Thursday, May 22, 2008

David Cook beats David Archuleta, crowned 'American Idol' champ

David Cook took David Archuleta's Tuesday night "knockout" punch and came out a champ.

The 25-year-old from Blue Spings, MO who currently resides in Tulsa, OK was crowned American Idol's seventh-season winner during last night's live two-hour finale broadcast on Fox.

Cook won Idol's seventh-season title after host Ryan Seacrest said "97 and a half million" home viewer votes were cast immediately following Tuesday night's live performance broadcast that saw Archuleta and Cook each sing three songs.

Seacrest said Cook defeated Archuleta, a 17-year-old from Murray, UT, by a 56% to 44% home viewer voting margin, or roughly 12 million votes.

"I started this season -- much to [Simon Cowell's] chagrin -- as the word nerd, and I'm absolutely at a loss for words right now," said Cook after the results were revealed. "Thank you, you guys... This is amazing. Thank you."

Cook joins original Idol Kelly Clarkson; second-season winner Ruben Studdard; third-season champ Fantasia Barrino; fourth-season winner Carrie Underwood; fifth-season champ Taylor Hicks; and sixth-season winner Jordin Sparks as the recipient of a management contract with Idol creator Simon Fuller's 19 Management and a recording contract with a division of Clive Davis' BMG Music Group.

While Cowell labeled Archuleta as the "one to beat" when the competition was still in the semifinal rounds, it became clear Cook was a force to be reckoned with as the season continued.

Cowell and fellow judge Randy Jackson went on the record as foreseeing an Archuleta vs. Cook finale when there were still eight finalists remaining and Cowell subsequently reiterated that claim when there were only four finalists remaining.

Cowell then predicted Cook would win the Idol crown during a Tuesday appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, however during that night's live performance episode he awarded all three rounds to Archuleta.

"Tonight, I think we've witnessed one of the great finals," said Cowell at the conclusion of Tuesday night's broadcast. "In my opinion [Archuleta], you came out here tonight to win. What we have witnessed is a knockout."

But right before Seacrest revealed the results at the conclusion of last night's bloated finale, Cowell backed off his strong words from Tuesday.

"I went back home to watch it and it wasn't quite as clear-cut as we called it," he said. "[Cook], I will take this opportunity to apologize because I think I was verging on disrespectful with you and I don't think you deserve that. The thing I like about the both of you is you're triers. You've both given it your best, you're both very nice people, and for the first time ever, I don't really care who wins. I think you've both done terrific."

All of Idol's Top 12 seventh-season finalists participated in the finale, with the Top 6 males performing a medley with Bryan Adams and the Top 6 females performing a medley with Donna Summer.

The filler-filled broadcast also included a a video montage of the seventh-season Ford music video clips; Archuleta and Cook performing a duet; third-place finisher Syesha Mercado performing with Seal; fourth-place finisher Jason Castro singing "Hallelujah;" fifth-place finisher Brooke White performing with Graham Nash; and sixth-place finisher Carly Smithson and eighth-place finisher Michael Johns singing a duet.

Viewers also saw Archuleta and Cook each receive a new Ford Escape Hybrid; Jimmy Kimmel deliver a roast-style seventh-season review; Cook perform with ZZ Top; Archuleta perform with OneRepublic; live updates with Cook fans in Kansas City, MO and Archuleta aficionados in Salt Lake City, UT; Sparks sing "One Step at a Time; Underwood sing "Last Name;" live performances by both the Jonas Brothers and George Michael; and a live performance of Renaldo Lapuz singing "We're Brothers Forever," a tune he wrote and originally sang during his Dallas audition (mercifully there wasn't a 3rd Annual Golden Idols).

Thanks to the wonder of technology, Hollywood stars Jack Black, Ben Stiller and Robert Downey Jr. also performed as The Pips with Gladys Knight during a 1972 performance of "Midnight Train to Georgia."

Seacrest also put Tuesday night's vote total into perspective, stating that if "every single person" in Canada, Spain, Ireland and Australia had voted, it still wouldn't have matched the "97 and a half million" home viewer vote total.

"You didn't just break the record for the show, you smashed it by over 23 million," said Seacrest at the beginning of the broadcast.

