This season's 'shocking secret' lives up to its billing
By Diane Vadino
Special to MSN TV
Remember that time Emily came on "After the Final Rose" and looked like she might break into angry, hot tears any minute? That was then. Now, Emily looks happy as can be -- especially when discussing her new fiancé, Jef Holm. The Southern belle and the SLC hipster made it work, demolishing the race car driver in the process. Who would have thought?
After a quick debriefing from Chris Harrison, first-runner-up Arie is brought on stage for a confrontation (or, as it's also known, closure) with Emily, who repeats much of what she said in Curacao: It was nothing he did or didn't do. "I learned I need to be more direct, especially with things that might hurt people's feelings," she says. Having seen the footage of her pre-breakup powwow with Chris, Arie says he wishes she had just told him what she'd told Chris -- because what she provided him wasn't anything like closure.
Unfortunately, the post-show search for closure (or "a new beginning," Arie says, menacingly) took Arie all the way to Charlotte, where he planned to stalk (or, you know, meet up with) Emily -- and presumably woo her back. When he got there, though, he was too respectful of Jef and Ricki (or, perhaps, mortified) to go through with his planned meet-up. Instead, he channeled his inner seventh grader and left his journal on her doorstep. (Really.) "I just wanted her to know what I was feeling," he says. Chris asks Arie if he thought that her reading the journal made have changed things: "Of course," he says. Chris promised us "shocking secrets" at the top of the show, but never did I imagine they'd involve Arie regressing to the emotional life of a 13-year-old. And oh, about that journal? Emily brought it. And she never read it, also out of respect for Jef. "It wouldn't have helped anything," Emily says to Arie. This is actually, in its own way, worse than watching Emily break up with him -- her total, unemotional shutdown of his journal-centric Hail Mary is utterly cringe-y. Emily passes Arie back the journal. "I'm so glad he [wrote] it," she says, looking for a silver lining. Chris asks Arie if he's disappointed that Emily never bothered to read it -- he is, he says, but he reveals that Jef, of all people, was the one to convince him to drop the Emily issue, by convincing Arie that the three of them were happy together. Three's family, four's a crowd, Arie. It's a weird, heartbroken segment. Emily says that if Jef hadn't been on the show, "It would have been Arie and me up here [as a couple]." You know, just in case his heart hadn't already been smashed into 1000 pieces.
Luckily for all of us, Jef is up next, and he's beaming like a massive ball of energy. Why? He and Emily are happily engaged. We re-watch the footage of the proposal, which is probably a lot more interesting for the two of them than it is for us, since we just saw it 45 minutes ago. Chris asks Jef what's so great about Emily. "Are we live? How much time do we have?" Jef says. He then reels off a list of adjectives in which "funny" and "kind" place more highly than "gorgeous."
More interesting are their plans for the future: First, Emily will be traveling to Africa with Jef and his company, People Water -- the Tom's shoes of "sustainable water." (More details are presumably available on the firm's website -- which is, at this moment, down, probably from all the knock-on post-finale traffic.) Then, instead of starting somewhere fresh right away, Jef will, in fact, be moving to Charlotte -- so that Ricky's life is interrupted as little as possible. (Separate apartments, Jef points out.) And after that? A wedding, of course. They don't want to say the date: "Everyone holds you to it," Emily says. (A couple minutes later, she croaks out, "a spring wedding.") They do know where though: "Charleston," they say, in unison. That is, unless they get married in Africa. It won't be their first trip, though, and before we say goodbye to the new couple, Chris shows up a picture of the three of them at what looks like a dude ranch, three blondes in a photo dressed for a day outside involving frogs and catching fish. Who says dreams don't come true?
Emily sends one bachelor home early on in the dramatic season finale
By Diane Vadino
Special to MSN TV
Welcome to the "most anticipated television event of the summer [that isn't the Olympics or about a half-dozen other shows that may or may not include tomorrow's premiere of "Bachelor Pad 2"]!" Chris Harrison introduces us to tonight's emphatically live broadcast of "one of the most surprising and emotional finales ever" -- with "shocking secrets to reveal." Only time will tell if any of that is true. So, here we go. We're still in Curacao (apparently all the money on the finale's travel budget went to Emily's dresses -- isn't it a "Bachelorette" law that we have to end in the South Pacific?), and Emily says she still doesn't know whose inevitable proposal she'll be contemplating later tonight. "I thought coming into today I would know who my guy was -- and I don't," she says. She's looking for more, she says, than "a beautiful, perfect proposal -- and I had that [with Brad], and that's not how it turned out at all."
