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American Idol: Season 14, Last Auditions, 1/29/15

January 30th, 2015 · No Comments

Season 14 of American Idol finished its auditions last night, with one last look at who found their Idol journeys in San Francisco.  We’ve seen only a small portion of the Hollywood Week talent pool, but we now have some idea of who to watch in the next rounds.  We only saw seven more successful auditions, but it’s strange how several of them compared to some of the unsuccessful ones:

1.  First successful audition (the evening started with a bad one) is one of the better ones–a seventeen-year-old black R&B singer, Adanna Duru, who sings a song about a “cool California guy.”  From the way Keith, J-Lo, and Harry react, we know how they’re going to vote–all three say “yes.”

2.  Right after we see a gavel-voiced guy trying to scream metal to acoustic guitar accompaniment, to which the judges say, “no,” we see a gravel-voiced blonde, Hunter Larson.  She’s loud, and worse than pitchy, and she slaughters the standard, “That’s Life.”  The judges all go crazy over her, however, raving about how gritty she is, how she sounds like Pink.  (If I were Pink, I might demand an apology.)  They send her to the next round, when frankly, I liked the gravel-voiced metal shouter better.

3.  The judges also love Tara Honda, a teenage Asian-American belter, who auditions with “I Feel the Earth Move Under my Feet.”  She gets three “yes” votes.

4.  Daniel Seavey is fifteen going on ten. “A lot of people compare me to Justin Beiber but that’s not my style,” he says.  At least Beiber looks like he’s graduated from elementary school, Kid!  The undersized teen lists about a dozen instruments he can play, then plays piano and sings Leonard Cohen’s cynical “Hallelujah” in a babyish voice.  If the judges were thinking, “How cute!” they were overlooking that the song was simply too big and too mature.

The judges ask for a second song, on guitar, and the kid’s voice is so tiny, the acoustic guitar drowns him out.  Harry, the sober-minded judge, says, “You don’t have the maturity yet” and votes, “No.”  Soft-hearted Keith, however, would like to see the kid during Hollywood Week and votes, “Yes.”  The show takes a commercial break at this point, teasing how J-Lo will vote.  There’s not really any suspense.  We know that J-Lo, the softie, is going to side with Keith–and the kid exits the room with his golden ticket to Hollywood.  (I want to see this fifteen-year-old baby singing in the group round with Kathleen, the fifteen-year-old Bowie-groupie-wanna-be, who we saw the first night in San Francisco.)

5.  Rocky Peter was born in the USA but raised in poverty in Nigeria. He gives viewers reason to feel patriotic when he boasts of his US citizenship.  He’s a folksy black guy with a guitar (a little like CJ Harris of Season 13) and he sings his own song, “Wrong Places.”  Keith in particular thinks he’s got a beautiful voice, and the judges all vote, “Yes.”  I look forward to seeing this Rocky (cue the movie theme music) become one of this season’s heroes.

6 (or not).  It’s this evening’s “Hollywood or Home” Twitter poll.  A woman’s loud and worse than pitchy.  (I think her name was Sheila.)  Harry has the sense to vote, “No.”  Softie Keith votes “yes.”  J-Lo’s the swing vote, and we know what a softie she is.  Would you believe 71% of Twitter voters liked her but J-Lo didn’t?  J-Lo, for once, sensibly votes “no.”

6 (this time it’s for real).  First, however, the judges get their playtime.  Harry’s  apparently heard one too many bad renditions of “Chandelier.”  He gets down on his knees and screams his way through “Chandelier” for Keith and J-Lo’s amusement.  In the holding booth, poor innocent Jaq MacKenzie looks frightened.  Somebody from the outside peeks in to see if she’s the one doing all that terrible screaming.  When the judges finally calm down and let Jaq in, she proves to be a punky Goth-flavored fifteen-year-old who can sing, write songs, and play guitar.  She’s the contestant who sounds like Pink!  J-Lo thinks she sounds great, but young.  Keith likes her voice, too.  Harry, however, wonders, “Would sending you to Hollywood help you or hurt you?”  J-Lo declares she’d like to see her again in Hollywood and votes, “Yes.”  Softie Keith agrees and so does Harsh Harry.

