We’re down to nine beautiful chicos and, of course, Vinci, and we’re back with another sinful week of Telenovela drama. So, grab your salt and lemons and prepare to pound that tequila because we’re gonna do vanity the Viva Hollywood way…
Remember, it takes a lifetime to look this good
This week we start out with Berto displaying the treasures he acquired from his $10,000 shopping spree at Popsy’s boutique. Oops, make that $5,000, since he was the good guy and split his prize with Elephant Man Vinci.
Berto has his shirt off, which I am appreciating, and some new tight jeans on that are looking pretty nice. He pulls his old jeans out of a bag saying, “The old Berto, $25 jeans.” I have to say that Berto is my favorite chico at this point, but maybe he better not be so quick to let go of those $25 dollar pair of jeans. After all, winning one challenge, does not a telenovela start make. Then, Berto pulls out a large purse that he got for his mother and I’m impressed. Not only is it an awesome purse, but he actually remembered his mother. If he hadn’t already shown himself to be a major man-ho, albeit an honest one, I’d be thinking that his girlfriend back in Jersey has got it made in a shade. Of course, we didn’t see any gifts for her out of his haul, but that could be because Vinci, never one to be a wallflower, jumps in to show off his prizes, including the most expensive t-shirt in the place. You know that Vinci is the guy that insists on ordering the most expensive item on the menu whenever he goes out and then has all of his credit cards declined. Berto’s a little pissy about Vinci stealing the limelight and tells the camera that Vinci is the kind of guy that wants his cake and wants to eat it to.
But, this week, we don’t have much time for opening festivities. Our mysterious narrator voice informs us that we are down to ten Latin beauties. And then, Uncle Walty is back in the same tired green muumuu, wiggling his fingers as he explains that this week’s deadly sin is vanity. An opportune moment for a group of young beauties who’ve probably done more than their share of Hail Mary’s for this particular sin.
Before we know it, our house diva Maria Conchita Alonzo joins us looking alluring in a pretty blue dress that basically leaves nothing but her nipples to the imagination. And more power to her, her breasts are looking mighty perky for a woman of her age.
When you get older they fall, so just lower your dresses
Maria Conchita tells us that she got her start in beauty pageants, going on to become Miss Venezuela. Then she tells the contestants that vanity is a funny thing. As a telenovela start, they will need to look gorgeous, but that is not the only thing that they’ll need. And then, because she doesn’t have enough of a top, she pulls a death card from the waistband of her dress and tells the contestants this week’s twist. The contestants are going to compete in the very first ever Viva Hollywood Beauty Pageant. Sadly, the chico that loses the challenge will be going home immediately without a duel. What no duel this week? No Masacre de Mascara? I have to admit that I’m a little grumpy about this.
I used to have cleavage to hold my spare bills, now I just have belly folds
Then, Maria Conchita introduces pageant bitch and diva extraordinaire Scott Grossman. For those of you who remember Miss Congeniality, you’ll recognize Scott Grossman as the man who played the pageant bitch/coach in the movie. Basically, he’s the same character in real life. I believe that’s called type casting.
There can only be one true queen
Enrique, bless his little heart, is all excited about the big world of pageants and Scott Grossman. And he knows a surprising amount about the pageant world. Or at least, surprising to me, since I know absolutely nothing about beauty pageants. I’m thinking that Enrique may have a had a few crushed dreams when he realized that he wouldn’t be able to compete alongside the other girls in his country.
Anyway, Scott Grossman wastes no time in taking his little starlets outside, stripping them down to their swimsuits and whipping their asses into shape, showing them how to walk and talk on the runway. So, we get some nice gratuitous shots of the chico’s shaking their booty’s up and down the runway, while Berto grumbles that they had to walk like models, in Speedos for God sakes. But still, it must be better than naked yoga.
Tuchus, Tuchus, Tuchee
Grossman tells Jenn Pinto that she looks a little too ‘Hoochi Momma,’ which is hysterical. I’m definitely a Jenn Pinto fan, but she does look a little, shall we say unrestrained, in her bikini.
