The Amazing Race 31.12 “This One Is For One Million Dollars”

Congratulations to Colin and Christie!

Though last night’s finale of The Amazing Race was overshadowed a bit by the premiere of Big Brother, it was still one of the most satisfying finishes in the history of the Race!  While I was disappointed that Victor and Nicole didn’t make it into the final three (and Leo and Jamal’s struggles during the final leg of the race felt a bit like karmic retribution), I was very happy to see Colin and Christie win the million dollars.

To understand why, you have to know a little about the last time that Colin and Christie were on the race.  15 years ago, when they took part in the 5th season of the Amazing Race, Colin and Christie were a strong team but they were also so intense that it was easy to view them as being that season’s villains.  Colin was constantly yelling and getting angry at taxi drivers and neither one of them seemed to really enjoy the journey.  It appeared that the other teams couldn’t stand them.  The first time they ran the race, Colin and Christie came in 2nd, largely because Colin got into an argument with a cab driver.

After that season of the race, Colin was very vocal about feeling that he had been edited to look like a villain and I think he kind of had a point.  Some of the other teams from that season also said that Colin and Christie were not as bad as they were portrayed on the show, as well.

And that brings us to The Amazing Race 31.  During this race, we saw a new Colin and Christie.  This time, they seemed determined to enjoy the experience no matter what.  They were still fierce competitors.  They still had their intense moments.  But gone was the anger.  Instead of yelling, they supported each other.  Instead of getting upset and frustrated whenever they ran into difficulty, they instead remained (for the most part) calm and they worked through it.  In short, they provided a master class in how to run a great race.

And, last night, it paid off for them.  They won and they earned the victory.  I love a good redemption story and that’s what this season provided.  Tyler and Korey also ran a good race and should have no reason to be ashamed of their second place finish.  As for Leo and Jamal’s third place finish …. well, what can I say?  I wish it had been Victor and Nicole running the final leg.  But, Victor and Nicole are now engaged to be married so everything worked out well for them, regardless.

This was really a good season.  I was skeptical when I heard the concept.  I wasn’t sure that we really needed to have an entire season of Big Brother teams vs. Survivor teams vs. Amazing Race teams.  But, in the end, everyone did their best and they were a lot of fun to watch.  This was the type of season that reminded me why I love this show in the first place.

And the good news is that The Amazing Race will be back!  Season 32 has already been filmed and will be airing next year!

Well, that’s it for now.  Thank you everyone for reading along with these recaps!  I’ll be over at the Big Brother Blog for the rest of the summer, covering Big Brother!  And this blog will start up again as soon the next season of Survivor begins!

If you haven’t joined the Big Brother Blog and Reality TV Chat Facebook Group, we’d love to have you there!

Otherwise, I’ll see y’all over on the Big Brother Blog or here in a few months!

Peace and love,

Lisa Marie

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The Amazing Race 31.10 — “Chugga Chugga Choo Choo!”

Well, so much for Team Fun.

Becca and Floyd were the type of team that viewers either hated or they loved.  There didn’t seem to be much middle ground when it came to how people reacted to Team Fun.  You either enjoyed their unique mix of the goofy and the ruthless or you spent every leg hoping that they would be eliminated.  Personally, I was never a huge Team Fun fan, though I did like Floyd a lot more than I liked Becca.  However, I know that many readers of the blog disagree with me.  Unlike some of the other teams this race — like two certain sisters — Team Fun definitely had as many fans as they had disparagers.  So, I will say this: Team Fun was a strong team and ultimately, it took a double u-turn to knock them out.  Floyd and Becca are unique in that, during all of their appearances on the Amazing Race, they never got mad at each other.  They seem to have a good and genuine friendship and, as Phil pointed out last night, that’s worth a lot.

(You can always tell when Phil likes or dislikes a team.  For instance, he doesn’t seem to care much for the Afghanimals this time around.  However, you can tell that he really, really liked Team Fun.)

The show’s editors worked hard last night to make it appear as if the race was closer than it actually was.  Actually, if I had to guess, I’d say that Becca and Floyd were put so far behind as a result of being u-turned that there was never any serious chance of them not coming in last and getting eliminated.  So now, with Team Fun gone, there’s only four teams left and next week is the finale.

So, who do we have left?

