The Emmy award-winning reality television competition is on for another season with same host from Season 1, Phil Keoghan. Begun in 2001, what’s behind the staying power of this game of wit, strength, mind, agility and endurance lie on its exciting and competitive challenges; and a right mix of contestants with attitude and personality.
The Amazing Race features several teams of two, with a pre-existing relationship, in a race around the world and a shot at a one million dollars prize. From the CBS press release:
The Amazing Race 15 will premiere with a special two-hour broadcast on Sunday, September 27 at 8PM ET/PT. Beginning October 4, The Amazing Race will serve as the lead-in for Three Rivers, a new scripted drama that will air in the Sundays at 9PM ET/PT timeslot.
Last September, The Amazing Race continued its Annual Primetime Emmy Awards dominance when it captured the Outstanding Reality-competition Program award for the sixth year in a row — making it the only show to win the award since the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences first created the category in 2002.
The win raised The Amazing Race’s Emmy award total to 11 since it was first eligible in 2002, however it represented the only win out of the six nominations the show had received for last year’s awards. Overall, The Amazing Race has received 26 nominations since it premiered in 2001.
Season 5 of the Summer’s hottest show- So You Think You can Dance is here! The whole gang is back! After bearing with Ryan Seacrest (American Idol) and Tom Bergeron (Dancing with the Stars) for weeks and weeks, Cat Deely’s presence on TV is a pleasant change. She is always full of sunshine and delightful to watch. We can’t wait when she introduces the “jidges.”
Opening up the season, the two-hour show featured auditions held in Brooklyn, New York and Denver, Colorado.
“Nasty Nigel” is his old self. We’re almost positive SYTYCD just lost a good number of viewers upon hearing Nigel Lythgoe’s homophobic comments when two male dancers auditioned together as same-sex partners and have them do choreography to see them perform with female partners. He said that the same-sex partnering would “alienate” the audience. We think Nigel’s comment just alienated the viewers! In the end, after the choreography round, the two didn’t make the cut. (UPDATE on the “homophobia issue” here and the audition video)
Mary Murphy didn’t disappoint when she kicked off the show with her irritatingly loud scream from hell. Guest judges Tabitha and Napoleon D’umo are a couple to watch sharing their inputs in the New York auditions. They have done some really great choreography in Season 4; the most memorable dances were Katee Shean and Joshua Allen’s “No Air” and Mark Kanemura and Chelsie Hightower’s “Bleeding Love.”
Sonya Tayeh who was first introduced last season joined Nigel and Mary as guest judge in the Denver auditions at the second half of the show. She left a lasting impression for her jazz choreography of “The Garden” danced by Mark Kanemura and Courtney Galiano. Sonya seemed genuinely impressed with all the contemporary dancers who auditioned and couldn’t quite contain her excitement and awe. (Watch a clip of her first judging stint here.)
Unfortunately for us, we barely saw any of it as Fox is doing their fast forward thing again- showing quick montages of those who got in and holding back names and faces, yet spend a minute or two to highlight certain people with back stories.
Standouts in the New York and Denver auditions we got to see were amazing.
Gabi Rojas, 24 from Albuquerque NM is someone to watch out for. She received a standing ovation from most of the people inside the theater and from the judges after her audition dance. “If you are not in this year’s top 20, I’ll be surprised. One of the best auditions I’ve seen in five years,” says Nigel. (Watch audition video here)
There’s Natalie Reid, 23 from Seattle, WA who came so close last year to getting into the top 20 where it was between her and roommate Katee Shean and the judges eventually picked Katee after a dramatic split decision vote. Sonya Tayeh was left nearly breathless and speechless after Natalie’s audition performance. “Everything was so right. I’m dying… I’m your biggest fan. Your movement was so real… so sincere, didn’t want it to end. You’re really something to see. I hope you make it all the way,” explains Sonya to the misty-eyed Natalie. (Watch audition video here)
Then there’s Brandon Bryant, 19 of Miami, FL who had a similar fate getting the cut last season for a spot in the top 20 in favor of breakdancer Gev Manoukian. He danced so beautifully that Mary was in tears after the performance. And heck, she still gave out that horrific scream! “I have to say I have the greatest job in the whole world, to be able to sit some days and witness something I could never do in a million years. It’s just fabulous to see… technique, artistry, use of stage, intent, commitment. If you don’t make it to the top 20, I think I’ll just die this year,” Mary says tearfully. (Watch audition video here)
We definitely want to see these three make it to the top 20! Special mention goes out to Arielle Taylor, Nobuya Nagahama and Kellen Stancil.