First up on this night, we have Jef, who arrives to meet Emily's family (mom Suzy, dad David, brother Ernie, and sister-in-law-to-be Bethanny) wearing the Gap staff uniform of 1997 (white pocket T-shirt and jeans) and bearing flowers for Suzy and Bethanny. ("Those aren't for me," Emily says. "There'll be lots of them for you -- don't worry," Jef says.) Suzy lists two of the qualities Emily likes in her male companion as "has a sense of humor, waits on her hand and foot," which isn't an entirely nice thing to say, if you think about it. Jef, meanwhile, is giving the family the super-hard sell: "There's not a single ounce of me that would leave her, ever," he says. He is not so much dripping with sincerity as spraying it like fire hoses from every one of his pores. This is just as well for Emily's gun-shy family: "My first reaction is always going to be defensive -- after what happened with Brad and Emily, I saw her heart broken in a way that most people can't understand," says Ernie, who seems like a cross between a mortgage consultant and a drill sergeant. Presumably after admiring the way Suzy's forehead absolutely refuses to move, Jef lays out his case to David, and asks for his permission to marry his daughter: "Well, Jef, if you sincerely mean that [you're seeking my permission], then you certainly have my approval," says David. "Just looking at the smile she's got, it's obvious that she cares for you."
Emily's family is so wholly pro-Jef that they're ready to pack it in and go to the beach: "I'm not sure why we're even going through the actions of meeting another guy today," Suzy says. Even so, it's surprisingly awkward when Arie shows up and begins to babble about fishing: "I heard when it's overcast, [fish] like to bite. I don't know a lot about fishing," he says. For such a seemingly affable guy, Arie has a tough time bringing any of the Maynards around: "You seem very practiced and smooth," Ernie says, which is not entirely a compliment. It's not much better with Emily's dad, who literally snorts a tiny bit after fielding the same may-I-marry-your-daughter question. "You seem like a very nice fellow," David says, mildly.
Despite all that, Emily's family isn't letting her off the hook. "The best scenario is my parents saying, 'This is your guy,'" she says. Unfortunately, "it's hard for me to say one or the other," Suzy says. Emily thinks they're holding back: "How much of this is you guys not wanting to say in case I pick the other one?" They swear up and down that that's not the problem. Emily's maintaining that she's in love with two people, but her dad's not buying it: "I don't believe you can love two people: You're in love with one or the other now," he says. "Now I'm even more confused," she says. "The fact that I still don't know makes me wonder if any guy here is for me. I'm not sure if I'm 100 percent ready to get engaged at the end of all of this."
This, it turns out, is the grand sum of the misdirection in this episode. Emily and Jef meet up for what looks like their most realistic date of the season, which is two people sitting and talking, somewhat defensively, about the future of their relationship. "What are you stressed out about?" Jef asks her. Soon, though, Jef flips it around. What's sort of interesting is the way he made this whole process about ensuring that Emily was right for him as much as he was right for Emily, which Ryan kept saying was his whole mission but failed to express it in a way that wasn't thoroughly annoying. Jef's still hoping to meet little Ricki, and he asks her what she would think if she were considering moving forward with a guy before meeting the most important person in his life. You can pretty much see the penny drop for her. "I would think it was weird," she says, making up her mind. "I think we have such a short time left we should just do it today." On the way to the pool where Ricki's splashing around, Emily warns that a thumb's down from Ricki could spell the end of things for Jef. But of course, it all goes swimmingly, from the moment he offers to high-five her open palm: "I heard you always have to have your goggles on. Safety first," he says. It's pretty adorable. "I just want to hold [Emily's] hand 'til I'm 110," Jef says.
Would Arie have had a chance if his big date had come first? If he had met Emily's family before Jef? All we know is that the morning after the game-changing date with Jef, Emily's made up her mind: "I woke up and I really had a sense of peace about what I needed to do," she says. "What she needs to do" is Emily-code for kicking off Arie. Emily lays out everything for Chris Harrison: She was in love with Arie, but sometime between then and now, her feelings for Jef caught up to them -- and surpassed them. "I was so scared I'd get to the final day [and not know who my preference is]," she says. "I know that Jef is everything I've been looking for." Who knew the skinny hipster from Utah would be the last guy standing? Chris Harrison sums it up: "You are done. My advice to you today is to be as honest with him as you're being with me."
