After their powerful and fiery original dance flamenco performance, Canadian ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir looked promising for the gold. With two American pairs and one Russian pair nipping at their heels, Moir and Virtue knew they had to really bring it tonight to stay in the lead.
Their performance was stunning. Virtue and Moir went with classic outfits, music, and dancing, giving us a romantic and elegant program that was virtually flawless. Looking like a royal princess and her gorgeous Prince Charming, Virtue and Moir were the belles of the ball of ice dancing tonight.
Nabbing the silver medal for the US, young pair skaters Meryl Davis and Charlie White gave their free skate program everything they had. With powerful and speedy lifts and a pulsing performance set to Phantom of the Opera, Davis and White skated a personal best and won a spot on the Olympic winners' platform.
Picking up the bronze was Russian ice dancing duo Oksana Domnina and Maksim Shabalin. While the pair are talented, and nailed the compulsory round with a strong performance, their program tonight was less than stellar. This was greatly due to the fact of the controversial ropes on their costumes, which they used as handholds for every lift. The NBC commentators mentioned that this sort of work-around for lifts will likely be banned next year. But not banned in time to prevent the Russian pair from getting a bronze.
Alongside the gold and silver medalists were a lot of other impressive performances. Olympic vets Belbin and Agosto also gave their best tonight, executing their spins and lifts well, but unfortunately it wasn't quite enough to get them a medal. Still, they were gracious in defeat and proud of what is possibly their last competition skate together. I'm really glad to see the American skaters taking the high road each time there is a judging, rating, or political controversy.
Up and coming American skaters Samuelson and Bates also put together a lovely program with superior elegance and flow to many of the more experienced skaters out there. Though they only placed 11th, they skated a personal best and hope to be contenders in the Winter Olympics 2014. I'm looking forward to seeing them compete again.
Now here are some more photos of the lovely gold medalist ice dancing team of Virtue and Moir, from the compulsory, and original skate nights. They really know how to make ice dancing both romantic and sexy:
It was an exciting win, and a lot of fun to watch the Olympic stadium erupt with Canadian joy as their ice dancing team broke the Russian stronghold on ice dancing gold. It was also fun to watch Scott Moir going CRAZY, completely pumped about winning the gold. Tessa and Scott sang the Canadian national anthem with gusto, along with all their Canadian fans.
Congratulations to Tessa Virtue, Scott Moir, and their friends Meryl Davis and Charlie White. It's a happy day for North American skating and ice dancing fans.
PHOTOS: Gold medalist Canadian ice dancing pair Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, and silver medalist American ice dancing pair Meryl Davis and Charlie White. Olympic ice dancing compulsory, original, and free skate program photos, c2010 NBC.
As a Chicago girl, I've got to be thrilled that Naperville native Evan Lysacek just took home the gold in men's figure skating. With both strong jumps, stellar spins, and elegant artistry, Evan beat out Russian favorite Yevgeny Plushenko. Winning the free skate program by nearly 2 points, Evan Lycacek edged past Plushenko's total score by 1.31.
Counting on his landed quad jump to win him gold, Plushenko skated with sass, playing to the crowd, obviously confident he had the win. But a few shaky landings on his jumps and some lesser footwork left him a little bit shy of Evan Lysacek's solidly landed jumps and complicated choreography. As figure skating legend Scott Hamilton said, "Plushenko has one thing; Lyscacek has everything."
American figure skater Johnny Weir also turned in a nearly flawless program, landing all of his jumps beautifully and only maddeningly getting his skate caught in a rut-- during a spin of all things. Dressed in one of his trademark flamboyant costumes, a beautiful black and white sequined number designed to highlight every curve of a skaters body, Weir made a strong artistic statement on the ice.
Known for his outspoken nature and sometime crazy sound bites, Johnny Weir had made it clear from the start that he was taking this Olympics seriously. It was obvious at the end of the program that Weir was thrilled with his performance--as he should be. He was confident and fluid on the ice; just a joy to watch. When he received yet another unfairly low score, which the commentators again remarked on, the Olympic audience booed. Weir graciously motioned for the crowd to silence their boos--he knew he skated an excellent performance he can be proud of, and that's what matters.