Let’s see the following fifteen-year-olds forced to sing in a group:  punky Jaq, tiny baby-faced Daniel Seavey and Kathleen (“Is this a joke?”) Skinner!

7.  Last audition of Season 14:  Tianna Jones, 16, who has a shock of nappy hair and wears boyish fashion.  She sings in a black R&B style but with gospel and rock overtones.  The judges love her and give her three “yes” votes.

Next comes Hollywood Week. Sometime between today and next Wednesday, I’ll post the singers I predict will be in the final 24–and then see who steps up in Hollywood, and who can’t cut it after all.

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American Idol: Season 14, San Francisco Auditions, 1/28/15

January 29th, 2015 · No Comments

We’re near the end of auditions for Season 14 and American Idol is starting to let its freak flag fly.  We saw little in the way of breakout performances last night but we saw plenty of gimmicks.  We saw a lot of why American Idol remains popular–and a lot of why some people continue to hate it:

1.  First freak flag of the night is flown by Katherine Skinner, who’s fifteen going on burnout.  (J-Lo:  “Is this a joke?” and “She’s crazy!”) She wears a fake-fur coat (“I got it from Bowie in the seventies!” when she wasn’t even born yet) and babbles pretentiously but she really can sing. She’s shrill, loud, and pitchy, but shrill, loud, and pitchy is the story of this season’s auditions.  The judges have reservations but the guys in particular really like her.  (Harry:  “Extremely exciting.”  Keith:  “Bold and fearless.”)  She gets three “yes” votes.

2. and 3. and 4. A trio of auditions come at us so fast–they’re edited together in a head-spinning way–that we need a pencil and paper to keep track.  Here’s what the final score is:

2.  Erica David,  25 is loud and pitchy (another one) but the judges call her sassy and let her squeak through.

3.  Long-haired blonde does a decent “New York State of Mind,” gets three “yes” votes.

4.    Black guy (good-looking) who Harry calls “pitch perfect,” gets three “yes” votes.

5.  Andrew Bloom from Yorba Linda, California, WGWG, sings “Too Close” in a voice and style similar to John Mayer.  The judges all like him well enough to sing along and give him three “yes” votes.”

Oh, yeah, and Andrew’s friends with Olympic sprinter Ryan Bailey. Harry challenges Bailey to a footrace, and the Olympian’s across the room before the jazzman’s taken three steps.

6.  We see very little of a red-haired gal with a jazzy voice (I think Kelly is her name) but she gets to go to Hollywood.

7.  Another freak flag gets unfurled, and this time it’s a Hawaiian guy whose mother has 21 brothers and sisters (and the whole clan lives together, off and on).  About sixty members of this family have come to the audition.  Now dig this:  he sings Rod Stewart’s “I Don’t Wanna Talk About it,” Hawaiian-style, while strumming a ukulele.  Even I can hear his bum notes, and I can barely tell high from low.  Now it’s the-judges-can’t-be-serious time:  Keith thinks he’s got a great voice, and J-Lo swoons about how “pretty” and “beautiful” it is.  (Maybe J-Lo’s really into ukuleles?)  Tough Harry provides the only serious criticism, that we’ve seen “only one side.”  Softies J-Lo and Keith voting “yes,” that’s not the punch line.  The punch line is, even Harry votes “yes.”

Remember (or don’t) the Pakastani-American guy last season, who was the go-to storyline until the final thirty, when the show suddenly didn’t bother to give his story an end?  I suspect this guy will get the same kind of airtime this season.The guy’s name?  Reno, or something. Oh, yeah, and when the whole family screams collectively at the news their guy made it, the noise is loud enough to make Harry dive under the table!

8?  Samuel Prince, and another freak flag flies!  He spends more time flirting with J-Lo, wasting airtime on getting her to do a drama improvisation with him (She slapped him!) than singing.  It’s just as well because the judges (even J-Lo) like his acting better than his singing and say, “No.”

Is this 8?  No, it’s a montage of bad auditions.

