02/13 Episode 4 Recap ~ Killer Lounge Acts
Tonight’s show begins with highlights from previous shows, including my personal favorite, Paul’s breakdown in the No Drama Allowed shirt. Basically they replay some of the everyday hijinks of our beloved cast of characters. Party on, Wayne-ites.
Cupid Shoots An Arrow
The Valentine show opens with Sarah receiving a dozen long-stemmed red roses from Joe, but she tells us she is in a relationship back home. Am I the only one who wonders if E! not only suggested this, but also paid for the roses in order to create some kind of plotline? There is so little going on in this show, I wouldn’t put it past them, although I’m not sure it necessarily helps, either.
Because Nathan and Theresa won last week’s challenge, they are treated to dinner at Lake Las Vegas, specifically the Hyatt restaurant, Japengo. They choose Theresa and Sarah to share in the reward, and the four are served a gourmet meal. In keeping with the entertainment theme, Nathan decides the dinner show will include him watching Theresa and Sarah freak out as he plants seeds of doubt in their minds. He considers Jennifer “old school,” but believes he can psyche out Theresa and Sarah by talking about what it’s actually going to take to headline and maintain a Vegas show. It appears to be working, and he further increases Sarah’s anxiety by telling her he feels she could be big in Nashville, not necessarily Vegas. She responds by saying Vegas can be a stepping stone to other venues. Yeah, I can’t begin to count the number of singers who started in Vegas, and then finally moved up to Nashville.
The following day, as the kids line up on stage, Wayne reminds them they are one day closer to the $1 million gig, an appearance in his show, and the title, The Entertainer. Jacquie is wearing a feather boa, and knowing that it has amazing powers, I wonder if it will be enough to protect her in this next challenge. We’ll soon find out. Wayne feels lounges are some of the toughest places to perform, but can also be the most educational and rewarding. He regales them with a story of how he spent five years doing six shows a night, six days a week, in a lounge act. By the way, for those of you who care for details, that is 9,360 shows in total. I thank Wayne for the opportunity to brush up on my rusty multiplication skills, and realize he’s right…this challenge has proven to be educational for me already. The next test for the teams will be to arrange a lounge act. In hearing this, my initial thought is that the comics will have a great advantage over the singers. The singers will be choosing songs they don’t know, and singing with bands they’ve never met. Whereas the comics will be performing acts they’ve probably done thousands of times. This doesn’t seem quite fair to me, but I guess Wayne knows what he’s doing. He does, right?
Practice Makes Perfect, Or Does It?
Wayne separates them into teams, and says they will be competing as dueling lounge performers. Suddenly in my mind, I hear the Dueling Banjos song from the movie, Deliverance, and I hope the evening doesn’t go down the same path as Ned Beatty’s character, if you know what I mean. Anyone else hear a pig squealing, or is that just me? They have this evening to learn the songs, then tomorrow they will have one hour to practice with the band, and one hour to perform. They are responsible for bringing in their own audience, and once there, the audience members will be assessing their performance by filling out comment cards. The losing team may lose a member, yeah, yeah, we all know the drill by now.
The Black team consists of Sarah, Jacquie, Nathan and Joe. Red team members are Dave, Delisco, Jennifer and Theresa. We are treated to watching Jacquie practice her songs with headphones on, while at the same time, Theresa is doing the same with her music. I want to scream and run out of the room, but of course, I can’t. I’m trying to be professional here, and remind myself, I have to watch for the greater good of humanity.
Thankfully, after a commercial break, we find ourselves back in the safe hands of Wayne, as he shares some of his Vegas wisdom with us. He’s talking about the many years he worked in a lounge, and tells some of the crazy things that have happened to him. He says he’s had things thrown at him, and I don’t think he means bras or panties. Then he drops a bombshell, as the camera zooms in. He says he’s had people die during his act. Wow. I’ve heard people say, “He was so good, I thought I’d die.” Or, “I’m dying to see him perform.” But, I didn’t really think they meant die. If someone dies at your show, does that mean you were really good, or really bad? Either way, I’d say that’s a show people won’t soon forget. Talk about killing a show’s momentum, though. I’d think it would be pretty hard to pick up the beat after something like that happens. What song do you sing after someone is carried out on a stretcher…Danke Shoen?
