Tonight’s show begins with a reminder that last week Marla was given the hook and was last seen walking the streets of Vegas. Although she didn’t make it as a stand-up comic, I’m hoping she hasn’t completely changed her career choice and become an actual Vegas street walker, if you know what I mean….
With Luck You Too Can Own A Penguin Named Charlie
Mr. Newton sure knows how to grab his viewer’s attention as the show begins with two bikini-clad Vegas showgirls with enormous
breafeathered headpieces balancing on their heads. I have an instant flashback to the I Love Lucy episode where she donned a similar outfit in one of her many quests to make it into Ricky’s nightclub act. These women, however, seem to have no problem with their headgear, and are quite capable of walking effortlessly. They inform our group, the losers from last week’s performance (Paul, Jacquie, Theresa and Nathan) will be eating peanut butter sandwiches, and the winners (Sarah Darling, Jennifer, Delisco, David and Joe) will be given a party on the terrace. After everyone has eaten, they all come together and decide to do what most reality tv contestants do…hit the jacuzzi, of course. What else provides greater entertainment value than alcohol and jacuzzi’s, right? Soon enough, Joe begins to massage Theresa’s feet. Apparently Nathan, the ever-ready illusionist, decides it’s time for a disappearing act, and throws a large block of ice into the Jacuzzi making any possible romantic interactions between Joe and Theresa disappear.
The following morning, the performers are taken to Wayne’s home. It’s a humble home; that is, if you consider the Taj Mahal humble. He is quite the horse enthusiast, and we are treated to a shot of him horseback riding. He escorts the group to his stables, and they ooh and aah appropriately at his magnificent horses. From there, they wander over to his other forms of horsepower, his Rolls Royces, sports cars, and his Huey helicopter. As Wayne proudly shows off his wonderful possessions, I get the feeling I’m watching a child with new shoes saying, “look what I got, look what I got!” After they have sufficiently gushed over his outdoor toys, they all enter his home. Not surprisingly, his front doors appear to be gold plated. At least they look gold to me, but I have to confess, as I was getting ready to record the show, I touched some unknown button on the remote, and now everything I’m seeing has this weird pink/orange glow, with everyone’s teeth having a blue/black hue about them. For the life of me, I can’t figure out what I did, but it has completely changed the picture on my tv. But enough about me, let’s get back to coveting all that Wayne owns. As soon as they enter his home, his pet comes to greet them at the door. And what kind of house pet would Wayne Newton own? A dog, cat, hamster, or possibly a ferret? No, this is Vegas, baby. Wayne’s pet is a penguin named Charlie. I immediately wonder if it’s possible to housetrain a penguin, or does he have an employee whose sole job is to follow Charlie around, cleaning up after him. I’m left to wonder, as no one asks this critical question. From there, they are taken into a room that houses Wayne’s 300 year-old-piano, and he encourages Paul to play and sing for them. He sings an original song, and he still leaves me with a feeling of meh. Delisco follows, and I enjoy his performance, but Paul is definitely beginning to feel the competition heating up, and looks as though he’s trying to devise a plan to have Delisco meet with an unfortunate fall from a horse.
Next is the Red Room, where all his awards and memorabilia are kept. Years ago we had a room like that in our home, that we called Our Daughter’s Room. When she was little, it housed her soccer trophies and Student-of-the-Month certificates. Wayne informs us, the room is so full of memorabilia, you could spend days looking through all of it. I think my daughter’s memorabilia would have taken about an hour. She still had more than me, though, as I only have one medal and certificate for completing a marathon in 1998, that would probably take about three seconds to appreciate the significance of this accomplishment. He shows us Nat King Cole’s make-up kit, and an old-fashioned microphone given to him from his good friend, Frank Sinatra which is engraved, “Dear Injun, I got started with one of these when you were a papoose. Much love, Barbara and Frank Sinatra.” Not particularly PC, but I guess Frank didn’t need to worry about such things. He points out a framed note from Elvis Presley that he had written six months before he died. As Wayne begins to read it aloud, he chokes up a bit. It reads, “I feel so alone sometimes, the night is quiet for me. I’d love to be able to sleep. I thank God everyone is gone. I will probably not rest tonight. I have no need for all of this. Help me Lord.” Wow, talk about your downer moments. Everyone is on the verge of tears, but there is a lesson to be learned, and Professor Newton explains that when you let the world control you, and let your own desires either be sold or compromised, you write notes like that. Everyone seems to be pondering this morsel of wisdom when Mr. Foreshadow makes his first appearance of the night. Paul confesses to us that he is now realizing what is important in his life, and he misses his wife and daughter that much more.
Once back in the suite, Paul continues his downward spiral and admits to the others that he’s frightened of winning first place, because it will require some drastic changes in his life. Personally, I don’t think he needs to worry, as I think there’s a possibility of seeing pigs fly before we see him as the next Entertainer, but that’s just my opinion. Paul does win something on this show, however. He officially becomes the first contestant to break down in tears. I knew eventually we’d see tears, but honestly, I expected them to come from one of the women. As Paul slinks out of the room, Dave reminds us that this is the entertainment business, and there’s no crying in the entertainment business. Well, what he actually said was you need to have thick skin in the entertainment business, but I prefer the Tom Hanks League of Their Own spin.
