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bluepiano

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  1. bluepiano

    S16.E10: Hoop Dreams

    You said something I've been thinking for a while. I watch this show with an expectation of being fairly consistently blown away by the skill level and creativity of the contestants, and this season I'm not feeling it. You mention Food Network. I would actually say that the level of cooking often feels comparable to Master Chef. (not sure if that's more or less of an insult). To be honest, not every season of TC has been stellar, and there've been at least two or three dud winners. But overall, this is not a strong season. I would've said that this season might best be remembered for the all around friendliness, and lack of cliques or gamesmanship. Until this week. Maybe that's why the white team's actions towards Sarah really stand out. For my part, I thought it was a bush move and understand her being upset.
  2. bluepiano

    AGT The Champions: All Episode Discussion

    With you 100% on all your comments. Attraction was a like a lot of artsy shadow and dance troupes on AGT that hit you over the head with how "uplifting" and "inspiring" their act is supposed to be. I generally feel bored and manipulated. But I never had that feeling with the sand artist. I thought what she did was genuinely touching, and even after watching her segment over three times. I'm still astonished by her technique. After having some time to think about it, I'm actually ticked off by Colin Cloud's act. With these kinds of acts I'm willing to along with the assertions that nothing was set up in advance, or as they always say to the audience participant, "we never met each other before, right?" Now I'm wondering how many other times I've been "taken." Maybe Colin Cloud got pressured into doing this by Simon as a tribute to his old friend (and original AGT judge) David Hasselhoff. But that's still no excuse. Agree totally about the singers. We keep hearing praise for all the performers who have "stepped it up" since their original season. So where's the criticism of a musical act doing a repeat song? And in the case of SoS, even making top three.
  3. bluepiano

    S16.E09: Music City USA

    I'm in a band that plays mostly blues and old r&b, but on the rare occasions we throw in a county song it's usually Hank Williams. "Jambalaya" or "Your Cheatin' Heart," and people of all ages seem to know and love them. Sorry, getting way off topic, but hey, they filmed an episode in Nashville.
  4. bluepiano

    AGT The Champions: All Episode Discussion

    With many clairvoyant or magic acts you suspect things were staged in advance, but I think the trick is to not make it too obvious. David Hasselhoff being in the designated seat was so obviously staged that for me it totally destroyed the entertainment value. Bad decision. Including the idea that a woman who looked like she was about 25 would think of David Hasselhoff, who hit his peak about 30 years ago. As I watching her I was thinking, wow, this takes so much more talent than any of the singers who get the Golden Buzzer. So I was pleasantly surprised when Terry hit the GB. He's one of my all time AGT favorites, and I believe now the only past AGT winner who's made the finals. (Darcy Lynn and Paul Zerdin didn't). For me, it wasn't his best routine, but he's always amazing. Since I'm sure all the "super fan" voting is a total farce, maybe they wanted the reigning AGT champ to go through. If the voting was legitimate, no way I think the other two of the final three this week would've been voted in. I had not seen Lost Voice Guy before. I thought he was funnier than either Samuel Comroe or Drew Lynch, other comedians whose acts are based on their disability. And though he's way more "challenged" than either of those, I never felt he was trying to enlists our sympathy, the way I often feel those others are.
  5. bluepiano

    S16.E09: Music City USA

    The song is "Jambalaya," one of many great classics by Hank Williams, and it mentions jambalaya as well. "Jambalaya and a crawfish pie and file gumbo, cause tonight I'm gonna see my ma cher amio."
  6. bluepiano

    S18.E14: What's Your Motto?

    I'm baffled as well. I can only assume that the producers see him as a colorful character, and think his "personality" has entertainment value. The slobby, loud mouthed guy seems to be a staple of these cooking competition shows. Next Food Network star has had a number of them. (He's also a cartoonish ethnic stereotype, which these shows seem to like too). I really want to see Mia make the final over him, as payback for his having been so nasty towards her. I think his attitude has a lot do with his macho male chauvinism. He sees her as a "little girl" and can't imagine that that she'd be his equal or better. Ariel has seemed like the overwhelmingly obvious choice to win for so long that I'm almost afraid she won't, just so the show can have a surprise ending. I agree. But I'm sure there are a lot of chefs and line cooks working in restaurants that don't look all that different. Probably better for one's peace of mind that you don't generally get to see who's preparing your food.
  7. bluepiano