8.  For real?  No, it’s a “Hollywood or Home” Twitter poll.  The guy (Zack Dyer) sounds like a fairly decent country singer, but the vote splits almost 50-50, and the judges say, “No” when they’ve told some worse singers, “Yes.”

8.  Finally!  Ray Von Owen, a good-looking black guy with a hipster style, sings “Wide Awake” but he’s got a tiny soft high voice that would make Michael Jackson sound like an opera singer.  (I liked Zack Dyer, the “Hollywood or Home” guy that got sent home, better.)  The judges all rave, though, and all say, “Yes.” Really?

9?  No, it’s a pair of twins (from Puerto Rico, I think they said) and they look just like when George Michael was in Wham! and doing songs like “Wake Me Up Before You Go-go” with Andrew Ridgeley.  The twins audition together, but all we hear is one playing guitar (I guess that’s Andrew) and the other singing.  (I guess that’s George.)  Looks aren’t everything, and the song is terrible, and the singing twin is no George Michael.  The judges say, “No” to both–even though we never heard the second guy sing.  (That’s a little like Andrew in Wham!)

9. (For real?)  We thought the Cardenas twins doing their Wham! rip-off were the last audition of the night, and the episode was going to end on an unsuccessful audition for once, but there’s a few min. for Maddie Hudson, with long red hair and bright red lipstick on her pale face.  She’s loud, but at least she’s expressive and dramatic as well.  Her singing isn’t spectacular, but her emoting is.  J-Lo’s getting goosebumps and praises the singer’s “sad eyes.”  The guys rave, too.  The judges like this girl so much, they give her three golden tickets.

Tonight (Thursday 1/29/15):  still in San Francisco.    



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Celebrity Apprentice – S7 E7 Recap – 1/26/15

January 27th, 2015 · No Comments

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The Bachelor – Chris Soules – Ep4 Recap 1/26/15

January 27th, 2015 · No Comments

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American Idol: Season 14, New Orleans Auditions, 1/22/15

January 23rd, 2015 · No Comments

As we learn who’s in the talent pool for Season 14 of American Idol, we may not always get the names and songs and backstories right away, but we do get some idea of who the breakouts to watch are. Before we got a peek last night at who auditioned in New Orleans, judge Harry Connick, Jr. started out by talking about how he hoped his hometown would be well-represented.  Some Idol fans love seeing the really horrible people, but this season’s been mostly about who’s advanced to the Hollywood rounds.  That changed last night, as Harry’s expectations led into a montage of dozens of horrible auditions.  We finally got to take a look at 13 successful auditions, plus one very big mistake, the first of Season 14:

1.  The judges finally find somebody they want to send to Hollywood when they hear Angelica “Jelly” Joseph, a large lively black lady with bright red hair.  She sings R&B with range and power, and we haven’t seen as many R&B singers this season (yet) as we often do.  Harry comments on her great style and elegance.

2.  New Orleans has a jazz reputation, but tonight looked to be heavy on what used to be called “all-American” country kids from the Heartland.  First one of that type is Tiffany Stringer, a 16-year-old cheerleader and dancer from Texas.  She looks like she stepped out of a Taylor Swift song (long blonde hair, short shorts, sneakers) and she cheerleads her way through “I Want You Back.”  She shows enough of the Carrie Underwood “American Girl” vocal style that softies J-Lo and Keith outvote Harry and send her to Hollywood.

3.  Next it’s a 15-year-old all-American country WGWG, Grayson Turner, in shorts and sandals, who sings his own composition, “Chasing Shadows,” in voice that’s a little bit country and a little bit pop.  He’s got a laid-back downhome style, but J-Lo still thinks he’s got sensitivity and passion.  He gets three “yes” votes.

