RuPaul’s Drag Race returns in February, and the show has released the amazing teaser trailer below, in addition to the names of the drag queens who will be competing—one of whom previously appeared on American Idol. Also on this season: Australian Idol semi-finalist Courtney Act.
American Idol 7’s Danny Noriega would have been the Fox show’s first openly gay finalist, but was eliminated at the top-16 stage of the semi-finals. He’s now one of 14 Drag Race contestants, performing as Adore Delano. She introduces herself as being “two years old and I’m from the ocean.” Explaining the translation of her last name, she says, “I guess I’m a swampy anus at night.”
Logo’s bio for Danny says, “Notorious for sassing Simon Cowell on American Idol, Danny Noriega is now setting the Southern California drag scene ablaze as the infectiously charming party girl Adore.” Yahoo TV reports that he has been “performing in drag shows across Southern California” and “auditioned for ‘Drag Race’ last season, narrowly missing the cut.”
Here’s the promo that shows some of the queens in and out of makeup, set to HiFashion’s “Amazing.”
NBC’s The Sing-Off returned after two years last night, reminding us of the power of pure, raw, impressive talent from incredible a cappella groups—and the power of a network competition show that just celebrates and showcases singing.
Besides simple introductory packages for the groups and judging following the performances, there is minimal time-wasting or drama-creating crap. Mark Burnett came on board as executive producer this season, and while I did not stick with the show through its last, over-extended fall season, the only change under his watch that stands out is the fantastic new battle at the end between the bottom-two teams. The face-off, two groups singing “Bye Bye Bye,” was even more fun than the regular performances, which is remarkable since it was essentially a performance by the two worst-performing groups.
The Sing-Off is also brief: this season is just seven episodes over three weeks, which is actually more than it aired its first two December seasons, but still far less than other bloated singing shows. The last time it aired, in 2011, NBC gave it a full season so it could basically take over for The Voice, and that was a pretty big mistake, with ratings dropping significantly.
Most importantly, though, the talent is just awesome, with a diversity of groups and styles. Everything we hear comes from the contestants’ mouths, which is usually very impressive. Even the weaker groups are still pleasant to listen to, and there’s just so much joy that comes from people making music from their mouths. Even the group number was amazing—watch and try not to smile:
One of the biggest blindsides on Survivor Blood vs. Water was the result of a leading question Jeff Probst asked at Tribal Council, and the somewhat ironic result was that it sent home Brad Culpepper, aka Probst’s bro “Culpepper.”
At Tribal Council, Caleb Bankston announced to the other two men on his tribe, Vytas and Hayden, “I’m gonna write Brad’s name down.” That led to a tie vote, one that was broken by Vytas—had it not been, they would have drawn rocks, exactly what ended up happening later in the season.
What’s clear is that Caleb’s turn against Brad was the defining moment. Asked about this by Hitfix’s Dan Fienberg, Caleb says that it was a question Jeff Probst asked that prompted him to make the move:
“So I was thinking about it and Jeff, he kinda tends to ask the right questions and so Tribal Council went on and so Tribal Council went on and he asked questions, people were answering and the case came up of, ‘Well, tell me why Caleb shouldn’t be the one sent home because he’s the free agent and he could swing either way, why not go ahead and do that?’ So that was kinda like a wakeup call. I was like, ‘You know? I’m not gonna ride in the backseat until somebody tells me it’s my stop and he’s your exit, go ahead and go on.’”
When he says Probst “tends to ask the right questions,” I read that as Caleb understanding that Probst isn’t asking questions from ignorance, but as a producer clued in to both what’s happening and what will make good television.
To be fair to Probst, Caleb said he was already primed to think “Something’s up. Something’s different,” thanks to Brad’s behavior at camp combined with rain (really: “usually my mood, if I feel something’s off, the weather changes”). But the question made him realize he was the target and should make a bold move to save himself.
By the way, Caleb was asked repeatedly about Colton Cumbie, who he is inexplicably in a relationship with. In another interview, he defends Colton’s behavior as a result of Colton being uncomfortable, and says they’re getting married Oct. 11 next year. Caleb said, “He’s a sweet guy; I love him, and nothing anybody says will change my opinion.”
The third installment of Teen Mom has been cancelled, according to one of its cast members. The original was cancelled in 2012, but Teen Mom 2 is back for its fifth season Jan. 20.
This weekend, Briana DeJesus wrote on Twitter that the show had “come to an end,” adding, “Time to move on from MTV.” Alexandria Sekella confirmed that, writing, “Guess we weren’t enough of train wrecks for it to be interesting. America wants to watch crazies.”
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James Marcus Howe, who IMDB says worked as an assistant director on America’s Next Top Model, American Ninja Warrior, Cake Boss, Tabatha’s Salon Takeover, A Shot At Love With Tila Tequila, and other shows, was shot and killed during a home invasion last Wednesday in an apparently random act. His wife was shot but survived; they have a 6-year-old son who was not injured.
