

Vivi-anne and Justice danced next. Their dance was really happy, which was a stark contrast to Maddie's. During the dance, it was clear that Justice has a lot of talent, and I have to say, that's the best I've ever seen Vivi dance. Her technical skills were way off, but she did get the choreography correct. For example, she got the look at the end correct, but she seemed to lift her leg late and drop it way too quickly. I think Cathy gave Vivi a duet, not a solo, because she knew she couldn't snag the win on her own.

Nia and Mackenzie's duo was next. Let me tell you, Nia and Mackenzie SHINED. The dance was very acrobatic, which was a criticism Cathy had for Abby's dances, but it worked. I think Holly's criticism may have kicked in with Abby, because Nia was very much on point and seemed to have improved dramatically. Or maybe Abby just gave her dances that were appropriate for her skill set.

Taylor from Candy Apple's went next, and Abby looked appalled when Chloe's music began to play. From backstage, Christi was confused because she thought Chloe may have missed her cue. Taylor did dance well, so the competition was sure to be stiff between her and Chloe. Fortunately, the girls' costumes were very different, and Chloe was definitely the better dancer. I think the competition with Taylor caused her to dance even better. Chloe was amazing! I feel bad for Taylor because she was clearly just a pawn in Cathy's game, and because of that, I hoped she wouldn't win.

The group number was theatrical jazz, and it was great! Nia kicked butt on the death drop. Seriously, it was awesome. The suggestion to do that was perfect - it made the dance really great.

Despite Cathy's claims that she'd have to win, she didn't. Nia and Mackenzie took first place in the mini-duet/trio competition. Chloe won first place for the junior solo. Unfortunately, the competition wasn't all good for Abby - Maddie had her first loss. She took second place in the mini solo competition. Maddie took it so well. She's such a great kid. Abby Lee's group also took third place for junior small group.

After the competition, Cathy approached Abby Lee's group looking smug again. She said she can go home and fix what her kids did wrong, and said "you can't fix ****". She then said that Abby hasn't seen the last of her Candy Apple's dance team.

When Abby actually showed some positivity by saying she was proud of the kids, she and Kelly started arguing. Chloe stood up for Kelly, saying that since Abby's not a mom she doesn't understand why Kelly wants her kids to feel special. Abby did not take this well, and arguments ensued.

Takeaways

I've been saying during the entire season that Cathy Nesbitt-Stein was planted to play the foil to Abby's plans. This is evident more than ever, especially because Cathy stole the music from Chloe's solo music.

Despite taking some losses, the girls danced great this week. Nia was especially awesome during this competition.

It's good that Chloe took first place when Maddie didn't. It's not good for Maddie, but at least Chloe got a spot in the sun!