Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Glee's Gaga show,TC Masters clash of the culinary titans and our new American Idol winner is...

We're down to the Final Five on Top Chef Masters and the Quickfire challenge for this round was a true test of superior senses as the remaining chefs went one on one to taste a variety of sauces and see who could name more of the ingredients. Victory went to Rick Moonan,who received more money for his charity but not an advantage for the Elimination challenge.

The challenge was to make a meal based on the Greek Gods,with everyone drawing knives to see who they would get. Susur Lee wound up with Dionysus,the god of wine and proceed to whine about finding something suitable to cook for quite some time. Honestly,with all the wine related recipes out there,this should've been a snap.

Susur's dish of roasted pork loin cooked in Chinese wine with a feta croquette and olives turned out well but as judge Gael Greene pointed out,this was hardly the decadent type of edible offering that the deity himself would wolf down over a nice bottle of whatever was on hand. Susur is so uptight about everything,maybe he needs a visit from the party gods to mellow him out a bit.

Rick Moonen,on the other hand,was pleased as punch over getting Hades,lord of the underworld and he literally went around cackling with wicked glee as he prepared a plate of spice encrusted swordfish,crimson potatoes and a mixture of root vegetables(which he felt were fitting for a ruler of the nether realms). Rick won the challenge and another 15 grand for his charity,with a grand total of over 22 thousand being raised for 3 Square to date.

Marcus Samuelsson came in second with his Ares,god of war plate of salmon with cured beer and apple broth topped with oyster foam. Marcus went back to his Ethiopian roots by creating a dish at low heat,the kind that soldiers would have to cook during battle. Not a bad approach but regular TC judge Gail Collins thought it was a little murky in flavor there.

Alas,poor Susan Feniger-she was given Aphrodite,the goddess of love,but no love was shown to her sensually themed dish of coconut jam and sweet butter on top of toast with fried egg coated with white pepper and dark soy. She selected ingredients that are predisposed to stimulate the libido(she sure knew a lot about that!)and despite the lack of heat on some of the plates,most folks at the tasting enjoyed it.

Susan's low scores from the judges came about from snobbery,in my opinion,because she made a sandwich which to someone like critic Jay Raymer wasn't good enough to be considered Top Chef Master material. Look,I know this is about fine dining but even high end cuisine has some casual cooking areas to it. Hello,last week you had everyone cooking for a tailgate party and now your noses are up in the air over a sandwich? Susan had to pack her knives but leaves the competition with the honor of having raised more money for her charity than anyone else has done here.

Next week,the chefs have to improv a meal,based on audience suggestions during a Groundlings performance. Guess some of them will have to think fast on their feet in the kitchen(*cough*Susur*cough).

While I've fallen out of love with Glee,my curiosity about the Lady Gaga episode had me tuning in this week. Gaga's musical style certainly fit the theme of the show,which was theatricality,but the group rendition of "Bad Romance" left me less than impressed.

The kids can sing,no doubt about it but by having more than one person take on the lead vocals gave the number a disjointedness that was a tad out of sync with the awkwardly awesome vibe of the song:

Also,having reunited daughter Rachel sing "Poker Face" with her drama coach mother(Idina Menzel) came across as odd,to say the least. I get the obvious symbolism of the two of them disconnecting and putting up fronts but a better song choice would have been "Speechless"-Lady Gaga wrote that tune with her father in mind and it would have conveyed the out of touch relationship vibe between them much more succinctly.

Actually,the guys did the best musical work here,with "Beth" by Kiss. That was the most touching song performance of the whole episode,in my opinion:

Congratulations to Lee DeWyze as this year's winner of American Idol. While it may be disappointing to some that Crystal didn't take the crown,just remember that most of the A.I. success stories come from those who made it to second place.

Lee's a good guy and even tho he was rather underwhelming at times on the Finale triple showdown performances,he still made a good effort at entertaining the audience that night. Yep,it's a "Beautiful Day" for Lee,alright:

By the way,Idol,what is up with having the finalists do cover songs instead of that written-specially-for-the-winner tune to be released as their victory single? Granted, that song has been mocked in the past for the over the top corniness of the lyrics(and rightly so at times)but still,it's a tradition and one that could have been changed for the better instead of this lazy solution.

Why not have the Top Two finalist write their own American Idol song? That would have gone over well,especially this year.

Something to think about besides how to replace Simon(good luck with that thankless task!) and also, the next time you want to have a comedian sing a funny tribute song,get one that can actually sing and be funny. Dane Cook is not capable of being either. Oh,and good luck on the road,Crystal:


BEING HUMAN: A good friend of mine was kind enough to give me the first two seasons of this BBC series that has a vampire,a werewolf and a ghost coping with the mortal world as roommates in a small town in England.

Since my cable service doesn't offer BBC America,this was a real blessing since this show is beyond amazing,with smart writing and offbeat humor that plays off the character angst nicely. An Americanized version of the show is set to run on Syfy this summer and while I have nothing against importing TV series,the original sets the bar rather high:

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