Amanda’s MasterChef finale recap

(Thanks to Amanda for her recap – here’s another pic of Heston’s white, white and more white tampon dessert, which I know you are all dying to re-create at the weekend -Admin Juz)

AND it is the Grand Final!

It only took about 150 years, 2 million dishes of mousse, tuile or granita and Matt Preston more and more drawing upon Willie Wonka for his clothing choices.

But first we have to pay our dues – which means about a week of recaps and speeches.
The good news is Sashi seems to have practised his script and thankfully Ben discovered hairspray. Getting out of the cars they stare dramatically at the same logo they have seen for every single episode – but it is clearly that the producers watch way too much “Days of our Lives” and well this is what happens

As they enter, it appears that Matt has decided to pay homage to the stupid berry bubble thing Jess cooked once by wearing one. Meanwhile, George manages to fit in another passive aggressive swipe at Ben, and Khanh is likely trying to figure out how to get his camera time. I also note that Chloe has adopted a new helium-induced cackle. We have the obligatory family scenes play out as I start drinking.
The judges start with their speeches and I will translate for you good people”
Matt: “Ben has learnt more than anyone else”
Translation: “We can’t frickin’ believe we haven’t got you out of this competition as yet”
Khanh decides to give us more expert commentary while just managing to hold back from doing jazz hands.

*sculls wine*

Round one – Starter and main course – They have 90 minutes for a starter and main to “hero” the ingredients. Okay, let me guess – Ben will go seafood and Sashi will do some curry?
Round two – apparently is “MASSIVE!!” (Yeah we know this is a Heston thing)

Finally we find out what they are cooking and in a shocking development, Ben is cooking blue swimmer crab with avocado cream and finger lime and for his main – deep fried whiting with peas, parsley and garlic emulsion. Gary tries to look like he cares and George just states the obvious about the dish needing to be “perfect”.
And Sashi is making sambal prawn with crispy prawn head and herb salad (starter) and fish CURRY with cumin rice.
I know. I am like a wizard but with cleavage.

Once again Ben spends about a month with the crabs and seems to have forgotten he needs to cook the other elements. That sound we all hear in the background is the start of the death knell – we know that this is pretty much why he isn’t going to win. Finally, after a lengthy George and Gary monologue, Ben is finished with the crab and actually cooks stuff. His camera hog wife seems to be auditioning for her own reality show.

At 35 minutes to go George and Gary pretend this isn’t already decided and runs off to the tasting room to get plastered. We see Sashi run around like a maniac and does a voodoo hex towards Ben’s area.
Ben plates his starter and it basically is baby food with what looks like tzatziki with fish food on top. All the contestants bitch that he needs something “crunchy” and the death knell drums ring a bit louder. Sashi is still cooking something and some idiot tells him how much time he has left. Which is good because it isn’t like there isn’t a HUGE CLOCK right in front of him.

Ben moves on to the main and the judges sneer at his starter. Basically they hate it – honestly don’t blame them – it looks pretty crap.
Back to Sashi and suddenly I am reminded why I decided not to have kids. As I wonder why no one has thrown mini Sashi into the blast chiller, his starter is finally plated.
Gary is almost having a food orgasm at any dish that isn’t Ben’s and they eat and rave about his starter.

Fifteen minutes to go and some random person decides to give advice to Ben and Sashi is pretending that he hasn’t already cooked this dish a million times before. Sarah seems to be wearing a toilet roll and gives her “helpful” advice (umm, honeyboo, if you were good enough to give advice you wouldn’t be in losers’ gantry.)
Five minutes to go and Ben hasn’t cooked his whiting. Matt takes time away from brushing his suit to remind Ben that this is meant to be a cooking show and therefore he may need to cook that seafood already. Ben decides to deep fry his fish – everyone scoffs and that death knell is full on orchestral.

Ben has screwed up the fillet after in a result *everyone* saw happening, the batter has stuck to the basket. For some weird reason he says he hopes the judges won’t notice (even though they are right there watching him).
Ben plates his fish, green stuff and peas and Sashi plates up with looks like a Continental rice in a packet. The judges go to the tasting room and Gary is almost skipping with glee at having reason to tear Ben’s dish to shreds. They love Sashi’s dish and it looks like Ben is screwed – basically they hate it – again I can see why, it looks like something *I* would cook and I once burnt water (true story).

The first round is done and basically if there is a chance that Ben will win he needs to do an exceptional dish with firecrackers and get some strippers to serve it to the judges.

And we have the scoring:
For the starter and main, Ben gets a total of 41/60 and Sashi 57/60 and for main
Entree: Ben 6/10 Gary George 7/10 and Matt 7/10. The look on poor Ben’s face is so despondent that it even warms my cold, dead heart – however, George just chooses to twist that knife a bit further.

And the next round: And as per usual it is time to pay tribute to Heston – because his ego isn’t big enough as it is. After about a million ad breaks, dramatic pauses and the middle east peace plan being worked out, we FINALLY get to see the dish.
A floating pillow (exactly like the top hat thingy on Zumbo’s stupid dessert show). Meringue blobs with ice cream inside on the pillow. They are bits of sponge and MOUSSE. Apparently it has about 67 million ingredients in this dish and takes 546 years to cook.

They start this dish and I crack open the tequila. Ben screws up the coconut ice cream – which gives Only 19 the chance to get in front of the camera. After consulting his spirit guides he decides to make half the portion.
Meanwhile we have Gary ad George basically saying Ben is screwed – and Heston telling them both to shut the f*** up. Ben decides to impart the insight that Plato himself would be proud by stating – the insert is basically a filling. Do you feel your chakras lining up? I know I do.

One hour to go and Sashi has done his blobs and Ben is playing in the freezer. To keep any semblance that this isn’t already over, Sashi has screwed up his “insert” and the camera pans to Jess, who finally figures out what feta is.
Finally they finish their blobs and because this dish isn’t wanky enough, they have to plate up on the damn pillow.