It was Kansas City in tonight’s Idol. It was rather forgettable with a number of talents and twirps. There were a couple of performers that were outstanding. Casey Carlson was a gal that had an incredibly unique voice and obvious talent.
Another woman stood out- Lil Rounds sang as well as many past contestants that moved on to the finals.
A music teacher named Daniel “Danny” J Gokey was clearly a contender as well. If he can prove he has some diversity, he will be in the finals for sure. (View his audition below.) Update: We found an unofficial fan site for Danny Gokey this early on in the game! Is this crazy or what?!
Tonight’s talent looked pure. Last night, a rocker named Emily Wynne-Hughes was anything but new and pure. As it turns out, she is the lead singer in a band that has performed and toured and that has CDs available on Amazon.
We don’t think people like Emily belong on Idol. There has to be some line drawn between those that have raw undiscovered talent and those that are already professionals exploiting Idol to gain more exposure.
That said, in tonight’s episode nothing really stood out that would make us remember this particular set of auditions come the finals. So if you missed it, just watch out for Daniel J Gokey. We think he is a finalist.
We had taken a bit of a hiatus because there was nothing in reality television we have cared much for since Amazing Race finished its season. Amazing race, in our judgement, was great this year, but not as popular in the ratings. It just did not draw interest, which is a shame because it gets the adrenalin flowing.
Idol, though, is timeless. It could run forever. We will always search for that one singer that stands above the rest and drives towards a dream we all have as we crack on the high notes in the car on the way to work or in the shower.
We love Idol as it gets into the meat, but the initial shows are little more than entertainment. It reacquaints you with the judges. This year we did indeed get our fourth judge. It was obvious in this show that the intent was not to offset the other judges, but to create a kind of kinky girl girl thing behind the table. We will see how that plays out, but it was a nice change from the boring Simon/Paula nonsense.
The show brought on talent from Arizona. It was entertaining. One gal that not only had the pipes, but she had the thighs. Katrina Darrell came on with a bikini and wowed the judges with her body, then with her vocals. We are not sure what she will do to follow up on a bikini that barely covered her derrière. Kara DioGuardi noted that she had quite a nice one. (watch her audition below.)
There were a number of talents and fools. The usual rule was followed. If they look like a joke, they almost always are. There are occasional deviations from the rule, but in general, it follows. We are not sure if that is the intention of the show, however, in trying to find the beautiful people and discarding the not so beautiful even if they can wail. This is television.
This was just the start, and it gave us a feel for the judges, but it was nothing you have to watch just yet. The primary reason to watch the show at this juncture is to see those few people that may be standouts and the freaks that make us laugh or squirm with embarrassment.
It is also the phase in which we see that the judges are completely useless other than as color. Anyone could listen to ten seconds of the talented and put them through and can the rest. It takes no talent whatsoever. Honestly, it is perhaps the case that the judges do help later on in the season, but at this juncture they are pathetic. For one contestant they tell him he should be in a rock band and get more seasoned. Then they tell another contestant either you are born with it or you aren’t. When you think about the millions they make judging people with more talent than they ever had, it is kind of sad.
Still, they are part of the ‘greatest’ show ever on American television. So we still respect their tolerance of days of auditions for only a few million bucks each.
As a final note, as we sign off, we would like the show to add a new prop to eliminate the uncomfortable moments we consistently see at the end of auditions. As the failures are ejected, we see all kinds of pathetic begging and other awkward moments. We would love to see a trap door or stage hook incorporated. If after ten seconds or so, the performer sucks, you pull the handle, the trap door opens and they are gone. No begging, no whining, no swears or tears. Just off to the basement.
It is much too early to judge how this season is shaping up just yet. 27 performers were picked from Arizona alone and the most interesting shows will come when this has been whittled down to 10 in the entire competition. But if you like freaks and making early guesses as to who gets through to the finals, it is their time.
Our early pick for this week was Emily Wynne-Hughes of Los Angeles, CA, who brought some talented rock singing to the audition. She can rock and we think she could make it a ways, although we don’ see her becoming a finalist.
Another that caught us off guard was Arianna Afsar of San Diego CA, who we do see becoming a finalist. (Watch her audition video below) But Arianna makes us wonder. Where do all these people with teeth whiter than white come from? Are white teeth somehow correlated with American Idol and singing talent? Their choices seem a bit too perfect.
We are certain there are plenty of ugly folks with green teeth that can wail, and we are positive there are a ton of gorgeous people with pearly whites that sing worse than a donkey in heat. Somehow, Idol seems to conveniently eliminate those talents from the stage before we get to see them.