Recap: 'The Amazing Race' - 'Murphy's Law'

Teams work as zip-lining waiters and Thai ladyboys
<p>Friday&#39;s &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>

Friday's "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

I guess I can accept that some warm-fuzzies are an acceptable way to compensate for yet another drama-free episode of "The Amazing Race." I wouldn't want to trade emotion and sentiment for tension and excitement very often, but at least Friday's (March 6) "Amazing Race" Leg got something out of what is normally a situation that leaves me frustrated, so...

Let's skip to the recap after the break so I can get to spoiling...

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E! totally screwed Giluiana Rancic

E! totally screwed Giluiana Rancic
Credit: AP Photo

I never thought I'd write these words, but: poor Giuliana Rancic.

New evidence via The Wrap suggests that the "Fashion Police" co-host's controversial "patchouli oil and weed" joke (said in reference to Disney star Zendaya Coleman's hair on the Oscars red carpet) was not only written for Rancic, but that additional comments that put the joke in a far less racially-charged context were edited out prior to air. Here are Rancic's comments in their full context (the bracketed portion was the part edited out):

“I love Zendaya’s style and I love when she has the little hair, she just had it. She has such a tiny frame that this hair to me overwhelms her, it’s really heavy it overwhelms her [and it’s just like too Boho. Zendaya is more high fashion. The hair to me, on her, is making her a little boho] like I feel like she smells like patchouli oil and weed. ...Is she going on tour with the Grateful Dead this summer?"

Rancic took a lot of heat over the joke, including from Zendaya herself, who said in part: “To say that an 18 year old young woman with locs must smell like patchouli oil and weed is not only a large stereotype but outrageously offensive.” The two subsequently made up after Giuliana made an on-air apology, but the host has also reportedly received death threats over the incident. Through it all, E! has remained silent.

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Recap: 'American Idol' Season 14 - Top 8 Girls Perform Motown

America made some shocking choices on Wednesday. Will Thursday be even more surprising?
<p>Joey Cook of &quot;American Idol&quot;</p>

Joey Cook of "American Idol"

Credit: FOX

I put a picture of Trevor Douglas with my Wednesday night "American Idol" recap, because I figured that even with a bad performance last week, he was still likely to advance.

I was wrong.

American made some interesting choices when it came to the Boys but will voters have better or more predictable judgment when it comes to the Girls?

Click through, follow along, comment below and let's find out!

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Recap: 'Survivor: Worlds Apart' - 'It Will Be My Revenge'

Pixelation and monkeys reign as insecurity leads to a big Tribal Council blindside
<p>Max of &quot;Survivor: Worlds Apart&quot;</p>

Max of "Survivor: Worlds Apart"

Credit: CBS

Pre-credit sequence. Oddly, rather than returning to camp post-vote with White Collar, we kick things off on the Blue Collar beach where the crabs are plentiful. Everybody is enjoying their food. Everybody, that is, other than Dan. Dan returns from the sea after a bit of drama that caused him to lose his underwear. He's made a diaper out of a shirt, with a belt around his waist. And with Dan wearing his shirt as underwear, that means Dan doesn't have a shirt. The ladies suggest he might want to cut up his jeans, but Dan doesn't want to "raw dog" in jeans, which makes sense because you sure don't want to be the first player in "Survivor" history to be medically evacuated with chafed genitals. Lindsey babbles about how this was Dan's strategy because he had nothing else going for him. She just wants to get to Tribal Council to give him the boot in his shirted rump.

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Recap: 'American Idol' Season 14 - Top 8 Boys Perform

How will tonight's four non-advancers be announced?
<p>Trevor Douglas of &quot;American Idol&quot;</p>

Trevor Douglas of "American Idol"

Credit: FOX

Last week, the "American Idol" Top 24 performed over two chaotically edited nights. 

This week, we're going to apparently be eliminating eight people, while also showcasing eight performances per night leading up to eliminations next week.

And Aretha Franklin's going to be involved in some way.

Click through and follow along!

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Interview: So Kim talks 'Survivor: Worlds Apart'

The season's first booted castaway isn't proud of that Neutral lie
<p>So Kim of &quot;Survivor: Words Apart&quot;</p>

So Kim of "Survivor: Words Apart"

Credit: CBS

The first player eliminated in any "Survivor" season usually doesn't leave a good impression or a bad impression. Since their torches were snuffed after only an hour-ish of screentime, our reaction to that first booted castaway is usually a little more... Neutral?

Apologies to So Kim.

At least the first "Survivor: Worlds Apart" contestant sent home doesn't try to defend the questionable web of, um, deception that she and Joaquin spun to their fellow White Collar tribemates to attempt to justify their choice at the season-opening Honest/Deceive choice. So and Joaquin decided to pick "Deceive" and collect an Immunity Idol clue and a small bag of beans -- instead of a bigger bean bag and no clue -- but returned to camp and claimed that they'd actually selected an imaginary third option, "Neutral."

"You mean the worst lie that's ever been told?" So laughed when I asked how that particular prevarication came to be told.

It probably wasn't that lie that got So sent home, but it made her seem untrustworthy, which was enough to put a target on her back when White Collar lost inaugural Immunity Challenge of the season.

In her exit interview, So talks about the move to pick "Deceive" and then the resulting lie, as well as her own amusement at discovering that even without a clue, Carolyn was able to find that Immunity Idol. Not surprisingly, So wasn't all that enthusiastic to find herself in the White Collar tribe, but she protests that this isn't a repeat of the fate that befell the Brains tribe in an earlier "Survivor" season.

Oh and which member of her White Collar tribe did So already recognize? Well, probably the same one that many "Survivor" fanatics recognized.