First is Sashi and George was about to remind Heston that he is Only 19 before realising it is the wrong script and gets back on track. They taste with what looks like overgrown baby food spoons. It is Ben’s turn to give tribute to Heston and all but genuflect before serving on the stupid pillow. George serves the food and looks a bit lost without his tweezers.

After scoring, Ben’s total is 77
And in a result that surprises no one – Sashi wins and now I need to get more wine.



MasterChef – Semi final – Sun, July 23

The stakes are high as the three remaining contestants fight it out for the two places in the finale and the chance of winning the coveted prize.
Who will be eliminated tonight? Vote in the new poll.
The finale is tomorrow night at 7.30pm, on Ten.

We start with Ben pretending to drink coffee while wistfully gazing out over Melbourne from the hotel balcony. He plans to use his Dutch heritage in his cooking for the service challenge and we see his Oma (Nan) briefly.
No Nan for Diana and Karlie.
They arrive at the MC kitchen and the eliminated contestants are up on the gantry to be the cheer squad. Ben’s hair is glued into place and Matt is wearing a teal suit with a white and silver cravat.
George is wearing a dreadful checked travel rug as a woollen blazer.

Ben’s dessert has a Dutch theme and is called pumpkin and spices and – fun fact – people in the Netherlands don’t eat pumpkin, they just feed it to livestock.

Karlie is making crayfish with a ginger broth, because as he know she loves Asian flavours.

Diana’s main has nine elements and her dessert seven. She is doing wagyu two ways – good move given her wagyu dish has highly praised at the Heston restaurant service challenge, even after she had trouble with cutting the meat to the correct size. There’s a lot of stuff on her dishes but Diana always keeps a cool head.

And the first ice cream of the night goes to … Ben! Of course! Vanilla and bay leaf. He manages to slosh half the anglaise out of the mixer and gets a calming back pat from Shannon Bennett – awww.
The edit shows Ben falling behind and looking stressed out – so he must triumph in the end. After an hour of prep he has not started on his main dish. Shannon calls the dish “brave” but Ben doesn’t bite and simply says “thank you”.
Karlie is boiling up some massive crayfish and her dessert is orange and sesame something ice cream.

Diana is making lemon verbena sorbet and rice pudding and the gantry freaks out when her pot starts boiling over.
Who knew you could cook with tulip bulbs? Ben is topping his with onion skins that the waiters will set on fire at the table. The judges will be impressed with this.

Diana is making a whey caramel that she learnt in the challenge set by former contestant Kylie – that dessert that looked like a pile of dried-out leaves. The judges like it when contestants show techniques they have learnt on their “journey”.
Karlie is having prawn oil drama so she’s going to ditch it. She is getting very flustered.

Meanwhile, for more info about the Dutch and their tulip bulb-eating habits go here.
I love that Ben and Karlie are freaking and Diana is just methodically working away. Shannon comes over to turn the screws on Ben. He needs to get his beef in the oven now or it won’t have time to rest – no-one wants blood on their plate.
He turns to a pic of his kids to give him strength. Usually this sort of thing irks me but it’s not like it’s the start of competition and they are using it gratuitously.
How annoying must it be to have Shannon yelling “Stop! Stop!” every few minutes to announce how little time they have left. I want Comforting-Pats-On-Back-Shannon back!
Diana is frying up some massive Wagyu scotch fillets – imagine the cost! (This place sells it for 100 a kilo, although commercial prices would be lower. Check out the butchery here.
Diana is calling for waiters to take her plates while Karlie is still cooking. Diana’s dish looks delicious – love the herb dust.

Gary does the “lifting eyes to the heavens” look when he tastes the meat. Matt praises the sauce and says it’s a MasterChef Top Ten dish – big call! Well done, Diana.

Ben has had to do pickled beetroot as he ran out of time to roast, and he’s worried.

The judges love the theatre of the flaming onion skin and are overjoyed to taste something they’ve never before tried: tulip bulbs.
George says the bulbs are delicious. I wish they would actually tell us what they taste like. They praise the dish but Gary points out it’s not as “multi-sensory” as Diana’s main. Remember the first half of the comp, when it felt as though Gary never had a kind word to say about her – well, none that made the edit anyway.

Karlie is STILL cooking and tearfully wanders almost out of sight, to be hugged by Diana. When her dishes do go out they look really interesting.

The judges say it was worth the wait.
The girls have it over Ben at this stage. We get the obligatory “it’s going to come down to dessert”.

Diana is using someone interesting ingredients in her lemon verbena dessert, including finger limes and buckwheat. She’s put a lot of thought into the textures.

The judges think it’s really pretty, uses new combinations of flavours and is delicious.
Diana is definitely safe. She is a machine! And, yes, teary Diana, I hope your Mum comes over for the final, too!

Poor Ben is having drama with his pumpkin galettes being too mushy to lift outof the pan. Oh, Ben, this is not looking good! Quick – look at the picture of your kids again!
Karlie’s mandarin and black sesame dessert looks really interesting.

The judges love the look of it and the sponge is light BUT the mandarin sauce is bitter and Gary thinks it detracts from the tasty black sesame ice cream. George quickly jumps in with some superlatives to throw us off the scent.

Ben is at it again with setting things on fire, lighting up some cinnamon quills to be placed in a bowl in the table for aroma. It does not look as pretty as the girls’ desserts but they always praise him for his herby ice creams.

Gary loves it – phew – especially the salty finish on the butterscotch sauce. “It’s like the best pumpkin pie,” says George. It’s a “ripper”.

The three semi-finalists get a group hug with Shannon. I wish they would include him in the judging and give him points to allocate to the best worker in the kitchen.

No surprise – Diana is first through. Yay! She has been a rock throughout the comp (apart from those cocktail-inspired dishes for Heston’s water-themed challenge but let’s not talk about that disappointing Heston Week) but did not make the edit for a long time.
And the other semi-finalist is Ben, because Karlie’s mandarin syrup was too bitter. Poor Karlie says it’s not a surprise after seeing the other two work in the kitchen: “I felt like I was lacking a little bit.” Awww.
I can see her going on to have a successful career helping create new dishes or products, rather than a job as a working chef, or perhaps in food styling. Her plating has always been beautiful and inviting.

