Sunday, August 16, 2009

Reviews and Updates-America's Got Talent, Shark Tank, Hell's Kitchen

The chefs keep smoking on Hell's Kitchen 2009 and Gordon keeps cussing. We've got an update.

America's Got Talent begins the rundown to the big finale and we've got pics, videos, reviews and predictions of the first twenty in the semi-finals.

Here's a new show from ABC, "Shark Tank" and we take a look at it.

All with pics and videos you'll find nowhere else on the Internet.

Pic of the Day

Hell’s Kitchen 2009

Fox’s Web Site for the Series HERE.

I tune in weekly to watch Hell’s Kitchen and it’s pretty much the same week after week. Hell’s Kitchen opens for the night, the guests arrive in fine limousines, the red and blue kitchens, now all girls and all guys in each, begin to cook, and Gordon Ramsey begins cussing, yelling, screaming and humiliating.

I’ve compiled some pic montages from the series thus far but beyond that I’ve not honed in on a winner and frankly this reality cooking show doesn’t become interesting until much later in the contest.

I will launch into my weekly complaint that these wannabe chefs are always shown smoking and I got to wonder why the producers insist on this.

It wasn’t that long ago that myself was a smoker and I always feel guilty complaining about this. But the scenes of these chefs smoking bring nothing to the table in terms of intrigue or viewer clarity.

I definitely do not want the gubmint getting involved in the issue by issuing some sort of law making it illegal to show people smoking on television when a little production common sense would avoid such an awful thing.

My bigger concern is that right now, with my granddaughter’s generation, we have for the first time a generation of Americans who will, from their moment of birth, been part of a society that knows about the dangers of smoking. Until Kaitlyn’s generation, it could be argued that all the dangers of smoking were not known and many got hooked on tobacco before knowing the problems with inhaling smoke into healthy lungs, not to mention second hand smoke. And while I consider myself somewhat of a libertarian on the matter in that the freedom to smoke is a personal choice and folks that want to do it should be allowed to do so, I will suggest softly that one can go an entire life and not smoke one cigarette and not miss it a whit. Just throwing it out there.

I’d like for Kaitlyn Mae not to be exposed to cool and happening chefs smoking and have her think that this looks like a really fun thing to do. If these smart cooks were smoking, so Kaitlyn might think, maybe it’s an okay thing to do. Maybe I’m over-reacting but again I ask, what do these smoking scenes bring to the show? If they provided some kind of insight than I’d be fine with it. As I see it, it’s gratuitous and unnecessary.

But I must shut up now because next thing you know some liberal with nothing better to do with his or her life will get it into their head that they need to tell us how to live and make such as showing smoking, a perfectly legal activity mind you, on television.

So I write of my concern and hope that maybe the producers of this show will get a clue.

America’s Got Talent

America’s Got Talent 2009 is heading toward its September finals and it begins to get interesting.

I quite enjoy this show in that there is offered a plethora and variety of talent in the acts and the things people do continues to amaze me. Further, offbeat and quirky acts often win this reality contest and go on to smashing success. One such act, a ventriliquist, has been quite successful and had two shows at my own Delaware state fair, both sold out.

So far we’ve got, as of this writing on 8/15/09-ten acts going into the semi-finals:

Acroduck-a group of fellows who dunk the basketball and perform on exercise equipment at the same time. The action is choreographed in such a way that there’s always a fellow bouncing up and down on a trampoline of flipping on the ground, one “walking” up a wall, another with a basketball going through the hoop from somewhere else on the stage. I think it’s quite an intriguing act although I’m not convinced this act will win. Whatever, this group will go on to bigger and better things as what entertainment they bring is unique, interesting and requires no small about of talent and practice.

Kevin Skinner is a bluesy type of country singer and he’s good. The only thing is that it’s tough for an individual singer to win this contest unless they are older, like Britain’s Susan Boyle, or very young like the young girls that almost got through early in the series.

A young boy name Arcadian Broad plays classical piano and dances over the stage quite handily. He began this contest just dancing but this past week he began his act by playing the piano then launched into a rollicking dance to the tune of “Footloose”. The judges admonished him to concentrate on just the dancing but I think this was bad advice.

First, he is a good dancer for one so young but I’m not convinced his dancing will the sort of thing folks will pay to sit and watch. Second, the combination of a classical piano player and great young dancer is the sort of thing folks might pay to sit and watch. Just my opinion, of course.

Grandma Lee is an older woman, in her 70’s I think, who is a comedian and she’s okay. From what I’ve seen of her comedic show she wouldn’t have a chance save for her age. She uses her age to get yucks about sex via poking fun at the elderly, their forgetfulness, their dearth of sexual opportunity. Which is fine, it is funny but I don’t know if it’s enough to make Grandma Lee a winner. Maybe if she expanded that comic repetoire to include a senior citizen’s look at current events, some a bit more zippy.