Figure skating often doesn't turn out as we expect, for even though Switzerland's Stephane Lambiel and Canada's Patrick Chan scored much higher than Japan's Daisuke Takahashi, his 90+ point short program landed him the bronze. Weir's free skate program was only a couple tenths off of Takahashi's, yet Weir ended up in 6th place.
Fourth place Lambiel skated a solid program, landing all of his jumps and executing some of his amazingly speedy spins. Unfortunately nerves seemed to have taken hold, and we lost the free, limber, fluid qualities Lambiel is so known for. Had Lambiel been up to his usual confidence level, he could have easily landed himself a metal.
Though he lost the quad at the beginning of his run, bronze medalist Daisuke Takahashi picked himself up and finished his program with enough strength and artistic impression to keep him in the running. A sure sign of Olympic spirit, and a lovely program.
The fact that so many men fell on the quad or nervously eliminated it from their program, and the fact that Lyscacek won gold without the quad, makes me hope that future competitions will inlcude less of these near-impossible feats and more of the elegance and artistry of figure skating that we love.
Congratulations to all of the medal winners, and big love to the American skaters Evan Lysacek, Johnny Weir, and 9th place Jeremy Abbot. Three figure skaters in the top ten of the world is not too shabby.
PHOTOS: American figure skater Evan Lysacek; American Johnny Weir; American Johnny Weir again; Canadian Patrick Chan; Japanese skater Daisuke Takahashi, American gold medalist Evan Lysacek again; Men's Figure Skating Free Skate Program, 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, c2010 NBC.
Olympic Figure Skater Stephane Lambiel from Switzerland executes one of his many amazing spin moves in Tuesday night's Men's Short Program.
Last night we had a real treat at the Olympics -- some actual artistic performances during the men's figure skating short program. The American favorite, 6'2 tower of powerful elegance Evan Lysacek, skated an excellent program that was all long, graceful limbs and seemingly effortless jumps. He landed in 2nd place, a mere half point behind the first place Russian Plushenko.
Click the pic to see the full video of Evan's short program:
One of the things I hate about Olympic figure skating is that the favorites are chosen well ahead of time, and barring big mistakes, the scoring usually reflects that previous bias. Not considered a contender from the start, controversial and adorably quirky American Olympic skater Johnny Weir nonetheless put on a beautiful and classical performance that should have been scored better than it was.
Click the pic to see the full video of Johnny's short program:
My personal favorite of the night was Swiss Olympic skater Stephane Lambiel. Ditching series of jumps in favor of jaw-dropping spin combinations and actual ballet-like artistry, Lambiel was exciting, inspiring, and just plain gorgeous. An unfortunate bobble on one of the required jumps sadly knocked his scores down, scores that had been built up with high marks for his trademark spinning and choreography. I can't yet find video of Lambiel's awesome short program, but here is a video of a 2009 performance that will give you an idea of the beauty and skill of Lambiel:
Last, but not least, we have American Olympic figure skater Jeremy Abbot. Abbot lost confidence and did less turns on his jumps, which cost him too many points to keep him in any kind of medal contention. Despite this, however, I thought he performed a really nice program, with elegant choreograhy, and it's a shame the judges put so much on the jumps.
Click the pic to see full video of Jeremy Abbott in the Olympic short program:
PHOTOS: Olympics Vancouver 2010, Men's Figure Skating Short Program, Stephane Lambiel, Evan Lysacek, Johnny Weir, and Jeremy Abbot, c2010 NBC.
Okay, The Soup is consistently insane and funny, but tonight's introduction of Michael Emerson to the show was just plain genius. While surprise guests are pretty common on The Soup, usually it's a one gag bit where the star feels awkward and goes away quickly. Not Emerson. Not only is this man king of creepy drama, but he knows how to play satire. Watch for yourself:
If you haven't seen the show or clip, highlights include Michael Emerson finding the plot of 24 "confusing". When told by Joel that some TV characters get stabbed and then they come back to life, Michael scoffs and says "Ridiculous." Michael also asks if Joel is in some alternate reality that exists at the same time as the shows he's showing. (He's really not off base that a show that shows clips of shows is confusing...heh.)
I loved that when Joel introduced "Reality Show Clip Time," Michael said, "Define reality," in a spooky Lost sort of way. And I do agree with Michael Emerson that watching clips of the Kardashians makes me want to go move to an island somewhere.