It’s Diana versus Ben and, unless Ben plans his dishes very carefully, Diana will just steamroll over him with her attention to detail and time management – and delicious flavours.
As with last year’s Elena versus Matt finale, we have two worthy finalists.


MasterChef starts tonight

Tune in to Ten from 7.30pm for the “best season evah”.
How many episodes before we see a red silicone mould?

It finishes at 9.10pm. Tomorrow and Wednesday it runs from 7.30-8.40pm and on Thursday we get a whopping 2 hours. The blurb for the mega episode says: The top 24 contestants enter the kitchen for their first mystery box challenge. Later, the bottom four will cook off in an elimination challenge. Who will be the first to leave in 2017?
Sunday is the good ole mystery box challenge, from 7-8.40pm.

We start with a montage of what lies ahead, including Heston (hope he’s happier than he was last year), a trip to Japan, return visits from Anna P (death star chocolate dome maker), Maggie Beer and Curtis Stone etc. Looks like some cool challenges ahead.
The would-be contestants arrive, clutching their Coles bags, and here are the judges. Not sure about Gary’s purple paisley tie, and Matt is wearing a subdued grey long suit coat, but his burgandy cravat has a bit of sparkle in it, because it’s the premiere. George doesn’t have to wear a tie, but his shirt is buttoned to the top – because he’s the young ‘un.
George gives them the inspriational speech and makes them do the “Yes, George”. Ick. (Next year, add “hire a good accountant” to your speech, Georgie.)
Ok, let’s cook! These auditions are never much to write about but we get a challenge on Thursday.
Three yesses and you get an apron; only one and you get a chance to cook again.
Up first is Mich, who’s 19 and from Melbourne. Here hero is Reynold. She’s the golden ball girl and she’s using red silicone moulds. Bingo! But she cooks with Cadbury chocolate! Hmm, product placement? She taught herself to cook by practising stuff she saw online.
Pia, 48, is making gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce with a parmesan crisp. That’s a lot of richness.
Meanwhile, Mich is assembling her golden ball – I like her trick of melting the edge of the half dome by pressing it on the base of a hot saucepan. She’s studying nutrition, so I love that she wants to open a dessert bar. The judges are suitable impressed, as the producers knew they would be, sending her in first.

Please tell me she can cook mains, too.
Here comes Italian Pia with her gnocchi – she’s giving me a Julie Goodwin “cooking for the family so ordinary people can relate” kind of vibe. No gels or foams here. She starts tearing up when they praise her. I hope she can make it through the fancy pants cheffy-type challenges.

Here comes a blonde girl with Chinese dumplings. She’s in.

Fifty-seven-year-old Benita gets the “older lady who’s quite a character” slot for her pork belly.

Here’s a bloke with a pretty yuzu dessert. (From memory this is about as much airtime as Matt Sinclair got in the audition last year.) Ah, his name is Bryan.

A roo dish by headband-wearer Samuel is through.

A professional singer with Persian heritage makes a chicken and rice dish with “stock spheres”.

We hear mum mentioning she cooks it a different way, and is questioned whether the rice is cooked enough. Daughter brushes her off. And then tries to flirt a bit with Presto. She mentions how she is modernising it for MasterChef. They are totally going to tell her she should have done it the old-school way. She starts begging for her life before they’ve even tasted it.
She’s the first one that makes it to air as being rejected. Maybe a redemption story next year?
Uh oh – someone else makes a parfait that doesn’t set.
A girl with a white punky do is getting a lot of commentary time, and she was in the opening montage, so we know she’s through.
A string of people is knocked back.
Pete from Perth is making confit salmon. He’s the laidback Aussie bloke crane operator (remember Brett the bobcat driver, who went on to win?).

He knows how to make a foam and a is a George-style plater with nasturtium leaves. The judges love it. Onya, Pete.
Muscle-bound Ben leaves the gym and cooks a dish that’s a nod to his Ditch heritage and gets through.
They like the girl who made a dish she describes as tasting “like a burning pirate ship”.

Here comes handsome Dr Ray with “bacon and eggs” – a bowl of soft-poached egg and yummy bits, covered in a smoked potato foam. And he has two cute kids.
A blonde ponytail girl who looks a lot like dessert queen Kylie from a few seasons back presents a pho-paccio. It’s clever plating but unfortunately.
Oh no – another contestant with a brain injury! Following on from dessert specialist Karmen from last year – who was injured in a skiing accident – we have a young fella whose car was stolen the night before last year’s auditions and he was “injured in the process”. What does that mean? He chased them and was beaten up? Is it before the courts and he can’t say more? He was in hospital for nine weeks. Josh’s dish is the Japanese “Duck in the Wetlands” and they lap it up.
Poor Emily is trying to talk to the camera but Nanna keeps stealing the limelight. She’s doing the first panna cottas of the night, but they are mini ones that are just one element of her lychee dessert. Gary says she’s made a few errors. George says there’s too much sugar. But Matt likes her creativity so he sends her through to the second chance cook. Perhaps she’ll do better without a well-intentioned Nanna yelling at her.
We get a few more second chance cooks.

Here comes cheery, punky-looking Jess, a 29-year-old Melbourne nurse. She should cope well in the stressful reality TV environment. She’s created a Japanese-style savoury dessert using matcha (take note, Hashtaggers) and beetroot.

The judges love her handwritten collection of recipes, with pretty watercolour illustrations. So if she goes far in the comp, we already know what her cookbook will look like.
As Presto tastes, George uses the cover provided by his giant coat to mouth to camera “It’s amazing!”. Jess is through. “You are the textbook contestant we dream about finding,” Presto says.
Saffron-poached pears with smoked vanilla ice cream man has a cute, cheeky kid who’s brought in to the judging station to give Daddy his apron.
Salmon man gets through and, like the others today, he’s learnt MasterChef likes it when you talk about family memories and inspiration.
A few girls get the nod.
Beardie WA lawyer Ben makes “Sunday roast”, with 18 aprons already gone. He’s brought along some native WA wax flowers to go with the dish. He’s suitably emotional about the prospect of a food career and does a big “Oh What a Feeling” leap as he leaves the room. He has a Matt Sinclair vibe with his sincerity and passion.