4 (or not). Now it’s time for the judges’ first bizarre mistake of the season.  (Every year we get at least one–last year it was the cutting of Savion Wright. The season before that, it was everything about the entire season.)  After all Harry’s talk about wanting to find talent that reps New Orleans, jazz/blues singer Sarah Quintana appears to fit the bill perfectly.  She sings a classic rendition of “St. James Infirmary Blues” that apparently got Harry inspired enough to play piano for her.  (The segment opens with her singing and him playing, so we don’t see what the set-up was that got him behind the piano in the first place.)  She fits in perfectly with a number of other throwback singers who’ve been found this season, and the judges all appear to enjoy her very much.  After all that, Harsh Harry has the gall to say, “No, not right for this competition.” J-Lo, usually such a softie, sides with him.  Keith’s the only judge who’s impressed enough to vote “yes.”  Too bad he couldn’t have talked the other two into reconsidering.  A jazz singer may not win Idol but the genre appears to be underrepresented this year. The judges should have at least put Quintana in the next round to see how she fared in the arena, as Harry described Hollywood Week to another contestant.

4 (for real).  Quentin Alexander, a flamboyant black guy who manages to look trendy in shorts, gives a little bit of soul to “Royals.” The judges have considerable discussion but give him three “yes” votes.

5.  Bluesy voices have been underrepresented this year but Mikey, a funky dark-haired WGWG, demonstrates one.  He gets three generous “yes” votes.  (It’s like the judges are trying to make up for being so harsh with Quintana.)

6. and 7. and 8.  As in the Minneapolis auditions the night before, we see a montage of three girl singers, barely enough to catch their names and faces, let alone learn about their singing.  We’ll either see what they can do in Hollywood, or we’ll never see them again–Hope Windle, a country girl with long dark hair, Tory, another country singer, blonde this time, and Natani Quntani (?), a long-haired redhead who’s back after being cut early last year. She sings “Counting Stars,” we heard that much.

9.  Time for the “Hollywood or Home” Twitter poll, for Alexis. Despite her shrill voice, she gets 57% of the voters liking her, and the judges agree.

10.  We get another all-American country WGWG, 17-year-old Ricky Dale Hendrix who sings Garth Brooks’ “Thunder Rolls,” a song that’s probably  a little mature for him.  The judges, especially Harry, talk about how he’s young but maybe he’ll benefit from a bigger arena.  “Get in the ring with Mike Tyson,” is how Harry puts it.  The judges send him into the ring with Mike Tyson, aka Hollywood Week.

11.  Dakota Suarez apparently represents the “T” in the LGBT community.  He’s an 18-year-old male but gives his profession as drag queen, under the name Bianca Jade.  He’s heavyset and looks fairly masculine in pants and shirt but his hair is a two-toned bob and his voice could be mistaken for a whiskey-voiced woman.  Harry admits it might be intriguing to welcome a drag queen to Idol, somebody who could sing as a girl one day and a guy the next.  However, after considering whether Idol is the correct showcase, he votes “no.”  J-Lo enthusiastically votes “yes,” however, and Keith does, too, although more reluctantly.

12.  We get another funky WGWG, who sings his own composition in a folksy style and sounds a touch like Jim Croce.  His name’s Adam, I guess–but not a Glambert at all. (His name went by so fast that I first thought his name was Jimmy because J-Lo said something about Jimmy Kimble.)  There’s something about he’s related to Carlos Santana, who he also resembles.  He’s fighting health issues–he plays guitar with a wrapped-up thumb and like Crystal Bowersox of Season 9, he’s got some kind of diabetic apparatus.  Keith loves his voice, J-Lo loves his voice, Harry loves him, too–and the panel coughs up three “yes” votes.

13.  One more contestant to squeeze in–and it’s an elegant mature-looking black woman, Ericka Washington, with super-short two-toned hair.  She sings Beyoncé’s “Halo” in a way that reminds me a little of Voice champ Tessanne Chinn.  She gets three “yes” votes.

To celebrate when the auditions are done, Harry serves Louisiana crawfish to J-Lo, Keith, and Ryan Seacrest.  J-Lo singles out Ricky Dale Hendrix as one of her favorites of the day.  Next week brings the final auditions of Season 14, in San Francisco, where free spirits often predominate.  Then we’ll see who’s in the talent pool for Hollywood Week.



