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Alex's Reality Rant #4: Kate Meets Her Fate, Idol Inspiration Fail

Yo. Welcome back to my weekly Wednesday column! If you haven't taken a look at the editorial team's new page, Reel Critics , I suggest you check it! It's got all our columns, complaints, and of course, cutesie faces all on one convenient page for easy lurking. Loves it! Moving along... American Idol You might think that since last week's double elimination left us with a lucky 7 contestants this week, a little superstitious good fortune might've served the singers well. Well, if you did think that, you're a fool, of course. Obviously the only thing that could save this season is a complete do-over with only the people I say are good. & since this week's "Inspirational Songs" theme ironically made for one of the most discouraging episodes I've seen so far (save for of course my faves Crystal & Lee), I've decided to turn the tables of criticism on the judges instead. Because they're not innocent either in this lackluster season of lameness! Randy: Sometimes I think he's deaf. Okay, not really. Maybe he's just not paying attention? Although he's certainly not the most annoying of judges *cough*KARA*cough* I have to say I disagree with his opinion the most frequently. My theory is that he's sleeping through every performance (like I am), & wakes up just in time to randomly choose a response from his bank of automated responses: "Yo that wasn't good Dawg," "You worked it out," or "It was just aight for me." Ellen: Personally I don't think Ellen gets enough credit as a judge. It's not like she says falsely positive statements like Paula used to. She may not be a music industry professional, but she does have ears, and she doesn't spew out pretentious technical jargon to pretend to be more knowledgeable than she is. She doesn't slur her words either. So why does whatever she say get dismissed as if they're pointless Paula-isms? She makes pretty genius comparisons too -- Alex Lambert as a ripening banana, Tim Urban like too much tequila -- and I'd sooner take her advice than Kara's anyway. Kara: Kara likes to live in the past. I can't recall a time she gave feedback without referencing a contestant's past performance or making a comparison to how they performed back in the auditions. Sure, that kind of critique is relevant and totally useful, but she sounds like a broken record the way she goes on about it. Quite frankly If I was a contestant, the only reason I'd ever take her advice would be to avoid having to hear her formulate her next attempt at a "constructive" negative critique. Simon: Simon, on the other hand, likes to live in the hypothetical. It's always "if this had been performed on a cruise ship," or "if we were in a karaoke bar," or his new favorite, "if this had been the first time I had ever seen you perform." Well guess what? This is not a cruise ship, a bar (I wish), or the first episode. It's American Idol, in the slump of its 9th drawn-out bore of a season, so do what you do best & KEEP IT REAL, Simez. Of course he's still the judge I agree with the most, but you can just tell he's totally over the show, way more so than we all are. Dancing with the Stars In more uplifting news, Kate Gosselin was finally sent packing, about 3 weeks too late. Better late than later, I say! And while I'm not at all confused about the outcome of this overdue farewell, other aspects of this week's episodes have left me with the following lingering questions: 1. Why was Pamela in the bottom AGAIN? Apparently I need to go against everything I believe in and actually start voting for these things. Pamela's been making decent scores, and she's been surprisingly hugely likable in her backstage commentary and behind-the-scenes practice footage. The fact that her pro partner Damian is a newb kinda works against them (hardcore "Dancing" fans loooove their veteran pros), but I just can't figure out why they've ended up in the bottom more than once this early in the game! 2. Who the heck actually votes for Nicole Scherzinger? I understand that she's currently at the top of the leaderboard, and has been consistently in the top of the pack (gee, I wonder why?!), but do people actually like her? I see her appeal among the men, but do male viewers actually vote ? Or is it all just female Derek Hough fans lending their support? Don't get me wrong, I love watching great dancers perform, and she's undoubtedly an amazing dancer (& falsely humble), but that's why they have the pros perform on Wednesday nights along with the Macy's Stars of Dance showcase! The contestants are not supposed to be the pros! 3. Did Jake Pavelka only get votes 'cause he went pantsless? Talk of his commando performance opener has been circulating in the news with the words "desperate" and "lame" attached. I mean... whatever, it was cute. & certainly accurate to the film reference. But aside from whipping those pants back on with staggering speed, he hardly even moved again for the entire duration of the cha-cha! I adore Chelsie as a dancer (she was my favorite back in season 4 of So You Think You Can Dance !), but as a choreographer she might need to figure out a way to showcase her partners a little more with something other than... pantslessness. Tough Love Couples I had already expressed my doubts on the VH1 spin-off before the premiere aired last week, and after one episode I was pretty sure it would be my last. But of course, being addicted to all things reality, especially if it's something stupid, I found myself tuning in again this week and I'm actually starting to come around. At first I figured the whole couples factor would change the dynamics of the show beyond recognition, but now that the duos are starting to get familiar with their housemates, tempers are naturally beginning to flare, and the old familiar "Tough Love" house drama we all know and love is starting to come into play. While matchmaker-in-charge Steve Ward still rules the roost, his mom Joann plays a more active part this season. So far that has pretty much only amounted to lurking in the corner, dressed like she's in her 20s in a clingy blouse and pencil skirt, ready to dive in when the altercations get ugly, but I'm looking forward to seeing Mama Ward make herself more useful as the series progresses. What guilty pleasure reality shows are you hooked on?