The next 10 minutes play out like a reality-TV example of dramatic irony -- the one that's defined as "irony that occurs when the meaning of the situation is understood by the audience but not by the characters in the play." We are the audience. Arie (and herbalist Dina) are the characters. They have decided, on this day of pending heartbreak, to create a love potion from the herbs in Dina's garden. It's all tremendously cringe-y, like an outtake from "The Office." "We're here in Curacao, completely in love with each other," Arie says obliviously. "Tomorrow I am getting engaged." Well, so he thinks. Then Emily shows up, and she's distracted and jumpy and says "Thank you" and "You did a great job" (with the love potions) a dozen times. If this were last season, we'd already be halfway through "This Year's Love." "Do you want to sit down and talk a second?" she says. Then she starts crying, and Arie slowly comes around to the realization that his plans for the following day may need a revision. "I don't know what to do; I don't know what to say," Emily manages. "You know how I felt about you, from our very first dates and even beyond: It was going to be me and you, and I don't know anymore." The problem, of course, is that she does know. "I never thought I was going to have to make a choice between you and anybody," she continues. "I always thought it was going to be me and you." Then she more or less skips over the part about falling in love with Jef. "I want you to know I'm sorry. I don't want you to think it's anything you did or didn't do you really are like everything." Arie is clearly shocked. It's a blindside straight out of "Survivor." "I'm shocked that I completely thought we had something," he says. There are (man) tears. "I have more confidence with Jef," Emily responds. Arie tries to walk out, and she asks him to wait for her. "There's nothing to say," he says. "Good luck. I don't know what you want me to say. Thank you for sparing me the embarrassment tomorrow. I appreciate that." Somewhere, Ben is stomping his foot vigorously. Elsewhere, it's over for Arie. "I feel stupid, I feel naive that I had that dream for us. I feel like I'm a loving person and I deserve that back. I feel like I give way more than I get back." Chris Harrison momentarily brings us back to a stone-faced audience, which has the collective resigned, pained expression of having just watched film of a dead dog being kicked.
It's done: Perpetual front-runner Arie's gone, and we have Emily in front of some buildings in Curacao. (Really: Was there seriously no money left for an ocean-view perch?) Instead of spectacular scenery, we get quite a cute proposal. "You really are everything that I've looked for so long. You are the perfect person for me," Emily tells Jef, who is wearing a dapper blue suit. "You get me better than anyone else has. I love you so, so much. I knew you were the one for me. You were the only one that got to meet Ricki. Arie's not even here. It's just me and you." "That's the best thing I've ever heard," Jef says. It really is quite adorable. His proposal goes on for forever, but the key line is: "I promise if you let me into your and Ricki's life, you'll never feel lonely ever again." What girl's not going to say yes to that? Jef takes a knee, says the words (you can hear the live audience swoon), and Emily, after a 10-second delay, puts her face in her hands … and says yes.
'Broadway or Bust' to spotlight high-school musical theater performers
PBS President Paula Kerger isn't calling the network's new docu-series "Broadway or Bust" a reality TV offering. But it kind of is.
The three-part show, which debuts in September, spotlights the National High School Musical Awards, known as "The Jimmys." The annual awards program and week-long boot camp in New York accepts and trains 60 of America's top high-school musical theater performers and gives the best actor and actress a shot at bragging rights and stardom. Think the "Glee Project" but for the Great White Way.
"It's not really a competition although it is a competition," Kerger told reporters on the first day of the Television Critics Associations' press tour Saturday in Beverly Hills, Calif. "'Broadway or Bust' is a great way to actually showcase the talent of young people. I'm hoping that not only is it of interest to a broader audience who want to watch talented young people at the top of their game, but really encourages young people to think about the arts."
Young people like Mason Park, 17, a "Broadway or Bust" participant, who said Fox's "Glee" inspired him to pursue his theater dreams. Like Chris Colfer's character Kurt, Park (the guy pictured in the green shirt) was bullied at his North Carolina high school before moving to California.
"I wanted to get away from such a negative environment where I couldn't express my art and I couldn't continue working on my passion and freely doing musical theater without fear of bullying or getting beat up and stuff in school," Park said. "'Glee' helped me personally overcome certain obstacles in my life and become a much more confident and strong musical theater performer."
For kids like Park, perhaps "Broadway or Bust" will do the same.
"Broadway or Bust" premieres Sunday, Sept. 9, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on PBS.