First off, we’ve got Colin and Christie!  They came in first last night and I think they’re definitely the front runners to win it all.  The first time that Colin and Christie were on the show, they were super-intense and Colin was portrayed as being the season’s villain.  (Afterward, Colin was quite vocal about being displeased about the way he was portrayed on the show.  In fact, he was so outspoken that I was initially surprised to learn that he had been invited back.)  This season, we’ve seen a new Colin and Christie.  They’re positive.  They’re working well together.  They’re not taking things personally.  And it’s working for them!  Since the season began, they’ve been the most consistently strong team and, if they keep it up, I can easily see them winning next week.

If Colin and Christie don’t win, it’ll probably be Tyler and Korey.  After struggling during the first few legs of the race, they’ve come on strong over the past few legs.  If Tyler and Korey have a weakness, it’s that they sometimes have a difficult time dealing with the minor problems that always crop up during the race.  If Tyler and Korey are comfortably in first place, they’re positive and they work well together.  But, as soon as they can’t get a taxi or they take a wrong turn, they get frustrated and spend more time complaining about the problem than looking for a solution.  That’s a weakness that has taken down many teams in the finale.  That said, Tyler and Korey definitely have a good chance of winning.

Leo and Jamal came in third last night but that was mostly because everyone behind them got u-turned.  The Afghanimals are the weakest team left in the race.  They’re not bad at challenges but they’re terrible when it comes to following directions.  If any team could get lost on the way to the final pit stop, it would be Leo and Jamal.

And finally, we have Victor and Nicole.  Last night, we really saw both the strengths and the weaknesses of this team.  Their main strength is that Victor can do just about anything.  Their main weakness is that Nicole can’t.  That said, considering how weak the Afghanimals are, I could still imagine Victor and Nicole finishing in third place.

So, here are my prediction for next week:

1st place — Colin and Christie

2nd place — Tyler and Korey

3rd place — Victor and Nicole

We’ll find out if I’m right next Wednesday!

Lisa Marie

The Amazing Race 31.9 “Let’s Split!”

Well, so much for Chris and Bret.

I have to admit that, when the Race began, I never thought that I’d care about whether or not Chris and Bret were eliminated.  I didn’t really like either one of them on Survivor and, as one of the older and less physically fit teams on this season of the Race, it seemed probable that they would be one of the first teams out.

However, Chris and Bret really won me over.  They may have had a rough start but they never gave up and, in their own low-key way, they emerged as legitimate contenders to win the season.  If nothing else, they’ll always be remembered as the team who voted to give Rachel and Elissa the double U-turn that knocked the Riley sisters out of the race.

Unfortunately, last night, Chris and Bret ran out of luck.  The race moved from Switzerland to Croatia and, despite briefly being in the lead, Chris and Bret got hung up at the Detour.  There were two options: Teams could either use a metal detector to search for coins in the ocean or they could memorize a poem while riding in a large flying tube.  Chris and Bret started with the coins, switched over to the poem, then went back to the coins, and then returned to the poem.  They didn’t have much luck with either one but I think it was the constant switching that doomed them.  If they had stuck with the treasure hunt, I think they would have survived this leg.  But, instead, they let their frustrations get the better of them and they went from finishing in 2nd place last week to getting eliminated this week.  Still, they ran a good race and they should be proud of themselves.

With Chris and Bret gone, that means that all of the Survivor players have been eliminated from the race.  We have five teams left.  One — Nicole and Victor — is a Big Brother team.  The other four are all alumni of The Amazing Race.

Here’s how everyone did:

Coming in 1st, Tyler and Korey.  Again.  Yawn.  Tyler and Korey’s streak of 1st place finishes is impressive but it’s also kind of boring.  Still, they seem to be the prohibitive favorites to win the race at this point.

Coming in 2nd, Nicole and Victor.  It occurred to me last night that Victor has pretty much carried this team through almost every leg of the race.  Still, it seems to be working out well for them.

Coming in 3rd, Becca and Floyd.  I’m a bit over Team Fun.  I’ve noticed that they tend to be really sneaky and bitter but we’re not supposed to notice because of Becca’s stupid little fun meter.  They seem to be a strong team but I would rule out karma sneaking up and knocking them out of the race before the final leg.