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American Idol: Season 14, Minneapolis Auditions, 1/21/15

January 22nd, 2015 · No Comments

All three current American Idol judges–Keith Urban, Harry Connick, Jr. and Jennifer Lopez–are back together for Season 14 auditions in Minneapolis:  This episode featured twelve successful auditions including a couple of major finds:

1.  Shannon from St. Paul is 17 and has never sung before as part of a public event (she’s just sung to herself).  I’m guessing she’s the contestant that Idol PR hyped as making the top 24.  She says her style is white soul  She sings “House of the Rising Sun,” showing power, range, and yes, soul.  In this season of loud singers, she’s mercifully more than that.  She gets three “yes” votes.  She’ll definitely get much more airtime.

2. and 3. and 4.  A montage of three women crammed into so little airtime that we’ll have to wait to see if any of them get face time in the next round.  Morgan Ovens plays guitar and sings an Alanis Morissette song.  Gabrielle Noel has long dark hair and wears black clothes.  Courtney sings the country hit, “Independence Day.”  All three get to the next round but will any of them get any more airtime?

5.  Vanessa Andrea (from California) plays guitar and can’t stop talking about Keith Urban or anything else.  Her singing skills are unremarkable, but she’s such a chatterbox nobody has time to notice.  In a season of loud pitchy singers, she’s loud and pitchy and singing a man’s song, “Some Kind of Wonderful.”  Keith (using vague logic) thinks it suited her “to at T.”  She whips out her cell phone so her serviceman-husband can hear the judges vote.  They all say, “Yes.”  Wouldn’t it have been funnier if they’d all said no?

6.  Zach Johnson, a heavyset round-faced guy with red curly hair, doesn’t look like a country singer.  However, he sounds like a country singer on “Don’t Close Your Eyes.”  (He’s a Garth Brooks fan and it shows.)  Keith the country judge says “yes” fairly quickly but J-Lo and Harry are critical. J-Lo wants to hear another song.  After a 2nd country song, it’s Harry who hands over a ticket to Hollywood.  Keith’s so impressed he invites Johnson to join him in concert–and we see a clip of that, two weeks later.

7.  Harry has fun with Aaron Bissell, a typical coffeehouse WGWG.  We don’t actually see much of the judges’ vote, but Harry talks about playing in places where the patrons say, “Shut up!”  He gives Bissell a ticket to Hollywood if he’ll just shut up!

8.  Cindy Jo, 26-year-old blonde teacher, spends more time bragging about her hunting and shooting skills than her singing.  She sings Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” in  a loud pitchy voice (another one).  J-Lo says, “no,” Keith says, “yes,” and Harry’s on the fence.  He finally says he’d like to see her in the next round and coughs up a ticket to Hollywood.  After she leaves the room, he jokes about how he had to say “yes” because she can hunt and shoot, you know.

9.  Matt, a rocker type with long wavy reddish-blond hair, rocks, even if he’s loud and pitchy (this season’s trend).  During a commercial break there’s a Twitter poll about, is he headed to Hollywood or headed home?  The result:  55% like him and he does get through.

10.  Jacob Tolliver understudies the part of Jerry Lee Lewis in the Vegas production of Million Dollar Quartet.  He does a jaw-dropping Lewis performance, combining “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” and “Great Balls of Fire” with wild pounding and jumping around on the piano.  (If he’s the understudy, what the heck is the lead actor like?) The judges are all really into it but then they get critical.  (Maybe there was too much piano and not enough vocal.)  They want to know what he can do besides impersonate Lewis.  So he sings a Sam Smith ballad.  I think he sounds great no matter what he’s doing–it takes a formidable amount of talent to be able to channel Jerry Lee so perfectly.  The judges, despite their criticism, cough up three “yes” votes.  We’ve found one of the breakouts to watch this season.

11.  Hannah Mrozak from Wisconsin is a 16-year-old jazz singer who auditions with Etta James’ “Hold on Me.” For once we have a singer who’s loud in a good way, and not pitchy.  She’s through to Hollywood.

