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American Idol recap: Twenty-four on the Floor!
A sweet slate of season 9 semifinalists is announced, but a couple of wacky decisions and a punch in the gut to one hard-luck contestant leave a hint of bitter aftertaste
Instead of getting the bad news from Simon or Kara, Angela had to endure creepy/faux-intimate interactions with Kara and Ryan before she was turned into a footnote in the Idol history books. Why in the name of all that's pitchy did Kara ask Angela to ''share'' a chair built for only one, then proceed to force the contestant onto said chair's arm? And why — knowing all she'd been through, knowing she was already breaking down emotionally as she entered the auditorium — didn't Kara just rip off the bandage and say ''We're sorry but you didn't make it,'' without all the ''you're special''/''you've grown'' hoo-hah that preceded it? I'm sure it'll give Angela great comfort to know that Kara will ''remember her forever.'' And, of course, she's going to be just fine seeing how Ryan forced her to make eye-contact and promise to use her third consecutive rejection as a positive. ''You can't go back on a promise,'' he declared, as if he was Oprah Winfrey imparting a little wisdom at the end of a particularly harrowing episode. I mean...
Look, Angela will be fine. She'll probably even get more career mileage (as a lounge act or a wedding singer or a corporate convention gigger) from her shoddy Idol treatment than she would if she'd unmemorably advanced through two weeks of semifinals before the audience sent her home. And maybe that's the ''positive'' she can take home. But it still doesn't mean I have to approve of how it all went down. —Michael Slezak
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Undercover Boss: Deep inside Hooters
Undercover Boss knew it had really hit pay-dirt with one Hooters manager, Jimbo, who insulted his female employees and made them eat plates of beans without using their hands before letting them off their shifts. (Is there a name for that particular fetish?) Hooters CEO Coby Brooks becomes so upset at Jimbo's behavior, he leaves the restaurant — aw, we never got to see who won! Oh, sorry; wrong attitude. I should have written: Brooks is so outraged at Jimbo's management style that he leaves to call the local franchise owner to tell him Jimbo is doing ''inappropriate'' things. —Ken Tucker
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The Amazing Race recap: Chile reception
Season 16 kicks off with 11 teams doing their own high-wire act and heading out to paint the town
After the cable-walking, teams had to go down the hill in a funicular to the next challenge of painting part of a house. Silly me, I thought funicular was a word almost everyone on the planet knew, but apparently not. Brent and Caite simply decided to ignore the clue and walk down the hill. What exactly went through Brent's mind? ''Brent, there are words on this clue card. Let's ignore them''? Jeff isn't sure what to do either, as he asks, Jordan ''What's a fan-a-cular?'' At least he's smart enough to ask a local who points him in the right direction. They share a funicular down with the brothers and Dan said, ''Gosh, I guess I underestimated that team.'' Less true words were never spoken. (However, more inappropriate ones were, when brother Jordan said earlier in the episode ''I almost pooped in my pants when I saw'' the former Miss Teen South Carolina. But we'll forgive it because of the killer impersonation.) —Jessica Shaw
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RuPaul's Drag Race recap: See who did her last splits
When RuPaul appeared at the beginning of last night's episode of Drag Race, she told the queens that in her early years she had no money and ''would eat anything.'' And now, she continued, ''that's what you're going to do.'' Dun, dun, dun! Commence the (rather inventive) game of ''Chicken or What?'' Where — you guessed it! — the ladies had to put on a blindfold and eat a nibblet of a fried morsel that could be chicken, then decide whether it was indeed chicken or, alternatively, ''what.'' ''What'' being, of course, something totally disgusting—bull's testicles, soy chicken, etc.—and completely not white meat from our feathered friends.
I think Pandora Boxx best summed up the odd situation with her epithet: ''I did not know that this was going to be Drag Survivor.'' Hello, she said what we were all thinking! I think this particular mini challenge was actually a bit more Fear Factor than Survivor, but the sentiment remains: When did Drag Race go all?gross? —Tanner Stransky
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24 recap: Jack gets a kick out of being charged!