Queen of hip hop soul joins Adam Levine as Season 3 adviser
Phew. At least everyone's happy. This, of course, comes a week after Blake Shelton announced Michael Bublé would be his adviser, meaning it's only fair that we suggest a hybrid celebrity moniker for them as well. Like, for instance, Bubléton? Or maybe Sheble? Fortunately, all the aforementioned are better at singing and evaluating talent than we are at dreaming up nicknames.
Sean, Ryan and 'that guy Kalon' gather for one last time on 'The Bachelorette'
By Diane Vadino
Special to MSN TV
Is it already time for "Men Tell All"? It must be, since we're down to two guys -- and not on a tropical island, but rather in a studio in L.A. with a whole bunch of dudes, including recently heart-skewered Sean, a still-glowering Chris, goofier-than-ever Doug, and, says Chris Harrison, "that Kalon guy," who does the impossible of coming off like even more of a douchebag than he already had.
We begin with a quick review of the season. We have Ryan telling Emily she better not gain weight after she makes herself the luckiest woman on Earth. (By marrying Ryan, for the record.) "In the history of dumb comments by men," Chris says, that's...." "Top three," Emily answers. Next, we have Kalon: According to Emily, "I thought maybe the guys are being too hard on him -- maybe it's all because of the helicopter. If I kept him around long enough I'd finally see his true colors." Well, that happened. And then there's adorable Doug, quite possibly the geek with the most massive arm circumference this show has ever seen: "Clearly the chemistry was not there," Emily says. Clearly.
We're still running through the guys and bringing up their assorted moments of public mortification. Had you forgotten that Travis carried around that ostrich egg? And did you know that he made Emily sing "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" to it, as he tucked it into bed? No? Luckily, they have some footage of exactly that. Then there was Emily's date with Joe at the Greenbriar resort in West Virginia, which ended just as badly for Emily's gown as it did for Joe: "Y'all? I just spilled [wine] all over my dress! And I just said '&$!@' in front of my date." Arie is not immune to the humiliation that comes with being on this show, for apparently while he and Emily were making out (once more) outside his parents' home, his little brothers were spying on them ("She is a beauty," one of them says): "I told his brothers that if it didn't work out I'd be calling them," says Emily, so maybe there's a love connection there if things don't work out with Jef or Arie. We also get to see a bit of Chris's dancing, but Emily is quick to defend him: "Most guys would have stood there, like, 'Whatever, I don't dance,'" she says. "I want to give him credit for trying." This is one of the few moments during the show that Chris doesn't look like he wants to attack someone. Also, did you guys forget there was a grain merchant, a lumber trader, and a mushroom farmer on this show?
Our first extended interview goes to Kalon, who seems to want to remind us as quickly as possible how annoying he is. But John says it better: "Coming in on a helicopter, you kind of put yourself behind the eight ball," he says. "I have a rule -- if you have Louis Vuitton luggage, and you're a dude, you're a *%#&." These are actually his best two lines on the show -- if he'd had nothing to do but make fun of Kalon, maybe Emily would have kept him around longer. Chris asks Kalon if he regretted the helicopter arrival: "If somebody else had arrived that way, I would have been genuinely interested to hear their story," he says, disingenuously. (Charlie: "There were some times when I really wanted to smack [Kalon] in the face.") Kalon says he made lots of friends in the house (Ryan twitches when he hears this) and adds that "all of my friends are extremely confident." Chris asks Kalon if he shouldn't have pulled out of the show once he knew that Emily was the bachelorette, to make way for a guy who didn't mind having a stepchild: "At that point, I was committed -- I think it would have said less about my character if I'd pulled out," Kalon says, inaccurately. No one is buying this: "I don't see him missing a facial to go pick up Ricky from soccer practice," Wolf says. "For some reason, everyone in America likes things to be sugar-coated," Kalon says, apropos of nothing. "See ya!" says bachelor Chris.
Ryan's up next with Chris Harrison, who promptly asks him if "is [it] possible that you might just be an arrogant ass?" Ryan doesn't think so, but he's wrong. We see all the footage of Ryan saying every obnoxious thing that popped into his head, from the weight-gain stuff to the trophy wives discussion to his own "worst-case scenario" of ending up in the final-two with Arie, losing, and then coming back as the bachelor. "I want to speak for ABC and put everybody's mind at ease: not gonna happen," Chris says. "I'm looking for a prize, man," Ryan contends. "Ladies, the line forms here," Chris adds. There are not going to be very many women on that line.