Coming in 4th, Colin and Christie.  Even though they had to go back to get their roaming gnome, Colin and Christie still managed a 4th place finish.  They’ve been the most consistently strong team this season and I still think they could easily win the whole thing if they make it to the final leg.  (Unfortunately, for them, there’s one more double u-turn coming up and, unless they reach it before any of the other teams, it’s hard to envision a scenario where it isn’t used on them.)

Coming in 5th, Leo and Jamal.  What a strange race it’s been for Leo and Jamal!  They work well together but they always seem to have bad luck with directions.  At the same time, they’ve also had enough good luck that they’ve managed to avoid getting eliminated.  Still, they seem to be in the weakest position of all the remaining racers.

And finally, coming in 6th, Chris and Bret.  Luck was not with them last night.

Finally, here’s some good news: The Amazing Race has been renewed!  Season 32 was filmed last November and it’ll air next year!

Lisa Marie

The Amazing Race 31.8 “You’re The Apple In My Eye”

Well, it finally happened!

The Riley sisters are no longer in the race.

To be honest, it’s not a surprise that Rachel and Elissa were eliminated tonight.  They’ve pretty much been at the back of the pack ever since the Race started and it’s hard not to feel that the only thing that kept them from being eliminated before tonight was pure luck.  Tonight, their luck ran out.  After spending the season alienating the other teams, they were double u-turned tonight.  Colin and Christie were also double u-turned but they’re a strong team and were able to take it in stride.  Rachel and Elissa, on the other hand….

Would Rachel had done better if she had been racing with Brendon than with Elissa?  It’s hard to say.  Rachel didn’t have as many emotional breakdowns while racing with her sister as she did during the two times that she raced with her husband.  At the same time, Brendon was an instinctive competitor who hated to lose and, even when Rachel was totally falling apart, he still always kept her moving.  Elissa, on the other hand, never seemed like she particularly cared about winning the Race.

Rachel and Elissa are out of the race now.  Through some clever editing tricks, the show made it look like Rachel and Elissa came a lot closer to surviving than the actually did.  But if you actually watch carefully, it’s obvious that they were running behind for the entire leg.  The show may have been edited to make it look like the Rileys were mere minutes behind the Afghanimals but it was hard not to notice that there weren’t any other teams anywhere near the mat when the sisters finally showed up at the pit stop.

Along with the elimination of Rachel and Elissa, the other big news from tonight’s episode is that Colin and Christie are such a consistently strong team that even being u-turned couldn’t keep them from finishing in third place!  As well, Tyler and Korey seem to have found a groove that’s working for them and Chris and Bret continue to show themselves to be an underrated team.

Last night’s episode also featured an Amazing Race first.  For the first time, the teams voted for who they wanted to give the double U-turn too.  Here’s how the votes broke down:

Rachel and Elissa voted for Colin and Christie.

Nicole and Victor votes for Leo and Jamal, even though Nicole actually wanted to vote for Rachel and Elissa.

Colin and Christie voted for Rachel and Elissa.

Leo and Jamal and Becca and Floyd voted for Colin and Christie.

Tyler and Korey voted for Nicole and Victor.

Chris and Bret voted for Rachel and Elissa, which caused Rachel to throw a hissy fit.

Personally, I liked the voting.  It added a new wrinkle to the Amazing Race.  Since Colin and Christie and Rachel and Elissa got the most votes, they got the Double U-Turn.  Colin and Christie received their votes because they’re viewed as being the biggest threat to win the race.  Rachel and Elissa, meanwhile, received their U-Turn because Chris and Bret found them to be annoying.  Personally, I probably would have voted for Rachel and Elissa too.

Here’s how everyone finished tonight:

Coming in 1st for the 3rd time in a row, Tyler and Korey!  Tyler and Korey look strong right now but they still seem like they might fall apart the minute they have any bad luck.

Coming in 2nd, Bret and Chris.  For the oldest team on the race, Chris and Bret are doing surprisingly well.  They’re still searching for their first 1st place finish.

Coming in 3rd, Colin and Christie.  After tonight, Colin and Christie seem like they may be unstoppable.

Coming in 4th, Becca and Floyd.  Team Fun seems to be permanently stuck in the middle of the pack,

Coming in 5th, Nicole and Victor.  Nicole and Victor are an inconsistent team.  When they’re strong, they’re very strong but when they struggle, they really struggle.