    AGT The Champions: All Episode Discussion

    I do give him credit for coming up with an original angle that enables him to market himself as something other than a sleight of hand magician, a very crowded field. So crowded that where I live sleight of hand magicians make the rounds of local clubs and bars and do their act for patrons just for tips. And the ones I've seen are really really good. It's definitely become way more "America's Got Singers" since Simon's return. It kills me that he always says, after a variety act performs, "where else would you see this than America's Got Talent." And then somehow the singers always go through at the expense of some amazing variety acts. I guess I'm still harboring a grudge about the early elimination of The Kristoff Brothers, one of my all time favorite AGT acts. The truth is that all the AGT acts that have impressed me were magicians, acrobats, hand balancers, or ventriloquists. I've never seen a singer on this show that wowed me. When I was a kid there were a lot of TV variety shows that presented variety acts. (I fondly remember the plate spinners and Chinese acrobats on Ed Sullivan). I can watch other shows to see mediocre singers doing karaoke, and I especially don't want to see little kids singing. (The dance acts and comedians generally also leave me cold.) Without DVR and FF I would never be able to sit through AGT. Or The Voice, American Idol, or any other TV competition show. They're all about 50% filler, commercials, and judges yacking to hear themselves talk.
  8. bluepiano

    S16.E08: Whatever Floats Your Boat

    I went to college in the "Southern Tier" of New York State. This was pre-Buffalo Wings craze, and my favorite bar food was the "spiedie, grilled marinated beef chunks served on a skewer with a slice of Italian bread to pull the chunks off the skewer and fold them into a sandwich. I haven't thought about that in years. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that there is a Wikipedia entry, according to which the spiedie is actually specific to the very location where I was eating them. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiedie The product placement of cars and kitchen appliances on Top Chef doesn't bug me as much as when challenges require using a sponsor's product as an ingredient. (Sometimes the main ingredient). Then you have advertising crossing over into editorial content. And it's not even labelled "sponsored content" the way you see in newspapers and websites, though obviously everyone knows the score. TC, more than other food shows like Master Chef and Food Network Star, can be a little full of itself about their high culinary standards. (Looking at you, Tom). I guess everyone thinks Maker's Mark is cool, but you wonder where they'd draw the line if enough money was waved under the producers' noses. "For today's challenge, we're going to be cooking with two foods America really loves. Velveeta and Lucky Charms."
  9. bluepiano

    AGT The Champions: All Episode Discussion

    I liked seeing some old favorites like Tapeface, Kenichi, and Paul Zerdin, but in every other respect, this "Champions" thing has become a s---tstorm. The four acts that went through in the last two weeks were all singers. Which is just more confirmation that the "Superfan" voting thing is a farce and Simon is calling the shots, because we all know if it were up to him the finalists would be nothing but singers. (with maybe Vicki Barbolak thrown on). My theory is that former champions were paid a truckload of money to appear, and promised they would not move forward, so no worries about interference with their active careers. Notice that most of the people making the finals likely have no career. At least among the Americans, not sure about the Spanish singer, but for her its an opportunity to get exposure in the U.S. The "Champions" is about trying again to make former contestants happen who were overhyped by the producers in their original season but still couldn't win. Looking at you, Brian Justin Crum. If the voting was legitimate I just don't believe there's a snowball's chance in hell he'd have been the top vote getter. (How ridiculous are those color coded US maps showing the results? Like we're watching CNN Election Central). I hate the Golden Buzzer, since all these past contestants should now be on equal footing. Also hate Simon buzzing acts. Tom Cotter is a pro, and that was hugely disrespectful. To me, he's a throwback to comedians I saw as a kid on shows like Ed Sullivan. Meaning he actually gets on stage and tells jokes, instead of doing an entire routine about having a disability, or inviting people to laugh at him because he's ugly. (That's apparently Simon's taste in "comedy.") My other takeaway this week is that as much as I like Paul Zerdin, and was happy he won his season, I believe that Darci Lynn is a more accomplished ventriloquist. That little girl is so amazing. And I'm virtually certain now that the Professional Regurgitator is doing a very clever sleight of hand magic act. His rippling his stomach muscles and pounding his stomach are all misdirection. I'm not sure why people are disgusted by his act, since the objects he brings up are dry, not covered in digestive juices. A tip off that he's not actually swallowing anything. I just don't believe that a razor blade can be manipulated in the stomach to slice a cherry tomato, or that bolts can be placed on a screw. (How would you even locate those objects in your stomach after they've been swallowed?)
  10. bluepiano

