Reality Roundup: Runway, Idol, Survivor
Some thoughts on an unusually busy week in reality TV. First off, did anyone seriously think Christian Siriano, fan favorite and judges' pet, would not win
? Or as he put it in his endearingly cocky fashion after regaining his composure: "Hello, did you have a doubt? What up." And Posh Spice wants to wear everything he makes (but surely not that concoction with the monstrous neck ruffle). Suspense may have been lacking in Wednesday's finale, but there was fabulousness to spare.
Christian's Fashion Week show had a buzz and an energy and a clear sense of a star being born on that runway that no previous winner has accomplished. Not by a mile. In another season, either Jillian or Rami could have triumphed, they were that good and their designs were that pretty, but this was Christian's year. Surely Bravo isn't going to let this kid (at 21, the youngest
winner ever) escape the spotlight. If this reality-crazed network can greenlight abominable swill like the deadly dull
The Real Housewives of New York City
(a misnomer in so many ways), surely they can give us a year in the life of Fierce Christian. As they often say on this show, you haven't heard the last of this one.
, which announces its official top 12 tonight. Until Wednesday, I was prepared to write, "America, you have one last chance to get it right and get rid of Amanda." And then she redeemed herself this week. Kind of. Yes, it was a variation on the same performance she gives every week, a growly rock shtick that America will soon tire of if it hasn't already. But it wasn't as disastrously inept as I'd come to expect.
So who's out? America has made the right moves with the boys so far, and I imagine that will continue, with stubbornly bland Luke a front-runner to make his inevitable exit. Who else? A harder call, but if musicality is more important than attitude, Danny Noriega should be preparing his concession snap. I agree with Simon (as usual) that Danny's performance of "Tainted Love" was more about posing than singing, and was "absolutely useless." He is, however, quite a character, and that alone could carry him into the top 12. Chikezie and/or David Hernandez (was he helped or hurt by the stripper scandal?) are the next most disposable, I'd think. Of the girls, it's Kady's time to go, as it was last week. Is it nerves that sunk her ship? I believe she can sing, but not on this stage, clearly. And can America possibly be smart enough to let two underperforming blondes go the same week, which means "forgettable" (Simon's apt word) Kristy Lee is the other most deserving. But I'd also be OK saying goodbye to either Asia'h or Syesha for their tepid Whitney covers. Or Amanda. Next week, things get serious for all of these singers.
Also tonight, a game-changing episode of
Survivor: Micronesia - Fans vs. Favorites
, when the tribes are mixed so fans are now playing alongside favorites. It's a very twisty hour, with a grueling reward challenge that leaves several players bruised and bloodied, but the real intrigue here as usual has to do with strategy. Can there be trust between fans and veteran players? "Somebody's going to have to flip," one tribesman notes in predicting the balance of power that could shift at each tribal council. If one side gets the advantage in numbers, will it become just a matter of picking off the other group one by one? That remains to be seen. But the irony is lost on no one when Chet, pathetic Chet, possibly the worst and laziest and most uninspired player in any season ever of
(variously referred to this week as "a sack of potatoes" and a "ball of goo"), is shown looking at a coop of chickens and reflecting on the "pecking order" in that species, how "the weakest one is always pecked on before it's killed." Does this mean Chet is out? My screener went black before the tribal council, so I'll find out along with you. If
were only about survival of the fittest, he'd be toast. But just tell that to Mikey B., ousted last week in a decision that could come back to haunt more than one of the favorites.
And finally, for those seeking even higher drama in their reality-based fare, Sundance Channel tonight presents the first chapter in a 10-part scripted miniseries,
, about a wife and mother diagnosed with breast cancer who inadvertently becomes the star of a hospital-based reality show
, whose mantra is "Real accidents, real injuries, real life." Maria del Mar is sensational in the lead role as a highly conflicted accidental celebrity, with
's Gil Bellows as her dazed and confused husband, but I found the first hour painfully heavy-handed and sluggish. Still, it's worth a look if only for the scene in which she confronts the reality-TV cameras, and the pompous boob of a TV-doctor host she will soon replace, flashing a candid wit and then some. As her star and ratings rise, so too will her disease. (This is the second risky drama this year to use cancer as a starting point, along with AMC's much more fascinating and well-executed
. More on that show later this week.)