Aviva Drescher did not appear in this week's episode of Real Housewives of New York, but her words haunted these ladies like the thought of their Botox administer skipping town (Dr. Pendergast really is the best with the T-zone so here’s hoping he doesn’t leave New York City). Like in Return of the Jedi Aviva’s astral form hung around whispering “You’re both white trash, quite frankly,” over and over again. This is mostly because Ramona Singer, a.k.a. Eyelander, and In-the-Red Sonja Morgan were kind of acting like white trash. Violence, emotional outbursts, and crying about your father... this feels like an episode of Maury.
Malice: Threw the Looking Glass 2: The Jabberwonky Eye
Post glass-throwing, Ramona storms off with Sonja to head back to Heather’s house to fix her hair. Meanwhile, Kristen Taekman is drenched in pond water with microorganisms slowly crawling into a cut on her face. The ladies try to calm her down and she is a very good sport about this. Hitting someone in the face with an object and drawing blood sounds a little like assault. It doesn’t take Phaedra Parks to solve this mystery, Ramona drew blood. Had it been Kenya Moore that she hit, Ramona would have been arrested. The ladies prep for dinner and both talk a ton of smack. Ramona tells Sonja she feels like her father. Sonja has a breakdown and starts crying and yelling at her about it. #repressedmemory It sort of seems like Ramona is manipulating Sonja’s issues with her parents. Heather Thomson tries to play hostess and mend fences. She also tries to laugh the whole thing off. However, Kristen is justifiably outraged. She’s a good sport because she just wants to know why it all happened. Ramona stumbles over to Kristen yells a ton about getting wet and gives her the most disingenuous apology in Housewives history. Before things bubble over, Heather surprises the ladies with an Elvis impersonator. Kristen gets too distracted and forgets about Ramona and her wine.
Wilted Flowers in the Attic
Ramona realizes she’s persona non grata. To get away before someone mentions the word assault Ramona packs her bags and calls a pilot friend. Dressed in her most dowdy mom drag she joins the ladies for a hike. While in the woods, Ramona sees some trees that remind her of her back yard. Apparently, she lived in the Cabin in the Woods. Also, her childhood must have been like Flowers in the Attic… at least in her current story. Apparently, not mentioned until she needs to make a hasty getaway, she had an abusive father. It’s probably true but it’s shameless to dust off old wounds to get out of a girl’s trip. She convinces Carole Radziwill to drive her to the airport. Ramona’s hot pilot friend shows up. An attractive man flies to come pick up Ramona while she’s away for the weekend and her husband thinks she’s on vacation. You do the math. As Ramona flies away into the sunset, Carole stands on her rented car. She wonders if she’ll get her deposit back if the rental company sees her walking on the hood on TV. Then she remembers she’s painfully thin and the car may have dented her... plus Bravo paid for the car. Meanwhile, Sonja loses it again and yells at Kristen for not understanding abuse. Apparently, Sonja is accessing some pretty heavy memories and projecting them on this light situation. Throwing anything at someone’s face crosses a line.
I’ll Show You My Pontoon
Heather plans a boat trip with two of Sonja’s favorite things: booze and men under 21. She’s starting to really resemble Ramona Singer... scratch that, we mean Bryan Singer. Sonja sloppily hits on a 20-year old pontoon captain. Sonja is a stunningly beautiful woman but she really shouldn’t get this sloppy on camera. Given her emotional outbursts, she may need a hug or a Care Bear stare.
Ramona Caught Wine Handed
Heather plans an elaborate dinner to close the weekend. Everyone brings up the glass incident for the umpteenth time. But suddenly, LuAnn desperate Lesseps gets a text. It’s a picture of Ramona partying at Molly Sims’ latest party. And with that, Sims gets mentioned more than she has since Las Vegas was canceled. They even get a picture. This confirms everyone’s suspicions that Ramona made shameless use of her “abuse” to leave like a thief in the night. Sonja ponders if Ramona has been manipulating her and how much wine she had that day. The other ladies have decided they will “get even” with Ramona. If they plan to destroy her they will have to find the horcruxes Ramona hid at Jill Zarin’s fabric store and Alex McCord’s Brooklyn brownstone.
The Duchess of Put-Downs
LuAnn may have been downgraded to a “friend” of the housewives but she has sharpened her wit. She gets some of the best lines of the night:
"If we’re gonna talk about vocabulary, 'provoking' isn’t an adjective, it’s a verb. Just sayin'." – giving Heather a vocabulary lesson
"Ramona would never, ever, ever go to therapy. She claims she’s in perfect mental health." – on Ramona’s mental state
"Sonja doesn’t exactly live in the real world, so getting hit in the face with reality must hurt." – a well crafted Sonja burn
Real Houselines of New York City
"I think we’ve got a non sequitur here: shotgun recoil on one side, a psycho b**ch throwing a wine glass at your face on the other. Are they the same thing? I don’t think so." – Heather
"Her hair looks like s**t." – Kristen on Ramona's ruined blow-out
"What are you the wicked witch of the Hamptons? You gonna melt?" – Kristen on getting Ramona wet
"Who are you to get me wet?" – Ramona doesn’t know what entendre means
"Of course the only option for white wine is Ramona Pinot Grigio. Hope she doesn’t throw the bottle at my face... b**ch." – Kristen
"That was some act. I mean, not Oscar worthy. But definitely People’s Choice… or Daytime Emmy." – Carole on Ramona’s meltdown
"Do you go to Christian Mingle online? I tried it, but I was unmatchable." – Sloppy Sonja flirting
"I’ve had experiences with women, just not with you." – Sonja repeating what Carole told her
At least Brad Paisley tried to apologize for his travesty of a song, "Accidental Racist." On the other hand, his collaborator on the (totally racist) release, LL Cool J, is giving a big "Screw you!" to the haters and standing behind the message 100 percent.
When CNN caught up with the rapper at Sunday's Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas, LL vigorously defended the song, explaining that it accomplished what he and Paisley set out to do. "Music ... and art is about connecting different people and building bridges and breaking the rules," he said. "If it's not compelling, and it's not complex, and it's not interesting, then what are we doing it for? So I think that's the right move."
But perhaps his real motive was to just stir the pot, regardless of the actual message he stood behind. "I needed to do something that was going to be interesting like that, and shake things up, and jump out of the box," Cool added. "I'm really proud of it, and I hope the world hears it and enjoys it."
Yeah, we did enjoy it, J. We enjoy criticizing it!
Follow Sydney on Twitter: @SydneyBucksbaum
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I imagine what it must have been like to sit on the veranda of a giant Georgia plantation while the war was on, being fought so far away. The woman just sweltered there in their giant hoop skirts, drinking their sweet tea brought by maids that would soon be emancipated. They would just sit there with nothing else to do and worry and fret and fan themselves and think about all the balls they were missing. Then they would hear the slow clomping of a cart, the mules ambling down the path and they could hear it before they could really see it — before they could make out that shape. It could be just another merchant coming to sell them some wares or it could be a Union soldier waiting to set the whole house on fire. It could be anything. They couldn't know. They just sat there on that porch immobilized by the weather, waiting to see how it was all going to turn out.
That's how I felt watching the Real Fainting Couches of Vapor Manor last night. It just seemed like so much rehashed drama and so much waiting. I had a hard time caring about any of it, really. First of all we had to deal with Act II of Kernya Moo-ah's freak out about Walter being at Kandi's party which, seriously, was so ridiculous and overblown that I wanted to just find her and punch her square in her head. She's all "Walter is stalking me and I need to leave immediately and I'm going to run over these cars if you don't move them." Oh, come on. Walter is many things – a dog, goofy, poorly-dressed, plenty sad, in need of a new face that doesn't make him look like he's happy he just took a dump in his drawers – but he is not dangerous. He's not going to hurt anyone.
The hero in this story is Don Juan, Kandi's assistant, who was so calm and level-headed during the whole debacle while, as politely as possible, telling Kernya that she needs to calm the heck down and deal with it and take a deep breath and an even deeper gulp of rosé and let the whole thing just blow over. He should have punched her in the head though.
Now onto Portia Stewart, who would be really funny as a sad little ditzy girl in the movie Cars. She would be like a pink sports car with big eyelashes who can never figure out how to put herself in gear because girls don't know how to drive and are dumb. She's just sort of stuck in one place being ordered around by a really mean driver who thinks he knows what's right for her, but really grinds her gears when he drives her. But she is afraid to say anything, because having a shitty driver is better than having no driver at all.
I'm not sure how to segue that comparison into a paragraph about Portia going to therapy, so I'm just going to go there and bring you along with me. She's in therapy and we got to see it. Of all the crappy things that happen on reality TV, I think the worst is stars who bring us into their therapy sessions. First of all, I am skeptical of any psychological professional who would do such a thing. Secondly, how much healing and honesty can there really be when there is a camera in there the whole time? I don't think much. This is why LA Shrinks gives me the dry heaves. I don't want to watch any show about psychologists on TV ever never.