The swimsuit competition seems to be bringing out a number of insecurities among our contestants. Silvia shares that she lost 40 pounds in the last two years and she’s used to feeling insecure about her body, but from what I can see she looks pretty smokin now. Too bad Jenny Craig hadn’t thought to use her as their spokesmodel; they might have been spared the TMZ shots of Kirstie Alley falling off the food wagon at various high profile restaurants in LA. Roseny mentions that she feels self-conscious about her b-cup boobs, which after seeing Jenn Pinto’s rack I can sort of understand. And then there’s Vinci, who really needs to work on cultivating a few insecurities. I would so much rather hear about how uncomfortable he is in his Speedo, than the statement that millions of people want to see his private parts. I want to know what fool gave him that idea, because after the lucky elephant underwear, I can’t begin to imagine my state of mind if Vinci manages to flash the camera. I’m warning you, VH1, millions of viewers across the country will be found curled up in fetal positions with their eyes gouged out.
Scott Grossman is not that impressed with Vinci’s runway walk, even though Vinci is insisting, “I got it. Believe me I got it.” Scott’s not taking any of Vinci’s arrogance and he’s not one of the deluded million that Vinci was referring to. So, he tells Vinci that, despite what he thinks, Vinci does not have “it” because Vinci doesn’t have the final look. Vinci is incredulous when he asks the camera just who he does he think he is? Well, Vinci, Scott Grossman is a major, out of the closet, in your face, pageant diva, while you are just a closet case, exhibitionist, queen with a big ego and I’m guessing a little package.
The beauty pageant will, of course, include a talent section. And I’m psyched because this group of actors must have some amazing talents; singing, dancing, oratory. You know, the things that usually go with acting. So, we have Jenn doing a hip-hop dance routine and Janet doing what she optimistically calls a “sexy dance.” Now, the hip-hop might be cool, however, I’ve got to wonder what Janet means by a “sexy’ dance.” Is she going to strip for us? Is this something she does for her sex talk show or this just sideline she has to pay the rent? Which would generally make her a stripper not an actress.
Jenn does her hip-hop routine for Scott Grossman with her arms kind of flailing as she throws herself side to side. I’m hoping that the overall routine looks better than the short clip we got to see. Scott Grossman tells her to watch her lines and Jenn agrees to work hard.
Vinci and Kalain both decide to do fitness as their talent. You must be kidding me, “fitness?” This was, of course, Vinci’s gem of an idea. Kalain, who might not be the swiftest boat in the ocean, jumps on board, wanting to demonstrate his abs routine, which will no doubt hold the judges breathless in admiration. Vinci, still vying for position of house diva, throws a hissy fit that Kalain has chosen his talent. I have to say that, at first, it kind of bothered me too that Kalain decided to do the same thing. And then, after hours of deep ratiocination, I decided that fitness was just another category like singing or dancing and it was fine for more than one person to choose it, as long as they didn’t choose the same routine. It only took me a day to come up with that. Am I a deep thinker or what?
Gisel is planning on singing America the Beautiful, but she’s not exactly belting it out like a Latina Aretha Franklin. Scott Grossman keeps telling her “slower, slower, slower” and each time Gisel gets a little stiffer. Singing might not have been the best choice for Gisel. Maybe she could have jumped on the fitness train and gone with running in place.
The chicos gather for a little dinner and drama, and Gisel has a small breakdown that her song sucks and she’ll have to leave the house. But Berto’s not having much sympathy, telling the camera that the “crybaby of the house blond” is in tears over her song. Which is a pretty long way for him to have come since, Gisel was the hot chick in the first episode that he was playing ‘squeeze the tamale’ with.
Then Vinci decides to embark on a strategy of psychological warfare and provides the catalyst for a pretty big argument revolving around whether he was able to change his scene last time and whether people should change their challenges this time. And, of course, if Kalain in particular should change his challenge. Kalain gets upset, which since he is able to understand what Vinci is saying, must mean that his English is improving. Just in case we can’t understand Kalain, the editors provide us with a clip of Enrique explaining that Kalain felt like he was being attacked and betrayed. It’s almost like Kalain’s English finally improved enough to realize what was really going down in the house and Kalain is all like, “I don’t need this, I’m out of here.”
