The New Year is here...and with it comes a whole calendarful of rockin' reality programming to numb my happy little brain well into 2009. Yep, new year = new shows, because that pesky writers' strike doesn't seem to affect the reality TV production process. Anyway, my new year's resolution should be to get my rear end off my sofa and not get addicted to these shows...but yo, you know I'm gonna watch 'em all. (Hey, I have to! It's for WORK! That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.)
Yes, in the first month of '08 alone, there's the I Love New York 2 reunion show on January 6; the premiere of VH1's Celebrity Rehab (with fallen American Idol finalist Jessica Sierra) on January 10; a first season of NBC's Celebrity Apprentice, with Gene Simmons and Trace Adkins, starting January 3; CMT's Big & Rich-hosted allstar country-singing competition (with Bobby Brown, Twisted Sister's Dee Snider, Carnie Wilson, Diana DeGarmo, Julio Iglesias Jr., and Sisqo), launching on a yet-to-be-determined day in January; Bret Michaels' second, hopefully more successful quest for the groupie of his dreams on Rock Of Love 2, premiering January 13; and, perhaps most TiVo-worthy of all, on January 15 a whole new slew of would-be William Hungs will start auditioning on the seventh season of American Idol.
But before these shows hit the airwaves, I'm going to take advantage of this late-December lull in the networks' schedules to reflect on 2007's bestest, bizarre-est reality TV moments, in ascending order of overall awesomeness. Yes, long after they've been erased my TiVo's hard drive, these top 10 televised memories still remain ingrained in my brain...
10) Perez Hilton Performs Kanye West's "Jesus Walks" On Celebrity Rap Superstars - I mean no disrespect here (really, I don't), but if Kanye's mother Donda had passed away before this aired, then she surely would have been rolling in her grave as "Queen Of All Media" Perez--sporting teal hair, Elvis sunglasses, and piles of fake bling--transformed her son's religious rap into a God-forsaken farce. No doubt plenty of viewers were crying out, "Jesus H. Christ!" when they watched this, but probably not in the way Kanye orginally intended.
9) Kellie Pickler Competes On Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader? - Okay, so it wasn't exactly frontpage news that the country-bumpkin American Idol also-ran who couldn't pronounce the word "salmon" and didn't know the meaning of the word "ballsy" wouldn't make for a very challenging game show opponent. But her poor performance on this quiz show made me wonder if her episode should've been retitled Are You Smarter Than A Remedial 5th Grader? Her lack of geographical knowledge ("Is Europe a country?") made it obvious why she'll never be picked to represent the U.S. on any future World Idol competitions. After all, the first World Idol was held in England, one of many nations Kellie would be unable to find on a map.
8) Sabra & Neil Perform Their "Sweet Dreams" Routine On So You Think You Can Dance - Perhaps not since several gallons of water poured down on a seated Jennifer Beals in Flashdance has '80s music, superstylized dancing, and everyday furniture combined in such an amazing way. Future season 3 champ Sabra and her worthy opponent Neil worked their conference-room table and corporate-raider business attire to great effect, creating something that seemed lifted right out of a Broadway musical version of Wall Street. Yes, greed is good, but Mia Michaels-choreographed table-dancing to a Eurythmics classic is even better.
7) 50 Cent Pushes Jael In The Pool On America's Next Top Model - Don't get me wrong, Jael is possibly my all-time favorite ANTM contestant. But she was being really annoying, getting in Fiddy's face and all, so she had it coming. Then again, by now 50's probably wishing he'd tossed Kanye West in the pool instead.
6) Tango Dumps Tiffany On The I Love New York Reunion - Ooh, snap! After being rejected TWICE on national television by Flavor Flav, Flavor Of Love runner-up New York got her own dating show...only to have her winning bachelor's marriage proposal retracted in front of a live studio audience. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. (Actually, yes I did. I laughed.) Now it remains to be seen if New York's season 2 suitor, Tailor Made, will stick around now that the cameras have stopped rolling.
5) Light Of Doom Auditions On The Next Great American Band - They didn't win on the finale, but these little headbanging hellions won my heart, and my vote, on the very first episode of this battle-of-the-bands show, the instant they tried out and cited their influences as "Iron Maiden, ninjas, boobs, and explosions." A rock band couldn't list any finer inspirations, in my humble opinion! So rock on, Light Of Doom. Rock on.
4) Marie Osmond Gets All Dolled Up On Dancing With The Stars - America's sweetheart proved she's a little bit country and a little bit crazy, when she dressed up like an animatronic "Bride Of Chucky" babydoll--complete with ruffled bloomers, pigtails, Betty Boop eyelashes, and facepaint straight out of a Li'l Miss USA beauty pageant--all while dancing to a Rolling Stones song, for some odd reason. After that routine, Marie should have fainted again--from embarrassment.
3) Blake Lewis Covers Bon Jovi On American Idol - Perhaps no Idol song has been interpreted so creatively, or memorably, as "You Give Love A Bad Name," the number that beatboxing Blake dissected and resurrected on "Bon Jovi Night" during American Idol's sixth season. I ask you, can you recall what Bon Jovi song Jordin Sparks sang that night? I bet not.
2) Heather Gets Screwed And Tattooed On Rock Of Love - There was never any doubt that Heather, the stripper with a heart of gold, was in it to win it. And she proved her commitment by pulling the stupidest reality-TV stunt this side of Fear Factor: getting Bret Michaels' name tattooed on the nape of her neck. Not a henna tattoo. Not a Cracker-Jack-box rub-on tattoo. Real ink, people. New York wasn't even foolish enough to do that on Flavor Of Love! At the time, the Poison frontman seemed impressed and moved by Heather's act of stupidity (um, I mean, undying love), but in the end, he still picked the other woman. Ouch. I hope Heather has Dr. Tattoff's number on her speed-dial.
1) Sanjaya Is Exposed As A "Human Art Project" - Sanjaya Malakar was perhaps the most controversial contestant in American Idol history, as legions of apparently hearing-impaired "Fanjayas," and Howard Stern, kept the lushly coiffed, vocally challenged teen in the competition week after inexplicable week. Eventually Sanjaya did get kicked off, and soon after a mysterious viral video surfaced in which an art student named "Bill Vendall" claimed he created Sanjaya as part of his thesis, explaining, "The character was part of a larger art installation." Yep, that gravity-defying hair was an art installation in and of itself, for sure! Either Bill Vendall's a genius, or Sanjaya Malakar is one mighty clever prankster. Hey, Sanjaya's so funny, maybe he can compete on the 2008 season of Last Comic Standing!
And thus concludes a very momentous year. It's been real. Here's to more watercooler TV moments in '08!