Tough Talk From Steve Ward - Tough Love Couples Episode 2

Mother-and-son Master Matchmakers JoAnn and Steve Ward are back for a whole new type of Tough Love. As always, Steve will be checking in with weekly commentary on each episode via this blog. Below, he talks about the second episode, including Mario’s confession, Larry’s epithet and Ryan and Axelle’s marathon bickerfest. The first major event of the episode is that Mario admits that he received a happy ending at a massage parlor. Do you think that threw a wrench into their situation? Did you suspect that he cheated on Christina? It was only a matter of time. And I think he was smart. I think he was a lot smarter than I originally gave him credit for. I think he wanted to get it out there before it just came out on its own. I mean, if he mentioned it to a friend, maybe he thought a friend was going to rat him out. I don’t know, but that is what my suspicion was. I do think that he really does love the girl. The guy is very confused. The slime exercise that immediately follows that reveal seems particularly helpful to Christina, just for the catharsis of it all. Absolutely. That was the whole point of it. We were trying to kind of exorcize these demons or these really negative feelings, and try to get them out there so that we can address them and hopefully put it behind them. It’s funny, because in the first episode Dustin says that Courtney’s never shown him any emotion before. I’ll tell you what: she was the most emotional girl on this show. It only goes to show how much she has bottled up. In Episode 2, more of the problems that Dennis’s mom is causing in his relationship surface. I wonder if that was anything you could relate to, being as close to your mom as you are? I think there’s a balance you learn to maintain. That’s what becoming a man is all about. You have to be able to say no to your mom. You have to be able to put your foot down. Believe me. I’m extremely close to my mom, but we don’t always see eye to eye, and she knows it. What did you make of Axelle being accused of escorting? I mean, look: She’s in real estate, she has high-end clients and she needs to entertain them. It goes on in every business if it’s medical sales or pharmaceutical sales, you name it. If you have clients and you want to keep them as clients, you have to entertain them. I don’t think that makes somebody an escort. It’s kind of amazing that she and Ryan are willing to fight in front of cameras for literally six hours. They don’t care much for self-editing, huh? I was amazed, actually dumbfounded, at how open all these people were about their issues. It was startling. I think at one point I said, “I can’t believe that you could sit there and talk about all the dysfunction in your sex life to a complete stranger, but you can’t talk to each other.” It absolutely boggles my mind, but that’s why they’re there. Then another strange thing is during the group, Axelle says that Ryan doesn’t flip his lid, and then of course there’s a flash back to him screaming and ranting and raving. Is she delusional? I wouldn’t go with delusional; I would say she’s desensitized. Think about it this way: if you’re around somebody who never raises their voice, and then they raise their voice, you’re shocked. You’re like, “Oh my god, that’s not like you.” But if somebody is constantly yelling at you and yells at you all the time, it becomes normal. Larry calls Christina a bitch twice. The strife isn’t just confined within the couples – it’s among the entire group. You know why? Because that was the first competitive challenge that they faced. That was the first challenge where it was couple versus couple. That was Larry’s competitiveness coming out. But the bigger issue regarding why he broke down and cried in group, is the fact that he insults people, and is completely oblivious to it. How can you not even realize that you’re insulting somebody to their face? You have to know what you’re doing. So I have to use the feedback, use the video. That’s the most powerful device that I have on the show. Everything is caught on tape. So anytime somebody does something, I’m like, “Really? Let’s go to the tape.” You use it to prove your point. There were no winners this week. Do you feel like people were under-performing? I don’t think that anybody was able to see the point of both of the exercises. I think they did them, and they did them to the best of their abilities, but I don’t think they saw the point to it. If they had convinced me that they knew why I was doing what I was doing, then I would have chosen one of them. They could have been my example of “this is what you need to keep doing at the camp.”

Season 3 Starts!

Tough Love Couples Supertrailer! Steve Ward welcomes six couples all on the verge of getting engaged and puts their relationships to the ultimate test to find out if they're really right for one another. Preview the new series!