To top that we have a molecular gastronomy/theatre guy, who once made lickable wallpaper for a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-themed school project. Dammit – there goes the theme for Heston week! Callan is doing a Japanese salmon tartare. He’s only 18. You seem lovely, but you know you can just do an apprenticeship, right, Callan? You’re not 40 and with a mortgage to pay.

George is doing the hiding behind Presto thing again so he can make faces at Garry. They think it’s sensational. Cue the orchestra! Sneaky Callan gives his family a heart attack by hiding the apron behind his back – there’s that theatre background.

Tomorrow night it’s the second chance cook, and they get to impress Maggie Beer.
Well, that went for far too long but at least they whipped through the contestants. And while we had some emotional back stories it was all delightfully restrained after MKR’s excess.
I do love that MasterChef posts lots of food pix to social media, which MKR annoyingly stopped doing this season.


First Dates recap

Did anyone catch First Dates on Seven last week? It’s always good for a bit of fun. Unfortunately it’s not even coming up on my TV guide listings for the coming week and Seven hasn’t updated the show’s Twitter feed since last year, so it looks like MKR has bumped it.
Over to Daisy for her recap:

Hi stickybeaks of all things trash and cheesy. Married at First Sight is over, but to fill the void, we now have First Dates, which is similar but faster. Sort of MAFS takeaway. It’s worth watching if you enjoy watching weird people in slightly awkward, and hopefully romantic situations.
My recap is brief this week but I suggest you might enjoy a laugh if you sneak peek in your My Kitchen Rules marathon breaks. Last week we saw a return of our Serbian female security guard, the “curvy model”. She will never choose a guy because she is enjoying celebrity.
Otherwise we had all new ones. Pretty ones. Dorky. Mildly handsome. Boobs out. Boobs in. Chunky. Skinny. Picky eaters. Piggy eaters. Familiar with cuisine. And those who think seafood is only good if covered in batter, accompanied with chips, and served in paper.
Although there were plenty of ” No thankyous” to the offer of more dates, the pairs were far better matched than the sexperts did on MAFS.

The dinner conversations were not riveting but entertaining, and certainly strange enough for viewers to pat themselves on the back and think, “Hey, I’m not so weird after all”. I will be watching, in my pyjamas, with Woolif beside me; not the partnering of an awkward dinner date, but the result of a relaxed pick-up at Steve’s pub, Nedlands, and a “would you like a second date?” 😘


Australian Survivor finale

Here we are – finally! It’s the last day of Australian Survivor.
Who do you think will win? And who do you want to win?

Tonight I’m recapping as the program goes along (SA time).
Here we are and – oh my goodness – they are doing the walk of the fallen comrades! Original Survivor hasn’t done this for yonks, because so often the final three is reminiscing about people they never met. And that’s evident tonight, with a lot of “nice girl” and “what a character”. “Ah, Sammy boy,” is all Sam gets (from Lee), who follows it up with “Ah, Matt”. Yep – that was a worthwhile few minutes, although it’s nice to hear the former contestants voices again – and be reminded who some of them were.
Leel and Kristie arrive at the final immnuity challenge and, for drama, JLap meets them atop a cliff that looks like it’s made from volcanic rock, with the odd wave pounding against it to spray them.
He also reveals their loved ones are here, and this move is actually pretty annoying, because in “real” Survivor, loved ones visits are usually held around final six to eight (although not every season). I always shed a tear when the castaways realise their loved one is here and look forward to some noses getting out of joint as, inevitably, only some people get to spend time with their loved one. Usually the challenge winner gets to pick two or three other people and their love ones to accompany them on a reward, or to spend the night back at camp, and this can expose some alliances. Or it can lead to sneaky gameplay, a la Jonny Fairplay and the Dead Grandma Incident (and if you are new to Survivor, you have to YouTube that episode of Survivor: Panama).
But this is Australian Survivor so the loved ones are being brought out at a time when it really makes no difference to the game, other than to dehydrate contestants from crying so much.
Kristie’s dad is here and we know she’s watched Survivor with him since she was a kid, and he says some lovely things and we’re reminded that Kristie won only one reward the whole season, and gave up her letter from home. Lee and El get their sisters (and you have to wonder if anyone whispered “that’s my new squeeze”). We learn Lee once had major back surgery and thought he wouldn’t run or play cricket again, but went on to play professionally. (Sorry – I missed the bit about El because my 4yo woke up briefly).
JLap lays down the immunity challenge rules, which we already know from Survivor Borneo, the season that started it all. Back then, Rudy, Richard Hatch and Wiggles stood with both feet on a stump and leant in to a central pole relatively comfortably (see a pic here), but here the Aussies have to really lean in to it and have each foot on a pole at different height (as in Survivor: Africa). First person to lift their hand from the idol pole is out. In Borneo, Rich deliberately stepped down, knowing he couldn’t outlast the others and trusting that both would pick him as their final two opponent. Wiggles won when Rudy had a brain fade and lifted his hand.
Here the waves are an additional challenge, soaking them regularly. El at least manages to change position by squatting but Lee tells JLap his knees are buggered from sport so he has to stay standing. After 90 minutes in JLap starts with the questions about the pain and Lee’s feet are starting to look a bit purple. Eventually JLap gets sick of getting soaked and goes to sit with the loved ones for a chat.
Kristie’s Dad tells JLap Survivor started at the time of his divorce, so Survivor became an example of triumph through adversity and calling on inner strength for him and his kids. The waves are getting massive as the tide comes in so the trio are drenched, freezing and accidentally swallowing gobfuls of salt water.