    The Curse Of Oak Island

    As someone who's been interested in UFOs since I was a kid, I can tell you that there are tons of people in that field with exaggerated or even completely false scientific credentials that fall apart as soon as they're closely examined. That's exactly the vibe I got off that dude. It's been amazing to me how someone can make claims like "I worked for NASA" or "I have a top government security clearance" and people will repeat and endorse those claims without ever checking. I think it's a combination of laziness and wanting to believe when someone says stuff you want to hear. Scientific skepticism is pretty much unheard of on this and many other shows on the History Channel. True story. The other day I was walking on a trail near my house and stopped to rest my foot on a rock while I tied my shoe. I noticed that there were some random letters and what might've been Roman numerals pained on the rock. No doubt these are clues to the location of buried treasure, and I will spend years and exhaust my entire financial resources trying to find it. (Well, the last sentence isn't true.)
  11. bluepiano

    S18.E13: An Episode of Firsts

    Wow, Brett and Heather are some nasty human beings. Glad Heather is gone. Brett hopefully is next. He was a sexist, macho pig in that confrontation with Mia. It was clear to me that his main issue with her is that she's a small female, and therefore he has no respect for her. As she intelligently pointed out, his criticisms were about her facial expressions and mannerisms, not her performance in the kitchen. So if she were some 6 foot 2 dude with a deep voice, apparently he would have no issues. For several weeks now, Ariel has seemed so far and away the only logical choice to be the winner, which makes me worry that she won't win, so that they can have a surprise ending. I took it as just another example of Brett's extreme exaggeration when it comes to anything about himself. No more likely than all the conquests of women that he brags about. Just like he wants people to think he's the world's greatest lover, he wants people to think he's the baddest dude on the planet. Good point. I guess some people feel that Mia doesn't have the personality or presence to be an executive chef, but I don't think anyone can doubt her cooking ability or food knowledge, which are as impressive as anyone who's ever been on this show. I even think she might do well on Top Chef, and it's rare I've ever felt that way about any contestant on this show.
  12. bluepiano

    S16.E07: Carne!

    The Hot Brown, like many classic American comfort foods from an earlier era when people didn't obsess about cholesterol, carbs, or fat, is supposed to be big and messy and make you want to nap after eating it. In general, I dislike the challenges in which contestants have to take some classically hearty dish and make it frou frou or "elevated" or deconstruct it. About 90% of the time what they produce, while perhaps creative, has virtually nothing to do with the original. I think you could make a case that a lot of today's trendy restaurants are too focused on being artistic or whimsical and forget that they're actually supposed to be feeding people. In the hip city where I live, I've described the typical dining experience as paying $40 for a small plate of beautifully presented food that leaves you hungry an hour later. I know this might make me sound like a yabbo who wants to stuff himself at all you can eat buffets or be served half a cow for dinner, but I would like to think there can be a happy medium.
  13. bluepiano

    S18.E12: Break On Through

    Over the top and totally gross. His constant talk about his deceased parents (and throwing kisses to the sky) etc. is also over the top, though I guess it's sincere. What bugs me more is his always trying to sound "ghetto." It's something a lot of white teenagers do to sound cool, but usually grow out of well before their 30s. In a lot of ways Brett is like an overgrown adolescent. (Including his bragging about his conquests with women). I would put Mia in with Motto and Ariel in the top group. She has been consistent all season. She's had some issues with teamwork in the dinner services, but when she's been on her own, cooking her own dishes, she's been pretty much flawless. But in the end, this is not a cooking competition. If it's really about finding the person most qualified to be executive chef, then Ariel should win. Motta seems way too laid back to be much of a leader or manager.
  14. bluepiano

    The Curse Of Oak Island

    Actually, that's sort of already happened. Ancient Aliens is full of speculation about the Knights Templar who supposedly acquired, some of their secret knowledge through contact with aliens. Kathleen McGowan, who appeared on Curse of Oak Island as their resident Knights Templar expert prior to Zena Garrison, was an Ancient Aliens regular. Plus, Ancient Aliens is very big on claims that "star maps" were used by ancient civilizations to plot out the location of various holy sites and monuments. These maps had to have been given to them by aliens, since they display advanced knowledge of the cosmos. So hearing this Johnny Come Lately astrophysicist talk about "star maps" had me doing one very major eye roll. Speaking of eye rolls, this week's focus on the "90 foot stone" made me again wonder why pirates (or whoever) would risk life and limb to conceal treasure deep below the island's surface, and then leave a marker that essentially says, "hey you folks trying to find our treasure, keep digging because you're on the right track." Are we to think that people a couple of years ago were plain stupid? Or could the coded inscription say something completely different? Or more likely, could the whole inscribed stone thing be a hoax?
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