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Saturday, May 13, 2006


Reality Report: Choosing The Winners

With the imminent season finale of Survivor: Exile Island, we've sadly realized our spring reality shows are coming to an end. We don't talk about all of them regularly, because we're vaguely ashamed that we watch this much television in the first place. But for those of you who share our obsession, we offer these predictions:

The Amazing Race 9 (CBS)
Will Win and Should Win: BJ and Tyler
Of the teams that remain, two of them have traded the lead for almost the entire series. In what we expect to be a tight final leg, we're picking the resurgent hippies BJ and Tyler over the unconsciously homoerotic frat boys Eric and Jeremy when the pressure is on. E&J are too easily distracted by external stimuli (like the loveable but bumbling third team, Ray and Yolanda). The show's not back to its pre-Family Edition strength, but it's proven to be engaging once again.

American Idol (Fox)
Will Win: Elliott Yamin
Should Win: Taylor Hicks
Katharine proved in last week's devastating upset that she's got a strong fan base. However, she's so inconsistent week-to-week that we just can't support her as the top Idol. The judges have been drumming for the vastly overrated Elliott for almost a month, and people seem to listen to Simon...he's in the top three with a bullet. Which is a damn shame, because the only true artist left, Taylor, would blow the business model of American Idol to shreds. A 29-year-old white blues singer, with jerky Joe Cocker-esque moves and a soulfully heartbreaking voice, is an up-from-the-people choice we could really use these days.

America's Next Top Model 6 (UPN)
Will Win and Should Win: Joanie
Yes, Danielle takes beautiful pictures. And the producers are obviously keeping Jade around for some reason. But Danielle strikes us as a diamond that's way too rough, and Jade's progress is due to the fact that she's good television. (She's 26 years old, and hasn't gotten very far...my guess is that her abrasive personality keeps her from getting regular work.) That leaves us with Joanie, who has shown true growth, dynamic flair and a savvy instinct during photoshoots. That's more than enough to win this silliest of competitions.

The Apprentice (NBC)
Will Win: Lee
Should Win: Tammy
Donald Trump's rapidly-dying ego exercise has been so erratically ridiculous this year that it's possible he could pick anyone this year. (He's already fired the two really strong candidates, Bryce and John.) Of the five mediocrities left, I'd pick the proficient Tammy. My guess, however, is that Trump will pick the arrogant and devious Lee, who he's had a boner for in the last few weeks. I can't wait to see NBC fire Trump at the end of this season.

Survivor: Exile Island (CBS)
Will Win:
Should Win: Terry
Terry's come-from-behind heroism has been a great journey, but it was built upon his strength and ability in the challenges...not on making friends. With a journey packed with people he's beaten, he doesn't have much of a prayer unless they grow a conscience and reward him for his superior play. With Cirie looking to be in trouble at the end of the last episode, the only jury favorite left would be Aras (who I hate but most people don't). Survivor has never been about being the best athlete or politician; it's about winning over the people you've fucked over, and Aras is a master of the art.

Top Chef (Bravo)
Will Win and Should Win: Harold
With the best chef already out of contention (Lee Anne), the Las Vegas finale should be a cakewalk for Harold, whose no-nonsense style will triumph over the bitchtastic bisexual Tiffani and the underqualified sissy Dave. Harold is the only one of the three who has the respect of head judge Tom Colicchio, who seems to lord his will over the other panelists. It's bound to get ugly -- no show on television is as packed with as much arch drama as they surging hit. Sharpen the knives, everybody!

The Ultimate Fighter 3 (Spike)
Will Win: Mike
Should Win: Matt
A lot of contestants are still left in the latest edition of the mixed martial-arts, many of whom haven't even fought yet. But our eye is trained on two standouts: Mike, the gold medalist in jiu-jitsu at the 2005 Pan Am Games, and Matt, the deaf cutie who is a three-time NCAA national champion. Either could take it, but we think Matt's recent head injury might swing it to Mike.
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