Coming in 6h, Leo and Jamal.  The Afghanimals have struggled this season, especially when it comes to trying to follow maps.  Their time may be nearly be up.

And, finally, coming in last and getting eliminated, Rachel and Elissa.

Next week, the action moves from Switzerland to Croatia.  Will Tyler and Korey’s luck continue?  Will the Afghanimals luck run out?

We’ll find out next week!

Lisa Marie

 

The Amazing Race 31.7 “Living Fearlessly”

If nothing else, this season of The Amazing Race will be remembered for drama at the pit stop.

On previous seasons of The Amazing Race, coming in last at the pit stop would typically mean a few tears, an expression of regret, and, ultimately, a show of appreciation for whoever your partner was in the race.  Phil would tell you that he was sad to see you go and, most of the time, he would mean it.  Phil’s kind of the anti-Probst in that way.  Whereas Jeff Probst often seems to view the people on Survivor as merely being pieces in a game, Phil always seems to get emotionally involved in the race.  Phil would always make sure that the eliminated teams at least got to leave the game with a shred of dignity.

That hasn’t always been the case during the current season of The Amazing Race.  This season, showing up last to the pit stop had led to a lot of drama and accusations.  Not surprisingly, the main reason for this is the Riley Sisters.

I always go back and forth on how I feel about Rachel.  On a personal level, she drives me crazy.  I get tired of the whining.  I get tired of the overdone theatrics.  I get tired of the constant bitterness.  I worry about what will happen to her once Big Brother and The Amazing Race are no longer on the air.  Her life revolves around going on reality TV shows and acting like a child.  I’m not sure that mentally healthy, though it’s certainly paid off for her financially.

At the same time, Rachel brings the drama.  It’s important to have a villain on these shows and Rachel always seem to be willing to play the role.  Watching Rachel, you do have to wonder how much of her obnoxious behavior is authentic and how much of it is just her playing the role that’s made her famous?  I imagine it’s probably a little of both.

This season, even more so than the previous two times that she was on the race, Rachel has managed to alienate every other team on the show.  Rachel may be a bit more passive-aggressive while racing with her sister as opposed to her husband but she’s still the same old Rachel.  Unfortunately, because Rachel and Elissa have consistently been at the back of the pack throughout this entire season, they always seem to be at the mat when the last team to arrive finally shows up.  They’re always present at eliminations and this had led to some drama.

For instance, Corrine and Eliza probably would have thrown a hissy fit over getting eliminated regardless.  But having Rachel standing there undoubtedly didn’t help.  Britney and Janelle weren’t as vocal as either Corrine or Eliza but you could still tell that neither was happy to leave the race with Rachel staring at them.  And then last night, it was Nicole and Victor’s turn.

When Nicole and Victor reached the pit stop last night, it was already an emotional moment.  The entire leg of the race took place in the mountains of Switzerland.  Nicole, much like me, is terrified of heights.  As a result, Nicole spent almost the entire leg of the race freaking out.  And then, when she and Victor finally reached the pit stop, there was Rachel and Elissa.

Nicole and Victor were already mad at Rachel and Elissa because Rachel told them that all of the other teams were planning on U-turning them.  Rachel apparently thought that she was just giving them a “heads up” but instead, Nicole and Victor felt as if Rachel and Elissa were trying to manipulate them into using the U-turn themselves.

(Meanwhile, the other teams were not happy to discover that Rachel and Elissa had revealed their plans.)

So, when they reached the mat, we spent what seemed like several minutes listening to Nicole go on about how difficult the day had been. She wasn’t just upset over having to confront her fear of heights.  She was also upset that Rachel and Elissa had tried to make her and Victor feel paranoid.  To be honest, it was a little bit hard to follow Nicole’s monologue but it was still clear, by the end, that she and Victor have no interest in working with Rachel and Elissa.

Fortunately, for Nicole and Victor, last night was a non-elimination leg!  So, they’re still in the race!  I’m glad about that.  I like Nicole and Victor and, honestly, Switzerland is too beautiful a country for anyone to be eliminated in.

Here’s how the teams finished:

Coming in 1st, Tyler and Korey.  Tyler and Korey had another good leg of the race, which means we didn’t have to listen to them whine about not being in first for once.