The finale broadcast concluded with Cook singing "The Time of My Life," which was written by Regie Hamm and won Idol's seventh-season songwriting competition.

Zack & Stephanie Win Paradise Hotel 2’s ‘Grand Prize’

After several weeks, several new guests and several twists and turns, Paradise Hotel 2 finally comes to a close. Tonight the final two couples of TD/Ryan and Stephanie/Zack faced off against the seven judges of Paradise to crown the winner. It all started off with a lengthy recap showing last weeks drama and how all four of those left in the finales were targeted and argued with someone. The next morning Stephanie and TD realized their actions were stupid and once again became friends. It seems this happened throughout the whole season once the hangover wore off.

The seven judges then convened to question the two couples and to see how they should vote. Mike and Krista both targeted TD as they blamed her for their demise the night before. Both got an answer they didn’t expect and that was TD apologizing and basically saying she didn’t push Ryan to vote them out but he agreed with her that was the move to make. James’ comment got a few jaws to drop as he asked Steph if she was “sleeping her way to the top” since she “crushed” with both finalists: Ryan and Zack. The said she didn’t but it just seemed to end up that way. Myrna’s question once again brought up Zack’s mention of why he would be mean to her. He told her it was done to make sure people didn’t believe the two were together. He said they all hated her so he had to hate her to “fit it”, she didn’t like that too much.

The four were then given the chance to say one final statement to all voters. Zack was first and let them all know that he was loyal to everyone he gave his word to and everyone that gave their word was loyal to him. Stephanie was up first and gave a really good reason why people should vote for her and Zack. She let each of them know what she will take back with her and how they changed her since she entered the hotel. TD was next and gave a very tear filled speech as to why she played the game the way she did. She was right as she shouldn’t feel guilty that she is in the finals and that she shouldn’t feel guilty for speaking her mind and I think some of the judges were swayed by this. Ryan was last to go and actually had something to say. He only spoke to Krista and Mike, the two he hurt the most, and let them know he is sorry. He wasn’t asking for their vote but only asking them to forgive him.

That night it was then time to crown the winner and that the judges did. Each were asked to pick the couple they want to see win the grand prize and in a close vote of 4 - 3, Zack and Stephanie were crowned the winners of Paradise Hotel 2. Like the previous season the win came with a twist as TD and Ryan were given the power to crown only one winner between Stephanie and Zack. That winner would receive an envelope containing the prize. Although it seemed they would pick Stephanie, both decided to give Zack the title of winner of Paradise Hotel. He was then shocked with another twist that allowed him to split the money between himself and two others in any amount he chose. He was given $200,000 to either keep or he could split it between one or two other people from the judges and the other final players.

After some deliberation Zack made his chose and decided to split his prize money between both TD and Stephanie. He gave TD $20,000 and then split the remaining between himself and Stephanie evenly. This gave both Stephanie and Zack $90,000 each and also gave them the share in the win. That concludes Paradise Hotel 2 and the drama that came along with it. I was kind of surprised to see Zack win after coming back into the game for a third time and then so generously splitting his money. It was a great run for the show and hopefully it will be back for a third season. If you aren’t done with Paradise Hotel 2 yet you can catch the reunion on Fox Reality. Once I see it I’ll be sure to rehash all that went down!

Kristi Yamaguchi and Mark Ballas win 'Dancing with the Stars'

Kristi Yamaguchi proved Maksim Chmerkovskiy wrong -- a woman can win Dancing with the Stars.

The Olympic gold medalist figure skater and her professional partner Mark Ballas were crowned Dancing with the Stars sixth-season ballroom champions during last night's live finale results show on ABC.

"I love it... This is just the icing on the cake," said Kristi after host Tom Bergeron revealed she was the sixth-season celebrity champion based on the combination of the judges' score shares for the dancers' Monday and Tuesday night performances and the share of home viewer votes cast immediately after Monday night's broadcast.

"I honestly from the bottom of my heart thank all the fans out there and everyone involved with Dancing with the Stars -- from the crew, hair and makeup -- everyone who's made this a dream experience."

Kristi became the first female celebrity to win the Dancing with the Stars title since Kelly Monaco and professional partner Alec Mazo did so during the show's initial Summer 2005 season.