Six hours later …
Six hours later they are still going.
“My wrist – I can’t move my wrist. I’m going to have to step down,” says El, screaming as the waves hit again. Finally she does hop down and Doctor JLap comes over to help her to her feet and almost carries her over to hug her sister.
No matter what happens now kudos to Kristie to outlasting an army major in and endurance challenge.
“Lee, you’ve got to let me have this one,” Kristie tells Lee.
“I don’t want to go home,” he replies.
“I will take you … I promise. You ave me an opportunity in this game that I could never have gotten without you. I swear to you, I promise, I will take you. And you know what you will probably beat me … I won’t have the votes,” she cries.
His response: “Keep fighting.”
“You remind me so much of my Dad,” she tells him, thanking him for his support throughout the game, throughout the “crazy”. Now, this is likely true but it is also very good strategy on Kristie’s part, because she knows how much being a role model for his kids is. “I swear on my Dad,” she continues.
“I’m so proud of you,” he tells her. And then he falls hard off the poles.

Kristie wins immunity! Five seconds later she follows, tumbling to the jagged rocks below. “Kristie, are you ok?” JLap asks as they both lie helpless on the rocks.
“Can you get me up, please, because it’s hurting,” she sobs. Her dad picks her up and carries her off. She is both crying and laughing as she shakes on the ground with fatigue and what looks like hypothermia. Don’t they have blankets for them? And water? We do get to see El put an arm around Lee as he apologises for not lasting.
Will Kristie take Lee? I reckon she will. JLap gets dad to come over and put the immunity necklace on his now-crippled daughter, which is a cool moment for the both of them.

Tribal council
I want to see their faces when they see Kristie has the necklace. There are gasps from Matt, Nick is open mouthed and and there’s a whispered “I can’t believe she won” from Flick. Tonight, Kristie is the only one casting a vote but Leel get to put forward lacklustre pitches.
“What you see is what you get with me. I think I’m less likely to get votes off the jury,” El laughs.
Lee says: “We all three of us have been together since day one. It’s up to her – it’s her choice. It’s the first time she can have a decision by herself without any pressure.” God, Lee, you still sound patronising.
And the 22nd person voted out is El. Yep. No surprise there.

Lee and Kristie head back to the beach for one final night and to hone their jury speeches. Kristie should kick Lee’s arse when it comes to conveying emotion and passion for the game – it will come down to whether the jury thinks she fluked it – and whether they are annoyed at Lee for distancing himself from the game for so long.

Day 55
Kristie is delirious with happiness whereas Lee is rather subdued, but he perks up with the final day breakfast arrives and they can eat bacon.
“I’m very happy with how I played the game; good people can win,” Lee tells the camera. Urgh – does this mean Kristie is not a good person by your standards, Lee? This is the girl who gave up her letter from home to someone else. Although, to be fair, I can’t see either of them doing much opponent bashing at final tribal.

Final tribal
“Looks pretty, doesn’t she?” murmurs Lee as a showered El arrives at the jury bench. JLap announces they will do opening statements (which US Survivor ditched a while back, or at the very least started cutting them from the edit).
Lee’s jury pitch is, as expected, about playing a clean and honest game. And unless there was a lot that was cut out, that’s about it from Lee.
Kristie has obviously thought long and hard about her jury speech. “All of you, you thought I was absolutely crazy,” she tells them. Her “move” was successfully gunning for Phoebe, who had flipped on her, and how, despite her name always being mentioned, she outlasted everyone.
“I have had to fight my way through 20 tribal councils. In the end, I was able to get through two whole tribes. Who in Survivor can say that? I can,” she says with conviction.
Well said, Kristie!
Time for jury questions .. El’s is a Dorothy Dixer about what his first “selfless acts” will be. Apparently, looking after his folks, his boys and some unnamed philanthropic works. El’s question is just a criticism of Kristie’s perceived lack of strategy but Kristie responds with some good examples and how her strategy of stepping back and watching them eat each other paid off.
Flick tells Kristie everyone is pissed at her for “not playing the game” and making big moves (because that worked so well for you, Flick). Kristie schools her in the difference between subtle moves and big moves. “You look at the jury and the people who made big moves were voted out straight away afterwards,” Kristie responds and she’s getting the swelling music and nods from the jury.
Brooke asks Lee an awkward question about whether he and El had a secret romance. “There is no romance going on,” he replies, stating they will be good friends. Brooke tells Kristie it seems she let Daddy Lee control her, but Kristie replies it was all part of her masterplan to make others think she could be controlled.
JL goes in hard, telling Lee he is ignorant and arrogant for thinking people who wanted to win were greedy pigs – and reminds him she is an aid worker. Go, JL! Lee does not compute. Lee apologises to her and says he made the comment at tribal councils, which were “not his forte”. (He was worked in the media, previously, though, so he should be more eloquent.)
Kylie basically just gives them a pep talk
Sam accuses Lee of taking advantage of Kristie. Lee mentions Kristie had a rough time in the early days and he supported who through that. “I didn’t force her to do anything; she probably played me as much as I played her.”
And now to Nick, and he gives Kristie a big compliment: “Tonight you have come out balls to the wall and you are literally a different person.”
Nick tells Lee he is hypocrite for playing the “morality” card, and mentions they initially got on, doing “manly things” together.
“And that is not as weird and as Brokeback Mountain as it seems,” Nick jokes. (I love that JLap starts cracking up at this.) Lee says he didn’t realise, coming into the game how impossible it would be to stick to that moral code.
“Kristie, you did my head in. You did a lot of flip flopping … and I think you now that,” Sue says. “Of course,” replies Kristie, saying she was sorry but she had to deflect heat off herself. “Well, you outsmarted me – well done,” concedes Sue.
Matt, a fellow huge Survivor fan, tells Kristie she often appeared panicked and yet at other times was friendly and supportive (is that a reference to her giving him the loved ones letter?), and wonders who is the real Kristie. She admits she had two panic attacks early in the game and didn’t realise until she arrived in Samoa she suffered from anxiety.
That’s it. Kristie has soooo got this. Sure, El will vote Lee but will anyone else? Maybe Flick?

Time to vote
Here comes the crazy loud music. Nick is first and, for dramatic effect, draws a downward stroke that could be the start of an L or a K. Matt does the same – love it. Bet they talked about it beforehand.

