Peggi Blu, the vocal coach from hell, needs to replace (or at least join) mentor Jimmy Iovine

American Idol raced through its Las Vegas episode, compressing Beatles performances sometimes into mere clips, so it could get to three hours of elimination faster. But the hour started with a glimmer of hope, and her name is Peggi Blu. She easily outshined mentor Jimmy Iovine, who apparently thinks he’s on The Sopranos and can just sit and mumble things like, “You ain’t gonna win singing that song.”

The directness of Iovine’s comments was promising, but Peggi Blu is pure awesomeness. Her passion (or something) came out in hilarious, angry statements. “You’re going to die onstage in front of all those people. I’m going to be laying in my bed watching you just croak,” she said at one point. She interrupted two singers after they started a song and screamed, “No! What is that? Sing, dammit! Do it from the top one more time, and don’t make a mistake.”

Later, Seacrest joked that she had a good “philosophy about teamwork,” which was: “Bury her ass on stage. Tap right dance right on her tongue.” Why couldn’t we have more of that and less of segments like soon-to-be-eliminated Ashley getting married in a Vegas wedding chapel?

Peggi’s tear-downs were a nice compliment to Steven Tyler’s verbal stylings, which have also helped to freshen the show. Last night, he told James Durbin that he went to “Squeakland” and the “way-out-o-sphere” with this shrieking.

Meanwhile, the newly three-hour “green mile” portion was a lot of recap and filler, often of recap and filler we’ve seen before, but at least it was focusing on people we knew–there’s a reason why two of the rooms in Hollywood had virtually no one we’ve ever seen before. It took place in a giant empty soundstage, which swallowed everyone. (I’m a big fan of the contestants having to stand to wait for the elevator.)

But the highlight was something that was already spoiled: Jennifer Lopez’s breakdown. She needed more comforting than any of the eliminated contestants after she eliminated Chris Medina, breaking down with Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson. “I just don’t feel like I told him in the right way,” she cried.” “Baby, you did,” Steven Tyler said, and Randy Jackson repeated, “You so did.” (Ever notice how frequently Randy just borrows language from the other judges, especially in awkward moments?) Steven told her she was “so honest and truthful,” but J Lo wasn’t hearing it. “I don’t want to do this any more,” she cried, and we got a “to be continued” and a threat from Seacrest that J Lo might bail on the rest of the eliminations (unlikely).

I just want more Peggi Blu.

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In its third episode, Survivor San Juan Del Sur improved significantly as John Rocker faced off against an Amazing Race villain. But the Exile Island reward challenge remains a drag on the series.


Why Dick Donato left Big Brother 13

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Also: Dick claims he had no choice but to leave the game.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.