Thursday, February 19, 2009
Top Chef parties down in the Big Easy,American Idol's first Top Three and Sing along with Sylar!
Top Chef left New York for New Orleans to set up Part One of the season finale. The Final Four met up with Padma and guest judge Emeril Lagasse for a new twist upon the Quickfire Challenge. This time,none of the four had to cook-instead,the last three people that were eliminated(Jeff,Jamie and Leah)got a chance to earn a fifth spot by creating a great crayfish dish.
Jeff won that round,thank goodness(I was worried about Leah popping back in and working her mojo on Hosea again)for his crayfish and grits. However,he was told that in order to make it to the Final Three,he had to be the winner of the Elimination Challenge. The chefs were asked to create two dishes and a cocktail to serve at a masquerade ball for the Krewe of Orpheus(a group that celebrates Mardi Grai in a big way). One of the dishes had to be in the creole style(which is more big city than cajun cuisine,a point that Emeril was making subtly during the announcement).
Judge Gail came back(bye,Toby-it was fun while it lasted!)and she seemed to really like what Jeff made,a fried oyster with sausage(Emeril loved it),crawfish pot de creme and a cucumber mojito.
It looked like Jeff came about this close to taking the win here. I was rooting for him a little,since he was fully focused on his food and didn't go off into several different directions like he had done in the past.
Hosea was on point as well,taking the extra time to prepare the roux for his chicken/duck/andouille gumbo that truly paid off. That deep richness was well appreciated by the crowd and the judges alike;in fact,Hosea nearly ran out of food for the judges to sample.
His pecan encrusted catfish and Hurricane cocktail went over like gangbusters. Emeril was very impressed by the fact that Hosea was able to prevent his fish from drying out,despite having to transport his food from one place to another.
The big winner here was Carla,for her oyster stew and shrimp with andouille beignets.She did have trouble shucking the oysters on her own(turns out that it would've been better to steam those suckers open)but as always,Carla thrived on the potential food disaster and created an amazing dish.
She also served the only non-alcoholic beverage,a cranberry and ginger spritzer,that was a refreshing change and well liked. Carla got the top spot in the Final Three,plus a brand new car.
Hosea joined her,and it was touch and go for Stefan there. His gumbo wasn't as good as Hosea's(which annoyed him to no end)and his apple beignets didn't impress anyone that much either. His whole attitude of "So what,who cares,I'm better than all of you" that he expressed at Judge's Table(not to mention during prep)was rather off putting,to say the least.
Fabio had to pack his knives and go,along with Jeff. The guy did make a huge effort here and you can't say he didn't try to win. Fabio blended Italian with Creole and it had mixed results.
His rabbit and sausage maque choux wasn't spicy enough,the seafood pasta was just okay and the bell pepper cocktail served up with his dishes was insanely sweet. Fabio did get some credit for baking muffuletta bread,an extra dish there,but that wasn't enough to keep him around. Team Europe is now over and my only regret is that Stefan wasn't shown the door. Fabio had just as many ego issues as he did,however,I'd rather put up with some warm hearted arrogance with a sense of humor than cold disdain and sneering.
Next week is Part Two of the finale,and it looks like Stefan and Hosea may finally have a throw down in the kitchen! Ah,you Bravo promos,how you tease me so!
More fight the power business on Heroes,as Claire saves a comic book store clerk with Aquaman abilities from being snatched up by HRG,Hiro and Ando fulfill their destiny in India while still remaining friends and Nathan managed to dodge a bullet metaphorically this time ,thanks to Tracy's icy escape attempt(that gal really needs to pump up her freezing skills in a big way).
Sylar is still on his road trip with Luke,despite the chance he had to ditch the kid during a another government attempt to nab him at a roadside restaurant. His main reason for retrieving him,I suspect,was practical;after all,Luke knew where Sylar was heading and wouldn't have stood up under interrogation. However,he didn't kill him(a viable option)so I guess even Sylar can't resist having a fanboy around.
A nice bit of wit was having Sylar click on the car radio and the song that was on being "Psycho Killer" by the Talking Heads. Talk about your appropriate personal theme songs here!:
Speaking of theme songs,American Idol had it's first round of twelve singing for a spot in the Ultimate Top 12(this new set-up is getting more elaborate by the minute)with the Billboard Top 100 as the selection center for their tunes.
Congrats to Alexis Grace,Michael Sarver and Danny Glokey for nabbing the first chairs in this round. I was hoping that Anoop would be joining them,but then again maybe he'll show up in the wild card show(hopefully Tatiana won't be there. Is it just me or was that pathetic of the judges to practically beg her to act wacky? Shows why she was really chosen to be there,if you ask me).
Even with this extra long contestant voting period,it's not too soon to give out the first Sanjaya award(for worst performance)of the season. That honor goes to Jackie Tohn,for her awful rendition of Elvis Presley's "A Little Less Conversation."
This wasn't an easy choice,since Casey Carlson's version of the Police classic,"Every Little Thing" was criminal and Stevie Wright going all wrong with her Taylor Swift song. Regardless,Jackie and her flat footed,heavy handed take on such a lively number was unforgivable:
BE GLAD THIS IS ONLY AN AUDIO CLIP
LEAVE THE FAST TALKING TO THE EXPERTS
THE AMAZING RACE: Season 14 started off with another mixed batch of teams that included a pair of brother and sister lawyers,a mother with her deaf son who only uses sign language and screenwriter/actor Mike White(School of Rock,Chuck & Buck)with his dad.
The first big challenge of the race took place in Switzerland,where teams had to carry 200 pounds of cheese down a steep and slippery hill. I don't know which was funnier,those wooden backpack carriers given to each team that collapsed faster than a house of cards during a hurricane or that the locals were literally laughing their asses off at the cheesy shenanigans:
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