Amani and Marcus start off in first place -- but don't stay there long
By Diane Vadino
Special to MSN TV
Previously: Liz and Marie begged their way across Thailand -- but ultimately finished in last place for the second time in a row.
Amani and Marcus are the first team to depart Thailand -- for a tobacco warehouse in Malawi! Which explains why we have been hearing the "very special episode of 'The Amazing Race'" music on the promos all week. They leave for the airport at 7:22 a.m. -- followed closely by Bill and Cathi and Ernie and Cindy -- and everyone else, with Jeremy and Sandy bringing up the rear. Unbelievably, there's no huge number of flights headed to Malawi (via Johannesburg), so everyone's going to be on the same flight. And tragically, it looks like the previous leaders were shuffled off to the back of the plane -- so their advantage was quickly turned against them. Jeremy and Sandy are out of the airport first, while Amani and Marcus and Bill and Cathi actually get stuck, en route to the warehouse, behind a slowly-moving string of cars celebrating an engagement. It's a lousy turn of events.
Malawi is beautiful. "There's no snow in Africa," snowboarder Tommy says. (Incorrectly, but whatever.) At the warehouse, we enter a scene that looks like something out of "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," with green-suited workmen dashing up the narrow lanes toting huge bales of tobacco leaves. They provide live-action obstacles for our players, who have to lug 10 200-pound bags (that's literally a ton!) of tobacco to a "drop-off zone" before moving on to the next task. Jeremy and Sandy arrive first. Cindy tells us: "We learned that over 60% of the country's income comes from tobacco leaves." Of course, everything smells overpoweringly like tobacco: "It smelled like my dad," says Jennifer, who seems quite cool when she's not complaining. "That smell was kind of like a piece of home." This Roadblock is hugely physical -- it’s hard to imagine Liz and Marie, or the showgirls, competitive here, which seems a little unfair, even if they didn’t make it this far. "If I go flat out, I'm going to die by the end of it," says Laurence. Strangely enough, Bill handles it better than Marcus, the undercover former NFL player: "When it's time to cut the hay, it's time to cut the hay," Bill says, as he and Cathi wheel off. The workmen sing Marcus out of the warehouse, which is actually quite touching. Unfortunately, he and Amani are in last place.
Teams travel from the tobacco warehouse to Memorial Tower, where they pick up the Detour clue: All Sewn Up or Not Grown Up. For the former: Travel to a tailor shop and use "mangled sewing machines" (says Phil) to complete the seams on a man's suit. For the latter: Go to a school and make "two traditional children's toy trucks." The second option has more teams, and more adorable kids. This task seems tedious but straightforward, especially to Justin: "I'm a physician, and at the root of surgery, we break things down and build them up." Laurence makes all kinds of weird "why-can't-you-sew-you're-a-girl" cracks to Sandy, who's like, I'm a nurse, shut up, you’re an idiot. Three teams go to the tailor, led by Ernie and Cindy. "Cindy holds the pants normally in our relationship," says Ernie, as his fiancée sews the trousers. I guess that was just too good a metaphor to pass up. They move through the task fast enough that they decide not to use their Express Pass and skip all remaining tasks. It's Amani and Marcus who continue their lousy day and straggle behind.
They're last to the R-K Furniture shop, where teams have been instructed to call a transporter and move two beds to Kumbali Village, this episode's Pitstop. There is some shuffling when previous leaders Jeremy and Sandy fail to keep their truck, and Laurence and Zac appear to grab a transport without calling for it first. (Another penalty? It doesn't turn out that way.) Again, though, Amani and Marcus are having the worst time of it: "I'm in a high-speed chase, and this is the opposite of a high-speed chase," Marcus says, after their cab breaks down. (Apparently he hadn't gotten the "jump in the back of the truck and hold on" memo.)