12.  Mark Andrew, a big guy with a dark beard who plays guitar, is at the upper end of the Idol age limit, making him 28, maybe even 29.  Voice fans may remember him making Team Shakira in Season 4.  He’s from Minneapolis and works as a landscaping foreman.  He sings “Soul Shine” in a rich full voice.  Keith praises his tone but asks for a different song.  Mark then tries a silly kids’ song in a higher pitch, going back to Disney’s animated Jungle Book.  “What sets you apart is the tone of your voice,” comments J-Lo.  After two songs, the judges are impressed enough to all vote “yes.”

Fun time for the judges!  Harry improvises a little song and dance and J-Lo joins in.  Harry looks like he’s been having fun in Minneapolis, and he’s probably warming up for the New Orleans auditions in the next episode.


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American Idol – Season 14 Ep5 Auditions Recap – 1/21/15

January 22nd, 2015 · No Comments

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Celebrity Apprentice – S7 E7 Recap – 1/19/15

January 21st, 2015 · No Comments

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Celebrity Apprentice – S7 E6 Recap – 1/19/15

January 21st, 2015 · No Comments

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Survivor: Flashback, Season 28 (Cagayan), Finale (aired 5/21/14)

January 20th, 2015 · No Comments

While waiting for the next season of Survivor to start, let’s take one more look back at last spring, when the Season 28 finale aired:

Night 36 starts with the final four:  economics student Spencer, attorney Kass (“Chaos Kass”), police officer Tony, and Taekwondo instructor Woo. Before the night’s tribal council, Kass, Spencer, and Woo discussed voting out Tony’s ally Trish but Tony joined the vote against her, so it appears no wedge was made.  Tony says he voted strategically because he didn’t want Trish to have a chance to win (and beat him).

Day 37:  the final four get visitors–Kass’ husband, Woo’s cousin, Spencer’s sister, and Tony’s best friend who reassures Tony that his wife and little girl are doing well.  The visitors get to watch the next immunity challenge.

Final four immunity challenge:   the players are perched atop poles in the surf.  They have to scoop buckets of ocean water into chutes, until a key gets raised up to their level.  Once they get the key, they can swim back to shore, unlock a trunk of puzzle pieces, and assemble a puzzle.  Kass is the last one out of the water but first to finish her puzzle.  She works it like she’s in a zone, every piece she tries is fitting where it’s supposed to.  She beats Spencer by a couple of pieces.  She credits her husband cheering her on for her victory.

The players figure out–this season is headed for a final two, not a final three.  (It’s possible that one Survivor quitting the game early may have affected the outcome.)  Since Kass has immunity, Spencer pitches Tony to vote out Woo–at least tie the vote so Spencer and Woo will face off in a tiebreaker.  Spencer argues that Tony will be the easy choice for either Kass or Woo to vote off, but if the final three includes Spencer, then Spencer becomes the easy choice to vote off.   Spencer even makes an argument that somehow reminds me of logic that Season 26 winner Johnny Cochran might employ.  Spencer says if he does make final two with Tony, he’ll argue to the jury they should vote for Tony.

Tribal Council:  This is the first time since the merge Woo’s been in the mix so far as getting votes goes. Kass says if the jury is bitter and Woo’s in the final two, Woo’ll win.

Jeff points out, the story could be, what did Woo do, or he could be the worst choice for final two because–he hasn’t offended anybody.

After the players vote, Tony confesses he’s hoodwinked the others about the one immunity idol he’s still got.  It’s not good anymore, contrary to what he told the others.  We’re left to wonder how interesting this tribal council may have been had anybody thought to call Tony’s bluff before voting.

Spencer gets voted out, ending a historic against-all-odds run that will likely get him called back for an all-star season.  He was a marked man from at least Day 6 (maybe even Day 3) and still made final four, putting him in the money.

Night 37:  Kass is confident she’s in the final two because both Tony and Woo think they can get more jury votes than her.  She and Woo promise to work to keep Tony from winning immunity and vote him out.  They agree it would be stupid to take Tony to the final two.