The Red Team shows up at the Glimmer Lounge and begins practicing with the band. They confess they are not familiar with the lyrics to any of the songs, and decide if they find themselves in a pinch, they’ll begin making up their own lyrics. Yeah, that won’t be noticeable…good luck with that. Since Dave has zeroed in on what jokes he’ll be telling, we see him using his time to bring in an audience. Jennifer feels Delisco has some great ideas for the singers, and we get to see him practice. He has a beautiful voice, and I’d love to hear him sing an entire song, but of course, we are not shown more, because we need to watch Theresa stumbling through Moon River.
As they prepare for curtain time, Jennifer and Theresa spray something into their mouths. Not being a singer, I have no idea what it is, but I think we can assume it’s not hairspray. Dave introduces himself, and tells some great jokes about home schooling. He warms the crowd up nicely, and next up is Delisco, singing Autumn Leaves. He’s polished, relaxed and an absolute joy to watch. He has a wonderful presence about him, and I predict he is going to go far in this competition.
Theresa takes her turn singing Moon River, and immediately it’s obvious she doesn’t know the lyrics. As she takes on the same wide-eyed look as a deer in headlights, the audience begins to squirm in their seats. It’s a horrible scene to witness, and I can’t wait for her to get off the stage.
Thankfully, Delisco returns and tells a short personal story about living in Georgia, then he and Jennifer sing the beautiful classic, Georgia On My Mind. The two of them do a wonderful bluesy, soulful job of it, and they outshine all the other singers combined. I’m making a recapper prediction here and now…Jennifer and Delisco will be the last two singers standing. A brief shot shows they end their concert with Delisco singing and playing the harmonica, as Theresa, Jennifer, and Dave sing along in unison. They actually look like an act you might pay real money to see in a small lounge, and they get a standing ovation at the end.
Meanwhile, the Black Team is shown at their venue, La Scena, at the Venetian. They split up, and everyone begins to work on their individual performances. Since Joe has his act already decided, he uses this time to solicit
suckers people to watch the show.
Nathan runs into problems when he discovers Sarah and Jacquie won’t fit into one of his magic boxes. He moves on to Magic Trick B, which involves a gun, but security comes in and nixes that idea. I’m relieved, because I’m still having flashbacks to people dying in Wayne’s audience as it is. As Magician Nathan holds two silver sticks in his hands, he says, and I quote, “I had to really pull some stuff out of my ass.” Ewwww, just ewwww.
Sarah begins their show by singing Danke Shoen, and it’s apparent in about 15 seconds she doesn’t know the lyrics. She begins to slur her words, ad lib, toss her hair, anything to distract people, but it’s pretty hard not to notice someone doesn’t know the lyrics, when they’re singing into a microphone. Jacquie tell us how embarrassing it was for the team, and how people don’t come to Vegas to watch singers fudge through the songs. Hello, Mr. Foreshadow, party of one this evening? I’m guessing the boa she had on earlier is not going to help her out tonight. Sarah receives a splattering of applause, and I wonder if they’re applauding for her efforts, or applauding because she stopped singing.
Nathan introduces Joe, and he comes out doing his three tenors act, and everyone seems to enjoy it. He is followed by Jacquie who begins her set with Mack the Knife. The same mysterious affliction that plagued Sarah has struck Jacquie, and she immediately forgets her lyrics, also. She is even more obvious about it and begins humming, muttering, eventually making up her own lines about not knowing the words, and the audience looks stunned. Even Jacquie admits the audience looked like they suspected they might be on Candid Camera. Sarah and Joe begin dancing together in a desperate attempt to distract the audience, eventually bringing members of the audience up to dance with them. It was a noble effort on their part, and you have to hand it to them for trying, but Jacquie was a dismal failure. It’s terribly uncomfortable to watch, and at times even painful. She’s killing me, and I worry someone in the audience won’t survive. On the sidelines, we see Scotty shaking his head in disapproval.
