Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Thursday, May 12, 2011

TC Masters party like a rock star,the Gaga factor on Idol and the winners of TAR:Unfinished Business are...

For their Quickfire challenge on Top Chef Masters this week, the chefs were granted "seven minutes in heaven"-as in making a dish in seven minutes using the most divine ingredients(truffles,diver scallops,foie gras,etc).

As an extra twist,the chefs had to judge each other's food based on a scale of 1 to 7. It was pretty touch and go there,but Traci won this round for her beef tenderloin carpaccio served with truffle vinaigrette and maitake mushrooms.

Everyone was then divided up into two teams for the Elimination challenge,which was to cook a family style meal for the band Maroon 5. Each member of the group had a different food request ranging from vegan to Japanese style and even Thanksgiving.

The teams then had to board tour buses to take them supply shopping and the prep for their meal had to be done on the road to the hotel where the band and judges would be waiting to taste their dishes.

Turns out that both teams made similar food,a plus and a minus for them due to the ease of compare and contrast for the judges here.

Team Black did very well here,having four members on deck,and one of the high points of their service was Naomi's mashed potatoes that had chanterelle mushrooms mixed into them with a sour cherry cranberry chutney. The turkey cutlets on the plate were breaded with a thick cornmeal mix that was rough on the palate but the potatoes had enough standout power to make up for that.

While the vegan tostadas that Mary Sue made looked funny,the flavors knocked everyone at the table off their feet. The black bean topping with crispy salad was great but the real kicker was the crispy fried avocado wedge on it.

The winner for this round again was Traci. Her Japanese steak with daikon braised in miso and a pea shoot salad on the side thrilled the taste buds of lead singer Adam Levine quite nicely there. This being her third win of the season,Traci has so far raised $25,000 for her charity La Cochina. Good going there,Traci!

The Red Team wound up on the chopping block and the difference in their dishes vs. the other team really showed a couple of them up.

While Celina's corn soup was appreciated much more than Hugh's on the opposite side(why would anyone think that vanilla and corn would taste good together?),his spankopita aced hers. All agreed that her version had a straight out of the frozen food bag flavor to it.

Floyd's steak paled in comparison to Traci's,with a blandness coming off of the rice wine and vinegar marinated meat. The only other thing he made for the challenge was a winter salad that one of the judges pointed out probably took five minutes to make while his team mates,particularly Alex,contributed a lot to the meal. I thought his goose was cooked for sure on this one.

However,it was Alex who had to pack his knives and go. While he did make four dishes,the quality of them was stretched thin. The worst was the penne pasta plate with broccolini,tomato and garlic;everything was overcooked and as a vegan alternative,pretty predictable.

Next week,the chefs take a blind taste test and one of them gets a cut that's too close for comfort. Hopefully, that injury won't keep that person out of the running here.

The Amazing Race:Unfinished Business had a two hour finale,the first half being in Brazil where Zev and Justin screamed the loudest during their body waxing challenge and were eliminated by that leg's end.

That left only the Globetrotters,Gary and Mallory and the sisters Jen and Kisha to complete this run in Miami. The next to last hurdle each team had to overcome was setting up a trailer motif during a high wind storm,something that slowed all of them down for a spell.

Yet,it was Jen and Kisha who reached the final Pit Stop and won the million dollars. Congratulations,ladies-you ran a clean race and even tho you didn't come in first for any of the other legs,it was the last one that counted:

For the second half of the Final Four performances on American Idol,Lady Gaga showed up as the mentor to guide them through the Lerner and Stoll songs they chose to perform.

I know that plenty of eyebrows were raised when Gaga made her suggestions to Scotty but,honestly people,models and actresses have been told for decades to "make love" to the camera,so her telling Scotty to treat his mike like his girlfriend wasn't that outlandish.

What was disheartening was seeing Gaga's advice fall on deaf ears,as it did with Haley in my opinion. I'm sorry but that girl didn't deserve a standing ovation for that bland ballet version of "I Who Have Nothing" there. When a great singer like Shirley Bassey sings that song,she makes it sound like her soul is being destroyed right in front of you.

Yes,Haley sang the song technically well but emotional resonance is what it makes it soar. Gaga told her to channel Edith Piaf but I suspect that Haley thought she was talking about a rice dish. So,here's another Sanjaya award for you,Haley and hopefully you'll be taking that dubious honor home with you tonight:




THE VAMPIRE DIARIES: The second season finale is tonight and cliffhangers abound-will Damon find a cure for his werewolf bite in time? How will Caroline and her mom deal with their new found status as vampire and vampire slayer? Can Stefan find a way to help anybody and how many cast members will be left standing for next season? Should be a real nail biter in more ways than one,friends and fiends:

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