"You did it! You flipped the curse!" exclaimed Tom after revealing the results.

Kristi and Mark took home Dancing with the Stars' mirror ball trophy after 10 weeks of competition, defeating NFL star Jason Taylor and his professional partner Edyta Slwiniska, who finished second, and telenovela actor Cristian de la Fuente and his professional partner Cheryl Burke. Kristi and Mark had been atop the judges leader board throughout most of the competition and never found themselves in the bottom two.

In addition, Kristi is the second Olympic athlete to take home the mirror ball trophy -- following in the footsteps of speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno, who won the show's fourth-season title last spring with professional partner Julianne Hough.

The victory represents Mark's first mirror ball trophy. Last fall -- Mark's first season on the show -- he was unexpectedly eliminated from the competition with celebrity partner Sabrina Bryan, who had been considered to be one of the season's frontrunners.

"I want to say thank you to Kristi," said Mark after last night's victory. "Obviously, she's been the most amazing partner."

During Monday night's live performance episode Kristi and Mark received a 30 from the judges for both the cha-cha-cha face-off and their freestyle routine, giving them a perfect combined score of 60 out of 60 possible points.

The score easily placed them atop the judges leaderboard -- as Jason and Edyta received a 24 for the cha-cha-cha face-off and a 27 for their freestyle routine, giving them a combined judges score of 51 out of 60 and placing them in third for the night.

Kristi and Mark and Jason and Edyta also performed their favorite sixth-season routine during last night's live results show -- with their scores contributing to their final combined judges score total but not being voted on by home viewers who had already voted based on Monday night's performances.

Kristi and Mark performed their Week 6 jive routine, for which they originally received the sixth-season's first perfect 30; while Jason and Edyta performed their Week 7 quickstep, for which they originally received a 29, their highest score of the competition.

However, both couples received perfect 30 scores from the judges for last night's performances, so they had a negligible affect on the competition's ultimate outcome.

Tom then revealed the results and awarded the sixth-season mirror ball trophy to Kristi and Mark, eliminating Jason and Edyta.

"I never, ever thought I would get to this point -- I never thought I would do the show -- and here I am today in the finals," said Jason after he was revealed to be the runner-up. "Kristi is so deserving and like she said, everyone's been so fantastic... Kristi very much deserved it and I had the time of my life."

Similar to last season's finale format, the couple who received the lowest score based on a combination of the judges' scores from Monday night's two routines and home viewer votes cast immediately following the broadcast was eliminated at the beginning of last night's broadcast.

That was Cristian and Cheryl, who had found themselves in between the other two couples on the judges' leaderboard following Monday night's broadcast.

The pair had received 52 out of 60 possible points for their two routines -- a 26 for both the cha-cha-cha face-off and for their freestyle routine. However both performances were hindered by Cristian's ruptured tendon, which he suffered several weeks ago. Despite needing surgery to repair the damage, Cristian ultimately decided to remain in the competition.

"I would of never had the feeling of going to the final after an injury if it wasn't for Cheryl and staying in this competition," said a somber Cristian after his ouster was revealed. "So I'm glad we made that decision."

Last night represented the third time Cheryl had made it to the Dancing with the Stars finale -- but also the first time she waltzed away empty handed, as she captured the show's second-season title with Drew Lachey and the third-season crown with Emmitt Smith.

"She's been the best partner I could have -- a real friend," said Cristian about Cheryl. "Not only a dance partner but a support when I really needed her. That I will never forget."

"Out of all my five seasons I've been on this show, it's not about winning," added Cheryl. "It's the journey you take and I've had one of the best times with Cristian. I love you and I'll miss you and your family so much."

Cristian plans to undergo surgery to repair his ruptured tendon on Friday.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Whitney Thompson wins 'America's Next Top Model,' first full-figured

Whitney Thompson is the first girl with curves to win America's Next Top Model.

The 20-year-old student from Atlantic Beach, FL became the first full-figured model to win Top Model, as she was crowned the reality competition series' tenth-season champ during last night's finale broadcast on The CW.

"There's definitely times I've looked in the mirror or at other girls and thought that I wasn't like them -- always being judged and thinking, 'Am I different? Is there something wrong with me?'" said Whitney after her victory.