Nathan has apparently settled on getting himself out of a strait jacket, and while the band plays some background music, he completes his trick. The audience enjoys his act, and applauds. With as unprofessional as the show has appeared so far, I’m guessing they were just grateful someone didn’t have to cut him out of it with a salad fork.
In keeping with the Valentine’s Day theme, Sarah returns on stage and successfully sings, My Funny Valentine. She does a good job, and you can almost see cupids flying around Joe’s head as he watches her. The audience seems to be back in the palms of their hands, and they’ve got their momentum back. However, it’s immediately lost again when Jacquie returns to the stage and begins to ask the audience questions, then proceeds to tell them a long, drawn out dating tale. I’m guessing she’s trying to postpone the inevitable of having to sing again, and the camera pans the bored audience. She finally begins to play her guitar, but realizes it’s out of tune, and precious time is wasted as she tunes it. She sings an original song, but she has totally lost everyone’s attention, and I wonder if it is possible to truly die of boredom. At this point I have to seriously question the fact that these were the best people they could find for this show? I’ve seen better singers on the first few episodes of American Idol. Bill Murray, as the lounge singer on SNL, always made this venue look so easy, and I think they could learn a lot by watching one of his skits.
The Day The Music Died
As everyone is fretting over their individual performances, Joe begins the I-miss-my-child-breakdown, that Paul introduced to us last week. There are tears and hugs, and the stress builds as the time comes to face Wayne on stage. They march in and Wayne begins by calling up Theresa’s Red Team. He says Francis told him Dave warmed up the crowd, and tailored his act to that particular audience. He thinks Jennifer did a great job, but could have shined a little more. He says Delisco is a good singer, but he chastises him for talking briefly about his life in Georgia. I don’t know how I feel about this, I kind of like the personal touches singers give an audience, as long as it’s not too drawn out, but I’ll give Wayne the benefit of the doubt. He tells Theresa she has a great voice, and she looked beautiful, but it was obvious she didn’t know the lyrics, and says she had some pitch problems, too.
Scotty informs Wayne that Nathan hustled to get the crowd in to see his Black Team perform. Wayne is not happy Sarah chose one of his favorites, Danke Shoen, and then forgot the lyrics, but he felt she did a great job with My Funny Valentine. He says Joe’s personality is coming through loud and clear, and then it’s on to Jacquie. He tells her, you cannot do original material in a lounge. People are there to have a drink, and if you grab their attention, they’ll stay. The best and quickest way to hold their attention is to sing a song they’ve heard before. Not surprisingly, he feels the best two performances were Joe and Nathan. Like I pointed out earlier, I think performing a routine that you’ve mastered is much easier than singing a new song with a new band. Nevertheless everyone is allowed to step back and be safe, which leaves Jacquie and Sarah. He tells Sarah that her performance of My Funny Valentine saved her tonight, and she’s allowed to step back. Jacquie is not so lucky. She is on the hot seat to entertain Wayne to save herself, and after his last-minute lesson, how does she entertain him? By singing an original song. It’s beautiful, but didn’t he just tell her not to do that? His response is to utter those immortal words, “the party’s over…you’re not The Entertainer.” She does go out with class, though, and says she is grateful for the opportunity he has given her. With that, she leaves the stage, and the others are quite emotional about it.
Each member of the winning team will get $1,000 for gambling as their reward, and they look thrilled. They will be taken by limo to the Palms Casino, where they will receive the ‘high roller treatment.’ The losing team will go back to the suite, and I wonder if they’ll be staring at those peanut butter sandwiches again. Ahh, good times.