No Drama Allowed
We’re finally getting to the competition of this episode, with our performers rising for an 8:00am call sheet. We see everyone waking up in their beds alone…well except for Jacquie…she seems to have bedded down with a male named Winnie the Pooh. At least I think it’s Winnie. Again, I’ve got that weird pink/orange glow thing going on, so it’s a little hard to make out his face. Nevertheless, they arrive on stage, and we know something ominous is about to happen because the dramatic music is playing in the background. Wayne, Scott and Francis are sitting in the audience with the all-important spotlight reigning down on them. I’m convinced without the spotlight, we wouldn’t appreciate the power they wield, and they would, in fact, appear quite ordinary. Wayne informs us the only way to become successful in Las Vegas is to ‘know’ Las Vegas, and who knows more about Vegas than anyone? I’m thinking Wayne, but no, he’s thinking the hotel concierges. Rats, I hate when I guess wrong. They will meet with the concierges from the Aladdin casino, and then they are going to be the concierges. Theresa and Nathan will be the leaders of each team, and they proceed to pick who will be their teammates. Theresa chooses Delisco, Jennifer, and Dave. Nathan picks Sarah, Joe and Jacquie, which leaves Paul, who Theresa finally calls to be on her team. It’s nice to know that even as an adult, you can be reduced to feeling like the wimpy geek no one wanted on their team, as you become the last person chosen. Paul tells us he didn’t mind being chosen last, he’ll still go out there and perform like he’s supposed to. I’m not so sure…being a reality-tv professional viewer, I’m almost certain Mr. Foreshadow just made his second appearance. Each team will have an event they are to produce for a special guest. The head concierge and their guest will be weighing in on each team’s performance. Wayne says the losing team may lose a teammate, possibly trying to create some suspense, but it’s not working for me, as I don’t particularly care.
As Theresa, Jennifer, and Dave begin their task, they inform us they have no idea where Paul is. Suddenly, we see Paul downing some drinks back in the suite, and he tells us he’s trying to decide if this is for him or not. It’s a rather disturbing sight, but then I notice the t-shirt he’s wearing says, “No Drama Allowed,” and I laugh in spite of myself.
Head concierge, Matt, tells Theresa’s team, they will be assisting a couple who are renewing their wedding vows. The team is not very happy with the Wandering Paul, but they have no choice but to carry on without him. They learn the couple, Terry and Cynthia, have been married for 10 years and will be needing help making arrangements to renew their vows. As Cynthia continues to talk, Theresa has a look of fear on her face. I don’t blame her, it’s difficult to understand how making these arrangements will help perfect her singing talents. Everyone is running around in different directions making necessary decisions, but I notice Jennifer and Delisco definitely got the best job…sampling cake choices. Meanwhile we see Paul once again aimlessly wandering around the hotel downing more drinks. Jennifer informs us she thinks he needs a good spanking, and I have to agree with her. Either that or some good therapy, because I’m wondering if being chosen last, has in fact brought up some old feelings of inadequacies for him, and he‘s lost his self-confidence. A good therapist may get him back on track. Or maybe I need a good therapist to help me get through this recap.
At the risk of offending Wayne, I can’t waste any more time on some of this nonsense, because frankly the show has taken more of my precious time than I care to admit. The following is the fast-forward version of the sequence of events. The cake gets ordered, the bride gets her hair done, Paul continues to wander around drinking, Terry and Cynthia’s dog, Jack, gets washed, the flowers are arranged, Theresa runs up the down escalator and eventually hands the reins over to Jennifer, who appears to be better suited as a leader. Jennifer becomes a photographer, Delisco becomes a videographer, and the ceremony begins. As I’m watching the couple exchange their vows, it becomes apparent to me that Jack the dog is looking to the wedding coordinator for his cues. Weren’t we led to believe it was Terry and Cynthia’s dog? All this time I’ve been thinking they trained their pet to share in their special day. But he’s a hotel prop. No wonder he’s so familiar with being a ring bearer…it’s his job, and he probably does this several times a day. And, if it’s his job, surely they have a dog washer on hand, which makes me realize the dog-washing stunt was just that. A stunt. Was it Wayne’s idea to have the contestants perform these ridiculous Apprentice-like tasks, instead of giving us real entertainment by actually seeing them do what they do best? Does this mean Donald Trump will be having his contestants sing and dance in an attempt to show off their apprentice skills? I feel deceived. Sigh. But in the entertainment business, the show must go on, so the vows are said, the rings are exchanged, a few tears are shed (including mine when I realize I‘m having to actually pay attention to some of this), the task is successfully completed, and the wedding party is very pleased with the end result.
