Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My TV Picks (aka: Hi, My Name is Style Bard and I Am Addicted to "Reality" Television)

With some shows drawing to a close and some just beginning, I've decided to go ahead and announce come of my choices and preferences in today's competitive reality TV shows. At the same time, I am going to complete embarass myself by admitting some of the crap that I keep abreast of, if not actively watch. I blame DVR for this unhealthy addiction.

America's Got Talent

Disclaimer: I do not actively follow this show. But I do try to keep up with what's happening, and I am guilty of DVRing it. In fact, I refuse to watch it without DVR, because I can--and this is absolutely accurate--watch the entire 2 hours in about 29 minutes. Talk about FILLER.

At the beginning of last week, when we were dealing with the Top Twenty contestants, my favorites were:

The Taubl Family
This is a talented family. They sing, they play various instruments, and they look good on television. I have a little distaste for the Sound of Music-esque troupe affiliations, but I feel that when they really get out and put the show on the road, a good manager and director will know how to keep the young, fresh kids out front and hide away or lose altogether the older generation, or thin the less talented of the pack. I see that the family package is part of the appeal, and I wouldn't take that out of the marketing, but there are really a few too many here. However, some of the music they make is absolutely enchanting and I could watch them do several songs in a row, which says something.

Flaming Baton Twirler, Jonathin Burkin
(you decide what's modifying what, there)
I've never been sure if Jonathon has the personality and starpower to really make a name for himself, but what he likes in attractiveness and charm he makes up for in originality and talent. As they're quick to point out, he never makes a mistake, always knows when to pose or smile, and seems genuinely humble. The real reason I like him is that his act is novel, much like last year's winner. There isn't something like this in Vegas, and I think that's really important. It's something we don't see all the time, and Jonathon masters his craft. That's win-win.

Nuttin' But Stringz
Oh, man. Where to begin? Every time this duo gets on stage they rile the crowd. They're passionate, and they're talented, and they bring together stringed instruments and street attitude. I love them because they're genuine, they glue you to the TV screen, and they come off as modest and charming. I think they can win because they are unique and memorable.

The Cadence
Okay, I have to admit that most of the "talent" I see in this group has to do with how much I want to see them take their shirts off. I'm only human! However, they are actually good at what they do, and I think if they a) showed some skin or b) employed the use of gymnastics or like, harnasses, this could really be a show that's near to the success of one of the current renditions of Stomp! or Blue Man Group. I just never thought they'd make it far in this particular contest, and I don't think they were ready for Vegas. But that doesn't mean they couldn't be, and whoever scoops up the rights to represent this group may have a big hit on their hands in the upcoming years.

I was absolutely aghast at the results which narrowed 20 finalists down to 10 last week (in a staggering 5 hours of television, which I probably watched in about an hour and a half). Nine of them are singing acts. One of them can play a guitar. One of them can play the piano. And one of them is four years old. So it's easy to guess that the only remaining contestant that I could bear to see win would be Nuttin' But Stringz, an act which is unique, electrifying and honestly, the only thing left standing which doesn't make me question the sanity or entertainment quota of America. Except maybe Eli the pianist (you make the easy joke). We shall see.

Project Runway

The remaining contestants: Jerell, Joe, Suede, Leanne, Korto and Kenley.

Who I want to win, based on brief glimpses at their runway collections as well as overall personality and participation throughout the season: Leanne. She can be eye-roll inducing, but she isn't annoying, and she's shown herself to be a strong competitor with a new voice and a love of architectural design. I'd love to see even more whimsy in her design, something always seems to me as though she's still trying to prove herself instead of just being herself, but of everyone left I like her and Korto, but Leanne's final collection made more of an impact and left me wanting to see more. Korto's was also very beautiful though, and I would be happy for her win.

America's Next Top Model

Now this one's just getting started, and I am very much pleased with the quality of the challenges and the entertainment value of the models as opposed to, say, last season. Which absolutely sucked from the very beginning, and left me rooting for no one.

For a far wittier overview of the girls this season, go here. Rich at FourFour is my favorite ANTM recapper, and while I've dabbled with thoughts of covering the show here in depth, I always think of his brilliance and it puts my teasing to shame. And by the way, subtract Nikeysha, as we lost her last week. One bitch down!

So who do I like? Based on two episodes, I have to say my favorite three this far are: Elina, the outgoing bisexual of the season and a stunning beauty with standout facial features; Isis, the transgendered social statement of the season with the cool demeanor to make it through a season of reality TV as well as a kind of inherent talent for editorial posing; and maybe Sheena, just cause this wild girl brings some actual spark and humor to the cast and I want to see more of her. Then again, my enduring favorites are girls I usually pay no attention to in the first half of the season, since early episodes are always filled with drama, hijinx, and obnoxious bitches who are just there to hook the viewers (hi, Hannah!). Often I wind up liking one of the quieter beauties once she finds her place, learns the ropes, and is in a small enough group of girls to get her voice heard. I'm looking at you, Lauren.

And out of the those, my best early choice to take the whole thing would be Isis or Lauren, depending on whether or not Tyra's out to make another loud statement about "different" models (take that to mean what you please), whether Isis pulls her shit together and reverts to her natural modeling talent (ie, stops 'being in her head' or whatever mumbojumbo modeling term they use), and whether someone steps up out of the herd when the duststorm of initial displacement settles. Oh yeah: and how the makeovers go. Eeek, I feel the drama comin' on this Wednesday.

Then again, it's been awhile since a black chick won. I may have to modify these sentiments as the season progresses.

Other shows I'm currently sucked into: Mad Men, Supernatural, and Top Design.
Looking forward to watching: House, Grey's Anatomy, Lost and Stylista.

What are YOU watching? Come on, you can admit your dirty little TV habits...

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