We see El votes for Lee – der – and Kylie for Kristie.
At this point the US show would normally cut to a studio several months later, for the big reveal in front of an audience.
JLap is set to read the votes but first announces that their families are here, and it’s lovely seeing Lee sob as he quietly hugs his boys. Asked by JLap what they think about Dad’s beard, the elder replies: “He looks like Obi Wan Kenobi.” Kristie is so happy to introduce her family to JLap.
So here come the votes.
Kristie, Lee (and we know that’s El’s vote because of the smiley face), Kristie, Kristie, Kristie and the winner is Kristie! She collapses screaming and is picked up be her family.

(I can’t be sure but I think they did and MKR and recorded two endings, which is such a shame.)
Well done, Kristie. You absolutely nailed that final tribal.
We get to see how everyone voted.
“I don’t know how you’ve done this, but it’s inspiring, it’s incredible,” says Matt.
“Good on you, but you are still a naughty little girl,” says Sue. The others congratulate her and a smiling Brooke says Kristie’s words changed her vote.

That’s all folks. Well, that was actually a pretty fun end to what at times has been a lacklustre season due to the lack of tribe shakeups.
A reminder the Survivor Family Feud is on Ten, Sunday at 7.30pm (and how strange is it to see Phoebe all dolled up in the promo. A lot of people online wondered why Craig wasn’t selected to take part as he seems such a natural fit for game shows, but on Facebook he messaged fans he’s travelling overseas.
Oh, here’s a fun tweet from JLap:


Bold and the Beautiful Oct chat

Over to B&B correspondent Daisy for her Oct precap:

Hey, it's that dude.
Hey, it’s that dude.

B&B Oktoberfest
October is underway and so are the troubles and predicaments in LA. Liam still can’t find a girlfriend outside of the Forrester family but we can predict is glum and anguished expressions will soon be replaced with smug ones as Stephie is sure to turn to him to escape her psychopathic mother in law. Quinn, I think will may play her royal highness of the Forrester mansion for awhile and have her portrait painted for centre stage over the fire place, which will send all the young heirs and heiresses into a frenzy. It’s nice to see Rick and Ridge teaming up to fight the intruding Quinn. Pam will be freaking out as once again, her sister’s portrait goes into storage in the shed.
What I would like to see next is a little mishap as Quinn continues to introduce Eric to the delight’s of sado-masochistic lovemaking. Something a little Michael Hutchence but maybe with Pam and the ever alert Charlie running in to cut him down just in the nick of time. Failing that, a failing ticker with a heart transplant from a sacrificial lamb. I expect Brooke may return soon from selling kaftans and she will give Eric what for. He will listen to Brooke.
Thomas and Sasha should just get on with it because they both know what they are after but are beating around the bush; both playing the supportive, understanding listener. Yeah, yeah, we know they just want to jump behind the nearest shrubbery. That’s why Sasha has been wearing her shrubbery camouflage jump suit. There you go, another triangle when Caroline and little Dougie return to reclaim the baby daddy (as they say on Judge Judy).
None of this however is certain. The only things that are certain is that, as BDD pointed out, there is a spare crib at Forresters for Quinn and Liam’s love child, should there be one, none of the Forrester or Avant babies will get colic or cry during scenes, and no one will get fat or clean their house but dust will magically disappear and floors will sweep themselves.
Bill will need a new girlfriend, but will Brooke be preoccupied with saving Eric and the Forrester empire from Quinn. And the Avants are getting boring like a suspiciously, politically correct fifth wheel. They need some action. Nicole is gorgeous but could be used in surgery to put patients to sleep. Wyatt will soon be needing a new girlfriend. Who will it be? Will he just loiter around waiting for Liam and Stephie to break up.
And last of all; do you think it’s going to hurt when Stephie gets her tattoo removed? Should Liam just get a tattoo as well? We shall see.


No Australian Survivor tonight – Sun, Oct 2

Silly NRL grand final meaning there’s no Survivor tonight. Instead, if you haven’t already, check out US Survivor online at 9Now.

Does Sue make a big move tomorrow night? Let’s hope she can rustle up some support from Magic Matt and Kristie.
Fingers crossed Adelaide will still have power tomorrow (more rain on the way) and I’ll be recapping as usual.
Meanwhile, here’s Conner’s audition video:

And Nick’s:


Australian Survivor – Sun, Sept 25

Finally – a real merge – not just a shuffle. The fallout from this is going to be fun.

It’s Day 32 already – the days just fly by when Survivor is on three nights a week.
At yellow, Conner, Kristie and Kate are wasting away. They are going to go nuts and get so sick when they finally get that merge feast.
Everyone heads in to what they think is a challenge and the fans quickly realise the seating indicates it’s the Survivor auction – yay!
There are gasps as blue realise that Phoebe is gone.
The editors play sad music as Kate speaks about how many players their tribe lost and the camera cuts to Conner and Kristie.
JLap starts talking about how hard it’s been, laying down the adjectives and the contestants get restless as some of them twig he’s about to announce the merge. Except Spidey Sam, who says: “What’s going on here?”
Meanwhile, Nick is happily chanting: “Say it! Say it!”
Yes, it’s the merge (the real one) and they are now all competing as individuals, with new black buffs.

They get $500 to spend and can bid in $20 increments. There’s no sharing of money or food, which I know is standard in US Survivor these days but it would have been kind of interesting to let the Aussies do it to see where the alliances lie. Usually with the auction, the people who are playing hard will save all their pennies as the final item is usually an advantage or clue to an idol – or occasionally letters from loved ones. This makes me think Nick and Magic Matt won’t be buying any food and we’ll see who else is in it to win it. Plus with a merge they usually get a feast, so hanging out a few more hours won’t hurt the former blues, who have enjoyed many helpings of Hungry Jack’s and a Samoan feast.