As Team B reaches their destination we learn their task will be to help entertain a bachelorette party consisting of five ladies. I’m relieved to see this at least seems to involve entertaining, and Nathan asks the all-important question…how crazy do the women want to get. Their automatic response is “wild”, so they are taken to Blondie’s, a sports bar with a pole. Apparently, Nathan’s idea is to teach the ladies how to pole dance for their husbands, which he feels will help keep their marriage spicy. Nathan confesses some personal information later in the evening, though, and I’m thinking he might be needing more than a pole dance to keep his marriage spicy. Nevertheless, I’m sure the husbands appreciate Nathan’s thoughtfulness, but the ladies look less than eager to start winding themselves around a pole, and the party slows to a crawl. When Jacquie decides to give it a try, the party perks up, and I suspect many men in the viewing audience do, too. Finally, the bachelorettes get enough drinks in them to start taking turns showing their own moves, and I make a mental note to try this at my next party. Of course, I don’t own a dancing pole, but I’ve got some posts that support my patio cover in my backyard and that might work. I consider this for a moment, but since they’re made of wood the splinters might be a distraction.
The party changes directions as Nathan mystifies the women by pushing a lit cigarette through the bride’s shawl, without leaving the slightest trace of a burn, hole or raging fire. As a karaoke machine is brought into the room, I’m thrilled to finally see our beloved contestants perform. That is, until Jacquie absolutely destroys the Supreme’s hit, You Can’t Hurry Love. Even I can tell her timing is off, and she’s off-key, and I’m a terrible singer. It’s unfortunate she didn’t have the sense to simply stop singing, or that Sarah didn’t have the confidence to take over, because frankly my dogs could have done a better job. The bachelorettes are bored and somewhat nauseated, and it’s not from the booze.
When Joe and Nathan notice the party is taking a dive, they grab a parachute by bringing in the Thunder from Down Under, which is a group of male strippers. The women are thrilled as the men, including Joe and Nathan, proceed to perform a strip tease. Ladies, take note. Nathan confesses to us that he’s “hung like a tic-tac” and therefore stuffed himself with toilet paper. Uh, okay. Nathan, pay attention because I’m going to give you some critical advice here…there is such a thing as too much information. You can bet he regrets making that disclosure. As the task comes to an end, the ladies seem very happy and content, and feel the team did quite well.
The Party’s Over - Thank God
Finally, the two teams are brought back to the stage for the elimination. Jacquie is worried about her poor karaoke performance, and Nathan confesses that he was more confident last week, and they didn’t win, so he’s pretty nervous. As the camera scans the performers, I can’t believe my eyes. Paul, who has not participated in the competition at all, has decided to make an appearance. Wayne, Scotty and Francis are in the audience with their spotlights and are ready to send someone walking. Wayne asks Nathan’s team to step forward, and away we go….
Jacquie - If she was not able to sing karaoke to a group of drinking bachelorettes, how in the world will she be able to perform for a full house in his show?
Dave - He made the guests feel comfortable…good job.
Jennifer - She’s charming, entertaining, and did a good job taking over for Theresa.
Theresa - If she can’t lead a four-person team, how will she lead an 18-piece orchestra?
We are not informed of Wayne’s critiques of the others, but the inevitable occurs, and Paul is singled out. Wayne begins by saying he is aware that Paul has been wrestling with some decisions regarding his family and career. He says he missed his family also before he was able to afford to bring them with him. However, he reminds Paul he made a commitment to his teammates, to Wayne, and to the other people who took the time to audition. Once you make that commitment, he continues, you have to see it through. I’m hearing you, Wayne. That’s how I feel about these recaps. I made a commitment to Fort, and a commitment to you readers to recap it, so I have to see it through, because that’s what a professional does, no matter how painful it is. Paul begins to
suck upreply that he considers Wayne a man of great integrity, principle and honor, and that he can only aspire to achieve the heights that Wayne has been able to attain. Wayne interrupts him by saying the things from which he learned the most, were the mistakes, and never the things he did right. He hopes Paul will take something from this experience that will benefit him and his family. He says those immortal words, the “party is over, you’re not The Entertainer," and with that, Paul’s spotlight is extinguished, and he’s dismissed. He tells us he came here to win, but he just couldn’t make it to the end. I hate to tell you this, Paul, but you didn’t even come close to the end. You quit. Dave respects the fact that Paul missed his family, and Joe is annoyed he never apologized for letting them down.
For a reward, both Team Captains, Theresa and Nathan, will be going to Lake Las Vegas Resort for a romantic dinner. A romantic dinner? Is this a desperate attempt to bring some life into this comatose show? Wayne tells them each to pick someone to share the evening with them, and Theresa selects Jennifer because she was so helpful. Nathan selects Sarah because he wants to be the only male. Ha, Nathan’s mother didn’t raise no fools.
As some of us have been discussing, the previews show many clips of Paul participating in next week’s show, so either this is poor editing, which is highly probable, or Vegas is like Hotel California…you can check out, but you can never leave.
Would you like a penguin named Charlie? Contact me firstname.lastname@example.org