Coming in 2nd, Colin and Christie.  Colin and Christie are continuing to come on strong.  I have yet to see any signs of weakness from either one of them.  Comparing the way Christie and Nicole each dealt with their fear of heights says a lot about why one team came in second and one came in last.

Coming in 3rd, Becca and Floyd.  Team Fun is inconsistent.  When they’re strong, they’re really strong.  When they struggle, they really struggle.  Last night, they were very strong.

Coming in 4th, Leo and Jamal  I’m still a little bit surprised that these two are finishing higher in the race but the Afghanimals still have the potential to win the race.

Coming in 5th, Rachel and Elissa.  Now that they’ve managed to alienate everyone, they may be in trouble next week, for reasons that I’ll going into shortly.

Coming in 6th, Chris and Bret.  After a strong couple of legs, the final Survivor team seemed to struggle a bit last night.  They’ve done a lot better than I thought they would but these physical challenges could be their downfall.

Coming in 7th, Nicole and Victor!  But fear not!  It was a non-elimination leg and the cutest team on the race will survive to race at least one more leg.

Next week, we’re still in Switzerland but there’s a new twist!  The remaining teams will be voting to determine which team will be given the next U-turn.  And while the other teams may have earlier said that Nicole and Victor were the team that needed to be U-turned, Rachel and Elissa have managed to annoy a lot of people.

We’ll see what happens!

Lisa Marie

The Amazing Race 31.5 “I’m A Bird, I’m A Plane, I’m on the Amazing Race” and 31.6 “Who Wants a Rolodex?”

Last night, CBS aired two episodes of The Amazing Race, probably to make up for last week when the show was preempted by the Survivor finale.

The first episode found the teams in Dubai, which was a lot of fun.  The 2nd episode followed them to Uganda, which was considerably less fun, if just because it saw the return of the Head-to-Head competition at the pit stop.  Each team had to beat another team in a head-to-head match-up before they could proceed to the pit stop.  This is something that was introduced last season and, to me, it just doesn’t seem to be true to the spirit of the Amazing Race.

For the most part, last night’s two hours seemed to be all about the luck of Rachel and Elissa.  The sisters had terrible luck while actually racing.  They consistently struggled with the roadblock and the detours.  They got stuck with a terrible taxi driver in Dubai.  I spent most of last night convinced that we were finally going to see the RIley sisters eliminated from the race.  (Rachel would have been devastated while Elissa doesn’t seem like she really cares one way or the other.)  However, their luck changed whenever they reached the pit stop.

For instance, in Dubai, the Riley sisters came in last and guess what?  It turned out to be a non-elimination leg!  Then, in Uganda, they managed to beat Britney and Janelle in the Head-to-Head.  That allowed them to come in 2nd to last.  Unfortunately, it also meant that Britney and Janelle were eliminated for the race.

I’ve always liked Britney and, to a lesser extent, Janelle and I was sorry to see them eliminated last night.  However, I really wasn’t surprised to see them go.  Britney and Janelle has struggled during nearly every leg of the race.  The skills that helped them out in Big Brother weren’t much help when it came to trying to race around the world.  So, while Rachel and Elissa barely survived to race another day, we said a sad goodbye to Britney and Janelle.

Here’s how everyone else did last night:

Coming in 1st in Uganda (and, before that, 4th in Dubai), Tyler & Korey!  After struggling for much of the race, Tyler and Korey finally achieved their first 1st place finish of the season.  They’re still a strong team, even if they haven’t quite dominated the race like they did the last time they ran it.

Coming in 2nd in Uganda (and third in Dubai), Colin and Christie!  Colin and Christie continue to be one of the most consistently strong teams competing this season.  They have yet to finish anywhere lower than 4th place.

Coming in 3rd in Uganda (and fifth in Dubai), Nicole and Victor!  If Colin and Christie are the most consistently strong team, Nicole and Victory are a close second.

Coming in 4th in Uganda (and 2nd in Dubai), Chris and Bret.  They may have struggled at the start of the race but Chris and Bret have definitely found their rhythm.  I would be surprised if they won but I could definitely see them coming in 4th or 3rd.

Coming in 5th in Uganda (and 1st in Dubai), Becca and Floyd.  As you can tell by their two finishes last night, Becca and Floyd are struggling with consistency.  One leg, they’ll run a strong race.  On the next leg, they’ll struggle.  Phil obviously loves Team Fun but I have my doubts that they’ll be around for too much longer.