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But Portia has some very real problems. Mostly she is not over the miscarriage she had a few months ago. Also, she's having a hard time with the first year of her marriage — mostly, completely sublimating her will to her husband who is – well, you could say that he likes things a certain way, but let's just say he's controlling. Yes, he's controlling. Also it doesn't seem like he was very sympathetic that she lost her baby, or at least she feels like he was not supportive and that feeling has grown in her heart like a sunflower next to a compost heap and it won't go away. She cries about it to her therapist and she says, "Um, you need to talk to your husband about this." She's going to bring him in next week for the season finale. Yup, this is going to go well.
Speaking of other old news, the producers made it look like Phaedra and Kernya Moo-ah were both taping their respective exercise videos at the same exact time, but one was in L.A. and one was in a crappy sound stage in Atlanta. I'm sure this didn't happen exactly as it was filmed but, well, it was more dramatic.
Also, there was an interesting shift in how these videos were shown. Kernya's video has always been a joke and, even if it is the better video, it should continue to be a joke. Kernya Moo-ah has never had an original thought in her head, so she just stole the idea from Pheadra and then made it look like she had the idea all along on her own. Kernya was too busy thinking about what color highlights to get and how she was going to put too much foundation over her lumpy skin to think up an idea for a video.
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But, during the filming, it was Phaedra who got the brunt of the jokes while she made silly jokes and giggled and jumped around on one leg like she was circling a May Pole of death, and that the little children were circling her with chartreuse ribbons and enmeshed her in her green velvet body suit like she was Gulliver being tied to the ground by a tribe of miniature fitness buffs. It was like she was a hilarious amateur marching along like a soldier to the Battle of the Bulge, stammering and making all sorts of mistakes. Apollo, whose finer attributes were really highlighted in his loose athletic shorts, stumbled too, not knowing his lines and making some serious flubs. But, really, that happens on every video, on every set. That's why they have multiple takes. That's what we do with editing, children.
Speaking of editing, Kernya was shown as the consummate professional. She knows what to call cameras and how to say "last looks." She play acts that she's a movie star and part of that acting is knowing all the terms. She is just dropping words like "boom" and "best boy" and "grip" and "booty isolation" to make it look like she went to the New York Film Academy and bought herself entré into the world of the cinema. But really, this was just some 99 Cent Store set on some dusty back lot in Atlanta (actually, it was probably in the burbs somewhere). But, no, we're supposed to think that Kernya has the better video, but I will never think that. She will always be a copy cat and an also ran and no matter how many overhead shots she asks for, I'm still going to make her the butt of my jokes about booty videos.
Speaking of the ladies getting to business, Kandi had a meeting with all of the reps who were going to be selling her Bedroom Kandi line at naughty Tupperwear parties across the nation. They all flew in just to hear their motivational speaker give them pointers on how to sell her wares to other women at intimate gatherings open-plan living rooms large and small while the kids are away at the sitter's. She was so moved by all the support that she got up on stage and she cried. She cried right there and told them all they were going to make millions together and I was really moved and inspired and I was so proud of our Kandi for doing something for the good of humanity and to make herself rich rich rich rich rich. Then I remember that it was all about dildos and, well, it just all seemed different.
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Then Kandi lounged in bed with her man Sean and talked about marriage and her mother moving in and pre-nups and it was all nice and sweet and dandy and there is probably going to be a wedding next season. Or maybe there will be a wedding on The Kandi Factory, coming soon to a TV near you.
Speaking of marriage, NeNe Leakes is getting married again. I never thought I'd say this, but I'm having a hard time getting invested in NeNe Leakes this season. Maybe it's because she's just out of the game too much and whenever she is with the other housewives she's talking about herself rather than the drama that surrounds them. Maybe it's because she finally has success and is living a good, full life which is just inherently more boring than falling apart and facing your demons (that's why there is no reality show called Wonderful Happy Times with the Lewis Family). Maybe it's because NeNe has just lost her spark. Whatever it is, I'm just not feeling it.
But last night it was a nice scene when her ex-husband Gregg, always quick with a pun, a rhyme, or a groaner of a joke that is so bad that it makes you smile, tried to get down on one knee to propose and NeNe said yes. "I'd get down on one knee," he told her, "but I'm gonna need someone to help me back up." And NeNe laughed that infections laugh of hers that ends in a guttural stifle.
Yes, NeNe laughed and she thought about the future. She thought about her show being renewed and going on for seasons and seasons and into syndication and living off that money in L.A. forever. She thought about qutting the show she was on with the petty sniping and griping and moving on to her real dreams. She thought about her son Bryson going to a good school and making something of himself, of being something boring and lucrative like a dentist or an accountant. She thought of her granddaughter Brie'Asia who could come to live with her and she would put her through private school in Bel Aire and she would be one of those awful spoiled children or rich people who only wears designer clothes and has one of those sweet 16 parties that you see on MTV and everyone at home thinks, "God, I want to kill that bitch but isn't she lucky." She thinks about it all as she stares into Gregg's eyes over the flowers he bought for just this occassion and she thinks, in that second that it's all going to be great. She thinks that this is the best it's going to get and it's going to stay like this forever. And then, on that abandoned veranda behind an Italian restaurant in L.A., the wind picks up and extinguishes the candles that had been providing just the perfect glow.
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
[Photo Credit: Bravo]
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MTV is airing a marathon of the The Real World this weekend. Not the crap that's kept you entertained while the Kardashians were on hiatus over this last decade, the REAL Real World. Like, New York, San Francisco, and original Las Vegas, Real World. (In the Real World canon, the last is known as "the downfall" season.) And since there is obviously nothing more important than re-living hijinks of Real Worlds past, we've decided to explore the depths of the Interwebs for a particular RW staple: The Meltdown.
Now, what truly makes a meltdown a Meltdown (with a capital M)? Is it some je ne sais quoi, or are there benchmarks that separate a true MD from lesser fare like "fist fight," "panic attack," and "drunken sob-fest?" According to our expert team of researchers, a true Meltdown should contain at least two of the following properties:
1. The threat to leave one's home for greener pastures.
2. Liberal useage of the word "b**tch."
3. An ugly cry.
4. Panicking over something trivial (like mail).
5. An arrest.
Using these benchmarks, we've isolated the following as the best and brightest meltdowns in Real World's sordid history. You stupid b**ch.
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1. Miami Dan set the stage for great things to come when he completely lost whatever s**t he had over, LITERALLY, an accidentally opened envelope.
2. Brooke LaBarbera of Denver fame made it clear that you should never f**king speak to her that way again when castmate Jenn called her a whole.
3. Rachel Moyal from Austin "went there" when she A, got drunk, B, threatened to go home, and C (appallingly) told her housemate that she hoped he would get shot up in the street one day. This, from an Iraq vet!
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4. Jemmye Carroll of NOLA Part Deux got drunk, got naked, and later wandered outside the house and got lost.
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5. Warning: This isn't funny. Stephen Williams and Irene McGee from Seattle both flipped out and hurled nasty insults at each other before she ultimately went home, but when Williams threw her childhood teddy bear off the pier then literally slapped her, he made Real World history in the worst way possible.
6. Paula Meronek from the Key West season opened the door for discussions on MTV's responsibility re: the mental health of its "stars." She was NUTS.
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7. "Puck" and Pedro Zamora's fights were so intense, it caused the former to become the second Real World-er to be evicted. There would be many more.
8. Decades later, Dave Edwards exposing Tami Roman is still not funny.
9. A decision-making meltdown caused San Diego's Brad Fiorenza and Robin Hibbard to get arrested on THE SAME NIGHT. In two separate locations. Wondeful.
10. Hawaii's Ruthie Alcaide became The Real World's AA poster child — for good reason. Thankfully, she is now sober.
Follow Shaunna on Twitter @HWShaunna
[Photo Credit: MTV]
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In our quest to bring you the best TV content, sometimes we have to look... backwards. That's why we have Thursday TV Throwback, wherein each week our staff of pop culture enthusiasts will be tasked with bringing back some of the best television clips that have been forgotten by time, space and the general zeitgeist.
In honor of MTV airing the New York, San Francisco, and Las Vegas seasons of The Real World this season, we've put our heads together to cast OUR dream Real World house. From crushes to heroes to just plain psychos, here's who we'd want to watch if they ever did an "All Star" type of thing...
Brian Moylan (Tie): One of the most revolutionary aspects of the Real World was its inclusion of gay people, and none is more memorable than Danny Roberts from New Orleans. First we had Norm from New York who hid behind being "bisexual" and asexual saint Pedro from San Francisco, but Danny was something else entirely. He was just a guy. A hot guy. A hot guy who was in love with another guy who happened to be in the military. His story was less about activism and more about wanting to be allowed to live like everyone else on the show, and that ended up being the most effective activism of all.
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Eric Nies was the original Real World pretty boy who wanted to be an actor. The only native New Yorker on the original season of the show set in a SoHo loft (back when SoHo was something other than an outdoor mall) Eric was as famous for his hot temper as he was his hot abs. His acting career never took off (shocker!) but he did secure a gig hosting MTV's ridiculous dance show The Grind. And, guess what, he still has those abs even today.
Shaunna Murphy: I think the only person who loves David Broom's "Come on Be My Baby Tonight" more than I do is Dave Chappelle, or maybe my colleague Aly Semigran. Either way, as soon as they showed his casting tape (remember when they had casting specials because people actually cared?) and he broke out the squee-da-boo-dee-da-boo-dees, I knew we were in for a great season. It was, and he was one of the worst parts of it, but this song alone earns him a spot in my ultimate Real World house — even if he might get busted with a $10 hooker while he's there.