As Kalain packs, little Enrique, who has decided to wear a knit hat in an attempt to look like a Mountain Dew commercial, runs to the other women and asks them to intervene.
I’m telling you. I could so do the Dew
With the exception of Roseny, who stayed behind muttering to herself, the women run out as a group to try and stop Kalain from leaving. Interspersed in all the drama, are clips of Vinci gloating at his success in driving Kalain away. This all begs the next question, where the f**k is Kalain going to go? Are they keeping a limo on call outside the gates for the contestants that decide to jump ship or is he just going to walk off into the night and curl up under some potted plants when he gets tired? Kalain tells the weeping women that the show is more of a mental game and he has already played it and that he never does wrong and his heart is pure. I’m beginning to think that Kalain watched a few too many heroic coming of age movies and took them to heart. I’ve known other 20-year-old boys like that, they’re almost always cute and determined to deprive themselves in the name of some sort of higher calling, before they self destruct over some idealized female and usually end up with a stint in rehab.
Silvia, possibly on course to become Kalain’s idealized female, has realized that Kalain is packed and standing in the driveway about to start out on his quest to walk the earth, you know, like Kane. Silvia sobs that she respects and cares for Kalain more than anyone else in the house and not surprisingly he says he feels the same way. After all, they did share the lust challenge and nothing supports those tender feelings of respect and caring quite so much as a telenovela moment of lust. So, Kalain and Silvia sit down to chat on the curb.
Meanwhile, inside the house, the chicas are taking turns yelling at Vinci and Jenn is pretty pissed. I’ve got to say that I’d have no problem slapping down a couple of hundred dollar bills to back Jenn in a fight with Vinci. But, sadly, Jenn decides not to jack him up by his elephant undies and storms off to rehearse her hip-hop dance. However, the stress catches up with Jenn and the next thing we know she’s heading to the porcelain throne like a horse to its stable. And then we get the barf shots that are a requirement for every VH1 reality show. I have to say that her roomies are being pretty sweet and they hold her hair back for her. I can tell you, I used to have really long hair and nothing sucks like getting flying chunks caught in it. Then Berto, still my favorite, carries Jenn to her bed to rest and he actually refrains from climbing in with her. So, we know he’s got a little more class than a lot of the man-hos featured on VH1.
The moment I fell a little in love with Berto
The next morning, Kalain is still in the house, either having decided that sleeping in a bed was preferable to sleeping under a potted plant, or having decided that sleeping next to Silvia was better than sleeping under a potted plant. Either way, Kalain tells us that he decided to listen to Silvia and focus on himself and the challenge and he’s decided to change his talent to capoeira the Brazilian martial art. And, I have to wonder why the heck he would choose a goober talent like fitness if he is any good at capoeira, which is a pretty cool thing to watch.
Jenn still isn’t feeling well, but she heroically tells the camera that she needs to put it aside and concentrate on doing a good job. Meanwhile, Carlos comes in looking pretty cute in a nice shirt with vertical blue and white stripes. He introduces Angelica Vale, who stars in Mexico’s Ugly Betty. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen her in other shows as well. Angelica Vale explains to the chicos that being ugly is really more fun because you get a chance to show your inner charisma. Then Maria Conchita comes out looking like someone told her it was Halloween. And damn it, she’s still got that thing going on. I mean, she’s a fifty something woman with fake teeth, a scraggly blond wig that looks like Paris Hilton rolled in it for a night, and some serious grandma makeup and she can still shake it. Then she tells the chicos that if she can dress this way, well so can they. They’re going to go get ugly and by ugly she means ugly. They’re going to be judged on how well they can make a character of themselves and own it.
Roadkill Sex Appeal
I’ve got to say that this twist is definitely making what looked like it was going to be a lame assed beauty contest a whole lot more fun. In the end, Berto sums up the new twist, telling us that this is about acting and in this challenge vanity is being able to portray larger than life characters.