"No. I do feel good about myself and I want other women in America to feel good about themselves. I honestly think that girls will look up to me and say, 'I can do that. I can be that. I don't have to starve. I don't have to have plastic surgery. I can really be like that. I can be on the billboard. I can be on that magazine cover. Why? Because I'm beautiful -- on the inside out.' I have breasts, I have hips, I have a butt -- and I am so proud of those things. I am here and I am me. I'm not going to change myself."

For winning Top Model's tenth season, Whitney claimed the grand prize package of a management deal with Elite Model Management; a $100,000 contract with cosmetics company CoverGirl; and a cover story and six-page fashion spread in an issue of Seventeen magazine.

"It feels amazing to be America's Next Top Model," added Whitney. "This is exactly what I want. This is exactly everything that I ever wanted since I was a little girl."

Anya Kop, a 19-year-old in retail sales from Honolulu, HI, finished second.

"I'm going to go back home and I'm going to cry," said Anya. "I'm proud of myself. I may not be America's Next Top Model, but I have my whole career ahead of me."

Top Model's tenth-season finale began following the previous judging panel that saw the elimination of Dominique Reighard. The three remaining contestants then received Tyra Mail that contained their lines for an upcoming CoverGirl commercial shoot.

"At least it's in English," said Whitney, referencing a previous tenth-season CoverGirl commercial shoot where the girls had to deliver their lines in Italian.

The next day the girls met Top Model art director Jay Manuel at The Colosseum, where they would film a CoverGirl television commercial and also participate in a photo shoot for a print ad. In addition, Jay told them that the winner would have her CoverGirl photo on a Times Square billboard. Top Model ninth-season winner Saleisha Stowers then met the girls and dispensed some advice as they had their hair and makeup done.

Fatima Siad, a 22-year-old student from Boston, MA, was the first to film her commercial, and she was "excited."

"I know I'm gonna do well," she boasted.

While Jay was "very impressed" Fatima was able to memorize her CoverGirl commercial lines, she was delivering them way too quickly and they weren't making sense.

"Fatima just kept running all the lines together and it just sounded a bit robotic," he opined. "Her looking so perfect coupled with her being robotic made her look a little not human."

Whitney did much better than Fatima, and while Anya had some problems with her lines, Jay thought her "wonderful energy" saved the commercial. The three girls then had their CoverGirl print ads shot by photographer Jim De Yonker.

"I want this so bad," said Fatima after the shoot was complete. "I just feel like I have it. I really feel like America's Next Top Model. I want the judges to see it."

Top Model's penultimate tenth-season panel then commenced, where the girls would be judged by Top Model creator and lead judge Tyra Banks; photographer Nigel; runway expert J. "Ms. J" Alexander; and supermodel Paulina Porizkova.

Tyra thought Whitney was "directable" in her commercial shoot, and Paulina added it had the vibe of a "Miss America competition." As for her photo, Ms. J. thought Whitney looked "very pretty" and Nigel added it had a "vintage" quality to it. Tyra commented the photo was "absolutely stellar."

The judges then watched Fatima's commercial.

"If that was a toothpaste ad, that would be fantastic," commented Nigel, not exactly a glowing review.

Paulina echoed Jay's on-set criticism that Fatima talked too fast. While Nigel thought Fatima looked "stunning" in her photo, Paulina had a problem with the way her eyes were positioned.

Tyra commented Anya's commercial was "the biggest train wreck in the world" but added it was the "best commercial" because of Anya's energy. Paulina agreed that Anya came across as "convincing and honest," and Nigel called her "naturally charming." Tyra thought Anya's photo was "commercial" but still had an "edge" to it.

Before the judges began to deliberate, Tyra revealed that the two finalists would be competing in a runway fashion show while wearing designs handpicked by Donatella Versace. The judges then deliberated.

"Fatima wants this so much that it's taking control of her," commented Nigel.

Paulina thought Fatima made a "wonderful print model."

"I love that [Fatima] has struggled and gone through such cruel things that a lot of us in American could never even imagine or fathom," said Tyra, as Fatima was a victim of genital mutilation. "She stands before us with pride and is not a victim."

The judges then revealed that Anya and Whitney would be the two tenth-season finalists as Fatima was given the boot.

