Welcome back to Sin City where our entertainer hopefuls are off and running with $1,000 each for a night of gambling as the reward for winning the dueling lounge challenge. Our lucky group, Theresa, Jennifer, Delisco and Dave, decide to hit a $500 minimum blackjack table. We watch their night of gambling magically transform into minutes of gambling. Hey, who needs Nathan around to perform magic, when they can do it for themselves. Hmmm…Mr. Foreshadow making an early entrance, perhaps?
Know When to Hold ‘Em
As their gambling minutes tick away, Theresa confides she has never played before, and of course we all know what that means, she magically wins several hands. She gives new meaning to the term ‘black magic woman,’ and it becomes even more obvious Nathan has lots of competition in the magic department. As the others quickly lose their money, she gives each of her teammates a chip so they can bet one more hand. Dave and Delisco quickly lose that money too, but Jennifer walks away with $2800. She’s obviously sung the Kenny Roger’s song, The Gambler, and has taken the lyrics to heart. Theresa, on the other hand, has forgotten the lyrics again, because she bets one more time, losing everything. For any Theresa fans out there, when Wayne gives her the big snakeskin boot, I think it would be a safe bet (groan, sorry, sometimes my fingers have a will of their own) to look for her at one of the blackjack tables, as she admits to understanding the thrill of the gamble. Our group then heads up to the Ghost Bar, and I have to wonder if it got that name because they serve spirits there. (Okay, I’m done, I promise.)
The following day, our group is summoned to the High Roller Room at the Hilton. While Jennifer is talking to the camera, E! cuts her off mid-sentence with a commercial. Who does this sort of thing? Is the station responsible for amateur editing stunts like this, or the show? The editing has been so poor during this season, that I often feel like I’m watching a high school class project. Actually I take that back…it’s more like an elementary school project. Could it be the show is auditioning film editors at the same time, and tonight’s editor just got himself eliminated? Anyway, through a simple method of drawing cards that Wayne deals, our friends are divided into teams. Dave, Theresa and Nathan will be the Black Team, with Dave as the project manager (oops, wrong show) leader. The Red Team will be Sarah, Delisco, Jennifer and Joe, with Sarah as the leader. Each team will be responsible for writing, directing and starring, if they choose, in their own Vegas commercial, with their final projects being submitted to the Mayor of Las Vegas, Oscar B. Goodman, in three hours.
At this point, I’m finding it hard to concentrate on the show. You see, Wayne’s hair has completely mesmerized me. It’s just so, so perfectly unnatural looking. Is it a wig, or just dyed such a shoe-polish black, it looks unnatural? Does he have hair plugs, maybe? What is it with wealthy men of their generation and their hair? Why is it he and Trump can’t seem to find more natural solutions to hide their hair loss, if that’s what they are attempting to do? Or why hide it at all? Lots of bald men have learned to live with it, and are quite handsome with their domes exposed. If they’re not comfortable with that, though, why can’t they find something that at least looks human, like William Shatner’s toupee? Years ago, I worked for a man who had the Most.Outrageous.Combover.Ever. One of my coworkers had a pool party, and as The Boss got up on the diving board, the entire party came to a stand still. With all eyes on him, he dove into the pool, swam underwater to the steps, stood up, grabbed his comb over, which by this time was hanging down below his shoulder on the one side, draped it back across his bald head, and stepped out of the pool, without missing a beat. This was about 25 years ago, and it still makes me laugh to think of it. But I’m losing focus here, let’s return to Wayne’s world.
It takes Wayne several minutes to impart his wisdom for this evening, but essentially he says, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” Uh, okay. I’m not sure what that has to do with the show, but I’m thinking there must be a reason for him saying it…possibly not a good reason, but a reason nonetheless. Perhaps he means the more reality shows take over the bulk of television programming, the more they all seem to run together? If that’s what he’s getting at, I have to agree with him. Basically reality shows have come down to Who Wants To Be The Next Apprentice/Entertainer/Survivor/American Idol, insert noun of your choice.
Sesame Street Meets Las Vegas
We watch the Red Team get into their red convertible (I don’t miss a thing), and Jennifer immediately begins to organize the team into a plan. Apparently Sarah’s leadership style includes stepping back, and letting others do most of the work. As they are being driven to the welcome sign, Jennifer suggests their storyline could be, “Las Vegas…whatever you want it to be,” and they high five each other enthusiastically in approval. Jennifer has been exceptional throughout this season, and at times I expect them to just wrap the whole thing up, and pronounce her the winner. But apparently, it’s not time yet, and they’re still pretending they don’t know who will win. Since this is Vegas, I wonder if we should start taking odds, and placing bets as to whether they will let the show last the full season. Never mind the show lasting that long…I hope I last that long.
