Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Top Chef improvs,Jen shines in Hell's Kitchen and Carly Smithson sings her swan song on American Idol

Things got off to a sweet start on Top Chef this week,as the Quickfire Challenge had the chefs were asked to whip up a dessert for Padma and guest judge Johnny Iuzzini. In addition to immunity,the winner would also get their recipe added to the official Top Chef cookbook that's just been released in stores.

Richard received the prizes,for his banana scallops with chocolate ice cream. I have to admit that Richard really has quite a flair for the interesting;I don't even like bananas or scallops but he certainly made this treat look tasty and worth a try.

After that,the chefs went to a performance of Chicago's Second City comedy troop and during the show,found out what their Elimination Challenge was going to be. The chefs split up into teams of two(no knife pull this time,the gang just picked numbers out of a hat)and had to make a five course meal for the Second City folk and the judges.

Each dish was to be based on suggestions asked for from the audience at the SC show for color,emotion and ingredients(example,"yellow,love,vanilla"). Other curve balls were tossed in,such as all of the mixers and blenders mysteriously disappear from the TC kitchen and then at the last minute,having Judge Tom come in and tell everyone that the meal would be served at the TC house instead of the kitchen and that they all needed to pack up what they had cooked so far and finish there.

Some rose to the challenge rather well;Dale and Richard had "green,perplexed,tofu" and they created a Tofu Steak(the tofu was marinated in beef fat)with green curry. It went over like gangbusters and earned Richard another win.
Spike finally got to make his squash soup with Andrew and their vanilla creme fraiche topping gave the guys an honorable mention. I don't like Spike's attitude or his hathead fetish but kudos on the soup,dude.

On the chopping block were Jen and Stephanie,who had "orange,turned on,asparagus" and the ladies made what they called a "menage a trois" that was overwhelmed by goat cheese and supported by bread that was too soggy on one side and too hard on the other,making it difficult to eat. Jen wound up going home because of that,which is a shame since she and Stephanie atleast tried to work with the options they had been given.

Zoi and Lisa,however,totally rejected the Improv suggestion they were given which was "magenta,drunk,Polish sausage". Instead,they made Chilean sea bass(no alcohol added) with chorizo!

Yes, it tasted good but that's not what they were supposed to do! The two of them didn't want to make what they considered to be "bar food" and didn't like having to use ideas from "some drunk in the audience". Excuse me,girls,but you both were in that audience,too and I'm pretty sure you each had your share of drinks there,ok?

Snobbery is extremely unappetizing and insulting to boot. If I went to a restaurant and ordered a hamburger but got a tuna salad instead and was told by the chef,"That's not what I prefer to serve.",I'd be taking my business elsewhere. Get off your high horses,gals or all you'll be serving is dinner for one(and the one is YOU!).

In Hell's Kitchen,Jen is starting to do more than just talk smack. She was very strong this week,pushing hard during the pasta making challenge and then later rallying the troops for the Family Night dinner service,where the ladies were first to complete a full service.

I'm glad to see Jen walk the walk but I just hope she doesn't rest on her laurels because Gordon Ramsey's favor can be whisked away with one wrong move. Vanessa got a hell of a nasty burn during service and had to go to the hospital. She should've gotten her hand under cold water right away,instead of smearing a salve on it(according to my mom,an LPN). Get better soon,Vanessa:

Craig was dismissed,due to his complete uselessness and lack of communication in the kitchen. No doubt he felt that everyone was picking on him and his response is to retreat like a turtle into his little protective shell.

You can not do that in a kitchen,buddy,feedback is an important part of the process. Letting your fellow chefs know how long it will be until your part of the meal is ready is important and if you don't know that,I don't know how you kept a job in food service for longer than a minute. Besides,if you really want to see someone get picked on,just ask Ben:

I have to agree with Randy about American Idol this week,it was a popularity contest. Why else would Carly be in the Bottom Two and then get sent home,after her amazing version of "Jesus Christ,Superstar?" Syesha didn't belong in the Bottom either-she finally dropped that musical torch she's been lugging around all season and gave us a great performance that was fun to watch.

Andrew Lloyd Webber was one of the best mentors AI has ever had. He was honest, thoughtful and gave great direction to everyone. Too bad that the voters didn't appreciate the pearls being tossed before them:



Now,the person who should have been sent home is also the winner of this week's Sanjaya award,Jason Castro for his abysmal rendition of "Memory". Even Webber was perplexed at Jason's choice and tried his best to help him connect to the song but to no avail. I can see how Brooke managed to squeak by with her sad sack attempt at "You Must Love Me"-I felt sorry for her,too.

Jason,however,was all wrong for this song in so many ways;he's too young to fully give it the emotional nuances that it requires,he didn't understand what the song was about at all and he sang it in a flat,nearly monotone style. It has nothing to do with his gender,a man can sing "Memory" but he needs to be a mature one:



I was personally amused to find that the songs I had picked out for Carly and David Cook were chosen,but they seemed to have swapped them with each other. I wish Archuleta had listened to me,still can't recall what song he Disneyed up(I know it was from Phantom of the Opera).

Cook played it smart by singing "Music of the Night" as it was originally composed. It showcased his vocal range much better and I wouldn't be surprised if he got a Broadway gig after this. I haven't been crazy about his emo rocker style but can't deny the passion that he puts into each song. I only wish that he would be facing off with Carly during the Season Finale this year:


Random Notes:

MOONLIGHT: At the NYC Comic Con,there was a panel on the show with leading man Alex O'Loughlin and Jason Dohring as the guests of honor. I was lucky enough to get a good seat for the appearance and the female fans were gleefully giddy in their praise of the show and the fellas.

For fellow Moonlight fans who would've loved to attend,here are some highlights from the event:



New episodes of Moonlight start tomorrow(in time for my birthday!)and the audience at Comic Con was treated to a few early clips,including one that will drive the fan fiction writers wild. Alas,that bit is not in this promo but trust me,it's worth waiting for:

UGLY BETTY: Betty is back as well,and she's the birthday girl who gets an unexpected surprise(hope any that I might get this week is way better than this):

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