"I feel like I've accomplished so much," said Fatima after her ouster. "I've made history. I'm the first Somali refugee woman to be a part of America's Next Top Model. Hopefully I'll be a role model for a lot of young women, especially East African women. They can look at me and say, 'Wow! Look at her, she went out there. She did her thing.' I feel like I'm born again. I just have to let go of everything that ever happened to me and start all over again. I feel so new, I feel so beautiful, I feel so strong... Trust me, you will not forget about me. You will see this face."

Anya and Whitney then returned to their Roman apartment.

"My entire life, I've grown up with a bunch of mean girls picking on me all the time -- the back-handed compliments, 'Oh my gosh! You don't even look that fat!'" said Whitney, who had an emotional moment during the previous panel. "I've got a tough skin from that, which is the only reason I can stand here and be confident in being a plus-sized model in a house full of little toothpicks."

The next day the girls met Seventeen magazine editor-in-chief Ann Shoket for their Seventeen photo shoot, with Nigel serving as the photographer. The winner of Top Model would receive a six-page spread in Seventeen's July issue and also appear on the cover.

Anya and Whitney then arrived for their Roman runway show, where they were met by Jay and Ms. J. Since it was a real runway fashion show, the girls would be walking with other models -- including Saleisha.

With both girls nervous, the show commenced. Both girls executed their first time on the runway fairly flawlessly, however Whitney had her heel get tangled up in her second gown while Anya had a hard time walking in her second gown since it was constricting the movement of her feet. After the show was over, Tyra went backstage and said she was "proud" of both Anya and Whitney.

Top Model's final tenth-season panel then commence.

"You didn't bring it as strong as you could have, you didn't bring it as strong as you should have," commented Ms. J about Anya.

Paulina said "to be fair," Anya's dress was "very narrow" at the bottom. Ms. J wasn't buying it, and said "there was a way to move the body to make it look elegant."

"You're just so stunning on that runway. The camera loves your face, the light loves your face," added Tyra.

Ms. J thought Whitney nailed the runway show right off the bat, while Nigel said he wasn't a big fan of her first outfit.

"That being said, you saved yourself with your second walk," he added.

Tyra said Whitney reminded her of herself on the runway and added she did a "great job," but gave her the slight criticism that she didn't pose at the end of the runway to give photographers a good shot.

In addition, the judges evaluated Anya and Whitney's photos from the previous tenth-season shoots before deliberating their decision.

Whitney was then revealed to be Top Model's tenth-season champ.

"This should not be called plus-size or full-figured," said Paulina. "This should just be called beautiful."

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

'Bachelor' star Matt Grant proposes to Shayne Lamas, rejects Chelsea

The Bachelor: London Calling star Matt Grant presented his final rose and a marriage proposal to Shayne Lamas -- and she accepted both during last night's finale broadcast of the ABC reality dating series' twelfth installment.

The 27-year-old British financier awarded his heart to the 22-year-old actress from Malibu, CA instead of Chelsea Wanstrath, a 24-year-old pharmaceutical sales representative from Durango, CO who became the final bachelorette to be rejected by The Bachelor's first-ever international star.

"This is the happiest day of my life," said Shayne at the broadcast's conclusion.

The Bachelor: London Calling's finale began with Matt in London meeting Chelsea before introducing her to his mother Trish, his father Tony, and his brother Simon.

"There hasn't been a straight forward journey for Chelsea and I," said Matt. "I've been questioning whether or not she's really into me."

Chelsea was excited to see Matt and be in London, since if he gave her the final rose she might be relocating there. She said she was "nervous" and "intimidated" to meet the family.

"My relationship with Matt has gotten so much more intense," said Chelsea. "The stakes are really high right now."

Chelsea gushed about Matt over dinner. Simon thought Chelsea was "charming" and "incredibly beautiful," while Trish thought she was "doing a very good selling job."

"But I don't know her well enough to know whether that was genuine or not," added Trish. "She's got to convince me hasn't she? Very difficult situation for her to be in."

Chelsea explained to Matt's mom she was falling more in love with him every minute but was having a hard time opening up to him.

"It's not something I wanted but it's so hard not to because you're deathly afraid this person is going to break your heart," said Chelsea. "But I need to make myself vulnerable and open."