Michelle Lee: Years ago, I got hooked on a marathon of Real World: Hawaii and since then, I've always thought Ruthie Alcaide has got to be the ultimate Real Worlder. She was a drunk mess before Snooki and Amber Portwood were even a twinkle in MTV's eye. But she was more than just a ridiculous trainwreck. She had a real story arc and evolved into a solid, likable — sober — cast member on six seasons of The Challenge.
Kate Ward: It's impossible to forget Brooke LaBarbera from Real World: Denver because, well, The Soup will never let us forget this moment.
Aly Semigran: With the exception of the Stephen and Irene (they were both exceptionally annoying in my book) I loved the entire cast of The Real World: Seattle (the best Real World season, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise) but as a teenager, I couldn't help but fall for VMI buddies David and Nathan. My crushes for them always swayed, but after David flipped out on his girlfriend in the car, it had to be Nathan Blackburn who had an adorable quasi-soul patch and was an all-around good guy. I know by today's 'Real World' standards, that's boring, but I miss the good old days when they picked relatable, decent people like Nathan. (See his reaction to the "slap heard round the world" below.)
Alicia Lutes: If there was anyone who embodied the motto "stop being polite and start getting real" it was 100% Coral Smith from the Real World" Back to New York. She was outspoken, audacious, outrageous, and hilarious. Her relationship with Mike "The Miz" was intense but eye-opening, her opinions were loud, and she carried herself like the hilarious reality queen that she is. No one has really quite done it like Coral. Besides, has there ever been a moment more hilarious in RW/RR history than when Coral proclaimed "I don't wrestle, I f**king beat bitches up!" when egged on by Julie to take it to the grass? Nope. And that's why she's the best.
Follow Shaunna on Twitter @HWShaunna
[Photo Credit: Frank Micelotta/ImageDirect/Getty Images]
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The great thing about the Real Jell-O Shots of Dixie Cup Trailer Park is that there has always been some dramatic irony in the series – you always know how it's going to end before it even starts. During Season 1, we knew that the evil Camille Grammer (before her canonization as St. Camille) would get her comeuppance and that Kelsey Grammer would divorce her. In Season 2, which took a turn for the dark and tragic, we knew that Taylor Armstrong's (before she put on a black Victorian dress and became the Widow Armstrong) husband Russell would kill himself shortly after filming wrapped. This year we all thought it was going to be the year that Adrienne, the Queen of the Maloofs (a race of mole people that live under the mountain) would be getting a divorce. But now it's here, and we have been cheated.
We do know that Adrienne was attacked by the mole men she once controlled, and they ripped her limb from limb, sullying their hands not only with her gore, but with dark fake tanning solution that they will never rinse off. She is dead and she will never be heard from again. Not at the reunion, not on the next season, not even in the sale materials for her shoe, The Maloof Hoof, which is currently on sale for 75% off on lesser shoe deal websites across the Internet.
Yes, we thought we were going to see her and Paullo the Ape's relationship break down and shatter into a million bickering feuds, but we did not. We just heard about secondhand reports from Radar Online and TMZ saying that she confirmed that they split. (In fact, most of Lisa's housewarming party was spent standing around discussing stories that the women had read about each other on various websites and how true they are. Kyle thinks it is sad, but this is the life they lead. This is the life they chose, and now they're all stuck with it, a million glaring pixels pointing out their every flaw, surgery, or bathroom boink at Kyle's White Party.)
Anyway, we did not get to see the carnage of the divorce and for that, well, I am a little sad. I have a feeling it's coming in next week's finale, but they can't pack all that goodness into one episode. No, they can never.
But before we can talk about Adrienne's marriage falling apart, first we have to talk about her vodka party. We must never forget that Adrienne, when she was a Queen, was crowned in Las Vegas. Everything about her is Vegas. She is basically an over-stuffed faked Louis Cat-orze love seat sitting in the lobby of the Paris hotel. She is basically a fake canal filled with faux-gondoliers and Ty-D-Bol blue water at the Venetian. She is the roller coaster on top of New York New York. She is the sparkler that accompanies a $800 bottle of Grey Goose at Ghost Bar. She is the clown car parked out in front of Circus Circus. She is a nipple tassel at the Spearmint Rhino. She is the snap of the hooker flier a small Latino man makes before he pushes it into your palm. That is Adrienne, former queen of the Maloofs. May she rest in peace.
So, it should come as no surprise that she is launching a vodka called ZING!. No, wait. She is launching a red velvet cupcake flavored vodka called ZING! that comes in a bottle with a pink strobe light at the bottom. This party was a fantastic mess. First of all there was a wall of roses spelling out ZING! that was essentially a vodka glory hole, where liquor just appeared out of nowhere. I'm sure that Adrienne's gay party planner got this idea at a rest stop. Then there were all these models spray painted red velvet maroon with the word ZING! written all over them. Oh, and let's not forget the gorgeous people painted white who fooled only Fetch into thinking they were real statues. And the bartenders, mostly naked with topiary around their manscaped bits. Then there was the giant moving bush that looked like a Transformers robot made out of shrubbery and crawled in the same manner. There was also some girl jittering and glittering in the entry way, right after guests walked through a giant strobe-light vodka bottle. Oh, this thing was tackier than wallpaper covering wood paneling.
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All of this and they were serving all sorts of red velvet cupcakes that blinked with light. Everything blinked. Everything was illuminated (isn't that a book or something?), but no one at this party has seen the business end of a red velvet cupcake since the publication of The South Beach Diet in 2003. Seriously. And does Adrienne think this was going to do better than, for instance, her awful shoe line or, the other cupcake vodka that is already on the market or Skinny Girl Margaritas? Oh, Bethenny Frankel. She has ruined Housewives forever thinking they can replicate her success. She is the exception that proves the rule, not the rule itself.
At the party, we started to see the rift in the Paullo and Adrienne marriage, especially when she was ordering him around and telling him to do things, and he got all mad. Then he got himself spray painted like the rest of the help. ("This makes my fat disappear," he says. No, Paullo, it does not. You are still fat.) Then he climbed up in a tree and pretended to be, well, an ape. Adrienne smiled her Chesire Cat smile and tried to make a face of disapproval, but her plastic mug wouldn't move. She had to tell us that she is sick of Paullo being the center of attention, always being the dancing monkey trying to be on TV. Oh, it's so hard to be these two.
The only other thing that happened at Adrienne's party is that Fetch gathered all the girls around for a meeting of the We Hate Brandi Club and read them all a text message that Brandi sent her. "Do you know how you can fix your marriage? You and Dean should give each other a hall pass!" They all stood shocked and amazed. Fetch said her marriage didn't need any saving and she never talked to Brandi or anyone about her marriage. Wait, what? The only thing we know about Fetch is that she thinks her husband loves her more than she loves him and that she wants to sleep with other guys all the time. That is why Brandi sent that text, as a joke!
I've said it before and I'll say it again: no one on this show has a sense of humor, and they fundamentally don't understand Brandi. That is why Kyle, Fetch, TMC Faye Resnick, St. Camille, and Adrienne all sit around and talk about how awful Brandi is and how she will sleep with everyone's husband and she is an awful tramp. Brandi was joking! It was a joke. It might not have been a good joke or a funny joke, but just like when she said that she slept with everyone in Beverly Hills, it was not the truth. Lighten up, and for a change, I don't mean your skin tone.
Thankfully, Yolanda "Bananas" Foster was there to defend her. She did not back down, and told Fetch that she does talk about her marriage all the time and that if she has a problem with Brandi and what she said, she should bring it up to Brandi, not at this party behind her back where all the women can snake and sting about her while sipping some sickeningly sweet flavored vodka and wishing in their heart of hearts that there was just a nice glass of red around somewhere. Yolanda shut it all down, and for that I am grateful. I hate myself for liking her.
The other party we have to talk about, of course, is Lisa Vanderpump's housewarming/vow renewal/Dancing with the Stars cast announcement party. She was so stressed out about it that she had Brandi over so they could get massages. Lisa, if you need to relax, just spin around and look at that freaking view in your back yard that looks like it's the set of Heidi (the movie about the little girl in the Alps, not the madam from L.A.) or the opening of The Hills or something.
So, Lisa had her party planner Kevin Lee over, and we all laughed at him stripping down to his boxer briefs and wading in the pool so he could float out some flower arrangements. "Oh, what you scaring about, Lisa?" he asks in his exuberant broken English. And we all laugh, laugh, liggety laughed like he is not dressed as "Black and White" era Michael Jackson and visiting his gravestone.
The party started and everyone arrived. Lisa was wearing a long, black satin dress, as was Kim Richards, Fetch, and her mom (a satchel full of question marks for why she was even there). Does no one in Beverly Hills know how to dress for a day event? Sit right the hell back down, Kyle Richards, in your grey sequins (the dress that wasn't good enough for your store opening last week). You don't either. The Morally Corrupt Faye Resnick was there, wearing a green lace dress that looked like she found it in the window of the Exotic Video 2000 store on 8th Avenue somewhere in the 30s. The Widow Armstrong showed up with a gay on each arm in a gold dress that is somehow the exact same color as her face. She went into the bathroom and changed into her mourning garb and was never heard from again.
