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Star Search, Episode 2: It’s All Tiffanyby David Bloomberg -- 01/10/2003
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The new Star Search is back already for episode two. Arsenio Hall is, alas, still the host. He begins by saying this is the show “where you, America,” can help decide who wins. Except that what he really means is that the Eastern half of America can help decide, and anybody in Mountain or Pacific time zones are just s.o.l.
In only the approximately 10 total minutes of voting Wednesday night, Arsenio informs us that almost 900,000 votes were cast. Pretty impressive, I must say. Then he says there was one complaint called in about an O.J. joke on the show and wonders who the heck complains about O.J. jokes. I have to agree with him, but being Arsenio, he takes this too far by repeating it a few times and just making me wish he were Ed McMahon instead.
Arsenio introduces the judges again. First is seven-time Grammy winner Naomi Judd. In watching the first two episodes, I have come to the conclusion that Naomi is the Simon Cowell of Star Search. She even says to one contestant tonight that she’s the type of person who would tell you if you needed a breath mint. The problem is that she isn’t funny like Simon, isn’t clever like Simon, and frankly doesn’t make a whole lot of sense when she talks.
Anyway, the next judge is Arsenio’s favorite Republican, Ben Stein. Then there is the real-life inspiration for Elaine from Seinfeld, Carol Leifer. Ya know, I don’t think I’d really want anybody to know if I were the real-life inspiration for Elaine…
Finally, we have the fourth judge, which is a revolving guest star seat. Today Arsenio introduces Jack Osbourne as one of the most influential talent bookers in the industry and somebody who spent more time on the Black Sabbath tour bus than even he did. I guess those are supposed to be jokes. I just have to wonder what the heck is up with Jack’s hair, which looks like Justin from American Idol with a bad cut job. Arsenio also says that he would cuss to make Jack feel at home, but it’s live TV. Ah. Another joke.
The first competition is in the Junior Singer category. We begin with Tiffany Evans, a 10-year-old who first gives us her tale of woe. Her family was living in a van and couldn’t even afford food. Then they pulled it together and here she is now. She sings “I Am Changing” while everybody in the audience, at home, and at the judges’ table is thinking, “She Is Incredible!” I mean… wow.
After receiving a standing ovation, she gets five stars from each of the judges. Naomi Judd says she lives her songs, Ben Stein wouldn’t have believed it if he hadn’t heard it with his own ears, Carol Leifer says she’s amazing, and Jack Osbourne says he has seen so many singers three times her age and none of them was as good. (Remember, Jack has seen and heard his sister, Kelly, sing. Make of that what you will.)
Unfortunately, somebody else actually has to follow that act. Janel Parrish, 14, from Hawaii sings “”On My Own” from Le Mis. She’s okay. Not great. Nothing to compare with Tiffany. Naomi Judd says she has a future in musicals but still has work to do and gives her two stars. Ben Stein says she’s good but not quite up to the top rank; he still gives her a pretty good four stars, though. Carol Leifer says she has a great Broadway voice and gives her three stars. Jack Osbourne says she’s good and gives her four.
So it’s 20 for Tiffany and 13 for Janel. The audience will have to come out hugely lopsided in favor of Janel if she is to have any chance at all, but you can see by the look on her face that she knows it’s all over but the counting. When the internet vote comes in, it’s 18 for Tiffany and 13 for Janel, for a total of 38 to 26. Tiffany easily wins, and I predict she will win the competition overall. Yes, I know it’s a bit early to predict that, but come on!
The models are next and it once again becomes obvious that nobody really knows how to judge this category. Rada Grocic is first. She was born in Yugoslavia and wants to send money back there to her mother and grandmother. She is, of course, beautiful (that pretty much goes without saying – they wouldn’t be at this level of competition if they weren’t). She walks up and down the aisle, swinging out her hips. She trips a little bit on the walk back, but nothing major.
Ben Stein starts the voting with four stars, saying she’s great. Carol Leifer makes a joke about not knowing anything about modeling (which only goes to support my contention that they don’t know how to vote for this category) and then gives her four stars. Jack Osbourne likewise gives her four stars. Naomi Judd gives her three. Why? Who the heck knows.
Next up is Kim Harlan, a former Miss Teen Georgia. She walks up and down the aisle swinging her hips as well. Not much else to say about it in a recap, really. So, moving on, Ben says he loves it and gives her five stars. Carol says she has a great attitude (how can you tell that??) and gives her four. Jack also gives her four, as does Naomi.
So it’s 17 for Kim and 15 for Rada. The audience votes and tips the scales a bit by giving Rada 16 and Kim 15, but it’s not enough. Kim wins by one vote, 32 to 31.1 2 Next-->
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