Teams begin to arrive at the mat -- led by Jennifer and Justin. However! They have neglected to pay their driver. They return to the drop-off spot, passing teams in various states of distress -- including Ernie and Cindy, who is actually crushed by her bed when she can't keep it balanced on her head. (Guess she was too busy with language classes to make time for the manual-labor sessions.) Andy and Tommy are first. Jennifer and Justin return in time for second, followed by Bill and Cathi -- who actually destroyed the field but neglected to pay their driver as well -- disaster. They're sent back. This is surprisingly dramatic. Jeremy and Sandy check in, with Laurence and Zac next, followed by Ernie and Cindy. It's down to Bill and Cathi versus Amani and Marcus, who are just setting off when the farmers reach their driver. Bill and Cathi have the advantage of knowing it's a sprint to the finish -- and they come in sixth. It looks like Amani and Marcus are only feet behind them, and Amani's tearing up by the time they reach the mat. Phil tells them they're the last team to arrive...and asks how they're feeling, and anyone who's ever watched this show more than once sees this for what it is: a non-elimination leg. It's only fair, I think, and bad manners to throw out a team right after a field-wide bunching on the plane ride over.
Next week: Lake Malawi, and lots more kvetching between Jeremy and Sandy.
"The Amazing Race" airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.
Like all things Kardashian, Kendall Jenner's Sweet 16 will be televised
One of the 'Top Model All-Stars' sisters got sent packing this week
|Tags:||America's Next Top Model|
It's official: America doesn't want to watch people doing good things for others
It's official: America doesn't want to watch people doing good things for others. They would much rather watch them use, humiliate and vomit on others.
"The Buried Life" was produced by MTV as an antidote to "Jersey Shore." A cross between "Pay It Forward" and "The Bucket List," it followed four Canadian buddies who traveled the continent helping strangers achieve their dreams while crossing items off their own personal bucket lists.
But two anemically rated seasons were enough do-gooding for the network. According to this Entertainment Weekly report, it has pulled the plug.
Fans have already started an online Facebook petition to protest the move. But, like the show, this altruism is doomed to fail. It seems the four Canadian buddies, who created the show, have already moved on.
"Shooting something new with MTV + another studio as we speak," they wrote on their own Facebook page.
Guys, if you want Americans to watch this time, get drunk and naked and hook up with women. Who vomit on you.
The last cut is the deepest as five acts get the boot after first live round
By Jilliane Johnson
This week on "The X Factor," Steve Jones dusts off his suit for the live shows! Yes, we finally get to see what this Englishman does. Five of the 17 acts will be leaving the show tonight. (That's two from the Girls and one from each of the remaining groups.)
Each judge will view their mentees and immediately tell one unlucky performer (two in Simon's case) that they have sung their last song for "The X Factor."
Boys -- L.A. Reid
Brian "Astro" Bradley
Complete with gold skinny jeans, Astro comes out full-force old school with "Jump." I'm sure everyone remembers this kid's arrogance, but he still knows how to get a crowd hyped. It's strange, though, that this kid hasn't yet hit puberty, but he has about six or seven good-looking female dancers backing him up.
The mood mellows out for Chris to take the stage with "Love Don't Live Here Anymore." Some pitchy notes here and there, but his stage presence makes up for it. "There's a genuine truthfulness," Paula comments about Chris. And I have to agree.
Fans of Philip Lomax may want to scroll down from here. Singing "I'm a Believer," Lomax comes across super cheesy and flat. It's reminiscent of a Vegas show. This is my pick to leave the Boys category, without a doubt.
You mean "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?" is making a comeback? Marcus has a great voice, don't get me wrong. He's great on stage, especially with an entourage of backup dancers, but this song just does not work for him. Plus, the song is obviously not a happy one, yet he's jumping around smiling. I'm confused.
L.A. hardly has time to think!
Leaving the competition first is Philip Lomax. I knew it!
Groups -- Paula Abdul
The Stereo Hogzz
The Houston natives amp up Otis Redding's "Tenderness." For a minute, I thought I accidentally changed the channel to MTV. The Hogzz broke out some amazing moves! Plus the harmonies jell perfectly. Good job, Paula!
