Hyphen TV: So Phenomenon

January 30, 2012

Teddy Lee with a teddy B[ear]

We finally got it, Top Chef fans: Paul and Ed, head-to-head (fun AND rhyming!). But first they had to work together in the relay race-ish Quickfire challenge. Paul interviewed that he's always been bad luck when teamed with Ed, and he kept the losing streak up when he neglected to add the crucial shrimp to their shared plate. "Too bad; you have a nice flavor," Padma said about their disqualified dish. She just loves adding salt to the wound, doesn't she?

This is the only Top Chef photo I have this week ... note the lack of shrimp.

The elimination challenge had the chef pairs each picking a dish that both chefs had to prepare to serve to a huge crowd of people at a block party. Ed and Paul chose to make Korean barbeque, specifically kalbi (short ribs, yum). But wait, there's more! After the chefs selected their dishes, they were told that they had to make a healthy version of that dish to serve to the diners. "All Asian food is healthy," Ed interviewed, not an ounce of sweat on his brow. That debatable belief in mind, he made a pretty traditional-looking Korean dish, serving a piece of short rib with the fat trimmed on a piece of rice flour bread (instead of the usual rice) with kimchi puree and picked cucumbers and daikon on the side. The sandwich was open-faced, which proved understandably confusing when the diners were left to serve themselves.

Paul, on the other hand, was all about substitutions in his kalbi. He replaced the beef with turkey meat and served it ssam (wrapped)-style on a lettuce leaf. He added eggplant to the meat to give it "fatty mouth feel," which maybe is what I need to make turkey meals taste less bland. On the side was some white peach kimchi, which sounds crazy and delicious and I want it.

It was easy to see that Paul had bested Ed here, landing in the top and going on to win the challenge and another $15K. Even if he doesn't win the whole thing, at this point Paul is going home with a real winner's chunk of change. Go, Paul, go!

Ed, of course, was in the bottom. The judges took him to task for barely making any alterations to the dish, trying to BS his way through judges' panel, and I was certain (and bummed) that he seemed to be the one to go. But then by some miracle, one of the chicken salad dishes was deemed the worst and Ed was saved. I don't want to see this laziness from you again, Ed! That was CLOSE.

A lot to report on in American Idol news ... my recording of the San Diego auditions got messed up by some kind of "footballing" "match," so forgive me for not mentioning the adorable Ashley Robles and her even more adorable daughter. The singer/DJ made it through, and I'm sure we'll be seeing more of her. Alex Wong, our favorite So You Think You Can Dance star, also made it through to Hollywood, but didn't seem to make my recording? He's another one I know we'll see more of, so I'm not worried.

Ashley Robles couldn't be cuter.

And then there was Galveston, where we started out with auditioner Phong Vu, who mentioned a few times that he was born and raised in Houston. After hearing him speak for a bit ("I will make you shock and wow," "It's just so phenomenon") and then hearing the gong they played when Phong tried to pull on a locked door, it was clear that this audition would be a mess. Phong told the judges that he loves female pop singers like "Celina" Dion and then sang an appalling version of "Unbreak My Heart" before showing off his "iconic moves." He did not make it to Hollywood. Oh, Phong. You seem like a nice guy, and I'm sorry that this show took it upon themselves to mock you. But ... oh man.

Just no, Phong. No.

On Face Off, Sue nearly died with embarrassment upon the arrival of nude models the artists had to paint. She really seemed like she wanted to crawl into a hole and die. Then we didn't see much of her for the rest of the episode, so I have to assume that she gained control of herself. Once again, she was safe in the middle of the pack. Break out, Sue! We all want to see you at the top!

There is a truly awful show I watch for some reason called 24 Hour Catwalk hosted by Alexa Chung. You may have already guessed that designers have to create a catwalk-ready collection in -- wait for it -- 24 hours. There are two stages to the competition where designers have to create something absurd while using an item that's even more absurd. This week, 24-year-old architect Teddy Lee and his competitors had to create a maternity outfit that incorporated diapers. The judges liked his bright colors and the fantastical feel of his garment, and so he made it to the 24 hour round.

The top part is made of pink and blue diapers. Crazy!

... which involved creating outfits for an infant, young child, preteen, and mom that incorporate a teddy bear. Have I mentioned that this show makes no sense? At least Teddy got to work with a teddy (ba-DUM chhh). After starting out with a Victorian/Marie Antoinette (um, those are not the same thing at all, Ted) inspiration, Teddy's seamstresses convinced him to pull back and tone down the costume level. He did an admirable job of heeding their words, creating an adorable collection that used a bit of the teddy in each outfit (loved the bearhead purse for the 12-year-old girl). Teddy won the challenge and $10K, giving him the seed money he needed to make the transition from architect to fashion designer. Congrats, Teddy! I look forward to the Teddy teddy line. Of teddies?

Wish I could get a shot of all the outfits, but here are the mom and baby looks. 


Dianne Choie


Dianne Choie's TV is in Brooklyn, NY. She has a cat, several reusable shopping bags, and other mildly annoying stereotypes of youngish people who live in Brooklyn.