Trish said she could see Matt and Chelsea have a "very good relationship" and her son acted like himself around her. Matt then talked to his mom about Chelsea, and she told him that Chelsea needed to be more vulnerable.

"I'm not prepared to pick somebody if I'm not sure they're feeling a 100% like I am," Matt told mom.

Chelsea then said goodbye to the family before Matt walked her out.

"It's safe to say that I feel like I could be a part of the Grant family," she said. "Everything went better than I could have ever planned."

The next day Matt met with Shayne, whom he said had an "uphill struggle" since Chelsea did so well the previous day. Matt and Shayne took a double-decker bus tour of London before going to his parents' house.

"The second the bus pulled up, I was nervous," said Shayne. "I am absolutely shaking in my boots, but I'm falling in love with their son, so I have absolutely nothing to hide."

Shayne immediately opined about being unable to go shopping while on the tour.

"When I first saw Shayne I thought, 'Wow, beach blonde hair...'" said Simon. "To be honest, I didn't think she was very 'Matt' at all."

Tony asked Shayne how old she was and she joked she was 12 before giving her real age. She then talked about her career as an actress and how it was tough for Matt to get used to it, and the family seemed to eventually open up.

"I feel like I gave Shayne a really hard time today," said Simon. "But to be fair, she came across really well."

He then told Shayne she "grew" on him during dinner and he was happy she opened up.

"In two days, you could be engaged to be married to him," Simon told her. "Does that freak you out?"

"No," she answered. "It freaks me out knowing that in two days I could lose him."

Trish told Shayne from the moment she met her she felt "at ease" before asking what she's looking for in a husband.

"Matthew's got a very difficult decision," said Trish. "I think he's very, very fond of both Shayne and Chelsea. I don't know which way he's going to go."

Shayne said goodbye to Matt's family.

"I really had a beautiful time meeting them," she said. "It was beyond my expectations. If it's not Matt and I at the end, I'm going to be crushed."

Matt then conversed with his family and said he feels the "most at ease" with Shayne but thought there might be "more passion" with Chelsea.

"My gut instinct was that Shayne was more sincere than Chelsea," said Trish, but Simon disagreed and said he could imagine his brother being more with Chelsea. Dad sided with mom that Shayne was the one for their son.

"What you've got to realize is the final decision is yours," said Mom.

Next it was off to Barbados for a final date with each of the girls before the final Rose Ceremony. Matt took Chelsea on a helicopter ride around the coast of Barbados and they subsequently settled on a sandy beach for a picnic.

"I think you and I leaving this place would have a great future together," Chelsea told him before he held her in the surf and they kissed.

Chelsea wanted to share a piece of her heart with Matt on their last night before the Rose Ceremony, and she gave him a California survival kit that contained items representative of their future together. She explained she gave Matt the "Chelsea brochure" throughout their six weeks together that was metaphorical on two sides -- it showed different sides of her and also took a while to unfold.

"My whole thing is... so I'm falling in love with you. Absolutely, 100%" she told Matt. "But I don't feel like you can truly love somebody unless they have the capacity of loving you back."

"I'm falling in love with you as well," he replied. "You know that."

They then kissed and she urged him not have fun with Shayne the next day.

"Without a doubt I'm falling in love with Chelsea," said Matt. "She's everything I ever wanted. She's incredible, she's absolutely incredible. I hope we can get through this together."

The next day Matt met with Shayne for their final date before the Rose Ceremony. Matt said he has "so much fun" with Shayne and described her as a "monkey" when they cuddle.

"Today is very serious," said Shayne. "I will definitely show my feelings today and why I want to be with him for the rest of my life."

The two then went parasailing and Shayne took time to reflect.

"I want Matt forever. I love him," she said in a confessional. "I'm just ready."

That night she gave him a gift -- photos of her spelling out "I love you" in beach sand. Matt thought the gift was "so sweet" and said it melted his heart.

"I knew that was so hard for her to do," said Matt on the gesture. "How big a jump she has taken. I was really touched."

Matt then told Shayne he's "falling in love" with her, and she said the same about him.

"I haven't made my decision yet," said Matt as he said goodbye to Shayne for the night. "I'm coming out of today completely confused and perplexed at what decision I'm going to make. I never regret, so I know when I do make it, that is it. Now I've got to make it."