The Los Angeles Times reported that “he and his wife answered the door for what they thought was a lone salesman” and “another man and a woman forced their way inside,” and “an ensuing altercation quickly escalated, one of the men pulled out a handgun.”
LAPD Deputy Chief Jose Perez told the paper that “The victims were completely innocent. There is nothing to connect them with the assailants.”
KTLA reports that the suspects are “a black male between the ages of 16 and 22”; “a black man between the ages of 20 and 25,” who was the shooter”; and “a black woman”; “detectives were also searching for an early 2000 model Ford Mustang, dark in color, that was believed to have been used in the crime.”
Audra McDonald was easily the best part of last night’s live The Sound of Music on NBC, which starred American Idol winner Carrie Underwood as Maria von Trapp. Although her acting and other parts were easy to make fun of, the three-hour show had a huge audience, with 18.5 million viewers.Ruben Studdard told reporters that The Biggest Loser producers’ decision to bring him back was “because of fairness issues” only. Jillian Michaels previously agreed that she was “used by” producers to bring him back.The 15 documentary feature films that could win an Oscar were revealed by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences this week.The Bachelor has revealed the women who will be on Juan Pablo’s season.Bachelor producer Elan Gale talked to ABC News about his fictional Thanksgiving Day Twitter fight. He distances himself from the content of his tweets by saying his “character” was “an anti-hero — as kind of a jerk with good intentions.” He also insists, “I never made any statement at any point that this was real. I made a concrete decision not to lie. My story was my story. I’m not a liar — I’m a storyteller.” The difference, though, is that storytellers say they’re telling stories up front, they don’t pretend what they’re writing is real.Bar Rescue mixologist Joseph Brooke told LA Magazine that the cocktails he crafts for the bar makeovers are “a Diageo-sponsored program, so they’ll usually have a brand or two from their portfolio in mind to showcase for that specific episode. They’ll come to me with that/those brand/s and the concept for the remodeled bar, and I’ll send them about 10 drinks that fit the criteria, and we whittle down from there. Usually, Jon will have final say in the drink names and proportions, but most often times we’re on the same page with them.”ABC’s The Taste judge Nigella Lawson admitted to cocaine use but “denied habitually using illegal drugs,” USA TODAY reported. Earlier, ABC told the Guardian, “We have already wrapped production on ‘The Taste’ and it will air as planned beginning January 2nd.”Real World producers Bunim-Murray announced they are developing a new series, Gay Dads of New York, which will be set in New York and “will follow [Perez[ Hilton, who recently became a single father, and a group of gay dads, single and married, as they support each other through the ups and downs of raising children.” They are casting for the “group” now, making this essentially a Real Housewives starring someone who’s even more intolerable than an average Bravo reality star; Defamer described him as “Former internet troll masquerading as reformed victim of bullying Perez Hilton,” which should be the required description of him. Thankfully, this show is in development, so it may never actually end up on TV, though I’d put money on Bravo picking it up, because it fits with their general trajectory of making the network more and more awful.The San Francisco Chronicle looks at the design of the former theater that will house the new Real World cast in San Francisco, which was designed by production designer Kat de Luca; there’s also a slideshow with more photos.Some people, including The Voice coach Blake Shelton and executive producer Mark Burnett, wondered why the top 8 contestants’ version of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken?” was missing the word “Lord” from the line “in the sky, Lord, in the sky.” Burnett told Zap2it that the show used a public domain version of the song, a hymn, so it could be distributed via iTunes,” Burnett said.The first episode of France’s president Francois Hollande quasi-reality TV show has been released; he is showing behind-the-scenes of his presidency “in a bid to boost its popularity with a disgruntled public and reconnect with the French people,” France 24 reported.Muppets visit food trucks in their latest “Muppisode” promo, leading Gordon Ramsay to face off against the Swedish Chef, with Sweetums as Ramsay’s sous chef and judged by Statler and Waldorf. The result is, of course, awesome—though not quite as awesome as The Muppet Christmas Carol, which is both the best Christmas Carol adaptation and the best Muppet movie, and nothing at all like that awful Jason Segel thing that happened two years ago. But I digress:
Food Fight - Muppisode on Disney Video
Despite the suspense being dulled by CBS’ insistence on giving away the a twice-in-a-series’-lifetime moment in a preview, Survivor Blood vs. Water delivered again last night with an incredible Tribal Council that ended up with Katie Collins being sent to Redemption Island as a result of a random draw. And was it ever intense.
Yes, the infamous purple rock was back for only the second time in the show’s history, though this time it was a white rock. The rule, which is detailed on nearly an entire page of the Survivor rule book (page seven), specifies that after two deadlocked votes, the tribe has to make a unanimous decision, or else those who received votes are safe, and everyone else draws rocks to send someone home at random.
Tribal Council’s awesomeness illustrated why I get so frustrated when the show, or its host, or its producers, or its host/producers, or its network, get desperate, and do things like kill most of an episode’s tension by spoiling, without warning, the outcome of two votes in a promo.