The chicos toddle off to create their new looks and we’re ready for the beauty pageant. Carlos is going to be our host and he makes Bob Barker look shabby as hell as he introduces the pageant judges: Scott Grossman, Maria Conchita and Anjelica Vale. He explains that the contestants will be judged on poise, talent and charisma. Then we have clips of the contestants coming out at different points in the competition.
Jenn is a big bottomed, in your face, hip-hop dancer and she’s pretty hysterical.
Geovannie describes himself as a mixture of Beetle Juice and Einstein, but we’re never shown Geovannie’s talent. As a matter of fact, Geovannie seems to have gone from the limelight into the shadows for this episode.
Janet looks like a skinny old cat lady who’s huffed away a few brain cells and accidentally stuck her finger in a socket. While each contestant was supposed to answer a question, we only see this with her and Gisel. Janet’s question concerns how few people can find the US on a map and why she thinks that is. I’m waiting to see how a tanked up old cat lady might answer the question, when Janet just shrugs. I’m thinking WTF? That’s all she’s got? Come on, I was at least hoping for some crazy ranting about the little green men who keep coming to earth to steal all of the maps. But she still goes for the sexy dance, which should be funny, except that it’s not. Now that I’ve seen her in action, I can definitely say that this is one of those ideas that plays out better in theory than in practice and I feel kind of bad for her.
Berto’s supposed to be a very confident 70′s dude, complete with high waters and dorky hair. His talent is dribbling a basketball, which he pronounces draibling and, of course, he messes up the dribbling and goes off chasing the ball, which is pretty funny. I can definitely see this character teaming up with Jim Carey in ‘Dumb and Dumber Take 3′. Berto ends with some fancy dribbling between his legs and spins the ball on his finger so we know at heart that he’s still a stud.
Enrique comes out with the mad scientist look and major teeth issues, which isn’t so good for performing a scene from Shakespeare’s As You Like It. The poor little dude is almost in tears because the teeth make it almost impossible for him to enunciate. Luckily, even though he doesn’t realize it, they also make what might have been a tedious performance into something that’s pretty funny.
Then Vinci comes out in a nasty powder blue suit and after all the drama we find out that Vinci’s talent is telling a joke and he’s apparently improvising as he goes. It’s not even a very funny one from the little I saw. So, this is two weeks in a row that Vinci’s switched his challenge. I have to say that Vinci is quickly becoming the reality TV character that I love to hate.
Silvia comes out, looking like a character from Sweeny Todd, and delivers her monologue ending with a creepy witch laugh. Jenn tells us that Silvia is a better actress than Jenn thought, so Jenn’s going to keep an eye on her.
Sadly, Kalain doesn’t really look that much different except for a big belly and butt that’s been created from a fat suit. And he tries to do the capoeira seriously, but it doesn’t really work and he falls. Ugh. It’s awkward and I’m cringing. What I don’t understand is why he didn’t play this up? I mean this would have been a golden opportunity to wear the fat suit and wear a headband a la “Return of the Dragon,” and do a fat martial arts farce.
Roseny comes out with her hair in a cinnamon bun roll on top of her head and does a Kung Fu something. Kalain is all offended saying that he’s done martial arts all of his life and he’s never seen anything like that. And he doesn’t mean it in a good way. I have to admit the whole thing did look pretty hokey.
Gisel is our last chico and she’s definitely done up the old lady look. I’m guessing that in another forty years this is exactly what she’s going to look like. Then, when it gets to the song, she actually does something pretty smart and instead of singing it, just kind of acts it out.
The contestants are pretty freaked out after their performances, knowing that the loser is going to have to leave immediately. Little Enrique is even crying after his performance, so I’m guessing that he missed Kalain’s lame assed act. I’m fairly sure that everybody else is safe after that trainwreck.