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Yolanda "Bananas" Foster was there, looking statuesque in white. God, I really do like her. Well, at least until she opened up her mouth and referred to her husband David Foster Wallace, who has been on more reality shows than Janice Dickinson and Simon Cowell combined, as her "king." After that, I just want to punch the smug right off her mouth. Seriously, YBF? Do you really believe that this man, who is trashier than a 46-year-old drinking a goldfish bowl cocktail at the wet T-shirt contest at the Booze 'N' Cruise in St. Pete on Spring Break Weekend, is "your king"? God, I hate that.
The party was filled with all sorts of odd characters like Linda Thompson, who brought apricot jam for Lisa because she is "so middle class." Yes, just like her ex-husband Bruce Jenner Kardashian and her son Brody Jenner. They are all middle class. They are all middle class and sold their souls to Ryan Seacrest for a production deal. And then there was Jennifer, Brandi's friend, who looks like a drag queen in the best possible way. She's not even a human, she is just a pile of fake lashes, flashy jewelry, lucite heels, and self tanner that was someone animated with gay sparkle magic. Oh, and let us not forget about DeeDee, who finally sees the light of day. Yes, St. Camille's greatest acolyte is there to protect her mistress and show her ever evolving love and devotion.
But the main event, of course, was in the final moments of the show. Yolanda and Brandi pulled Fetch over to talk to her about why she is upset with the text that Brandi sent. Fetch, like an amateur (which is why she will never happen) tried to play it off like it was no big deal, that she knew it was a joke and that she didn't think there was anything wrong with it. Then Yolanda piped up: "That's not what you were saying the other night." I love Bananas because she doesn't let anyone get away with their s***. She's calm, cold, and sober, so she has a much better memories than the rest of these tequila worms.
Across the party St. Camille, Kyle, and the Morally Corrupt Faye Resnick saw the two women talking to Fetch. The exchange got a little heated, however not heated enough to result in a fight. Yolanda was keeping Fetch honest and Brandi wanted to know what her problem was and was saying that she hoped they could be friends. However, Faye said, "They're attacking [Fetch]." Kyle, who is wise to this world, said, "No, don't go over. Don't get involved. Let this happen." But Faye barged ahead, the mint green lace jaunting across the lawn and sidling up to the conversation.
Brandi, ever the diplomat, said, "You're not involved. You can go." As with so many of Brandi's pronouncements, it was the right sentiment but the wrong wording. Faye was not there to help. Faye was not there to offer a resolution, she was there to pour nitro on the glycerine and watch it explode. Brandi knew this, but could have been a bit more subtle. Faye, like a petulant child refused to leave. Things, of course, just escalated from there.
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God, I have said lots of things are the worst in my day – hang nails, Cheeto dust, Rachael Bilson, people who take too many pictures with the iPhones at concerts, when your DVR cuts off the last joke of a sitcom because it ran a moment over, cheese – but of all those things, of everything in the universe that is bad, the worst is really Faye Resnick. She is just an awful horrible human being and I would like to banish her to a black hole so that the chill of space will suffocate her for eternity and no sound will ever escape it. On that day, you won't hear screams in space, but you will hear cheers.
I think my biggest problem with Faye is that she is just leveling insults at Brandi for no reason. Brandi has never done anything to her. Brandi hardly even knows her (at least from what we can tell on the show). But Faye is just nasty to her becaues of things Brandi may or may not have done to her friends. Faye tells Brandi that, "No matter how many Chanels you borrow, you will never be a lady." Oh yeah, Faye. Since when do you know what a lady is? Since you posed for Playboy months after your best friend was murdered by her husband and then wrote a book about the whole thing to cash in on your pain? Who is the lady now? Faye makes all these judgments about Brandi, but doesn't even hold up to the smell test herself. (I bet she smells like wet dog and magazine pages.) She is cruel and condescending and absolutely horrible.
The worst part, of course, is that Faye accused Brandi to her face of something everyone has been muttering about her behind her back: that she is guilty of breaking up Adrienne and Paullo. Even Fetch, who was in the midst of an argument with Brandi and Yolanda, thought this was too much and told Faye to shut up. Of course this is not true. Sure, she might have added a bit of strain to a bad situation. But as Kim Richards said, if they were a real team, if they were a couple on healthy ground, they would have found a way to work through it. (And when Kim Richards is being the voice of reason, you know that everyone else is on magic mushrooms or something.) Paul and Adrienne did not work it out, and they had problems well before Brandi arrived on the scene. As soon as Brandi and Yolanda heard this, they turned around and walk away from Faye, who stood there looking superior.
It was at that moment, if you squinted your eyes and walked around past the giant urn pouring its water into Lisa's pool, if you looked through that water and into the sun, that you could see it: all the spirits haunting that hilltop, fluttering around like tissues caught on the limb. There was one behind Faye, buffeted about by the elements, her hair and garments flapping about her as if they were all about to take flight. It was a blond woman, someone close to Faye, who was always standing there watching over her, pushing her forward and steering her course. You could see that spirit there at the party if you looked the right way. But then you saw it get farther and farther away, floating up into the air blown by an invisible gale and then it turned it's back on Faye and disappeared into the sky, leaving behind it a little glint of light. Faye lost something by being there that day. In fact, we all did.
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
[Photo Credit: Bravo]
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The only thing I hate more than hang nails, paper cuts, and bitches who stand on the stairs of the subway talking on their cell phones is people who say, "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas." It was once a cute marketing slogan, but it has now taken on a cliched undertone that makes it sound like the happy birthday song of linguistic expression. Even worse are people who think they're clever and ament the saying to whatever sad locale they happen to be vacationing in. "Whatever happens in Boca, stays in Boca."
Anyway, this motto was never less applicable to last night's visit by the Real Slot Machines of Hoover Dam Junction. Whatever happened to them stayed in Vegas and in the homes of the five million or so viewers that were going to watch their antics on the tube. Nothing stayed in Vegas, it was splattered all across our retinas — the fallen sequins on the floor of a reality show. We will never get over it. However, the whole trip was pretty tame. Well, at least by Housewives standards.
First of all, the producers made the brilliant decision to rent a party bus for all the ladies to go from LA to Vegas so that, instead of a 45 minute flight, we got about 8 hours of these crazy ladies patting their weaves as they sat in traffic. NeNe Leakes, of course, had to work so she flew "first class" all the way to Vegas. She is very rich, bitch!
Thanks to the bus ride of doom, we got to hear all about how Kandi farts when she has an orgasm and often holds her mans head down in her crotch even after the wind has been broken so that he won't stop. This is a sexual manuever I would call the Dutch Gas Chamber if that wasn't in incredibly poor taste to all the Jews from the Netherlands who died in the Holocaust. Maybe we can call it a "Parisian Bunker" because it is full of gas and there is no escaping it, like in WWI. Sorry, this is really going to piss off someone. I should stop here.
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What else did we learn on the bus? Oh, that Porsha won't go to strip clubs because she thinks her husband won't allow it. The girls got all upset and Phaedra said, "As a Christian, what better place than a strip club to find the lost souls?" Amen, Sister Parks. I want to go to her church. Speaking of Pheadra and all the lessons she can teach us, she informed the group (and by extension the world) that the original pregnancy test was to pee on a rabbit and if the rabbit died then the pee-er was pregnant. If it lived, the buns were not yet placed in the oven. According to "the Internet" which is always right about all things (especially gay rumors about your favorite actor) it is false. But can't EPT get a "fast as a rabbit" on the package or something? Can't First Response have Birthie the Bunny as their new spokesperson? Maybe you can get a Cadbury Creme Egg free with each test. You're going to need some chocolately goodness, either to celebrate or drown your sorrows, no matter what the results.
The ladies all got to Las Vegas and Cynthia Bailey put on her fake afro and refused to take it off until at least three people told her that she looked like a drag queen. For these women, that is the highest compliment that can ever be paid. They all piled into a limo to go to the Crazy Horse, which they told Porsha was a burlesque show but it was really a titty bar. Phaedra said, "How can you be so stupid to think the Crazy Horse is a burlesque show?" Well, sorry to make you wrong twice in one night Ms. Phaedra Parks, Esq., but the Crazy Horse in Paris is actually a burlesque show, so maybe Porsha is just more cultured than everyone and thought this was a sweet little show at the Paris Hotel or something.
Porsha said, once again, that she would not go to a strip club because she doesn't like them and her husband wouldn't want her to go to one. NeNe, who used to work at a strip club (and who probably had the best stripper name ever, like Chinchilla or Ebonneese or Infinity Pool or something) was all offended. The big talk then turned to how Carvell, Porsha's husband who is a real life Cookie Puss, allowed her to go on this trip and she's proud of him for this.
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OK, I'm going to break down this Carvell, who is controlling thing right now. Yes, he is controlling (if I was a giant puddle of soft serve ice cream, I'd be pretty controlling too). Period. He is. But that is not necessarily a bad thing. Maybe Porsha likes to be controlled. Now, if his control means he beats her or is keeping her from doing the things that she wants to do, then it is a problem. However, I have a feeling that Porsha is happy to live off his money, cook his meals, do everything for him, and sit around and watch The Price Is Right all day while wearing some velour sweatpants with a logo emblazoned across the ass. I think that is her dream, actually. When she was 16, she used to sit in her room and think that one day there would be a husband who she would do everything for, and he would buy her everything she ever wanted. So yes, he's controlling, but if she's fine with that then, well, good for her!