As they approach Caesar’s Palace, who should be lounging around outside, but the big man himself. No, not Wayne, another big man, Caesar. They get him to say a few words to the camera (fortunately not in Latin), and then they’re off to their next location, the Aladdin. There the team meets up with the X Girls, and Jennifer and Delisco choose which girls to use in their commercial. Jennifer also decides what the girls will say, and in what order they will be filmed. Sarah’s function was to well, agree with everything Jennifer said, and when the time came, she thrilled us with her amazing ability to count from three to one, all the while holding up the respective number of fingers. Someone’s been watching Sesame Street, and her knowledge is paying off big time. Once again Delisco is the videographer, but as they review the tape, they discover Delisco has taped over their introduction piece at the welcome sign. They seem to take this in stride, however, and decide to make a new intro somewhere else.
They arrive at the Imperial Palace, as the Black Team is wrapping up their footage. The Black Team has assembled and filmed some everyday people gambling. In order to save time, Joe has the presence of mind to film the same group of people immediately after them. It saves them valuable time, and they are quickly on their way to the wedding chapel. Sarah dons the veil, pretending to be the bride, and she does it with such flair, I’m guessing this isn’t the first time she has played dress-up bride. I still think the footage looks stiff and rehearsed, but Joe says it came straight from his heart. It’s obvious he has a crush on Sarah, so maybe it’s just me. All three are quite happy with the result.
Since they lost their intro footage, they decide to tape the beginning of their commercial directly outside the wedding chapel with the Stratosphere in the background. They complete their task, and get to Mr. Goodman’s office with a few minutes to spare.
Can You Hear Me Now?
With Dave leading The Black Team, in their black limo of course, they begin hatching a plan. As they toss ideas around, Theresa mentions she is wearing a white bra and panties, and they could “do a pool thing.” Surprisingly, this gets virtually no reaction from either guy, and I’m stunned. I rewind the tape, and watch it again. Yep, no reaction. Could it be they are so focused on becoming The Entertainer, they have no time for such nonsense? Maybe they have forgotten the phrase ‘what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.’ Or could it be they’re just being cautious because there are those pesky cameras following them around, and they know the footage can come back to haunt them, as so many other reality show contestants have discovered. Need I mention Jenn C. or Ivana from The Apprentice?
As they arrive at the sign, Nathan begins to try to work the camera. As soon as they’ve completed their shot, the Red Team arrives. Because of this, they decide to wrap up, and move on to their next location quickly. Theresa keeps requesting they make sure they’ve got good footage before they move on, but she is dismissed. This goes on for several minutes. Theresa begs the two of them not to ignore her, and to listen to her, but Dave and Nathan continue to ignore her. As they replay the video to check the shot, bingo, they discover Nathan didn’t record it, and it’s back to the sign they go. Theresa, like a pit bull on a Chihuahua, or a dog with a bone, forces them to acknowledge she is correct, and they are wrong. I’m sure there are other dog similes, but unlike Theresa, I’m ready to move on. They begrudgingly give her the kudos she so desperately requires, and yet she still won’t let it go. Eventually Dave tells us, “if she were my girlfriend, I definitely would have broke (sic) up with her.” Dave, my friend, I think it’s safe to say she would never be your girlfriend.
The team makes it’s way to the X Girls at the Aladdin. Theresa suggests she’ll say, “Welcome to Las Vegas,” then Nathan with the camera will scan the X Girls. Dave loves the idea, and says so several times. I’m sure he does this, so Theresa will know she’s being heard. The Red Team enters the room, and Nathan conceives a brilliant idea. That is to say, he thinks it’s brilliant…his team members think it’s sneaky and underhanded. His suggestion is to bring the X Girls with them, so the Red Team will not be able to use them. He acknowledges it’s sneaky, but thinks it could work. He leaves it up to Dave and Theresa, but Dave tells him an affirmative “No.” He even goes so far as to state he’s a competitor, and he would rather compete honestly. Dave went up several notches in my eyes.
At the Imperial Palace Dave films the people gambling, capturing the casino excitement. He even goes so far as to say anyone can come to Vegas, win money and have fun. I didn’t realize it was that easy to win in Vegas, but Dave you’ve convinced me…as soon as I’m done here, I’m off to Vegas, baby.