Click through for the full Q&A. You'll probably find yourself wishing we got at least a few more weeks of So on "Survivor"...

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Recap: 'The Amazing Race' - 'I Got The Smartest Dude'

Teams skate and slurp noodles in Japan
<p>Aly of &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>

Aly of "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

Ooops. Somebody forgot to include the drama in Friday (February 27) night's episode of "The Amazing Race," which was edited with less of an exclamation point and more of an unconcerned shrug.

Starting a whopping 29 minutes into the episode, teams started popping up at the Pit Stop and I expected Phil Keoghan to say something like, "Really? We're done?" 

Instead, Phil was asking people things like, "Is there any romantic connection do you think?"

Ladies and gentlemen... Season 26 of "The Amazing Race."

There were good moments in Friday's episode, titled "I Got The Smartest Dude," but they didn't add up to anything, because by the time the eliminated team reached the Pit Stop, they'd been in last for the entirely time and they were just smiling and laughing and happy and ready to go home.

And if they don't care, why should we?

Let's get down to recapping business after the break. 

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Recap: 'American Idol' Season 14 - Top 12 Girls Perform

Get ready for a dozen frantically edited performances from Detroit


Credit: FOX

OK. Maybe Wednesday night's horribly paced performance night for the Top 12 Boys took me a bit by surprise.

Perhaps knowing what's coming for Thursday (February 26) night's Top 12 Girls performances will make it a bit easier to stomach.

Or maybe not.

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Recap: 'The Amazing Race' Premiere - 'Great Way To Start a Relationship'

Six couples and five pairs of blind daters head off to Tokyo
<p>&quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>

"The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

"The Amazing Race" giveth and "The Amazing Race" taketh away. 

Following a season that saw ratings drop on Fridays, "The Amazing Race" got a special Wednesday showcase after the "Survivor: Worlds Apart" premiere and with both long-running favorites instituting format twists this season, CBS was able to spare 90 minutes apiece for the two launches. 

Longtime readers know that I'm pretty insistent that you need to have at least a 90-minute premiere for "The Amazing Race," because the effort to establish 11 teams of 22 players while also giving the necessary exposure to navigating around international locations and 
for various challenges is almost impossible in only 60 minutes. I don't think "The Amazing Race" has ever had an entirely satisfying hour-long premiere.

And the 90 minutes given to Wednesday's (February 25) "Amazing Race" premiere were enough to help me see some of the merit to the Blind Dating twist that gave us six teams of established couples, plus five teams of semi-compatible strangers on an extended bid for both romance and a big chunk of money. Over 90 minutes, I was able to see how it might be interesting to watch the interactions between the fake couples, how they could offer at least variations on the typical "Amazing Race" relationships and how that couple be worthwhile. At the same time, it was hard to deny that the show loses something when each and every relationship is couple-y, as opposed to the usual "Amazing Race" mixture of friends, lovers, siblings, spouses, co-workers, parents-and-children, etc. The show is about how different types of pairings interact in a stressful environment, rather than how different types of the same pairings interact in a stressful environment. The sameness of the couplings kept the results from being as shocking or revelatory as the show wanted us to think they were. 

But I'm interested.

The problem, though, was that in the process of making sure that we spent a lot of time watching how the 10 various strangers were flirting or relating or just trying to co-exist took type from the standard things that an "Amazing Race" episode needs in order to truly sing. 

So when we eliminated a team that we barely saw at all for reasons that verged on baffling, I couldn't get excited about what was still edited to look like a somewhat back-and-forth race to the final mat. 

Some basic details after the break, followed by my usual season-opening handicapping of the teams...

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Recap: 'Survivor: Worlds Apart' Premiere - 'It's Survivor Warfare'

Jeff Probst spends a long time explaining the Blue Collar, White Collar, No Collar thing
<p>Vince of &quot;Survivor: Worlds Apart&quot;</p>

Vince of "Survivor: Worlds Apart"

Credit: CBS

Pre-credit sequence. The teams are arriving in trucks, practically "Wages of Fear" style. Are they trying to say that this season's contestants are combustible? They're TNT, dyno-MITE? The 18 castaways have been divided semi-arbitrarily into three tribes based on occupation and outlook on life, whatever that means. Up first? The White Collar tribe. "They're used to being in charge," Jeff Probst says. So admits she might be the Devil, says that she's demanding and makes her underlings cry. Max, who everybody I follow on Twitter knows from his "Survivor" teaching days, says that he's willing to use people to succeed. Carolyn compares this to her corporate experiences. The Blue Collar tribe is next. "They're used to hard work and physical labor," Probst says condescendingly. He resists calling them "salt of the earth" and "just folks." Mike is used to being covered in oil and mud and wants to get his hands filthy. Lindsey is a single mom and hair stylist and tells us that mentally, there's no one on this Earth who is as strong as she is, which is absurd, but amusingly so. Monkey! Dan is living his dream and he hopes to being remembered. For something. As for the No Collar Tribe? It means nothing! "They use their free-spirit mentality to further themselves in life," Probst says. Jenn does what she wants to do when she wants to do it and she wants a million bucks. Hali is a law student, but she's in it for "like the poor, broken down people." How freely spirited! And Vince seeks truth as a coconut vendor. "My personality's a lot like surfing a wave," Vince promises. Whoa. Lord, this is so silly. Joaquin is in this for the bling. Joe wants people to think he's there to enjoy the beaches, but he's not. "When it comes to the competition, I'm filet mignon and they're a bunch of Steak-umm," opines alleged meathead Rodney. This reminds me that I'm hungry.

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