The judges confer and then it’s time to announce the winner. Anjelica Vale gets to do the honors and we’re told that the winner will receive their choice of a $2000 watch or a necklace, which I assume is of equal value, from Yael designs. And… drum roll…boobaliscious Jenn Pinto wins. Which I’m pretty happy about, since next to Berto, she’s my current favorite in the house. Maria Conchita tells Jenn that she rocked and Jenn does her winning pageant runway walk.
When the fun part dies down, Maria Conchita sighs and tells the chicos that its now time for the part that she likes the least. She will call the names of the two people that did not embody their characters. Two? I repeat, while several of our contestants are echoing me. But, Maria Conchita goes on to explain that, while one will go home immediately, the other will duel. So, I am getting my episode of Masacre de Mascara. Yippee! I’m beginning to understand how the telenovela’s are so addictive.
The two unlucky chicos are Janet and Kalain. Janet’s character was unoriginal and she wasn’t consistent in maintaining the character. And Maria doesn’t really know what to say about Kalain, except that his talent didn’t add to his character. I have to admit that Maria Conchita does try to be nice about these things. Simon Cowell would have been in his glory evaluating Kalain’s performance. Kalain tells us that he had known since yesterday that the thing with Vinci would get him into trouble. But I think what got him into trouble was his complete inability to adapt to the challenge twist. Kalain has to leave the house and Janet has to go to the duel. Maria says I’m sorry but “es tu, muerto, Kalain.” And she doesn’t even say caput so you know that she’s really upset. Enrique tells the camera that Kalain got completely screwed over by his friend and everybody cries when he leaves.
So, now the chicos are on a mission, they have to send someone to duel with Janet and as a group they are determined to get rid of Vinci. Little Enrique, sounding unusually firm for someone with his shrinkage problems, tells us that Vinci has to go home and he’s got to go home tomorrow. The chicos convene to vote and our mystery narrator tells us that not everyone is taking it seriously, while the editors show us a clip of Vinci cracking up. It just amazes me that this idiot ever made it to manhood. I mean wasn’t there a kid out there smart enough to beat the crap out of Vinci, while they were still young enough to avoid being prosecuted as an adult?
It’s like he just cries out to be smacked
Carlos shows up and reiterates that Janet is going to the duel and Jenn has immunity. Once again we’re told that the chapel is a “sacred place where the fates of the players are decided and dark secrets are revealed.” Everybody votes for Vinci and Vinci, thinking that this is still part of last week’s episode, votes for Geovannie.
Carlos counts the votes and the overwhelming choice is Vinci. Vinci tells us that it’s all part of his master strategy. Because, like a villain from one of the Star Wars episodes, he feeds off hate and it makes him stronger. Enrique and Geovannie join forces and write out a list of points for Janet to hit on during the duel. I have to say that if I was preparing for a duel of this nature, the two people I’d want to help me would be my gay best friends from my college years. Those guys were fabulous diva bitches that could slice people up, like duck being carved with titanium blades. Next to them, Enrique and Geovannie feel a little bit like sporks. But, they seem to be the best that the house has to offer. As a final point, Geovannie impresses on Janet that Vinci calls himself a model not an actor. Then Uncle Walty intones, “Be brave my friends.”
The contestants have gathered on the balcony, when Maria comes out in a gorgeous full-length green pattern dress that I could so totally wear. Sigh!! She sits down between Carlos and Anjelica Vale. Apparently, Scott Grossman had to march himself off to another fabulous pageant somewhere in the valley. Maria calls Janet then Vinci to come forward to plead their case. Janet is wearing a cute blue dress that, unfortunately, is covered in sparkles and Vinci is sporting a black leather blazer, not a look I go for. But, for the first time, I can vaguely see how he might be considered attractive, if he wasn’t such a complete arrogant asshat.
Then, the duelists get hit with a twist. Instead of just telling the judges why they should be the ones to stay, Maria Conchita is going to ask some direct questions. She starts with Vinci by asking flat out, “Why are you so arrogant?” Vinci gives a dramatic ‘struggling immigrant’ speech, “When I first came to this country, I came with nothing, no money, no family. I didn’t speak the language. I didn’t even know I could become a model.” Too bad he missed out on the whole Ellis Island experience that my relatives went through. It could have really added to his story line. He finishes off with, “Arrogance is my pride. It’s the fire inside me.”