Well, Jack's little gamble worked — he ended up in the bowels of Sergei's Eastern Promises-style restaurant — though first he must convince the Ukrainians that he's not really a cop, despite the extraordinary amount of intel he had about fuel rods that only a cop would know. And yet been-there-tortured-like-that Jack didn't seem the least bit fazed that he was about to get charged by the minute until he spills about his bosses, though it did lead to some pretty fancy footwork that had me thinking our superhero could probably jump my car without having to use his hands. Dang, but that Kiefer Sutherland is one nimble devil (and a hospital-bound one, to boot! Best of luck to you, Kief! We know you'll be back soon). —Tanner Stransky
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The Bachelor recap: Suite and Sour
Ali tries for a do-over with Jake, while Tenley, Gia, and Vienna take the Fantasy Suite challenge in St. Lucia
At last, rose ceremony day is here. Jake's just started his skin care regimen when — brrring brrring! — the phone rings. Who could that be? When the Bachelor (who, thanks to some clumsy editing, is now suddenly wearing a watch) picks up the phone, I doubt that even he is surprised to hear Ali's voice on the other end. We cut back and forth between Ali in a non-descript kitchen and Jake in St. Lucia, as the wayward bachelorette (and future Bachelorette?) tells Jake that she wants another chance: ''Jake, I mean, the second I drove away, I wanted to go back.'' Tough noogies, sister. ''When you were driving away,'' Jake says, ''it was like, you drove away with a piece of my heart.... And the time this week that we've missed together is so critical.'' After some more labored back and forth, Jake puts all involved (Ali, the two film crews, the viewing audience) out of their misery and turns the begging bachelorette down: ''I just don't think it's a good idea.'' Show of hands: Who saw that coming? Everyone? Thought so. Moving on! —Kristen Baldwin
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Olympic Studs of the Day: Lindsey Vonn, Shani Davis, and Shaun White
Day 6's Olympic Stud(/ette): It's a three-way tie! Alpine ski racer Lindsey Vonn, speed skater Shani Davis, and snowboarder Shaun White. The PopWatch Olympic Committee has ruled that last night's American gold medalists were too good NOT to honor — and co-Chairperson Annie Barrett lobbied hard for someone with two X chromosomes to be featured in a Stud of the Day image. Let's break down the action:
Lindsey ''What injury?'' Vonn: I got the spoiler tweet about Vonn's victory several hours before watching it on TV, but it surprisingly didn't take too much away from it. Vonn's bruised shin was a matter of major concern before the race, but the potential new icon of girl power (sorry, Spice Girls) pulled out a tough victory that has surely silenced naysayers. One commentator even said going down the treacherous course was ''like carrying a piano on your back.'' Ouch! But if that's truly the case, I'm hiring Lindsey for my next moving day.—Sandra Gonzalez
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American Idol recap: Semi-Charmed Lives
Plodding pacing and a few bunk calls by the judges drain some of the joy from seeing the first seven singers advance to the season 9 semifinals
Casey James: A case study for why Simon > Kara + Posh Spice I approach this paragraph recognizing that a healthy groundswell of support has been building over the last two weeks for He Who Removed His Shirt in Denver. And though I'd agree that Casey's group take on ''Closer'' (with Jermaine P. and Janell Wheeler) was promising, I thought his Day Three rendition of ''Bubbly'' was embarrassingly amateurish. I mean, didn't the judges notice the way Casey kept awkwardly glancing down at his guitar while singing, a look of barely masked panic spreading across his face? Word of advice: Don't go into an acoustic gunfight against Crystal Bowersox if you're not sure you can handle your weapon of choice. —Michael Slezak
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Lost recap: The Man With the Plan
Fake Locke gives us clues to Island mythology (maybe), and we check out all that's right with Sideways Locke's life
Who was the late John Locke? Who was he really? ''The Substitute'' offered at least three opinions on the matter. One came from Sawyer, who drunkenly pissed on dead Locke's memory: He remembered him as someone who was always scared even when he was pretending he wasn't. (Personally, that sounds like a better description of ... Sawyer himself. And, I suspect, this monstrous, little boy-spooked UnLocke thing.) Another interpretation came from his killer, Ben, who eulogized him with a speech that somehow mixed two unlikely sentiments: heartfelt appreciation and snarky glibness. ''John Locke was a believer, a man of faith, and a much better man than I will ever be,'' Ben said adding, ''And I'm very sorry that I murdered him.'' Classy, Ben. And a classic Lost moment.
A third point of view on John Locke came via the Sideways, and I would sum up the assessment by using a line from last night's literary reference, John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men: ''A guy goes nuts if he ain't got nobody.'' Now, the Sideways story line didn't actively portray its John Locke as destroyed by loneliness or abandonment. On the contrary: Sideways John Locke had self-confidence, self-awareness, and a genuine self. He also enjoyed the security of knowing he was loved by his soulmate, Helen. But I wonder if that's part of the important point of these parallel world stories. Lost is creating the means for us to see these too-familiar people with fresh eyes. By presenting them as something profoundly different, as profoundly ''other,'' the castaways are revealed anew, or perhaps even for the first time, by the comparison.—Jeff Jensen
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Project Runway recap: Little Style
Designing for little girls (and their adult model counterparts) threw some for a loop, but edgy won the day
If anyone was helped by the lack of screen time, it was Amy. At least initially. When her B-O-L-D bold ensembles first appeared, I thought her multicolored, petal-effect trousers were interesting in an avant-garde, Björk-on-the-Volta-tour sorta way. Hmm ... maybe she'll pull this off after all, I thought. But then came the close-up during judging, and my-oh-my was that unfortunate. Suddenly, the trousers' true identity came screaming through. These weren't clown pants, as Tim had warned. These were the offspring of David Lee Roth's fringe chaps (circa ''Just a Gigolo'' ) and Flea's infamous stuffed animal pants. Plus! The fabric disks themselves were frayed and unfinished and just generally busted.—Missy Schwartz
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Grey's Anatomy recap: Where it All Began
The flashback episode gives us insight into Bailey, Richard, and Callie
Richard gave the Grey's set decorators and costumers all kinds of fun stuff to do by flashing back to his residency in 1982. In fact, I had no idea what any of the doctors were saying for the first several minutes of his flashback, as I was too distracted by the Hall and Oates playing, the orange-and-yellow paint job, and the moustaches. Men really did like moustaches in 1982. But they loved sexism even more: ''This is no job for a nurse,'' one barked at Sarah Paulson, who was playing ... OMG, Young Ellis Grey!—Jennifer Armstrong
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Survivor: Heroes vs Villains recap: More Like Heroes vs. Heroes!
James blows his top at the challenge. And back at camp. And at Tribal Council. Anger management, anyone?
Now was that a great Tribal Council or what? James dissing Stephenie. Stephenie talking back to James. Colby jumping in and calling James out like he was taking on Jerri Manthey circa 2001. Then Tom jumping in and staring down a man twice his size. And there is nothing — nothing! — I love in the entire Survivor universe more than someone still talking smack even after her torch has been snuffed. Before she took that long lonely walk down the blue-lit corridor of death, Steph turned back to James and said ''Some advice. Next time 'ya'll' lose a challenge, a little less cursing off your tribe might help.'' To which James offered the somewhat lame comeback of ''Keep your mouth shut.'' (Something he had been unable to do ever since they lost the challenge, I might add.) —Dalton Ross