Their limo overheats, and the Black Team is forced to wait for a replacement. Time slips away, and I have to admit, I wonder if the overheating limo is actually a ploy by the show to create drama. Eventually they are back on their way, and it’s Theresa’s turn to play bride. With the precision of a marksman, we watch them rehearse the kiss at least nine times. You’ve got to admire Joe’s dedication to turning out excellent work. With about 35 seconds left, Nathan films Theresa in the limo reciting the telephone number for more information on Vegas tourism. She has a terrible problem saying the number, however, and eventually Nathan actually puts the number right on the camera, so she can look at the camera and recite the number correctly. They finally get the finished product to the mayor on time. At the last minute, Theresa decides to write the mayor a note. Although this is purely a guess on my part, I bet she never won any spelling bees, because she stumbles over the spelling of the words, “incredible” and “experience”. Here’s another word you might want to learn, Theresa, e-l-i-m-i-n-a-t-i-o-n, as I think you’re on borrowed time.
Let Me Entertain You
Mr. Goodman watches both tapes, then calls Wayne with the results of whose commercial he prefers. In the meantime, Wayne confers with Francis and Scotty. Francis says no one on the Red Team knew how to operate the camera, but they learned. Scotty says the Black Team did not gel, and he tells Wayne about how Nathan wanted to steal the X Girls so the other team couldn’t use them. Wayne looks like my dad looked when I was caught in a lie in high school. He’s definitely wearing the disappointed parent face.
Our kids walk on stage and the big moment is here. As they line up, Wayne congratulates them on getting their commercials done on time. Mr. Goodman did have a favorite, and Wayne does too. The Red Team steps forward and Wayne loves their slogan. He chastises Sarah for letting Jennifer lead the team, and Delisco for having some troubles with the camera in the beginning, but says he overcame it. He tells Jennifer she was electric, organized and performed beautifully, and she gets an attaboy from Wayne, or I guess in this case, an attagirl. I’m pretty sure I saw him wink at her, also. He says Joe was the backbone of the production, and a great stagehand. I wonder if Joe is a little miffed at being called a stagehand, but at least he knows Wayne was pleased with his performance.
Wayne says the Black Team was painfully unorganized, and mentions that they missed the beginning shot, but he likes how they talked to people from all ethnicities at the Imperial Palace. He feels Dave was a great leader, but adds s-l-o-w-l-y, as a drum rolls, and a cymbal clangs, that he has some bad news…Dave and Theresa were actually married at the wedding chapel. Not really, Wayne is just having some Vegas fun with them. This elicits a laugh from everyone, and he continues to tell Theresa she has a great smile, sparkly eyes and a great dress. I’ll give him the smile and eyes, but I have to disagree about the dress. But I’m funny like that, I’m not fond of clothes that look like they’ve been shredded by a neighbor’s cat, or caught in the paper shredder. Obviously he is.
He announces that it’s the Red Team who wins this challenge, and they are allowed to step back and be safe. Meanwhile, Nathan, Theresa and Dave await to hear their fate. He begins with Theresa again, and as I’m looking at her, she is actually standing at attention. Has she served time in the military? Or perhaps she attended a modeling school where she learned to walk with a dictionary on her head? Ah, now it all makes sense. She’s a poor speller, because her dictionary was on top of her head, instead of open in her lap. He allows Theresa to step back in the safety of darkness, which leaves Dave and Nathan. He tells Dave as a leader, he did pull his team together, so he is safe. Wayne turns his attention to Nathan, and he confronts him about his suggestion to steal the X girls from the other team. He goes on to say a good performer doesn’t need to rely on dirty tricks, and he’s not happy Nathan went in that direction. He tells Nathan to entertain him, and Nathan enthusiastically goes into a terrific magic trick. He says in the third grade he told his friends he could make it snow, and he picked up a cocktail napkin from the school cafeteria. Huh? Did they have cocktails at his school? Man, I always miss out on the good stuff. Anyway, he rips holes in the napkin, and opens it up to resemble a snowflake. He proceeds to put it in a glass of water, and magically little white strips of paper begin flowing out from the palms of his hands. Sarah hums along in the background, and it’s a very nice touch, because it adds to the drama. The stage is littered with the paper, as Wayne utters those immortal words, “the party’s over, you’re not The Entertainer.” I’m surprised…I really expected this to be a non-elimination round, but then my next thought is, who has to clean up this mess? I bet they’re not happy. We then watch Nathan on his walk of shame, with one little bit of paper stuck to the top of his head. His parting words are, “I knew my personality would be the thing to bang me out of this.” Wow, that’s some parting thought. So I guess he’s saying he knew he’d blow it for himself sooner or later. Hey, where’s the magic, Nathan? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your suggestions.