Chris follows Ryan, and he still looks like he wants to punch something. "It came off like you were angry," Chris Harrison says. "I do love Emily -- in my mind, in my heart, in my gut. I loved that girl 110 percent. When there's something I really believe in, I'll do anything in the world to fight for it," says the rejected bachelor, who is taking the whole idea of "fighting for love" much too literally. " The opportunity I had with Emily comes around once in a lifetime," he says. Or, you know, next week on "Bachelor Pad."
By contrast, Sean -- who's up last, in the spot reserved for the most heartbroken bachelor -- comes off as wounded but not bristling with rage, like Chris was. Apparently he called his mom from Curacao, and she, like, any good mom, told him that "this is going to be healthy for you in the long run." (You know Sean was sad to see his no-break-up record go down in the dust.) "When Emily walked out [that night], I thought in my head, 'That's my wife,'" he says. "I spent several weeks questioning myself. I do see the light at the end of the tunnel." Hopefully that tunnel is as the star of the next "Bachelor."
At long last, Emily joins Chris, and unsurprisingly, much of the talk is directed at Sean. (He's the one bachelor she says hello to by name when she walks out on stage.) The night the episode ending with his ouster aired, she says, "I sat in my room and did the ugly cry." Sean repeats what he said to Chris Harrison about it making him a better man ... some day. Chris glowers like a bear as he hears this entire exchange, but he recovers enough to say something to Emily about thanking her for making him believe in love again. It's awkward and weird, but Chris Harrison quickly moves along to Doug. Emily's one regret, she says, was not giving Doug the group-date rose in London, a sign of her thanks for alerting her to the fact that Kalon had called Ricky "baggage" earlier that night. "I could be engaged to Kalon right now," she says. "So thank God for Doug!" It's a little sad right here, because clearly Doug thinks she might have been about to say, "I could be engaged to Doug right now!" "You really think [being engaged to Kalon] would have been an option?" Chris asks. "No … " she says. "I didn't know what was wrong with me -- that I let someone like that through the cracks." Kalon mumbles something ridiculous about it being a "growing experience," but Emily isn't done with him yet: "You, my dear, should be a politician, because that is the biggest load of bullshit I've ever heard." Emily says she just saw a post of his (on Twitter, presumably) that had a picture of a baggage claim and a message that read "Thought for sure I'd see Emily Maynard here." "And your next response was, 'Sorry I'm not sorry.'" "I don't take social media as seriously as everybody else," Kalon says, lamely. "I guess I'm flattered you follow me on Twitter." Emily is having the last thoughts on this subject, though: "I hope you find faith in something bigger than your Prada shoes and your rented helicopter."
We conclude with bloopers, which involve Emily asking "Who's Andrew? Isn't there an Andrew?" (isn't there?), a lot of guys stripping off their shorts, and Doug facing off with Chris at the highland games and begging him to put on some underwear: "Can you put that thing away? Bad day to go commando." And finally, even better than Chris asking Emily how many guys she plans to sleep with is her admission that "I always liked the guys who are tattooed and maybe a little homeless looking." Also, she makes her own cat videos, starring Safari and Holly. "I've been thnking of starting my own YouTube channel, but I'm thinking I gotta get a man first." Problem solved, it looks like, so hopefully we all have that to look forward to.
"The Bachelorette" season finale airs Sunday, July 22, and 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
With Tyler and J.Lo out, rumors swirl around latest diva
Bing:More on "American Idol" | Mariah Carey | Steven Tyler | Jennifer Lopez
People is quoting an anonymous source who tells them "she's in play" and "in serious talks," while Us Weekly, not to be out-scooped, claims that not only is "it very close to being a done deal," but that "they will move Randy into a more mentoring role." According to the Us story, "AI" brass "think they need to freshen everything up now.” That's probably pretty good thinking.
We add to the speculation about who'll be sitting beside Randy Jackson next season
'American Idol' judge drops clearest hint yet to 'Today'
Jennifer Lopez is practically coming out and saying it now: Next season, "American Idol" will have a J.Lo-size hole to fill.
Here's what she told "The Today Show's" Natalie Morales Thursday: "I love everybody. I love all the guys on the show. I love the family that’s there. Like I said, I’ve just enjoyed it so much. But I am thinking that maybe it’s time for me to go and do other things that I really love to do.”
However, she did add: "But then again, I really love the show, so…"
The "Idol" judge was promoting her new film "Ice Age: Continental Dirt" during a satellite interview.
In May, Lopez also told former "Idol" judge Ellen DeGeneres: "I don't know if I can go for a third year. I miss doing other things. It really does lock you down, which was nice the first year."
"American Idol" returns next winter on FOX.