So, all in all, just brilliant. This episode of The Soup is further proof that Michael Emerson is made of win. He's one of the best Soup guest stars I've ever seen, and I think the show runners agreed, because that's the longest time any guest I've seen has been on the show. Good on them for recognizing comedic talent when they see it.
You can watch The Soup on E!, Friday nights at 10/9c.
PHOTO: Michael Emerson, who plays villian Ben Linus on Lost, visits Joel McHale on the set of E! clip show The Soup, c2010 E!Online.
Tonight was a Walt Disney World extravaganza on Cake Boss, "Castles, Cannolis & Cartoon Characters". Buddy and Mauro head down to Disney World with their families for work and vacation, enjoying all the Disney delights and also participating in the Epcot Food and Wine Festival.
It was also a special occasion as the Cake Boss' daughter Sofia was celebrating her birthday. Though Buddy had originally planned on buying a Disney cake for her while they were down in Orlando, Sofia had other ideas. After hugging one of her fave princesses Ariel, she begged her father to make her a princess castle cake. How could he refuse? After Sofia got her way, Ariel joked "Sounds like me and King Triton." Pretty funny stuff for a Disney princess.
Buddy pulled some strings and got himself into one of the Disney kitchens, so he properly make Sofia's Disney castle cake. While Buddy talked with the gourmet chef loaning them the kitchen, there was a funny moment when Buddy asked about "fondant", and the chef had no idea what he was saying. Thus arose an amusing language problem, with the Hoboken pronunciation of "fondant" being quite different from the French one.
Buddy and Maura had a tough time putting together the cake. Just imagine yourself, trying to make dinner in someone else's kitchen. Where are the pots, the utensils...how does an electric burner work? Now magnify that by 10, with Buddy and Maura trying to figure out where all of the tools of the cake trade are, where all the ingredients are kept, and how to use a small oven that's radically different from their old school industrial oven at home.
The first mishap occurs when Buddy "cooks" the sponge cake for a half hour, only to discover the oven wasn't on. Then Mauro and Buddy search the kitchen looking for the fondant, only to find it under lock and key. Our Cake Boss bakers had to wait until the resident chef arrived to unlock the much-needed fondant.
Back at home, Buddy has sculptors on staff to make the detailed figures on the cake. This time, he was on his own, and Buddy did an amazing job with the Disney princesses. It was fun watching Buddy and his family meet up with the Disney princesses in the park, and then see Buddy back in the kitchen making up perfect mini replicas out of modeling chocolate. He made four princesses, his daughter's favorites: Ariel, Mulan, Jasmine, and Belle.
The castle cake was huge, with bricks, and arches, and turrets. The detail was fantastic, even on the platform, where Mauro added some water and little speckled candy rocks. Buddy added the princesses and voila! A cake fit for a princess. Sofia was thrilled, and looked adorable in her Belle outfit. It's no doubt going to be a birthday she always remembers.
The second part of Cake Boss, "Castles, Cannolis & Cartoon Characters", centered around the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. Buddy had Frankie drive down from New Jersey with trays and trays of freshly made cannoli shells, while Buddy and Mauro whipped up enough filling to make cannolis for 2000 people. Buddy estimated it would take 350 pounds of cream!
At the Epcot Festival, Buddy and Mauro's Cake Boss cannoli booth was hopping, with people grabbing up cannolis as fast as they could make them. Buddy explained to enthusiastic Festival guests that were gushing over the cannolis that the secret was to fill them with fresh cream on the spot. "No one likes a soggy cannoli," Buddy stressed, and truer words were never spoken. Let's not even talk about frozen cannolis some restaurants dish out.
Disney World was a Cake Boss success. Buddy got tons of great publicity via Carlo's signature cannolis at the Epcot Food & Wine fest, enjoyed a Disney vacation with his family, and made a perfect Disney princess birthday for his daughter.
Watch Cake Boss on TLC, Monday nights at 9/8c, and midnight/11c. Check your local listings for encores, and for reruns of previous Cake Boss episodes.
PHOTOS:Cake Boss, "Castles, Cannolis & Cartoon Characters", c2010 TLC. Used with permission.