Coming in 6th in Uganda (and 7th in Dubai), Leo and Jamal.  The biggest surprise of this season is just how much Leo and Jamal have struggled over nearly every leg.  For a team that’s been so strong in the past, it’s weird to see them consistently at the back of the pack.

Coming in 7th in Uganda (and 8th in Dubai), Rachel and Elissa.  Interestingly, Rachel is a lot more stable while racing with her sister than with Brendon but she’s also not finishing as well as she did during those seasons when she had a meltdown every episode.

Coming in 8th in Uganda (and 6th in Dubai), the now eliminated Britney and Janelle.  They were a likable team but they struggled from the start.

Next week, our remaining racers go from Uganda to Switzerland!  We’ll see what happens!

 

 

 

Survivor 38.13 “I See The Million Dollars”

Well, that was a letdown.

Let’s just get this out of the way.  I am not at all happy with what happened during the finale of Survivor: Edge of Extinction.  From the minute that Jeff Probst said that the Edge of Extinction twist would last the entire game and that a second player would be allowed to return and compete, my main concern was that — at the last minute — some nonentity would reenter the game and basically ruin the entire season.

And, amazingly enough, that’s exactly what happened!

Listen, I’m sure that Chris is a nice guy and he made some pretty good moves during the finale.  Convincing Lauren to use her idol on him was clever and, even more importantly, it left Lauren vulnerable at the next tribal council.  (What exactly was Lauren thinking, though?)  And giving up immunity so that he could battle Rick Devens in the firemaking contest was a big move.

But none of that changes the fact that Chris essentially only played the game for 11 days.  Meanwhile, Gavin and even Julie played the full 39 days.  Devens may have been a returning player but, unlike Chris, he wasn’t just dropped into the finale.  He returned when the teams merged and he had to fight every day after that to survive.  If anyone proved himself this season, it was Rick Devens.  If Gavin or Julie had been the player who finally sent Rick home, it would have been a big Survivor moment.  Instead, RIck was sent home by some guy who most of us had forgotten about.  To lose because you didn’t win immunity is one thing.  To lose because of a twist is another.

I know, I know.  Even though Chris was voted out, he was supposedly still playing the game on Edge of Extinction Beach.  That’s what Jeff Probst kept telling us, anyway.  Chris spent 28 days at the Edge of Extinction before reentering the game.  Yes, he had to survive on rice and he had to listen to Reem whine.  But you know what he didn’t have to do?  He didn’t have to compete for immunity.  He didn’t have to search for an idol.  He didn’t have to make alliances.  He didn’t have to fight to survive tribal council after tribal council.  He didn’t have to get any blood on his hands in any of thhe votes.  He didn’t have to do any of the things that every other Survivor winner has had to do.  Instead, he reentered the game at the end and was given an immunity idol for his trouble!

In the end, of the final three, I think Gavin deserved it more than Chris.  When you look at the people who voted for Chris, you see that he got the votes of everyone who was voted out pre-merge.  Essentially, the people who spent the most time on Edge of Extinction Beach voted for Chris to win and why shouldn’t they?  They spent nearly a month with Chris.  Reem never even talked to Gavin before the final tribal council.

(For the record, Rick, Lauren, Aurora, and Kelley voted for Gavin.  Reem, Aubry, Eric, Joe, Julia, David, Wardog, Ron, and Victoria voted for Chris.  Considering that Aubry previously lost the game to someone who, like Eric, didn’t actually do anything in the game until the final three days, I’m especially surprised by her vote.)

Chris winning was a truly disappointing end for a season that had its share of great moments.  Even though the majority of the players weren’t particularly strong, this was still a season of great tribal councils.  This was a season that featured some of the greatest blindsides in Survivor history.  Even the finale featured the spectacle of both Lauren and Julie attempting to play fake immunity idols.  This was a season with potential but it could never quite overcome the Edge of Extinction twist.

Oh well!  Hopefully, they won’t do this Edge of Extinction thing again.  Survivor 39 will feature Boston Rob and Sandra as mentors and, even though I’m tired of both twists and returning players, I know that I’ll definitely be watching!

Thank you everyone for reading and commenting over the course of this entertaining but frustrating season!  The Amazing Race will be back next week and then, sometime in June, Big Brother starts!

See you then!

Lisa Marie