Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Thursday, March 03, 2011

TC All-Stars Final Five family,TAR:UB does the kangaroo hop and a Top 24 standout performance on Idol

We're down to the Final Five on Top Chef All-Stars and for the Quickfire challenge,everyone took a ferry to Ellis Island and had to make a dish using only what was available in the snack bar.

Most of the end results were somewhat edible(except for that bread soup Mikey made-eww to the fifth power on that one!)but the best was Carla's orange salad. She added candied papaya with rosemary infused carrot juice to it-how,I don't know-and was declared the winner but not given any award for it.

On Ellis Island,the Elimination challenge was announced which was to cook a plate of food that represented your heritage. As inspiration,a genealogy of each chef was commissioned by the show,with a family member accompanying each package of personal history.

The reunions were lovely to see and very emotional,as expected. What was unexpected was the discovery that two of the TC contenders are distantly related to one another! That's right,Mikey Isabella and Antonia happen to be cousins with a Sicilian connection. Both of them were pleasantly surprised at that revelation and started to bond. Considering that they've been at odds for most of this time,finding out that Mikey and Antonia are family makes a certain sort of sense there.

It was good to see the better side of Mikey come out after the recipe incident last week and his reconnection to family showed in his food. He made a potato gnocchi with braised pork shank ragu that his mother(all of the family visitors joined the judges for the challenge meal) said was even better than his grandmother's,who taught Mikey how to cook when he was a kid.

Mikey confessed at judges' table that he avoided making dishes like that because they stirred up memories of his deceased grandmother who he misses to this day. Well,Mikey did her proud and hopefully this positive aspect of his nature will continue to be featured here.

This was one of the few TC challenges where no one missed a step and every dish was amazing. Tiffany was worried about making stewed okra as part of her plate of short ribs with oxtail marmalade,since Judge Tom is not a fan of that veggie.

However,he bashfully admitted to Tiffany that she had changed his mind about okra. The sliminess that okra is known for turned out to be richness in Tiffany's capable hands,which delighted her to no end.

Even Carla took a chance and went outside of her comfort zone in a way that really paid off for her. During the prep for the fried grits that went along side the pork shoulder and sweet corn potato hash in her dish,Carla used a dose of liquid nitro to form grit patties.

That touch of techno cooking helped those grits stay in a solid enough state to fry in and were the highlight of that plate.

With all of these dishes turning out so well,it was hard to select only one winner but one was chosen. Antonia wowed them all with her braised veal on top of a fava bean risotto,a tricky choice since Tre had to bow out of the competition due to his lackluster attempt at risotto.

Antonia won a new car in addition to being placed in the finals,which will take place in the Bahamas. As to who will join her,that short list includes Carla,Tiffany,Richard and new found cousin Mikey. Yep,folks,all five are heading to the finals. This most likely means that a double elimination is forth coming but for now,congrats to everyone!

The first leg of this season's The Amazing Race:Unfinished Business was completed in Australia,with no one having to use their Express Pass and Amanda and Kris taking their U Turn at the Detour.

The last part of this run had every one wearing kangaroo suits and running around to find their clue at streets named after chemicals-what one had to do with the other is beyond me.

Gary and Mallory came in ninth place this time,managing to annoy Ron and Christine quite a bit along the way(mostly Ron and I can't really blame him,that girl is almost as hyper as Charlie Sheen). Once again,the U Turn did Amanda and Kris in,making them the first to be eliminated. Well,you can't say that they didn't give this a good try but winning this race was just not meant to be for them:

The Top 24 performed this week on American Idol,with the Top Ten to be selected tonight. The guys this season,with a few exceptions,were pretty bland for the most part. Since it was singer's choice for this round,they can't really blame the theme of the week here.

The girls were much more lively,with one young lady shining above the rest in my opinion. Fifteen year old Thia did a lovely rendition of Irene Cara's "Out Here on My Own"(a much underrated song from the movie Fame)that not only demonstrated her vocal control and range but did justice to the song as well.

If Thia is fortunate enough to make it to the Top Ten,she'll be one to watch for,mark my words:


THE VAMPIRE DIARIES: The series is taking a break until April 7,probably to avoid competing with the AI results show that will be airing in the same time slot. Judging from Caroline's impromptu serenade of Matt on the last episode,however,it looks like the Mystic Falls vamps could certainly give those Idol kids a real run for their money:

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