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Fame, Episode 5: Hit Me With Your Best Shotby Donna Reynolds -- 06/19/2003
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Despite a strong start, Fame is starting to fade in the battle for ratings. This is not good news for Debbie and crew and would indicate to me, at least, that the producers need to get serious if they want to keep this ambitious project from tanking.
NBC has been promoting this show heavily all week with commercials airing so frequently that even a casual viewer can't help but take notice. Draw us in, okay but once we tune in, please give us something worth watching.
All that aside, we have gotten past the semi-finals and tonight the competition begins in earnest. Let's hope that the judges understand what this means and start to offer some constructive criticism.
The show opens with a voiceover – “Previously on Fame” (like ER or something) and we get to see a quick recap of the auditions, rehearsals, and some of the performances. No pep talk tonight. Last week’s losing contestants have a chance to bemoan their fates and we get right to the action.
They still “came to work” and the twelve finalists have a little more energy and intensity. We get the full rendition of the song this time – “I got soul and I’m super bad.” Serena is stiff and Moy is overdoing it. Allyson can dance and Harlemm is the standout for the males.
Debbie and Joey come out to welcome us to a special two-hour edition of Fame. Here’s the deal – the phone numbers for each contestant will be shown during their performances and, once the show is over, the phone lines will be open. But – you can only vote five times from each phone. Sounds like they learned something from the American Idol voting fiasco – that’s good anyway. The viewers will vote for their ten favorites and two will be eliminated. They will announce those two next week.
We meet the judges, the Wrights – Johnny & JoJo – and Carnie Wilson (whose hair is getting lighter every week). America really wants to know if Joey is dating Carnie (we do?), but she’s married and Joey is about to be. The panel will continue to give us their insights even though the viewers will now determine who goes on.
Of course, with two hours to fill there is bound to be some kind of fluff and we are “treated” to a tape of one of the auditions. One of the dancers is a girl in a short black dress who seemed to have forgotten her undies! Ho, ho, ho!
First up is Raymond Lee. He plays a little fiddle and then tells us he thinks he may be the “ugly duckling” of the group (hey Raymond, remember Clay Aiken). He thinks he is going to be labeled the Hot Italian Stallion – not.
Song: “I Want you Back” – The Jacksons. He’s wearing leather and does some strutting around the stage, spinning a little. His family is diggin’ him! Raymond has a lot of charisma and does an okay job.
Carnie says, “It’s so hard not to like you,” and doesn’t like that he puts himself down. She feels his nerves and comments on his shaky notes.
JoJo likes that he is an underdog who can sing. He has a few concerns and isn’t sold on Raymond’s dancing.
Johnny also comments on his shaky upper register but calls it a “decent performance.”
Raymond tells us that he wasn’t scheduled to go first and only got the song three days ago. He was very nervous.
Next is Jamisen Tiangco. She twisted her left foot badly the day before the performance and missed a day of rehearsal but “the show must go on.”
Song: “Miss you Much” – Janet Jackson. She is definitely going easy on that foot but would have helped herself by not wearing 5” heels. Too bad because she has some good moves. She’s a little weak on the vocals but, considering the fact that she could hardly walk the day before, she does well.
Johnny likes her pants and thinks her overall performance was great. He warns her that she is going to have to learn to recover and tells her that he’ll be able to show her some tricks in the future.
Carnie is disappointed. She thinks Jamisen is beautiful and sexy but that she was focused on other things and that hurt her.
JoJo admits that he has been accused of loving all the girls. He isn’t blown away by her vocals, but he still wants her to marry him.
Jamisen feels good but explains that she is used to doing that song with an in-ear and for some reason they wouldn’t let her use it on the show.
For those of you who have been dying to know about the “spoilers,” Debbie is thrilled to be able to show us some of the tapes they have received. These are just as bad as I expected. We witness some people dancing around in their messy bedrooms. No triple threats here! Again, we are told how we can access the “spoiler application.” Sorry, no tapes will be returned.
Moy is next. She understands that fame has its pros and cons. She had to drop everything and leave home with car payments due and no money in the bank. If she gets sent home, she’ll have to find a new hustle, she tells us. Is the gamble worth it? For Moy, it is.
Song: “Unbreak my Heart” – Toni Braxton. This is one of my favorite songs and I am looking forward to Moy’s performance. But she is off tonight. She is too breathy or something. This is not a good choice for her and she doesn’t have a chance to show her dancing. She is way off key too. I am not impressed at all and she was one of my favorites going in.
Moy’s friends are crying but what will the judges say?
Johnny loves her outfit, as always, but he is not impressed at all with her vocals.
Carnie notes that this is a hard song to sing but still couldn’t take her eyes off of her. “You are magical to me,” she blathers. “You just shine.”
JoJo is rather mixed. He tells Moy that she has “it” but says that she raised the bar so high in her last performance that even she couldn’t match it this time around.
Moy admits to having been very nervous but she has a deep admiration for Toni Braxton and wanted to do the song.1 2 3 Next-->
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