Tonight was a fantastic Super Bowl game, with the underdog New Orleans Saints surprising the hell out of everyone who said the Indianapolis Colts were going to easily win. Sometimes the Super Bowl ads entertain more than the actual game, but this is one year where that was definitely not the case. This was not only because the close score for more than half the game was exciting football, but because the Super Bowl ads just weren't all that overwhelming.
One ad that gets kudos for originality, sight gags, stuntwork, and selling your product well was Bridgestone tires. They put together this little nugget entitled "Killer Whale".
I really really liked this Super Bowl ad for Google, entitled Paris. Maybe it's a mushy girly girl thing, but you still have to give them credit for the idea. Not only is it sweet, fun, with a little bit of mystery, it very quickly and accurately tells you all the cool and informative stuff you can get on Google--from the practical to the silly. Rarely has a simple text ad been so effective.
You can't have a Super Bowl without a Budweiser Clydesdales ad, and they didn't disappoint us this year. While this doesn't measure up to the dalmation training the young horse, it's still really cute and sweet and those Clydesdales are gorgeous as ever.
I'm not normally a fan of the whole male neanderthal vibe of Super Bowl ads, but this Megan Fox Super Bowl ad for Motorola does have some pretty funny stunts in it that were at least worth a laugh. (*Click* pic to see video.)
I like that Coke ads are usually the gentle giant of the ad race, and this funny Super Bowl ad "Sleepwalker" is another example of how to be amusing and entertaining without being offensive. It's also got some awesome effects. (*Click* pic to see video.)
And of course, who can resist Betty White and Abe Vigoda playing football in this Super Bowl ad for Snickers?
ETA: I just want to say that I find it personally annoying that women in their underwear in commercials look like Victoria's Secret models, but when we finally get guys in their underwear? We get pudgy guys in loosey whities. Talk about inequality.
Okay, so tonight's Lost season 6 premiere "LA X, Parts 1 & 2" was just as much a mind bender as the season 5 ender "The Incident". Leave it to Lost to give you the aftermath of a HUGE cliffhanger with tons of scenes that don't actually tell you what happened after the bomb.
Let's see if we can recap the big Lost premiere moments. We start with Jack on the Oceanic flight, and it seems as if the bomb detonation has worked. The plane hits some turbulence, but doesn't crash. Rose is there, Bernard is there, Sun and Jin. Kate is there, in handcuffs.
But some things seem different. Hurley tells a curious Sawyer that he's the luckiest lottery winner on earth; that nothing bad ever happens to him. Boone is sitting near Locke, with no sister Shannon. And then there's the biggie--Desmond is on the plane as well. This seems to stir something in Jack, and he asks if they've met before. Desmond doesn't seem to remember anything, but later on he disappears from the flight.
Jack is called to the back of the plane to save someone locked in the bathroom--turns out it's Charlie, who swallowed a bag of drugs in an attempted suicide. He's not happy that Jack saved him. "I was meant to die," he tells Jack glumly, in an eerie parallel to the Lost sequence of events we know.
It was interesting to see how things would turn out if the plane didn't crash. I liked the easy friendship between Boone and Locke--a sort of fascination on Boone's part again--that mirrored their earlier relationship. It was hard to watch Sun and Jin, their marriage still strained. As Jin gets taken away by airport security for having undeclared wads of cash in his suitcase, Sun keeps her English to herself and lets him get into trouble.
Kate does a masterful escape once again, with just a teeny bit of help from bad boy Sawyer. Kate ends up forcing a cabbie to drive at gunpoint--with Claire sitting next to her on their getaway ride. And then we get another twist--Jack finds himself in the airport claims office with Locke. Locke lost a suitcase of knives, and the airline lost Jack's father. There's a nice scene with these two, when Locke tells Jack that no one can know where his father is. After all, the airline hasn't lost his father--they've only lost his body. Is this perhaps a hint about Locke's soul as well?
This isn't all, though. After we first see Jack on the plane, we then turn to Kate's point of view, where she wakes up dangling from a tree. On the island. Yes, that's right, Kate is still at the bomb site, though she's now back in her own timeline. And Sawyer is there, and Jack. Wait--Jack? But...