I can see how that's a problem with this group of women, however. All of them, with the exception of Porsha, are essentially self-made in one way or another, and I think that that is part of what makes this show so interesting to watch — but that doesn't mean that Porsha's stance on her relationship is any less valid. Isn't feminism about giving women choices? Let Porsha choose her own choices! Don't tell her that she has to listen to "Independent Woman, Vol 1." every day just because you do too!
The limo pulled up to the strip club, and Porsha said, "OK! Goodnight guys!" and went home to call Carvell and ask whether she'd ever get to meet his cousin Rainbow Sorbet. He said no. He's way too gay.
The women immediately loved the strip club because it had the favorite thing of every Real Housewife in the entire universe: a step and repeat. Oh, they love this like fat kids like bacon, like soap stars love blue eyeshadow, like Kristen Stewart loves going out in public without running a brush through her hair and twisting up her scowl into a rictus of disinterested disdain. They took their pictures, and then they all found some strippers and made it rain all over them. OK, I do not understand making it rain. I get that it's supposed to be some sort of show of support for the woman who is dancing as well as a display of the tipper's wealth, but what kind of support are you giving this woman now that she has to get a dust pan and broom and mop up all of her tips. Can't you just put them in her bra so it's easier to cart around for the rest of her set? Isn't making it rain sort of, in its own way, disrespectful?
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Still, the Housewives loved the strippers, and commented on their skin and their waxing. Also, Pheadra got a lot of ideas for what kind of shoes she should be wearing to church. Kernya Mooah, who is insane, convinced herself that one of the strippers actually liked her. Oh, hahahahahahaha. LOL for days. ROFSCLMFOAAHSYAFMARM. That stands for Rolling on the Floor of a Strip Club Laughing My Fucking Ass Off At Her For Making A Rookie Mistake.
The best part of the strip club visit was when NeNe Leakes told us about how she met her husband Gregg at the strip club, and he saw her across the bar and didn't believe she worked there until she got up on stage and she blew his mind. "Yes, Gregg, I do work here. And I'm amazing!" She said, swinging her titties just under his chin. Even after they were dating she still stripped because she needed the money. Unlike Porsha, NeNe doesn't need a husband to complete her, she is complete on her own and nothing her husband can do will make her feel better about herself. It's the opposite of Porsha, but that doesn't mean NeNe is any better than her. OK, maybe a little.
Not much else happened in Vegas that needs to stay there. They all went backstage and put on some head dresses and acted like showgirls, and Nomi Malone came out of the wings and smacked NeNe so hard in the face that her Golddigger headdress crashed to the floor with a sound that was like Scrooge McDuck diving into his moneybin.
Oh, I totally forgot about the fight. I'm kind of tired of the Phaedra Vs. Kernya Moo-ah fight. Phaedra was pissed that Kernya stole her idea for a workout video. Kernya was mad about...well, I'm not sure what. She was looking for an apology, but I don't see how anyone did anything wrong to her. She's kind of been the snake in this Garden of Un-Even the whole year, and somehow she thinks people still need to be nice to her. It was so Kernya Moo-ah when, at Kandi's panty and dildo party, she was supposed to ask an anonymous sex and relationship question but instead she asked a question about Phaedra so that she could lead her into a fight. Phaedra really prompted it with a mean joke about how Kernya can't give head and that's why Walter broke up with her, but it's so Kernya to make everything about herself and whatever imagined psychodrama is currently going on in her head.
Cynthia then said the first intelligent thing ever uttered on a Real Housewives program, "You both feel like you were wronged, and this isn't going anywhere, so you need to all get over it." Thank you, Cynthia. Finally a voice of reason. But Kernya didn't listen. She just fiddled with her hands in her lap, thinking that they all hated her. She thought that they were all wrong and awful, and it made her enraged — it made her so enraged that a sadness wracked her body and she was paralyzed. Her only options were to strike out at every last one of these women, or to bow her head in silence, as the water pooled in the bottom lid of her eye. She chose the latter, and stared down at her fidgeting hands. These women were safe from her wrath. Well, at least for now.
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
[Photo Credit: Bravo]
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Be afraid. Be very, very afraid. Because if Thursday’s episode of American Idol is any indication, a large part of the series’ audience has no idea what a good singer sounds like, and next week, those people are going to start determining who goes home.
Throughout Thursday’s episode, during which the final 10 guys sang for their spots in the top 20, the judges were at odds with the audience, who were apparently watching a different show than the rest of us. When Nicki Minaj or Randy Jackson would do their jobs and point out the issues with each singer’s performance, the audience would not only groan, but boo so vehemently that at one point Nicki was forced to fire back at them just so she could finish speaking. This is not good news.
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Next week, half of the performers in our top 20 will be voted off the show, and if the sizable audience in Las Vegas couldn’t tell the difference between a cute guy with little talent and a truly spectacular performer, how can we trust the audience at home? Perhaps we should just hope and pray that the people in Las Vegas were just drunk off the fumes from all the spilled alcohol throughout the streets of the party town.
But complaints aside, the main event of the evening were the performances, because surprise, that’s the point of the show.
First up is the never totally pleasant Mathenee Treco, who continues his trend of wasting the parts of his performance style that are appealing by covering them up with his brand of bro karaoke. He’s got a good voice under it all, but the guy has no idea what to do with it. His rendition of “A Little Less Conversation” is spastic and unpleasant; he allows the song to take him over and it swallows him whole. Randy, Nicki, and Keith dislike the performance, though Nicki’s the only one who points out that it’s the fault of Mathenee’s cheese-factor and not just his poor song choice. Mariah says she likes him, because she’s proved she can offer no other commentary, but it’s not enough to keep him from going home.
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Gupreet Singh Sarin follows Mathenee right out the door, and to be honest, I have no idea how this guy got this far in the first place. Sure, Nicki loves him, but even in his last performance, which all of the judges reminisce about as some great “moment” (and we all know how they love those moments), Gupreet was only mediocre. This week, “Nothing Ever Hurt Like You” is just plain awful. There’s nothing remarkable about any of it. His vocals are boring and off-key. It feels like the last hour at a wedding when your drunk cousin grabs the mic and starts making up words to all the instrumental parts of songs. It’s terrible and even Mariah agrees, though she’s not quite at Nicki’s level of “Hell. No.”
Finally, one of the guys is worth watching. Vincent Powell is someone I could actually imagine voting for. While his look is somewhat stolen from Cee-Lo Green’s closet, his performance of “Because I Love You” is pretty incredible. He’s got an interesting voice, control over his vocals, and a knack for completely organic runs. The guy’s got what everyone in this competition keeps pretending to have: a sense of artistry. Luckily, the judges saw the same thing I did (though I didn’t quite have the panty-throwing urge Nicki was clearly having) and Randy even connected Vincent’s style to Miguel and Frank Ocean, two artists who are owning this moment in music. He’s a real singer and he makes sense in the current scene, so thankfully he’s sticking around for the big vote next week.
Delivering a bit of a disappointing number is Nick Boddington, who tries “Say Something Now.” This guy was so incredible during Hollywood week, but Thursday’s performance is boring. He’s got a nice voice, but there’s little connection to the song. It’s something Keith and Nicki pick up on, but Randy says he knows Nick can do better if he could just get himself one of those moments Randy never stops ranting about. Regardless, Nick was happy in the final moments of the episode, because he managed to eke out a spot in the top 20.
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And from a lack of connection to a lack of touch, the famous pants-ripper Josh Holliday steps onstage to sing an original song he wrote during Hollywood Week. You’d think the guy would want to do a song that’s had a little more time to gestate, but this is the person who didn’t think before doing a split in non-stretch khakis on a stage in front of 20 guys and four industry experts. The performance is alright and almost a little tender when Josh starts at the piano, but as he continues singing his trite lyrics and gets up from the piano to dance around and feign emotion, any potential he had dissipates immediately. He’s showy and cloying, not passionate, and the judges can feel it. Keith gets away with saying Josh needed to be more passionate, but Nicki is booed to death by the audience when she dares to suggest that Josh wasn’t all that great (now, if only she wasn’t totally and completely CORRECT). Randy’s not impressed and even Mariah defers her commentary to the audience, suggesting “Well, at least the audience sure loved it.”
And this is why I’m worried. Josh was not good. If we’re going to sugarcoat it, sure, he lacked passion, but the audience couldn’t even deal with the suggestion that it wasn’t great. These people are going to be the ones sending good singers home next week. Luckily, Josh is sent home, so he won’t be around to cloud their judgement.
The judges aren’t always right though. David Wallis makes a mistake with his song choice, but still manages to prove he’s a good singer who’s ready to take his talent to the next level. He sings “Fever” and it leaves him in a bit of a rut until he gets to the song’s finale and breaks out something a little special. And even though he gets a little too comfortable in his little rocking back and forth groove, it’s a good groove. Randy and Keith like it, but they think he needs a bigger opportunity to show off. Nicki thinks it’s amateur and that he wasn’t current enough, but perhaps that’s because his rendition wasn’t super sexy. Either way, his journey ends, likely so Lazaro Arbos, the heartbreaking so-so singer can stay on a little longer.
