Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Thursday, April 08, 2010

Top Chef Masters serves up Season 2,TAR's cowboys come back on top and American Idol's Big Mike drama

The second season of Top Chef Masters debuted late last night due to the beyond disappointing finale of Shear Genius(I may never watch that show again unless Tabatha takes over that whole trainwreck)but it was well worth the wait.

The six chefs for this round were divided into teams of two and given a TC classic Quickfire challenge,using ingredients bought at a gas station to make a fine dining entree,and one of the most interesting plates was a mac & cheese made with Flaming Hot Cheetos and grilled Slim Jims(plus tomato soup to round it out).

That unusual concoction was whipped by former TC judge Govind Armstrong and Jimmy Bradley,who while they didn't win the QF(that honor went to Susan Feniger and Tony Mantuano for their maple bread pudding),that dish was hands down the most memorable of the night.

For the Elimination challenge,everyone staid in team formation and had to prepare a duet of dishes for thirty people out on their first date. Chef Ana Soren and Jerry Traunfeld chose flowers as their theme and did a double take on duck. Jerry's lavender duck breast with red cabbage and beets was a real crowd pleaser,especially since lavender is one of those elements that can quickly overpower a dish but that didn't happen here.

Ana's side of the plate had presentation issues,as she chose to serve her duck leg and vermicelli that had orange blossom smoked almonds added to it in a bowl,making it awkward to eat. While duck and orange flavoring are usually a winning combination,I have to admit that the only way you can really give someone poultry in a bowl properly is by frying it up first.

For the win,it was Susan and Tony again. Susan's black pepper shrimp and scallops delighted everyone despite the slight overcooking of the shrimp and Tony's homemade pasta with truffles and cheese complimented her fish extremely well.

The two of them will be in the Championship round and won five grand apiece for their charities. However,this show is far from over and it will be truly refreshing to watch these skilled professionals push their talents to the limit and bring us some quality reality show suppers to stew about:

Team Cowboy was in for a rough time on this leg of The Amazing Race with a Speed Bump waiting for them as all of the teams went to Singapore but in an excellently fortunate turn of events,Jet and Cord sailed through this round and came in first place,something that no other team in their position on TAR has ever done before.

To further compound the irony,Steve and Allie who came in first during the last leg wound up being last here and had to go home. Talk about your reversals of fortune there,folks;that was a nice father-daughter team who I think bonded even further from this experience and that kindness vibe seemed to just pass on to Jet and Cord. Don't despair,people,there's plenty of drama up ahead as Team Tiara gets into a snit with Carol and Brandy over something next week:

The theme on American Idol this week was the songs of Paul McCartney and John Lennon,with one of the surprises being that no one dared to take on "Imagine"(guess they thought it would be better to leave that tune alone,since David Archuletta was set to be on the results show).

Another shocker was Casey James,who blossomed way more than Katie Stevens in my opinion here with his rendition of "Jealous Guy." Katie's a sweet kid with a great voice but her take on "Let It Be" was a little too bland for my taste.

While I am not familiar with this song,Casey had me sit up and take real notice of him with his smoldering intensity tinged with regret vibe that he brought to it. Clearly Casey is more than just a head of golden locks there:

The ultimate shocker was Big Mike landing in the Bottom Three and seriously being up for elimination. Granted,his version of "Eleanor Rigby" wasn't his best work by far but I give him bonus points for even attempting to take that on. While no one was hideously bad in this round(even Tim Urban was slightly tolerable for once),Michael Lynche did not deserve to be that close to the Song of Shame.

Wisely,the Judges' Save was granted to Mike and in honor of that,I am suspending my Sanjaya award for worst performance this week and celebrating the survival of such a worthy talent. This means,of course,that we'll have a double elimination next week but to keep Michael in this competition more than justifies that. Congrats,Big Mike and glad to see you keep on rocking:


LEGEND OF THE SEEKER: We're getting seven new episodes in a row which should lead to an incredible finale but for this weekend, Kahlan and Kara are put on pause as a magic trick lands them in a death trap. How they're going to get out of this one promises to be quite the nail biter:

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