Sawyer is furious that the plan hasn't worked, and Jack for once has no answers for anything. Kate then hears Juliet, who somehow is still under the rubble, barely alive. So Sawyer at least gets to be with her one last time, but has to suffer through the realization of losing her--again. On top of it, she dies just before telling him something "important".
Hurley gets visited by the ghost of Jacob, who tells him to take a dying Sayid and the mysterious guitar case to the temple (home of the smoke monster and young Ben's life-saving change) in order to save him. The wound is too bad for Jack to heal, so he goes along with Kate, Hurley, and Jin to the temple. They're nearly killed by Others before they open the guitar case to find a message from Jacob that supposedly says they'd better save Sayid or else.
Meanwhile, we get a glimpse of Ben and Not-John-Locke. Ben is still confused as to why Jacob didn't put up a fight. Ilana sends her men in to find Jacob, and they shoot Not-John--but the bullets just bounce off. Then the Smoke Monster appears, and Ben learns that Not-John IS the Smoke Monster. Who just killed a bunch of men.
Ben is powerless to stop him. Shocking the collection of new crash victims on the beach with his Locke appearance, Not-John punches out a terrified Richard and carries him off to who knows where. As creepy as he's been in the past, I still have a soft spot for Eyeliner Man Richard, and don't want to see him meet a bad end.
Back at the Temple, Sayid drowns, despite the Others supposed attempts to revive him in the "healing pool". When the Others at the Temple discover that Jacob is dead, they freak out, sending up a flare to warn everyone and barracading themselves against the Smoke Monster they fear is coming. Then a very dead Sayid wakes up, which begs the question--is he Sayid, or is he perhaps Jacob returned? Will we now have a Not-John and a Not-Sayid?
The other twist is when Sawyer keeps Miles behind to help him bury Juliet. He has an ulterior motive, because he wants Miles to use his talents of listening to the dead. Sawyer is frustrated when Miles tells him Juliet's message is "It worked." If she means the bomb worked, and things went back to normal, then what are they all still doing on The Island? Do we now have two alternate realities operating at the same time?
Lost has certainly started the final season off with some big questions. Will any of them be answered in the next episode, or will we be left hanging all of season 6? There's only one way to find out...
Just a reminder that the final season of Lost premieres TONIGHT. With one of those Lost recaps episodes on at 8/7c to catch viewers up on what they may have missed, the new Lost season begins with a two-hour double episode "LA X, Parts 1 & 2".
Last night's 52nd Annual Grammy Awards has to be one of the better awards ceremonies we've seen of late. Though it felt a bit odd to have so few actual awards presented, it was nice to have such a performance-driven show, where acts like Lady Gaga (with Elton John), Pink, and Beyonce pulled out all the stops.
After all the jabs at Adam Lambert's sexy AMA performance, it will be interesting to see if anyone mentions Pink's near nudity, Lady Gaga's revealing costume, or Beyonce's crotch-grabbing with the same disdain. I'm guessing not. Certainly Lambert's performance was overtly sexual in places, but it also occurred after little kids' bedtimes, unlike tonight's ladies.
Despite my jabs at the girls, however, they did put on some spectacular Grammy Awards performances. Pink's high wire act was apparently a repeat from the VMAs, but I hadn't seen it, so it was jaw-droppingly amazing to me.
Taylor Swift nabbed some top honors, including "Album of the Year". I don't really get what the fuss is about this still-very-green performer, but apparently a lot of industry people see potential in her as much as her fans adore her. So hopefully she'll develop into an extraordinarily talented powerhouse.
Right here you'll find news and no holds barred reviews on all things TV -- primetime shows, recaps & highlights, late night TV, actors we love (and love to hate), TV shows to watch or avoid like the plague. Tune in regularly for a fresh TV News and Reviews post.
Valerie David is a Featured Entertainment Writer for Yahoo!, including Yahoo! omg!, Yahoo!TV and Yahoo!Movies. She's also written for TVOvermind, TheFrisky.com, TVNow and IMDB, has conducted interviews with TV and movie actors, and loves giving her opinion on quality shows, guilty pleasures, and hopeless failures--that's right, she scars her retinas so you don't have to!
(TV News and Reviews is a participant in the Entertainment Earth Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to EntertainmentEarth.com. It's a website the author has happily used to order TV/movies/comic toys/figures/games for herself.))