Bryant Tadeo of Hawaii takes us into his laid back world, but perhaps we takes it back one too many notches. His performance of “New York State of Mind” shows that he’s clearly got a good voice, but man is it cheesy and boring. You can’t do this song with this arrangement without it feeling dated unless you are the Piano Man, himself. While Keith likes it, Nicki hates everything except for the last couple of notes, earning her some serious anger from the crowd. But Randy agrees, saying the song didn’t go anywhere and as the crowd loses its mind over the truth, Mariah brings them back into “woo-hoo” territory when she simply says he sounded “professional.” That’s not a compliment, Mariah. I have a green shift dress that is very professional, but I never wear it because it’s no fun and I’d much rather wear basically anything else I own. “Professional” is not the mark of a good performer, sweetheart, and it’s not the mark of someone who gets a spot in the top 20.
Thankfully, the bad taste in our mouths is abolished by the sweet, sweet singing of my favorite guy on the show, Burnell Taylor of New Orleans. He wisely and bravely chooses “This Time” by John Legend, which is an excellent song choice because he’s got a voice in Legend’s genre without sounding exactly him. He’s good, a little strange in his movements, but totally genuine. While Burnell doesn’t have a huge range, he’s a great singer and the sort of person whose effortless style ropes an audience in until they're hopelessly devoted to his every last work. He’s got it all. He’s wonderful. And it doesn’t hurt that he’s super cute. While Keith and Randy simply love it, Nicki has to take it up a notch: she would pay to hear him sing RIGHT. NOW. BOO. And while Nicki connects to his story of misfortune (which is exactly what we hate about Idol), it is actually very sweet that she wholeheartedly thinks he deserves it. Mariah pitches in and says a lot of things, but it’s not worth trying to crack that code because no one doubted that Burnell was going to be asked to stay on for another week.
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Now comes the hard part: total sweetheart and chronic stutterer Lazaro Arbos hits the stage looking dapper in his bright pink button-up and little black bowtie to take on Keith’s song “Tonight I Wanna Cry.” He’s a sweet, loveable guy, but he’s simply out of place in the competition. And it’s not for lack of vocal quality: it’s lack of training. Another year, after some training, perhaps Lazaro could be a strong enough performer and confident enough to be a real contender. This year, he’s either going to get swallowed up, or pushed along through the competition with sympathy votes until voters can’t support him any more. But he doesn’t deserve that. This sweet guy deserves to be told the truth, do some work to better his performance, and return triumphantly like the girls’ Candice Glover did this season. Still, the judges can’t send him home and he stays on for another week.
For the finale, the show gives us Cortez Shaw, who’s still a little too cocky for his own good. He does a slow rendition of “Titanium” by David Guetta, which is a song I hate and if I’m being honest, I spent the first half of Cortez’s performance trying desperately to conquer my hatred. Once that subsided enough to hear clearly, it was obvious that Cortez’s vocal range is a thing of beauty; he can hit high notes that most men can’t even dream of. But as Keith points out, his chosen tune exposes all the flaws in his voice and while the good parts are great, the connecting parts are lacking. It’s something that can’t last if this guy is to stick around and become a serious performer. Nicki doesn’t seem to see an issue because she’s blinded but the fact that she finds Cortez sexy. (Hey, let’s give the girl a break. Getting booed for two hours probably does something a little unkind to one’s brain.)
Mariah is impressed (or something, who knows what she was really saying), but it’s Randy’s comment that really seals the deal for Cortez before he’s told he gets to stay: according to Mr. Yo Dawg, Cortez is extremely current and marketable. And to some extent it’s true. He’s handsome and has a smooth voice, but is he one of a kind? So far, no. Still, he’s another crowd favorite and if the applause is any indication, this crooner is going to take one of the few spots available to the Idol finalists at the end of next week. Color me as concerned as can be.
Are you worried that voters will pick the wrong singers next week? Who can’t you live without?
Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler
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This is not okay.
Since Jordin Sparks won her rightful title at the end of Season 6, American Idol has continued to crown the cute boy mafia winners. Even during Season 9, when no cute boys were to be found in the finals, America went with the infinitely uninspiring Lee Dwyze over talented lady Crystal Bowersox. The ladies, as it turns out, are at a disadvantage on this show. But then comes Season 12, with a surplus of awe-inspiring ladies and a dearth of male singers who are even a fraction as talented and stage-ready as the women in the competition. Yet, this season, producers are intent on giving each sex an equal set of opportunities to be represented in the group of 12 finalists up for America’s votes.
That would be great if out of the 10 guys who auditioned during the second Las Vegas episode, I could name a single one that belongs on the Idol stage in L.A. Sure, the little quips and crazy comments from the judges are somewhat amusing. The battle between Randy Jackson and Nicki Minaj raging all night was diverting. Keith Urban was loveable as always. Mariah Carey is apparently campaigning to be the new Paula Abdul, as the deliverer of incomprehensible and useless commentary at the end of every performance, but she too was at least somewhat entertaining. Still, these little distractions aren’t enough to curb my blind rage over the sheer lack of value in any of the evening’s performances.
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Idol and these 10 young men just wasted two hours of our lives, and no matter how hard we try, we’ll never get them back. I don’t know about you, but I’m seething.
The evening didn’t start with rage, though. First up is lovely human Paul Jolley, who bravely attempts a song outside of his genre and one by Keith, “Tonight I Wanna Cry.” We know Paul can sing, but this performance is screechy, unpleasant, and over-performed. Oh, and he’s very handsome. The judges are gracious, but no one’s willing to truly praise Paul’s performance except for Mariah, who apparently thinks judges on this show should “nitpick.” Ahem, Miss Carey? I think that lack of nitpicking is what got us in this pickle in the first place.
Idol’s wave of mediocrity continues with returning whipping boy Johnny Keyser, who’s being jerked around by the series for a second time. He’s got a pleasant quality to his voice and Nicki finds him wildly attractive, but he’s simply not strong enough to be here. He wasn’t last year either, yet the judges brought him through to this point both times. Singing “When I Look Into Your Eyes” with a Leave it to Beaver haircut and his crisp, white shirt strategically opened to expose his silver cross necklace, Keyser is still simply vanilla. There’s nothing compelling about his performance, even if you’re just here for the view. He’s simply not engaging. But still, the judges keep it civil. Keith and Nicki love him, even if Nicki didn’t like that whole part where he was moving his voice up and down. But he’s cute, so who cares? Even Randy isn’t that tough on the guy, saying he’s great but he just needs to make us feel something when he sings, you know that thing where music is a serious of sounds that’s meant to elicit an emotional response? Do that. Mariah agrees, but thinks his sexy ass is more important than knowing how to sing. This is when the rage began to form.
As my anger simmered, JDA took the stage singing “Rumor Has It” by Adele. I’d like to preface my scathing criticism of JDA by saying that the fact that he dresses the way he does and loves glitter as much as he does have nothing to do with my inability to praise this performance. I wanted so badly for the guy who endured such prejudice during Hollywood Group Night to step onto this stage and blow away the snooze-worthy guys who came before him. But he doesn't do that. His vocals are weak and wavering. He planned dance moves for every lyric, but they aren't fluid or interesting. This entire performance is amateur hour, from start to finish. Yet, even when the judges so clearly want to tell him it isn't up to snuff, they go easy, telling him that his performance is great and that the vocals need work. False. The entire performance needs help. It is not good. And no amount of whatever Mariah means by JDA’s “bigness” is going to change that.
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The rage subsided a tad when Kevin Harris took the stage. His song choice is all wrong, but the man has a sweet quality to his voice that’s simply a delight to hear. When he reaches the end of “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You,” he falters a bit, falling into off-key territory, and the performance itself lacks teeth on account of his choice to sing a song that we’ve all heard far too many times and his indecision about which part of his voice to show off at the end. (He wavers between vibrato and falsetto cumbersomely.) Keith is underwhelmed, Nicki thinks it’s perfection but that his sweet personality isn’t enough for America (not everyone has to be a Barb, Nicki). Randy is bored, and even the woman who loves everything, Mariah, thinks he chose the wrong song. Look, the guy cannot compare to the ladies chosen to stay on Wednesday night (and maybe even some of the ones who went home), but he does better than anyone who came before him. And the rage escalates.
Next, we’re dealt a performance from head-scarf-enthusiast Chris Watson. He picks, shocker of all shockers, the most overused Idol semi-finals song ever “Sitting On The Dock of the Bay.” But if the lack of originality wasn’t enough, his two and a half minutes of fame are spent focusing on his ability to gyrate and point at his “adoring” public, instead of, oh I don’t know, singing the song with any level of vocal talent or quality. Keith and Randy like his vibe, but find a nice way to tell the dude his singing is weak. Nicki and Mariah, forever the issue, are in love with the pretty boy. Nicki thinks he's the “prettiest man I’ve seen in my life” and Mariah’s Butterfly Dreams tour tells her that he’s beautiful and the fact that his vocals “weren’t the best” is totally okay in a singing competition. So. Much. Rage.
