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Friday, September 01, 2006


Reality Report: The Winners of Summer

With the summer season of reality shows about to fade away (and the race riots of Survivor to begin), we're mighty surprised at how many of them are still competitive. Reality TV has come so far in its design and execution that it's nigh-impossible to tell who the winner will be (well, except on Celebrity Duets, but we'll get to that later.) Our predictions, forthwith:

Big Brother: All Stars (CBS)
Will Win and Should Win: Will
The 'All-Stars' have seemed more like idiot dupes this season, as the crafty weasel Dr. Will has sliced his way through the show's best players with almost effortless ease. The evidence for his superiority? He's turned our beloved Janelle into a babbling, dick-whipped bimbo. He's masterminded the evictions of his own alliance (Danielle, James, Jase). And most impressively, he's gotten others to do his dirty work. The real achievement, however, is that he's done all this while never being nominated for eviction. Which means that he's admired by the other players, even if they don't like him...an important fact if he is to win the final vote. But I've no doubt he can pull it off. If reality television is really just an extended sleight-of-hand, Dr. Will is its master magician. (And for the record, I still hate him.)

Project Runway (Bravo)
Will Win and Should Win: Michael Knight
Despite winning two of the last three challenges (and coming in second on the third), Michael's path to victory isn't quite as clear as that of Big Brother's Will. But Michael has so much going for him, it's hard to imagine who could possibly beat him. He's focused, talented, with an excellent sense of style and a professional execution. Many of the remaining designers are wildly inconsistent, with readily apparent flaws. (It also doesn't hurt Michael that he's become the pet favorite of judge Michael Kors.) Uli remains a competitive dark horse, but there's a certain logic to Michael in the winner's circle...after picking a chubby white gay and a short Asian woman as previous winners, what would look better on the inevitable Benetton ad than a tall, handsome African-American straight guy?

Rock Star: Supernova (CBS)
Will Win: Dilana
Should Win: Magni, Lukas or Toby
The recent hullabaloo over Dilana's insensistive remarks to the press were pure theatrics intended to blur the already clear picture -- she is the unquestioned favorite to win, an amazing, theatrical performer with an uncanny ability to beguile Tommy Lee.

But in truth, she's the wrong choice, talented though she may be. Magni is the real superstar of the group, a seasoned pro who's already a star in his native Iceland. Lukas is a next-generation Johnny Rotten, an iconic original just looking for an opportunity to blow up big. And Toby (who we admit to having a jones for) is charisma on legs with potential to become the next Jim Morrison. Hopefully the band will wake up and get their heads in the game...there's an enormous amount of talent to choose from (arguably the best musical cast in reality TV history), and any of them could be stars tomorrow (even Storm, who should be a solo artist instead).

Design Star (HGTV)
Will Win and Should Win: David
The most surprising (and entertaining) reality show of the summer has brought its most talented interior designers to the finals, and it's probably a squeaker. But we'll take the less polished David over Alice because he's got the more refined sensibility and an instantly magnetic personality. Plus, we're still amazed that he could make that ugly basement with no windows into a liveable space. Plus, he gets along with everybody, even the bitch goddess Temple. Plus, he's really cute. (Which counts in this case, since the winner gets their own HGTV design show. We'll watch him every week.)

Celebrity Duets (Fox)
Will Win and Should Win: Jai Rodriguez
They've only shown one episode, and it's already crystal clear that the queer guy has it in the bag. No one else is even in his league (which is understandable, since he's been in a boatload of musicals on and off-Broadway). We've had our problems with Jai's vascillating sexuality in the past, but when it comes to his vocal talent, we're straight and true. It's a real bonus that his victory is so lopsided -- the show itself is godawful and embarrassingly produced, so we'll be taking it off the TiVo this week. (The only reason to watch is the increasingly incomprehensible judging of Little Richard. Now, THAT's a queer guy.)

The Ultimate Fighter (Spike)
Will Win: Edwin Dewees
Should Win: Patrick Cote
It's waaaaaay too early to know who'll win this thing (most of the fighters haven't even been in the ring yet), but after the bloody, ultra-violent win by Edwin last week (his hair changed colors from blond to red, I kid you not), we're mightily impressed with him. Just to make it interesting, we'll pick the cutie Patrick to take the big prize...but seriously, Edwin. One scary motherfucker, man.

The Contender (ESPN)
Will Win: Steve "2 Pound" Forbes
Should Win: Cornelius "K9" Brundage
There's no bloodbaths on the more traditional boxing version of reality, and the drama is less gripping as well. But we think Steve is the real deal, a quiet, stealthy champion in the mode of Joe Frazier. We will admit to having a soft spot for the dumb-as-a-brick Cornelius, but that's just our motherly instinct -- to never let the mentally deficient come to serious harm. One hopes that he will, indeed, get some sense knocked into him.
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