Finally we have the Drew Thomas magician and hey, there always has to be one magic act in every year’s America’s Got Talent competition. This is a good magic act and I think Thomas has a better than even chance of winning, definitely to be in the top five.

The Fab Five are a group of sisters who dance in rhythm, a tapdancing sort of thing. I just don’t think this act will make the finals, much less win. First, the fact that they are sisters really isn’t part of the show. It’s the sort of thing viewers learn before the act and cluck in admiration but whether or not they are related brings nothing to the performance. Doesn’t hurt the act, mind you, but doesn’t help.

The Texas Tenors are a trio of male singers who do a good job with the harmony. But nope, I don’t think this act will win and I think this mostly because, well there’s another harmonious group that will beat them handily.

This year there is a couple who perform an acrobatic act called Paradizo Dance. This duo gives a very amazing act although at first one might think that two folks lifting each other up and such isn’t the stuff of spectacular wins on America’s Got Talent. The thing with this husband and wife team is that he is quite a big guy and she lifts him up often during the performance. Further, when he lifts her, it is quite amazing to watch, not your normal acrobatics. I’ve never seen such gracefulness in an act like this.

I don’t think Paradizo Dance will win this thing but they’ve got a future as performers in front of them, I’m sure of it.

Tony Hoard and Rory his dog have an act that squeaked through to the semi-finals. Sure, Rory’s a cute dog and very good at retrieving Frisbees as they shoot across the stage from all angles. The dog jumps on Tony’s back before catching a Frisbee or works his magic from many angles, all the while as loud music plays and the crowd screams and cheers.

The problem with this act is it’s too disjointed. Obviously Rory is the star of the performance even if Tony works endlessly to train the dog. But a show with a dog catching Frisbees over and over, even if done cleverly with cool music….this is just not the stuff that people are going to pay to see. It’s confusing and only holds attention for a short while until the eyes start to glaze over. It is, however, an entertaining performance and hey, Tony and Rory might make a great introductory act.

Finally I now name the act that so far I think will win this thing in 2009. Their name is Voices of Glory and they have a good story. They are three siblings, two brothers and a sister. Their mother had been in a coma after being hit in a car by a drunk driver. The three kids began to sing together as a way to somehow get through to their comatose mother.

Their mother did come to consciousness and the Voices of Glory act was born.

I love their harmony. It’s the little girl who has the powerhouse of a voice but their harmony is pretty. This act has what it takes to win this thing and so far I’m hoping they win the big prize.

Below are remix videos of the acts listed above, with my fine commentary super-imposed on the scenes.

Shark Tank

Here’s a new show thrown into the middle of the doldrums of summer lineup that has possibility. From ABC, it’s called “Shark Tank” and there are no underwater creatures in this movie.

The “sharks” are five investors. The “shark food”, as it were, are ordinary folks who have what they consider a fabulous idea that they want to market.

Some of the folk seeking money from the sharks are already in a business that needs a fresh cash infusion to keep on going. One such fellow featured on the episode aired 8/9/09 was a pie maker with a specialty in sweet potato pies. This guy had suffered some severe setbacks in the continuing pursuit of his dream but he battled his way back to business and he did seem to have a happening and ongoing pie business.

He needed some new baking equipment, however, so he asked for $460,000 in return for 10% of his business.

This is how the “deal” works. In return for some amount of money, estimated and justified by the requestor, a percentage of the business is offered to whatever shark takes the deal.

The sharks, being sharks we must assume, will often counter-offer for an even larger percentage of the business being offered by the entrepreneur for the money requested. One shark accepted the pie man’s offer for funds but wanted not 10% of the business for the money asked, but 50% of his pie business. The pie man accepted the counter-offer and we are left to assume, at least at this point, that everyone lives happily ever after.

Of course there must be crazies in this show, just for viewer interest if nothing else. One entrepreneur had some way-out idea for implanting blue-tooth deviceds directly into peoples’ heads. He was perfectly serious and the subject of much shark mirth.

Another interesting entrepreneur featured on this premiere show was a youngish woman who was the nanny of a little boy who had to take much medicine for some illness or another. It was such a task to get the child to take the medicine that she designed a little elephant shaped medicine dropped. According to the nanny entrepreneur, the child’s medicine tantrums stopped once the medicine was administered via her little prototype of the elephant eye dropped type of thing.

The female shark accepted the offer but she too wanted 50% of what we assume will be a new product soon to be on the market, that of an elephant shaped medicine dropper.

I kind of like this show and would recommend. We’ll keep following it and see where it goes. If nothing else, it’s a lesson in how business works and an insight into the mind of a venture capitalist.

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