Millions of people want to see my privates, but I’ve only wanted to show them to you
Maria Conchita asks Janet, “What would you do differently if you could do it again?” And Janet points out that she’s grown and changed and, even though this is her second time in front of the judges, she’s improving. Then the contestants turn to face each other and tell each other why they should go home. Vinci tells Janet that she’s not ready because she needs to study more, especially her English. But in his own words he says somewhat ironically, “Practice more your English. You’re in the United States of America.”
Janet takes his criticism quite nicely and then tells Vinci that she thinks he should leave because he’s a model not an actor. Geovanni and several of the other contestants start giggling at this and Maria has to call them to order. But, it gives Vinci a chance to add on a little dramatic flourish promising revenge. Maria thanks the chicos and has them leave so the judges can deliberate. Berto tells the camera that he would not be shocked if Vinci went home. And little Enrique says loyally, I know that Janet did the best that she could do. But as much as I like Janet I have to say that I wasn’t that impressed. She handled herself nicely, but it wasn’t much of a performance.
Maria, Carlos and Anjelica go back and forth between Janet and Vinci. They all agree that Janet is improving and that her beauty pageant performance wasn’t horribly bad, it just wasn’t good. On the other hand, they all agree that Vinci is hot. Okay, when I started writing this recap I didn’t think Vinci was hot, but between now and then somebody mailed me a link to some of Vinci’s print work and I give in. In print, Vinci is undeniably hot. It’s sad, but true. However, I count myself lucky to have seen the unfortunate transformation that occurs as soon as he leaves the two-dimensional world of magazine pages and can walk and talk. Like most comic book characters, Vinci just doesn’t translate well into real life. Anyway, the issue of Vinci’s arrogance comes up and Carlos asks, “Is it arrogance or is it confidence?” Simultaneously, both Maria and Anjelica confirm, that in Vinci’s case, they’re talking pure arrogance. Anjelica adds that if Vinci was acting during the duel he was really good and, oh yeah, Vinci is hot. Meanwhile, Janet wasn’t bad, but Vinci is still…that’s right, you guessed it… hot.
So the chicos come back in and Janet and Vinci face the judges. Maria Conchita tells Janet that they’re not sure that her progress is keeping pace with her ambition. She then tells Vinci that he is quite a character but he is letting his ego get in the way of his success. It’s time for Masacra de Mascara and in a voice that sounds like she’s pretty much done with this episode Maria yells, “Roll the tape.”
Janet plays a young woman who is soon to be an heiress. She sits in front of her vanity mirror fixing her lipstick and saying that she’s the luckiest woman in the world; she’s young, she’s pretty and she’s going to inherit. Then Kalain’s ghost appears in the reflection behind her and he explains that he came back from the dead to warn her that someone close to her will betray her.
On cue, Vinci enters the bedroom clutching a knife behind him, while Janet rises clutching a pair of scissors behind her back. They go back and forth about trust and then they hug each other while trying to stab each other. This is great. I’ve got to find a way to watch me some of these telenovelas. Janet falls to the ground. Dead. Caput. The still living Janet who’s about to be booted from the house tells us that she is surprised because she’s dead and she’s going to leave house and her friends.
Maria tells her that even though she’s Muerto. Caput. Nothing is impossible. Janet agrees saying that she leaves the house with the dreams she came with. I’m sad that Janet is leaving, I definitely liked her.
After Janet leaves all of the contestants toast “Viva Hollywood.” Then, while the other contestants are mingling in the background, Maria Conchita laughs and tells Vinci, “I feel sorry for you staying here.” Vinci looks truly annoyed, but as full of crap as ever, he tells the camera, “If they come to my cage they’re going to see a lion. ” It would be so much better for Vinci if he took a vow of silence.
So what do you guys think? Any favorites yet? Next week promises more tears and more grappling. Yahoo!!
**Check out Chapter Four of Yenta’s novel, Honor Among Thieves, here.
To start from chapter one, go here.