Finally, (and I thought) thankfully, Devin Velez takes the stage. He's the great hope. The one chance to turn the night around. His unique song choice, “Listen” from Dreamgirls is a brave one. Maybe all's not lost. But when he approaches the huge song, it still feels small. It's clear as he approaches the wise marketing decision that was the Spanish-language section of the song, he becomes concerned about hitting it right and the first part of the song suffers. Still, Devin is better than everyone who came before him, not that he would have any right to let that go to his head. Randy, however, is so excited about listening to someone whose voice is an actual singing voice, that he bursts with joy, calling Devin “amazing” when what he really deserved was “that was nice.” (And yes, I’m considering what a tough song “Listen” actually is.) Mariah is the only one with real criticism (shocker of all shockers) and she tells him that he was too in his head to deliver a really great performance. And that’s when I got angry about the fact that Randy and Nicki were making me so crazy that I agreed with loopy spirit guide, Mariah Carey.
The (frustrated, angry, aggressive) beat went on with young Elijah Liu, whose Bieber antics are obnoxious, but at the very least, they represent someone who might actually have a shot of entertaining someone in the real world after Idol. He sings “Talking to the Moon” by Bruno Mars, and he’s clearly studied how to be just like the multi-platinum artist because he feels like a caricature of what a modern pop performance should be. He gets a little shaky towards the end, but all in all, he’s managed to replicate the pop persona that’s managing to drive teen girls wild right now. Everyone but Randy loves this kid to death. Randy doesn’t dig his vocals, but likes his swag, however his commentary can’t compete with Nicki, who says she wants to have the 18-year-old’s babies, and Mariah, who’s so completely obsessed with the kid’s mixed heritage that she forgets to say something useful.
Rage turns to sadness when my favorite little youngster, Charlie Askew, takes the stage to take on “Rocket Man” by Elton John. His vocals are a mess, and despite the admirable way in which Charlie actually appears to be on this show to actually feel something through music, his silliness gets the better of him. I’m not sure if his visible case of nerves encouraged him to turn on the goof factor as a defense mechanism, or what, but the result wasn’t a performance I’d like to remember. That being said, he is still more compelling than most of his competitors, something the judges acknowledge until Randy finally cages my rage and exclaims, “Forget singing tonight! Let’s just all perform.” Because this definitely isn’t a show about singing. Not tonight, anyway.
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The second-to-last disappointment of the night is Jimmy Smith, the strange, boring 1990s Dawson Leery-esque country singer who loves Keith. He sings a song Keith himself was covering when he sang it, “Raining on Sunday,” and it’s a risk that did not pay off. At all. It’s spotty and boring, like the last karaoke song on a rainy Tuesday night when everyone left in the bar is too drunk or tired or disappointed with their life decisions to heckle the singer. The auditorium was silent. No one is impressed, but don’t worry, Mariah still loves him and thinks she’s the best because her role this evening is apparently the captain of the self-esteem patrol.
And if she’s the captain of the patrol, her main focus is Curtis Finch, who she praises so hyperbolically I worry he might fly up into the atmosphere the next time she speaks to him. He sings “Superstar” by the Carpenters, and while vocally and technically, it was the best performance of the night, it’s not a good performance. It’s cheesy and over-performed. It feels like a performance by some nameless singer for a bunch of folks who just want to hear a nice voice serenade them with the classics. It has no mark of artistry, it’s all a show. Randy and Keith agree, but again, the ladies are bowled over by Curtis’ voice.
It’s something that didn’t stand for the ladies on Wednesday night, just ask eliminated contestants Brandy Hotard or Isabelle, of only one name. Both women possess incredible sets of pipes. They can hit full, high notes with ease, but they’re not compelling performers and they’re not packaged for a modern audience. That’s a sin on girls’ night, but here, in the delusional warmth of super swell guys’ night, it’s not a problem at all.
Eventually, the judges make some cuts, and one even needs the advice of Jimmy Iovine, the tie-breaker, but it doesn’t really matter. The talent in this room is an insultingly small fraction of the talent on the girls’ side. Sticking around, because five people had to stay somehow, are Curtis, Elijah, Charlie, Paul, and Devin. Going home are Jimmy, Kevin, JDA, Chris, and poor, tortured Johnny Keyser. There are a few shakeups in these results, but in the end none of it is all that surprising.
No matter what, we are given a line-up of contenders who can’t hold a teeny, tiny birthday candle to the ladies, we gave them two hours of our lives, and five of these undeserving singers got to stay. There is something to be said for giving singers second chances, because not every performance can be amazing, but there’s something wrong with a talent competition that spends two hours giving credence to a group of folks who give us no clear indication that any of them is significantly more talented me when I’ve have a few too many drinks and I suddenly think that singing Carrie Underwood lyrics in public is a good idea.
You’ve wasted our time, Idol, and I mean it when I say, it’s simply not okay.
Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler
[Photo Credit: Michael Becker/Fox (2)]
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There is a strange connection between the Real Slot Machines of Desperation Canyon and Las Vegas. It's like Sin City is their rollicking id, where they often go (and where some make their money) and where all sorts of crazy action happens. It's not hookers and blow and gambling and strippers and magic shows like it is for everyone else, but there is some sort of sorcery at work when the ladies take the trip. They are all transformed into something else — fighting wildebeests scratching their hooves at the desert floor looking to unearth each other's secrets. What is certain is that what happens in Vegas never stays in Vegas.
The ostensible reason for the trip to Vegas was so that Brandi could teach everyone how to be a stripper to empower them. This makes, um, total sense, I guess? I don't know. If you want to learn how to pole dance, just learn how to pole dance. Do we really need the excuse that it is somehow going to solve all the problems in your life? I don't think so. It's probably not. But it is a fun reason to get drunk with all of your girlfriends.
Of course some of the ladies were better at it than others. St. Camille of Grammer, patron saint of cable television dance shows, didn't know how to pole dance, but she knows how to move that lean, lithe body of hers. She hovered around that pole shaking like a wraith or an angel. Definitely an angel. We could see her halo, halo, halo-oooo, as Beyoncé would sing. Lisa Vanderpump said she didn't want to pole dance, but, supporting her friend Brandi, she gamely climbed up there and turned it into a comedy routine. Isn't that just a metaphor for Lisa Vanderpump's life? Isn't that just how she lives from day to day, taking the unpleasants and turning them into little laughs? I guess it's easy when you sleep on a bed of diamonds at night. Yolanda Bananas Foster was deftly adroit, as a woman who mostly cages herself in her home adhering to a staunch workout routine would be. Kyle Richards, as always, made it all about her. She can't dance or work the pole, but she laughed and cackled and yelled and put on a good performance just like her mother taught her in those stuffy audition rooms back when she was still in pig tails. OH! Kyle would have looked so good on that pole in pig tails. The worst, of course, was Fetch (aka Marisa Zanuck), who is never going to happen. She whined and complained about doing it because, yes, that is what makes good TV. God, Fetch is never going to happen. Are we really going to be burdened with her face, which looks like the inside of one of Yolanda's lemons, for the rest of the season?
The one good thing that Fetch did last night was try to clean a red wine stain out of her dioley skirt using white wine, because it's a trick she saw Barbra Streisand do at a party once. Really? She crazy! Does she think that Barbra's talons have touched a single piece of laundry since she moved out of Brooklyn all those years ago? No! The worst part is, they didn't even show us if it worked or not, because if it did I was totally going to steal it and tell people that I saw Barbra Streisand do it at a party once and then I would seem so cool and smart and awesome. Now I'm just going to pick on Fetch for doing it.
I guess we need to mention Adrienne, the Queen of the Maloofs (a race of mole people that live under the mountain). She has just been grasping for relevancy the past few weeks while she's licked her wounds, and she didn't want to interact with anyone because they all found out that she (allegedly, possibly, according to the Internet, which is never right about anything except when it is right about some things) gave birth to her children using a surrogate. Either that or she is DB Cooper. Her big secret is one of those two things. Adrienne needed something to do, and decided on designing a handbag line to go along with her ever-so-successful shoe line (which you can purchase at 65% off on the Internet). She had some people at the California Accessory Council and Teen Runaway Shelter mock up a logo for her. All the bags are going to have her name on them, but the logo is going to be all the letters of her name jumbled up like they have floated to the top of a bowl of alphabet soup and just congealed there. When you look at the purse you think it's made by LERENNIOFOAMAD. That's not very good branding.
And if that weren't enough, then she had to take her husband, Paulo the Chimp, to get laser hair removal on his back. That is a really mean thing to do to a chimp. Do you know what a hairless chimp looks like? Macaulay Culkin, that's what. No one wants that. But know who I do want? Jjennifferr Holliddayy, the technician who was brandishing the laser that would singe off all of Paulo's estimable back hair. First of all there are far too many consonants in her name. Wheel of Fortune never wants her to be famous because she would cost them too much money if she was the answer to a puzzle. Also, I believe that she was a Bulgarian pop singer that, after too much inexpensive plastic surgery in Georgia (the country, not the home of Lenethia Leakes) she was deported to America to live a life of shame. At least she got her aesthetician's degree and is now serving the world by ridding chimps of their fur. That is very noble of her.