The Brewer Boys
Is there a reason everyone is singing old songs? The brothers take on a stripped-down version of "Faith." Things were working in their favor until the tune went folk-y. It's a fun performance, but does it hold up to the others? L.A. doesn't seem to think so. I'm making my prediction again with The Brewer Boys.
There's just so many of them. A "Footloose" medley takes on a new energy with all these kids, for sure. The harmonies were nice, the dance moves worked, and their style is age appropriate. Simon calls it the "equivalent of a music miracle."
"Come on Eileen" meets sparkly Hammer pants in this girl group. The girls sound good, but they simply don't add up. I guess I'm the only one that feels this way. Simon commends Paula on her job with these girls, and with tears in her eyes, she kisses him too close to the mouth.
Time to toss Paula the tissue!
Say goodbye to The Brewer Boys. I am two for two!
Over 30s -- Nicole Scherzinger
Oh my gosh! Dexter Haygood is singing Britney Spears' "Womanizer" and "I Kissed a Girl" by Katy Perry. My mind is blown to bits and pieces. Should I even mention that his dancers look like the iconic ladies from Robert Palmer's "Addicted to Love" video crossed with "The Matrix." Plus, Dexter looks like the funky version of Sgt. Pepper. Yet compared to what is still to come, Dexter will probably leave tonight.
OK, so the older contestants are taking on newer songs. I understand. LeRoy is singing P!nk's "Nobody Knows." A beautiful song sung by a beautiful voice. How can you not like this guy? Simon says he could mentor him better, but Nicole quickly stands up for LeRoy, congratulating him.
Is it Stacy or a mother hen? This feather jacket really took my attention. Anyways, her voice works flawlessly with "One More Try." Her outfit and disco lighting were all wrong, but one cannot deny Stacey's talent.
Josh's almost a cappella version of "Forever Young" makes me think I've tuned into a FOX special for him. With ballet dancers in spotlights behind him, all you really need is his voice.
Nicole is winging it!
Next to leave "The X Factor" is Dexter Haygood. One more category to go. Can I make it four for four?
Girls -- Simon
Simone said she wants to be the next big female pop star, and things look that way, at least. Singing "Just Be Good to Me," Simone should just focus on her vocals a bit more. L.A. holds nothing back and gets pretty rude, asking Simon why he ever sent Simone through. I think Simone will be one of the two Simon sends home.
The youngest contestant brings Bieber into the mix. Rachel is signing a mash-up of "Where Did Our Love Go?" and "Baby." Everything about the performance works. Great vocals, lovely look and that cute smile make for a fantastic package.
Now known as "Drew," her performance of "What a Feeling" is simple and like a folk song. She sits onstage, backed by only a piano. Not one of my favorites, but it's all right. We may have seen Drew for the last time tonight, as well.
Tiah is definitely not my favorite in the competition, but "Sweet Dreams" is by far one of my favorite songs. Put the two together, and I'm thinking maybe I should give her another chance. The costumes are gothic, and her theatrics match the creepy mood perfectly. Although, her pitch is still, well, pitchy in places.
A perfect match! Melanie meets Whitney Houston with "I Have Nothing." There's no way Simon can send this girl home again after making that mistake last week. Best performance of the night. I predict Melanie Amaro is America's first "X Factor" winner!
Simon says ...
The last two contestants leaving the competition this evening are Simone Battle and Tiah Tolliver!
So I pretty much got them all right! Leaving us tonight are Philip Lomax, The Brewer Boys, Dexter Haygood, Simone Battle and Tiah Tolliver. Tune in next week to another live show of "The X Factor" when America will finally be allowed to vote for our favorites!
"The X Factor" continues Wednesday, Nov. 2, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on FOX.