Day 38:  the final three participate in a complicated immunity challenge.  There’s a four-part turnstile maze, which players may move through in any order.  They have to reach four stations, collecting four medallions that function as keys to open chests.  They have to gather all four medallions from all four stations to unlock individual chests.  The chests contain cogs and gears for a crank.  After racing to get the medallions in the maze, the players continue racing, assembling their cranks.  The winner is the first player to crank their own “immunity” banner to the top of the frame (these banners are on frames, not poles).

Tony and Woo shadow each other for most of the maze, while Kass works the maze in a different order. Woo cranks his flag to the top just as Kass is starting to crank hers.  Jeff says it may be the closest finish ever, that Kass was behind by one second or less.

With Woo winning immunity, the two most aggressive players of the season are now at the mercy of the guy who’s been little more than the “majority” part of their alliance.  (Kass compares Woo to Season 21 winner Fabio.  “The person who hasn’t made a decision the whole game is in charge of my fate,” she complains, like she’s one to complain.)  Woo weighs their pitches.  Tony points out Kass made moves–bad moves but stories she can tell the jury.  Woo tells the camera how he’s been committed to Tony for the game.  He could cut him off in favor of Kass–but then he won’t be able to argue to the jury that he’s been loyal and honorable and shown integrity.

Tribal council, night 38:  Woo votes off Kass.  Back at the merge when Kass flipped, Spencer told her, “Zero chance of wining.”  He’s finally proven right.

Woo tells the camera he kept Tony because that’s what he thought would earn the jury’s respect.  “It’s a big power move I can claim as my own,” he explains.

On Day 39, the jury assembles:  Tash, Spencer, and Kass from the Brain tribe, LJ, Jeremiah, Morgan, and Jeffra from the Beauty tribe, and Sarah and Trish from the Brawn tribe.  Woo’s argument to the jury is that he abided by the code of Taekwondo–respect, loyalty, honor, and integrity (he’s like a low-key Coach here).

The editing of this final tribal council appears to lack balance.  As Kass predicted, it’s a bitter jury.  What we see most are several bitter jury members attacking Tony about all the times he swore on this and that.  We see little of Woo being questioned closely, so either he wasn’t questioned much or the questions were saved for a potential DVD extra.  Kass does grill Woo about whether Tony was deserving or not.  He anwers, “We’re all deserving, Kass, but you didn’t deserve to sit here but Tony did.”

Spencer keeps his promise to Tony from two days ago.  He’s an economics student but he goes into lawyer mode, arguing to the jury for Tony, that his play honored the game.  Once again, it strikes me as being similar to something former law student Johnny Cochran might do.

If the final two make closing arguments this season, they’re not included in this broadcast.

After the jury votes we move to the live (on the east coast) finale and Jeff starts counting the votes.  He only has to read six.  He gets five for Tony and one for Woo.  (Tasha was shown writing down Woo’s name but not saying anything.  She may have been Woo’s only vote.)

Jeff spends at least a third of the finale discussing Tony’s game moves, and what his fellow police officers think.  Tony now adds his main reason for voting out Trish was because Woo was more likely to beat Spencer at immunity.  What’s left unsaid is how he and Woo preferred to keep Kass around at that point.

Jeff talks to Kass but only about her relationship with Tony.  I’d have liked to see him put the heat on her as much as on Tony.  He grills Woo but only about his choice of Tony for final two.  Jeff asks the jury what their votes would have been if the choice were between Kass and Woo.  At least six or seven of them would have voted for Woo.

Jeff doesn’t ask anyone much about gamesmanship outside of Tony.  He spends about five min. total on Tash and Spencer, but does little probing.  He does hand over a sealed envelope to Spencer, explaining it’s a letter of apology written around Day 16 because he predicted Spencer would never even get that far.

Next considerable airtime is wasted on celebrity guest Tyler Perry, whom Jeff credits with suggesting this season’s special immunity idol.  Jeff does admit that a previous season allowed idols to be played after votes were cast but doesn’t say which one.  (My guess is season 13.)

Just before closing Jeff gives Tony his check for $1 million, and previews Season 29.  Then the gap between seasons was several months.  Now between winter and spring, we only have to wait a few more weeks.





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