Now I guess it's time we get to last night's main event. I guess it's appropriate that all the biggest fights in the boxing world happen in Vegas because, well, this was a humdinger. You knew it was going to be bad when Yolanda Bananas Foster, an agorophobic who claims to not like drunk women, was drinking tequila and Fetch, who had already poured red and white wine all over her skirt at Barbra Streisand's insistence, was essentially absent from dinner. Oh, and Brandi had on this hot silver dress that was just short enough to be sexy but not so short that we could see her halo, halo, halo-ooooo and it was just sparkly and totally wonderful. I have a theory that whenever Brandi looks the best is when she gets in the worst fights. Watch for it to happen.
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OK, here is how it went down: everyone was talking about Kim Richards, and how they know that her nose is a new nose from some guy they know she knows knows noses. Then, suddenly, St. Camille turned the discussion to Adrienne which, well, that was a stupid move. As my friends would say, "Why you gotta bring up old shit?" How do we accurately describe this fight? Camille was angry, I don't know about what initially. But she wanted to talk about Adrienne. So she did. Then Brandi, for the millionth time, detailed that she was uncomfortable when Adrienne approached her and said she was going after Lisa at the reunion and was trying to recruit her. Apparently Camille was somehow involved in this too, and Brandi told everyone that Camille knew about the sabotage plot. Camille got all pissed off that Brandi was telling everyone, especially Lisa, that she know about the plot and didn't do anything. She got up from the table and said, "I can handle this, but I won't stand for it!" What a statement. That's amazing. She was basically saying, "I could take you down if you want to, but this is too tawdry for me to sit and listen to."
Instead of talking about what happened and who said what, we should talk about the winners and losers, maybe? Who was right and who was wrong? I think that's easier. OK, so Brandi, I think, came out a loser. Yes, I am #TeamBrandi all the way, and I think that Adrienne is the worst kind of rich person for using her money and lawyers to intimidate Brandi by "suing her."
Oh wait, what's this? I just got hand delivered a message. "Dear Mr. Moylan. It has just come to my attention that you are besmirching the name of my client, HRH Adrienne, the Queen of the Maloofs (a race of mole people that live under the mountain), in a public sphere. If you do not cease and desist not only your discussion of her, her family, her friends, her associates, and anyone that might ever come in contact with her in this world or any other in your public position, then there will be a lawsuit. Also, you should probably just shut down this here recap right now, because it will be admissable in a court of law and a judge will hate it. Sincerely, Dirk Jacobini, Attorney at Law."
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Screw that. I'm going to talk as much trash about Adrienne as I want. She's wrong to pursue this nonsense with Brandi when Brandi was speaking the truth. But what makes Brandi a loser is she went on the "Adrienne only owns 2% of the Palms" kick. Yeah. So what, Brandi? Not to be a jerk, but you own 100% of Jack Squat Industries. Adrienne's stake in a billion-dollar business is still $10 million. How much did you get for your book deal?
The other loser was Camille Grammer, who then went after Lisa with her, "You don't own SUR," line which, I think we can all agree is patently false. Lisa only owns 51% of that Sexy Unique Restaurant, but come on, that's basically owning it. Camille was trying to make a point. I get it, but she failed. I think that Kyle and Camille were right to say that Adrienne wasn't there and she couldn't defend herself and that's why they were sticking up for her. That's cool, I get that, but Kyle is not helping her reputation as a shit stirrer. She's always trying to be the peace keeper and make sure everyone is getting along, but as soon as the gloves come on, she's there in the corner fighting an argument.
I would like to say Yolanda Bananas Foster was a loser, for shushing our St. Camille (which is something you should never do), but she had a point. This was the third time this fight had gone round and round, and the third dinner that it had ruined, and we're all just getting a little bit sick of it, aren't we? Don't we want there to be some kind of resolution or movement? Oh, and Yolanda got to go home early in a private jet while everyone else had to sit around and stew in their own juices (Housewife juices smell like white wine and broken endorsement deals). See ya later, suckers! However, I think that Yolanda loses existentially, because she has no idea what show she is on. This is a battle royale where women get drink and yell at dinner. That's sort of like planning a trip to the beach and then complaining that there is too much sand. If you don't want the sand, get off the damn beach.
Lisa Vanderpump was also a winner here, because this whole fight started about her but somehow migrated around the table and encompassed everyone but her. The one kernel of truth that Camille placed out there — the thing that started this whole row — was that Adrienne started going after Lisa because of two things: 1. Adrienne was mad that Lisa's daughter Pandora had her Vegas bachelorette party at a hotel other than the Palms and 2. Adrienne was mad that Lisa called her shoe "The Maloof Hoof." OK, those are the two dumbest reasons ever. The first one, I have said before, will go down in history as the dumbest gripe on any Housewives show ever. Who cares where Pandora went? It was her decision, not her mother's. People don't blame my mother for my public urination arrest, so no one should blame Pandy's mom for her bachelorette party.
The second reason was the real problem. No one in this universe (and by that I mean the Real Housewives universe, which is strange and separate from our own) has a sense of humor. Well, most of them don't. Brandi does and Lisa sure does and when they say something like that, it is a joke. Adrienne can not take a joke. That is what this whole season is essentially about: one grown woman who can't take another woman's clever pun about her shoe. The reason they aren't selling has nothing to do with what Lisa called them on the show. They're not selling because they're bland and ugly and overpriced (even 65% off is too much). In fact, calling them the "Maloof Hoof" was the best bit of branding anyone did for Adrienne. She should pay Lisa for that.
The fight petered out and just ended for some reason. I'm not sure why. Maybe Yolanda squashed it with her lemon-scented lips. The real take-away from the end of the episode was that we saw Kyle and Lisa face off, telling their sides of the story. This was the real fight. This was the real angle that the show is taking, these two Titans trying to steal the world from each other. That is what this season wants us to take away from it. If their relationship ruptures, well, it will be an awful horrible split. A rift that will engulf Jill and Bethenny, Kim and Nene, Tamra and Vicki and all the rest. Like an explosion.
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Finally, we have to talk about Kim. Oh yes, my favorite Kim Richards got a new nose installed last night. I'm not going to get into all that drama with her addiction and taking pain pills, because that was just a red herring. She told us she was going to try to not take any pain pills (well, at least anything stronger than an Advil), and I have to believe her. I'm not a family member who has been screwed over repeatedly by her lying and drug abuse so it's easy for me, but, there it is. I'm trusting her. As for her call with Kyle, it was extremely fraught.
Kim called Kyle while she was in Las Vegas and said, "I'm thinking of getting a nose job today." What? OK, Kim. You do not need your sister's permission, but you also didn't need to call her up on the day you were doing it and ask for it. Here's the thing. Kim thought that she needed Kyle's permission — that's why she called and asked, and didn't just call and tell her. I think Kyle has made Kim think that Kim needs her permission for everything, and now Kim is getting over that. When Kyle talks about how this is the "state of our relationship" it means that Kim is growing up, growing away from Kyle, and becoming her own, unique, strong person.
But Kim needed a nose job like Yolanda needs another lemon tree. She even said it herself, that God made her and she's perfect but he wouldn't mind her changing her nose so much because when he made her it was the end of the day and he wasn't really paying attention and used some spare parts anyway. But Kim needed something. She knew she needed someone who knows why she knows someone that knows noses. She knew that she needed to make herself better inside and out. She needed some physical manifestation of her inner transformation. Get on it, girl. And when the doctor was digging around in there he found that her septum was deviated, which probably means that she could now get her health insurance to cover the cost. You go Kim.
But the sad part came when she was lying in the hospital, coming out of the aenesthesia. The show's producers love these moments, because the women always say ridiculous things and can't help but tell the truth. Kim said some remarkable things. She lied there in her hospital gown and mumbled that she wished her sister were there. She mumbled that she wished that one of her four children were there. But there was no one. She was all alone, fighting through the fog on her own. So many people have come and gone, the husbands, the lovers, the family, that rock she painted a face on and named Ken and called her boyfriend. They've all gone, sniffed out like the moon falling behind a dark, dank cloud.
Suddenly, in that way only medication can do, she isn't in the world anymore. She is both awake and asleep and she's in her trailer on the Disney lot and it's the last day of a movie shoot. She's young again, and beautiful. Her hair is teased high and she's wearing bright makeup because it was the '80s and that was the style. She looks down at her vanity and sees the crimping iron and then she looks up at the mirror and sees her old nose and all the people standing behind her. The crew mostly, but fans all. And staff. They're clamoring for her. "Sign this for me please, Kim?" "It was so great working with you!" "What is our next project going to be?" "You better hurry up or you're going to be late for your first date with this hot new actor, I think his name is Jimmy Depp." "Oh, Kim this has been the best two months of my life."
She thanks them all and signs them and waives. She waves and makes her way through the scrum and out the door into the sun which is so bright it's like an operating lamp blaring down at her eyes. Even when she closes them, she can still see the indistinct brightness shining down into her face, over the clean, expansive lines of the sound studio. "Kim! Kim! Kim!" all the onlookers shout at her. "Kim! Kim!" She turns around and waves at them, but the sun is still in her eyes. She can't see them anymore, but she can hear the voices, hear them getting fainter and fainter as they recede. "Bye everyone," she says. "Don't forget. I love you. Will you love me too? Love me forever and I'll remember. Don't forget. Don't forget. Don't forget," she says to all the disembodied dream people. "Don't forget me," she says out loud.
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