Even knowing the outcome of the epic lobbying for Ciera’s vote, never mind the rule-mandated discussion to try to reach a unanimous decision, it was still dramatic. The intensity of the arguments was fascinating, and the discussion following the two deadlocked votes was super-fast; no one would budge. Ciera was so bold: “let’s not bullshit me,” she said, and when she got more bullshit, just looked at Probst and said, “Okay, we’re drawing rocks.”
Incredible. Ciera is the most unexpectedly great player the game has seen in a while, and not just because she was unassuming at first, but because of how she’s deftly navigated her strategic kayak down a very rocky stretch of rapids.
Earlier, Hayden tried to talk Ciera and Gervase into joining him, which, after telling us he’s “the worst loser,” he actually confessed to Tyson that he was trying to “convince everybody to blindside you, and it hasn’t worked.” It didn’t seem to work at all until Tribal Council, when Ciera’s alliance kept calling her “number four,” as in, here, put on this red shirt and come explore the planet with us; we’ll keep you safe.
In case Hayden hadn’t figured out that he had no other choice but to make a bold argument and move, Jeff Probst told him at Tribal Council: “Hayden, this is the opportunity you need. Because you and Katie have nothing to lose.” Jeff then reminded Katie that she was on a reality TV show: “That is Survivor. This is where the game is won or lost. Do you get that?”
In related news, while immunity challenge winner Gervase was selecting who to eat ice cream with, Probst boomed, “People have made million dollar mistakes at this point in the game. Who do you choose and who do you leave behind?” I expected him to keep going: Who gets ice cream and who gets no ice cream? Who cries while everyone else eats? Who gets noting? Who do you screw using your ice cream? WHO WILL GET THE ICE CREAM STICK SHOVED IN THEIR METAPHORIC EYE UNTIL THEY CANNOT SEE WHO BETRAYED THEM?
Gervase did fairly well in the challenge, though he was almost beaten by Monica, who’s proving herself to be surprisingly resilient, even in non-endurance challenges, never mind in the game. However, I don’t really understand Gervase’s strategy; at times he comes across lost, like Tina sometimes did, perhaps because both initially played the game in its early life. After last episode’s Tribal Council, when Hayden told the tribe that Tyson was going to win and therefore should be a threat, Gervase jumped up and said, “Tyson can’t do nothing if it wasn’t for me,” Gervase said “He’s on my lap.” That was funny, but also the equivalent of him saying, No, I’m the threat! Vote me off!
If Ciera and Gervase end up at the end, I can see the jury giving her much more credit even despite her strategic shifts, because she’s playing a more visible yet simultaneously collegial game. For example, Ciera received the clue to the idol’s location because her mom, Laura, won the Redemption Island challenge yet again, and she shared it with her alliance.
The clue clearly said something such as, Look in the places where the camera operators pan to while you’re searching nearby. Hayden missed that clue, because he was on Big Brother and the cameras there are mostly invisible, kind of like his chances without an idol or some kind of other game-changing shift.
Tyson found the idol in a tree, of course, and proved that he wins this year’s best commentary award when he told the camera that he’d “put it in my crotch where nobody will suspect a bulge.” Tyson also had another great zinger when he interrupted Hayden at Tribal Council to correct his vocabulary: “you said ruffle feathers.” Hayden corrected him back and gave him a lesson in what “rustle” means, but Tyson still won, having succeeded in throwing Hayden off. He’s a smart one, that Tyson.
Redemption Island delivered a moment of spectacular unscripted entertainment, too, even though it was a repeat of a challenge that feels like we’ve seen it half a dozen times, and even though the challenge’s outcome was spoiled by the preview showing Caleb sitting in the jury. With less than 30 seconds to go, Caleb’s tower started leaning and fell over, as if in slow motion, and as if the universe was punishing him for selecting Colton as a partner, the base of his tower collapsed itself a few seconds later.
That’s kind of what’s happened repeatedly this season: Every time there seems to be a solid alliance or game plan, it collapses. And there is nothing more entertaining than that.
The only son of Survivor Australia winner Tina Wesson, and the brother of Survivor Blood vs. Water contestant Katie Collins, died in a car accident this morning, according to a news station. Taylor was 25.
Knoxville CBS affiliate reporter Lauren Davis reported on Twitter that the “25 yo son of local Survivor star Tina Wesson dies in car wreck this morning in Chattanooga.” There were no other details, but Davis’ tweet teased a report during the 4 p.m. newscast about his death.
Yesterday, Tina referenced him in a tweet, misreading another user’s tweet as being about that person’s five brothers. Tina wrote, “5 brothers! Poor girl, Katie barely survived one!!!”
Update: The Knoxville Times Free Press reported that Taylor Lee Collins was in the front passenger seat of “a car that went off the road today and struck the wall of a garage”; he “was ejected from the vehicle before being taken to a local hospital where he then died from the injuries he had received.”