Chaz Bono heads home
After a rough week with the tango, Chaz Bono bid the show farewell. Chaz said the experience taught him he could do so much more than he thought he would. When Tom Bergeron pointed out how much confidence and charisma he'd gained over the course of the season, Chaz replied, "I came on this show because I wanted to show America a different kind of man."
He's got a lot to be proud of! It was clear how sad the rest of the cast was to see Chaz go – just about everyone joined him on the floor for his last dance with Lacey, and Nancy Grace looked like she was crying.
This was a really tough elimination, but as always, the show must go on. Here's how each of the remaining stars fared this week:
His elegant, mercurial quickstep had the crowd on its feet and the judges offering him the encore. His excellent footwork and dazzling stage presence really make J.R. the total package. He’s got two dances next week, and I have a feeling that at least one of them will net him that elusive perfect 30.
Ricki's gorgeous quickstep was fresh and fun: Her timing and footwork were both excellent, and her presence onstage was the best it's ever been. Carrie Ann put it best when she called the routine "poetry in motion."
No one expected Nancy to last past the first few weeks, but here she is. Guess what? Nancy's sweet but cheeky foxtrot was the surprise of the week! It was easily her best performance to date, and will hopefully inspire her to even greater heights in the next round.
David’s "Grease"-inspired quickstep had a great energy, but he was having a little trouble staying in sync with Kym. Len called it "rough around the edges," which seemed fair for once. He’s getting better – but is it too little too late?
Rob's cha-cha was a lot of fun, but it wasn’t the judges’ favorite. His timing and footwork were good, but Len wants him to work on his fluidity and Bruno wants him to step up and own the floor. Rob has been working hard, and it shows, but he’ll need to work even harder to stay in this thing much longer.
Hope's revealing rumba wasn't her best performance, but it had its moments. The problem wasn't the technique so much as the flow of Hope's movements. Len called the routine Hope's worst dance of the season – which prompted Maks to jump in and defend her and make things that much work. Yikes. It was good to see Hope dodge a bullet this week, but I’m worried for her.
Who won the week: Ricki and J.R.
Who needs to step it up: Hope and Rob
What do you think of Tuesday night's results?
"Dancing With the Stars" airs Mondays at 8 p.m. and Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
Twins discuss their emotional race to the pit stop
Twins Liz and Marie Canavan failed to overcome last week’s back-of-the-pack finish—and despite powering through a Speed Bump that had them showering down some elephants, were booted off “The Amazing Race” last night. The pair showed significant moxie despite running several hours behind the rest of the teams—we asked them about begging rides from Thai taxi drivers, their emotional final talk with Phil on the pit stop’s mat, and the umbrella-centric beach challenge that led to their ouster.
It was amazing to see that the cab drivers were willing to give you rides for free. How long were you walking before you decided to ask them for a ride to the canal?
Marie: We had been walking for four hours, and we had asked other cabs drivers to drive us, but everyone thought we were nuts for asking. It was amazing when that one cab driver decided to give us a ride. We were so grateful for it.
I couldn't get a sense of how far behind you were Jeremy and Sandy.
Was there any chance you would have caught them?
Liz: No! We don't really know how far behind we were, but we hadn't seen another team in like 24 hours, so we really don't think we could have caught them.
What made the challenge on the beach in Thailand, where you had to mimic the hotel’s set-up with umbrellas and chairs, so difficult? Was it the wind? Was it just that you weren't as physically strong as some of the guys on the race?
Marie: It was both. The winds were really strong, and we needed a guy. We didn't have the muscles to get the umbrellas in [the sand].
How did your relationship evolve over the course of the race?
Liz: We were close before and we are still close now. I learned Marie was a head case, but I already knew that.
I really felt for you guys at the Pitstop when Phil asked what your dad, who died earlier this year, would think of your race. Were you thinking about him as you raced, and in terms of the decisions you made?
Marie: I think that in our daily lives we try to go about everything thinking of him.
Liz: Us begging for money ... we weren't thinking, Our dad would not want us to do that—it's just what he taught us growing up.
"The Amazing Race" airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.