Thursday, May 20, 2010
TC Masters party in the parking lot,Idol's Top Two and Legend of the Seeker's last stand
The chefs on Top Chef Masters were handed an original Quickfire challenge this round. They had to make a protein dish using only meat from leg portions like chicken,frog,octopus,etc. Judging these entrees were one of the regular critic judges,Jay Rayner and Olympic swimmer Jason Lezak.
Despite the lack of prettiness on the plate(quinoa may be good for you but it certainly isn't good looking),Susan Feniger won the QF with her cumin and cilantro chicken on a bed of pickled tomatoes and quinoa raisin pilaf.
As her reward, Susan was given USC colors to wear during the Elimination challenge which was to cater a tailgating party for the home game at the University of Southern California. Many of the chefs were delighted with this challenge but some of them felt very out of their element.
Susur Lee was definitely in the latter camp,making one of his patented East meets West combos here. While his Korean skirt steak was tasty enough to earn him a pass to the next round,the Austrian dumplings that accompanied the beef were a tad odd to encounter at such an outdoor event.
Two of the chef contenders put out tacos,with only one of them getting top honors for it. Jonathan Waxman's New York steak style with grilled veggies and bordelaise sauce had a great filling but a stale taco surrounding that killed some of the flavor. Jonathan got a little touchy at the judges' table when one of the critics suggested that he should've sliced the steak thinner-settle down,big guy,it was only a suggestion!
Susan Feniger won this round as well,with her skirt steak tacos that had a snappy salsa blend of black beans,corn and roasted peppers.
Since she runs a taco truck out of her restaurant,this was a major comfort zone for Susan and not only did she win another 15 grand for her chosen charity(Scleroderma Research Foundation)but she's won over 32 thousand for her cause,the most anyone on TC Masters has earned to date. Good going there,girl!
Packing his knives for home was Tony Mantuano,for his grilled pizza that was deemed to have an overcooked crust. While I did see that his pizzas were well appreciated by the parking lot crowd,it was free food,plus pizza crust preferences can be a subjective thing. Tony wasn't happy about leaving,but someone had to go and it was just his unlucky day.
Next week,the chefs had to make a meal for the gods,using inspiration from the deities of Greek mythology. Sounds like a heavenly dinner to me but a couple of the chefs might not think so there.
The Final Two contestants on American Idol have been chosen and yes,it's a Lee and Crystal showdown,folks. While I still long for Big Mike to have made the end run,this is a good match-up and one of the few reality show finales where you can be happy for either one of the last competitors standing.
While the judges may have been less than thrilled with the first half of Performance night,where each singer chose their own song,we all knew that it was just a warm-up for the Judges' Choice tune.
Crystal chose wisely in starting off with "Come to my Window" but really blew everyone's socks off with "Maybe I'm Amazed" that Ellen selected for her. Crystal had her version of an Idol Moment(getting so sick of the panel for clamoring at her to do the standard cheesy diva number)and I give her credit for singing the song as written,not switching over the gender references. We were pleasantly amazed that night,for sure:
Lee followed suit by beginning with Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Simple Man" and rousing the audience with "Hallelujah",given to him by Simon. Simon must really like Lee,since Lee had all the bells and whistles provided to him for this performance. Both songs were excellent and I'm looking forward to the finale next week.
Casey had to go home,which was fine since he wore out his welcome with everyone here(except maybe Kara)and we at LRG are packing up the Sanjaya awards for another year and simply wishing him well as he makes his way back to his loved ones.
Casey wasn't a terrible singer,just one with a limited range and appeal. He had his good nights and his fair share of bad ones,too. Best of luck to Casey in his future endeavors and congrats to Lee for being the dark horse that raced to the head of the pack here:
The second half of the second season finale for Legend of the Seeker airs this weekend and it truly looks like the final countdown for the show as well. The ongoing campaigns to find a new home for LOTS have been well waged and even supported by Terry Goodkind(the author of the Sword of Truth series of books upon which the show is based)but no luck so far in getting a reprieve from the depths of cancellation hell.
It would be wonderful if LOTS was snatched from the jaws of TV oblivion;this series has a strong fan base that is willing to prove it's devotion by donating the first season's DVD set to public libraries around the country,talk about your win-win here! If all else fails,at least the Seeker and friends will go out fighting to the end,leaving a very lasting impression as they take their final bow:
WORK OF ART: Bravo has come up with another offbeat competition show starting in June,this time having painters,sculptors and other aspiring artisans battle it out for cash and prizes. I don't know how much "art" we're going to get out of this bunch but the drama factor will probably on the high end of the scale,making this one to watch without hesitation.
HELL'S KITCHEN: Another steamy season of Gordon Ramsey's shout fest is also due to serve up the smackdown in June. If any of these budding chefs thought it would be smooth sailing here,they better back away from the stove before Ramsey's fury gives them a fourth degree burn:
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