The auction begins
First up is salt and vinegar chips and a cola. El makes first bid but Conner is the only other bidder – poor kid – he must be starving. JLap reveals Conner gets and extra three softies, which go to Kristie and Kate and his old tribemate Sue. Aww, he’s a good kid.
Next is chocolate cake and choc milk. El bids $60 but is immediately outbid by Conner with $440!! That’s his whole stash gone. Fair enough, kid – he knew he didn’t have enough money for a clue so made sure he got some food. That cake is going to make him so crook.
Next it’s the old secret item trick. It’s going to be a bowl of rice. Sam bids $240 (after Nick drives up the price in what looks like a deliberate move). JLap does the old “but do you want it or this other covered item?”. He sticks with the original and it’s nachos and a margherita. But we don’t even see what was under the other hessian cloche.
The following item is also covered and the keen players sense it’s something special. Nick, Brooke, Lee and Sue all place bids. Sue for $220 gets steak and chips.
Up next is a hot bath with a toothbrush and toothpaste. Brooke gets it for $20 and has to hop in in front of everyone.
Next is what they’ve been waiting for: an advantage. El and Lee bid for it. Magic Matt stays quiet, knowing these advantages can come back to bite you.
Kate for $500 buys spag bol and a red wine, so expect to see her topple of the bench.
The final item is covered and Nick outbids Lee for $440. He has won an advantage and he doesn’t look too happy. “I didn’t want this … I didn’t want a big, fat target on my back – that’s what that is.”

Too right, Nick. The advantage holders will open their scrolls back at camp. If I was Nick I’d do it in front of everyone and read it aloud. Lee may get away with doing it secretly as everyone trusts him.

They all return to their new home beach and everyone’s sad to learn they are at the crappy yellow camp, with the comforts of blue camp left behind. Chester the chook has at least made it over. It seems there’s no merge feast so I feel sorry for poor Kristie, who didn’t get anything at the auction.
Everyone gets to work expanding the shelter but really they are dying to cement alliances.
Conner is worried he’ll be targeted and rightly so – Flick wants him gone after his perceived earlier betrayal (because she’s the only one allowed to play the game) and Brooke and El are on board.
Sue lays it out to the camera: “They’re all ra ra ra over there like a university sorority house. Full of their own arrogance.”
Sue warns Kristie and Kate that Conner is in trouble. Conner takes Kylie off for a super casual walk to show her the well and she seems to be on board. I hope she is, as she has’t shown herself to be good at strategy or the social game. Conner is keen to turn Sam back to his alliance, but I don’t know that Sam would break up with his new BFF Lee. Interestingly they aren’t talking about approaching Jenna Louise, a former yellow. Is that because she’s in the pretty girl alliance and we don’t know it?
Really, the old blues should target the unsuspecting Kylie and get that idol out of the game.

Lee reads his advantage in secret – he gets to stop someone from voting at a future tribal council, up until final five – and says he’ll tell his alliance.
Nick, meanwhile, talks about burning his but he just can’t help himself – he unwraps it. It’s an immunity idol clue and it sounds like it’s up a tree. He monkeys all over the place and is immediately spotted by Lee. At least when he knows he’s busted he shows Lee the clue and ropes him in to the search. Lee is suss but plays along. Nick finds it and tells Lee he will also only tell his alliance of six.
Sam finds some pink fabric washed up on the shore and the pretty girl alliance rip it up for friendship bracelets. The core alliance all get one – and Kristie. Way to stir the pot.

I wish we’d seen whose idea that was. Brooke’s?
And, still, no-one seems to be talking to JL. What does this mean?

Immunity challenge time
We don’t even get a welcome from JLap. Sam tells JLap the new tribe name is Fiafia, which is “happy” in Samoan.
The challenge is a Survivor classic: hanging upside down with your arms and legs wrapped around a poll. Girls often do well at this – and those who meditate – I’m guessing El and Kylie. If Kristie had had any food I’d guess her. In Survivor: Panama in 2006, it was won by Terry Deitz at around the 45-minute mark. In 2011, Andrea won the challenge on Redemption Island. The US usually holds this challenge above water for more drama, but this time we just have it above the sand – a cheaper option, no doubt.
Magic Matt is first out, then Sam. They know they’re not in danger. Conner, who knows how much he needs it, goes next. Next are Sue and FLick. Kate and Kristie are doing some awesome full body dangles. El and JL do a deal to drop out together and Lee is next, leaving Nick the last bloke. Kylie is encouraging Nick to hang on to the 60-minute mark and he just makes it.
Kate looks amazingly relaxed and in control and at 75 minutes JLap tells them they can only use one hand.
Poor Kristie is stunned: “I thought you were going to give me food.” (True – this often happens). Poor Kristie is destined to go hungry. She is the next one out – a great effort with no sustenance. Then Kate, who has been so strong, drops. It’s Kylie V upside down Brooke and Kylie makes the mistake of swapping arms, which is not allowed. Brooke wins the necklace.

Back at camp Nick wants Conner out, too, but he wants a vote split in case Conner has an island. He wants five for Conner, four Kate and they know Kylie may flip.
Matt, Sam and Lee go for a wander and Lee is wearing sneakers – so he must have had a second pair that survived the fire – and they chat about Nick’s general untrustworthiness, although, secretly, Matt doesn’t mind him. Lee asks Matt to explain why they need to do a split. Aaargh – come on, Lee! Get with the program. Sam and Lee aren’t happy that this seems to be all Nick’s plan.
Sam is not happy that his old tribemate, Conner, is the target, nor that Kate is the second option. He tells the camera: “He’s a good kid – baby bruvva.”
Sue sends Kate to talk to Kristie while Conner will work on Sam but the old blues have taken a leaf out of the Boston Rob playbook and don’t want to leave Sam alone. Brooke follows them as they try to chat. Kristie is also torn between proving loyalty to former and more recent tribemates because she could be the next target.
They head off to tribal and it seems either Conner or Kate will go home.

