Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Top Chef battles the Elements,American Idol's inspirations and the ladies get burned in Hell's Kitchen

This week's Quickfire on Top Chef was the taste test challenge;Padma and guest judge Ming Tsai had each chef individually taste both the expensive and the cheap version of each product while blindfolded and the goal was for him/her to tell which one was the higher quality ingredient.

Antonia won that round,with 12 out of 16 responses right,and received immunity. The Elimination challenge had everyone divided up into four teams to prepare a first course for a Meals On Wheels charity event and the food theme was the four elements. Antonia joined Spike and Zoi(thanks to the draw of the TC knives)to be part of Team Earth. Spike wanted to make a butternut squash soup but Antonia shot that down,which lead to a huge blow-up later on.

Team Earth whipped up a beef carpaccio,with a mushroom salad and sunchoke aioli that no one liked. It was the least favorite of the folks at the Meals On Wheels dinner due to the lack of seasoning on the dish. Spike mentioned during the Judges table that he originally wanted to go with soup,which I personally think would've been a better choice(a real hearty soup can be very earthy)and even tho I'm not a fan of squash,it probably would have gone over like gangbusters. The carpaccio certainly didn't!

Most of the teams had trouble with this challenge;Team Water offered up poached salmon with faux cavier and watercress salad. Unfortunately,Richard's idea to cook the salmon via souvde(it's a hot water bath method)didn't add much flavor to the fish and there were scales on many of the portions to boot.

The only team that did well here was Fire;they had alot of trouble figuring out what to make at first but while shopping for supplies,they came up with a spicy grilled shrimp with pickled chili relish and miso flavored bacon. Lisa came up with the whole bacon concept and prepared it in a special way that really wowed the judges. Not only did Team Fire win the challenge,Lisa received a special prize of a five day trip to Italy,nice! Dale was pissed,since he and Lisa clashed quite abit working on this dish and complained off-camera that she shouldn't get such a trip for "making bacon."

Dude,you made relish,okay? Look,I know that it's annoying to see someone you don't like win over you but be a grown-up about it,seriously! His attitude about this flared up during the big fight yet to come.

Zoi was sent home,due to the seasoning and that set off a chain reaction of fury amongst the chefs(most of it after she left). First off,Zoi's girlfriend,Jenn who had joined the competition with her was all upset and then Spike started ragging on Antonia over not letting him make soup and saying that chefs with immunity should take a backseat during team challenges. Lisa tried to calm things down and Dale used that opportunity to scream all over Lisa.

While I do agree that soup would've been a better choice,Antonia had every right to voice her opinion during the challenge and Spike should've stuck to his guns if he really felt that strongly about the soup. Also,Dale came off like a total jerk for getting in Lisa's face like that and it was all out of sheer jealousy over her winning that trip to Italy. The first big fight of the season,folks,and it was more flavorful that some of the dishes that were served that night:

It was the ladies' turn to feel the heat on Hell's Kitchen this week,as they lost out on a halibut prep challenge to the guys(it came down to a tie breaker and since they only lost due to not having a big enough portion of fish,I wouldn't feel too bad about it)and then later had a horrible dinner service. The Blue Team screwed up too but they got a lot more food out to folks,which made all the difference.

Corey was asked to pick two team members to go and she went with Jen and Christina. She openly said it was due to "strategic" and "personal" reasons,big mistake! Ramsey decided to send Sharon packing instead,since he had no faith in her ability(plus,her weird habit of sticking her tongue out while cooking was disturbing. Ramsey called her "Hannibal Lector" for it and I agree). All Corey did there was make a couple of official enemies there:

Yes,I am a big cheerleader for Carly Smithson on Idol and the judges' comments on her over the weeks haven't thrilled me but I honestly don't think that her version of "The Show Must Go On" was that out of sync with this week's "inspirational songs" theme,Simon! I do agree that taking on a Freddie Mercury tune is not always a good idea(and we've seen plenty of bad performances on Idol to back that statement up)and yet,I liked what she did with the song.

Clearly,it was a very personal choice for her and unlike Simon,it didn't sound like an angry performance at all to me. Inspirational doesn't just mean a heartfelt ballad or a sweet little melody. Some of the best inspirational songs come from a place of strength and determination,like Chrissie Hynde's "I'll Stand by You." Carly sounded powerful with this song,in my humble opinion:


Since this was Idol's big charity week(I so did not watch that. It's a nice thing for them to do but I hate having it shoved down my throat),I won't give out a Sanjaya award this time. That doesn't stop me from talking about the performances I didn't like,such as Michael John's screamy version of "Dream On"(not to mention his recent need for wearing ascots/scarves-not a good look for you,dude),Syesha's so-so take on Fantasia's big song and David Cook with Our Lady Peace's "Innocent".

Talk about a "unusual" song choice(yes,that is meant for you,Simon!)and that writing on his hand bit was cheesier than Velveeta. If he had done that during Wednesday night's "Idol Gives Back",that would have been fine but it really smacked of an obvious ploy to get votes. Also, I agree with Simon about the jacket-Panic From the Disco called,David,they need it back:



Random Notes:

South Park: Most of the episodes this season have been either too off kilter preachy or damn funny and last night's was the latter. Ms. Garrison's quest to go back to being a man and Cartman's "Stand and Deliver" homage was great. Please stick to the funny,fellas!



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