Tribal council
JLap chats to the final 13 and no-one says anything much, other than Lee echoing back to JLap that he’s playing based on mateship. Flick pretends she doesn’t know who’s in charge but then JLap brings up the pink wristbands. “Is that the alliance,” asks JLap. Brooke replies: “Definitely not.” JLap notes they must be friendship bands: “Friendship, in Survivor, means alliance.”
JLap tries to get Kate to plead for her life. “I’m not going to get down on my knees and beg,” says Kate. “I’m just going to be my own self.” (Soooo, Kate’s going home, then.)

Time to vote
We see Sue vote for Matt and Flick for Conner. “I’ll count the votes,” says JLap (I read an interview with him today in which he said some fans are upset he does not say “I’ll tally the votes”, Probst style.)
It’s Matt, Nick, Conner, Kylie, Kate, Conner, Kate, Conner, Kate, Conner, Kate, Conner and … it’s Conner.
He gives a gracious speech about everyone being great competitors while inside his heart is breaking. Ah, Conner – you were a likeable lad who made some mistakes along the way that came back to bite you but I wanted you to make it a little further.

Next time: Pretty girl alliance is talking about how awesome they are. Please, please let them come a cropper.
Who voted for whom: JL, Magic Matt, Kylie, Brooke – voted for Kate; Sam (how could you!), Kristie, Flick, Nick, El and Lee voted for Conner; Conner vote for Nick; Kate for Kylie and Sue for Matt. So the underdog alliance couldn’t even agree to vote for the same person!


Australian Survivor – Tues, Sept 20

Instead of starting with the awkward fallout of the attempt to vote out Kristie, we begin with kidnapped Sue’s introduction to her new blue tribe.
They must all have been wondering which of them Sue was there to send back to yellow, but it looks like that’s one twist the producers aren’t playing … for now.
Former yellow Nick gives her a hug but you just know it’s all going to blow up later on, as it did with JL.
At blue Kristie knows she had a lucky escape, but tells the camera she still has Phoebe as an ally. Oh, Kristie – I fear Conner’s naivety has rubbed off on you.
As Kate sunbakes on the beach we get a glimpse of her armpit and she’s no longer wearing a bandaid.
As Phoebe and Kristie chat the shelter they’ve built over the fire catches alight and thank goodness for Kristie’s quick thinking or their sleeping shelter could have gone up in flames a la Survivor Amazon.
At yellow, Nick starts chatting to Sue about why she voted him out – in front of the whole tribe, mind you – and it escalates quickly. Everyone else pretends they are off in the jungle with the chooks.

Immunity challenge time
This is a challenge they’ve used a few times on US Survivor (including Second Chance), involving spinning quickly to retrieve puzzle, then staggering drunkenly to a balance beam and so on. A few people usually get so dizzy they fall over.
The winner gets immunity and a Hungry Jack’s breakfast (with coffee) eaten by a waterfall.
Blue has to sit out more than half the team and it’s Sam v Conner to begin. Conner does really well, despite looking like he’s going to throw up at one point. Poor Sam takes a hard fall on to one of the poles and it looks like his own pole would have been injured in the process.

Kate then leads Magic Matt and she kills it. OMG – yellow is in the lead. Kristie takes on Brooke and keeps the lead. It’s Phoebe versus JL for blue and JL is a little dynamo, making up a tonne of ground.
The puzzle makers are Magic Matt versus Kate and while JLap says it’s neck and neck it looks like Matt is way ahead. Interestingly Kate did the puzzle last time and was beaten by Nick – does no one else want to have a go at puzzles and put a target on themselves?
Poor old yellow has to head back to camp without so much as a nibble of a hash brown.
Phoebe tells the camera: “The strangest thing is I trust Kristie the most in this tribe but, strategically, I have to vote for her.”

At the waterfull, everyone discovers the way to make Hungry Jack’s coffee taste good is to go 30 days or so without caffeine. Wonder if they will all have massive headaches a few hours later? Sue is stoked to a) be safe and b) eat something that’s not rice and beans and c) to wash herself in fresh water.

At yellow, Kate and Conner do an awkward yet rather sweet exchanging of trust with each other, involving placing invisible “trust” in each other’s hand. Aww – you wouldn’t see that on US Survivor.

Meanwhile, Phoebe is still playing Kristie, telling her they can pull Conner in to vote out Kate. Kristie says she just wants to have a chat with Kate and Phoebe’s mind works frantically to come up with a plausible reason this is a bad idea. But Kristie goes ahead and Kate, honest Kate, makes it clear the vote was Phoebe’s idea. Uh oh!
I know Phoebe is just playing the game and has done well to save herself from a few raw deals, but I can’t help but be Team Kristie on this one, due to her quirky, slightly awkward vibe.
“She’s the black widow; she’s weaving a web of lies,” Kate tells Kristie.
Conner is happy Phoebe and Kristie are mistrusting each other and he’s telling both of them what they want to hear.
Kristie tells the camera she’s determined to not be a goat and to make a move by taking out one of the biggest plays in the game. Ah, it’s refreshing to hear someone talking who’s actually watched Survivor. (And a nice little evil chuckle at the end of her spiel.) I don’t know if it will work but at least she’s trying.

Tribal council time
JLap again starts by reminding them how much they suck, having not won a challenge since the tribe shuffle. JLap desperately tries to get Kristie to say something bad about her tribemates or her fears but she won’t bite.
“This is very cryptic,” JLap smiles, shaking his head slowly.
Conner says it’s important they are strong in challenges as they still don’t know when the merge will be – but they must be thinking it’s the next day.
The votes are read: Kristie, Pheobe (sic – seriously – can’t she tell them how to spell her name), Phoebe (that must be Kate because she spelt it correctly before) and Pheb’s (ick).
Well played, Kristie!
It’s hugs all round and Kristie tells Phoebe, “I love you, babe”.

On Sunday: After 32 days it’s merge time at what looks like the Survivor auction. Yay!

Phoebe afterwards: Give Kristie credit for outplaying her and takes it with grace.

So, now the question is, what will happen to the three remaining yellows when they merge with blue to create the black tribe? I kind of hope Kristie teams up with Nick. I can see Kate getting along with Lee, Sam and El but whether there will be time for her to forge a bond is unclear – and she’s an obvious threat.