The morning of the final Rose Ceremony, Matt looked at some "amazing" Tacori engagement rings and found one he was wowed by.

"I've never been this nervous, I've never been this apprehensive," he said. "I never thought I'd fall in love with two women... I never thought I would so emotionally attached to two people. I'm going to have to say goodbye to one of them at the end, and regardless of what decision I make, somebody is going to get hurt. I just thought to myself who out of these two women can I see as a life-long partner. It was quite clear to me."

The Bachelor: London Calling's final Rose Ceremony then commenced in Barbados, and Chelsea was the first girl to exit the limousine and approach Matt.

"There's still a chance I could get my heart broken," she said. "I'm really, really hoping that Matt chooses me... At the end of all this I would be so thrilled and so honored to have Matt propose to me. I just don't see myself without him. I really don't."

Matt greeted Chelsea with a kiss and explained he never thought he would meet someone like her and he found himself falling for her when they went on the group date to Las Vegas. Since then, he said they got "so close" and "shard some amazing times." But...

"I've come here to find my life-long partner, as I know you have as well," he told her. "And when I think about that long and hard, I'm thinking I can't give you everything that you need. My only buts with you are the fact that it has taken us a long time. It's been a tough journey, and at times, I've felt so much for you. This doesn't take away from the fact that I found myself falling in love with you."

Chelsea cried and said she had no regrets about her experience.

"I just find it so hard to think that I would have fallen for someone unless they were falling for me..." she told Matt.

"I was falling for you," he replied.

"I felt like I got the reassurance and the okay from you to open up. I was genuine about everything I said because it took me longer..." she said. "Know that although it took me a while, I've met everything I've said. I guess I was just too late..."

"At times I thought you were the one. Many times," he said before wishing Chelsea the best and sending her on her way.

"I don't understand!" an increasingly upset Chelsea blurted out to Matt about Shayne. "To me she was the falsest person here!"

"You know what? She isn't," Matt answered sharply. "The individual that I know is fairly different from the individual you know."

Chelsea then said goodbye and was whisked away.

"It's the hardest thing," said Chelsea from the back of the limousine. "You feel like you just admitted to yourself how much you love somebody and want to spend a future with him and my relationships have been let down after let down after let down. It bothers me that I was so sincere and I feel like I was maybe too honest with him... He's a fool. He is a fool."

Matt said the only way he was able to get through rejecting Chelsea was knowing that he had meeting Shayne to look forward to, and he was excited at the prospects of proposing.

"I know that she will always be there for me," he said.

As she prepared to meet Matt, Shayne said she was "nervous and sad and scared and very anxious and a little worried."

"What an amazing way to fall in love, "she said. "Matt holds every single quality that I want in a husband and somebody that I want to spend the rest of my life with. I've given Matt everything I could and if I lose him I would be heartbroken."

Once Shayne arrived, Matt explained he first thought Shayne was "too good to be true" and eventually learned she was there to "find someone for life."

"I know when I look in those beautiful brown eyes that you'd always be there for me," he said. "I hope that you know that I'll always be there for you. I don't have much more to say..."

Matt then got on bended knee.

"Give me your hand," he asked. "Shayne Lamas. I love you..."

"I love you!" she replied.

"I have something for you," he said. "Monkey... Will you marry me?"

"Yes" she answered. "Matt, I love you!"

The two hugged.

"Okay, I have one thing to tell you," said Shayne. "I will marry you under one condition -- that you will never look at another woman for the rest of our lives. Because you have looked at way too many during our relationship."

"I promise you," he said.

Matt then presented Shayne the final rose.

Matt's proposal to Shayne and her acceptance of it marked only the second time in its last six seasons and just the third time in its last nine editions that a The Bachelor edition ended with its bachelor proposing to his final bachelorette.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Parvati Shallow wins 'Survivor: Micronesia,' defeats Amanda Kimmel

Parvati Shallow was more than just the flirt this time around.

She organized the all-female "Black Widow Brigade" responsible for blindsiding several of the stronger male castaways before winning Survivor: Micronesia Fans vs. Favorites during last night's finale of broadcast of the long-running CBS reality series' sixteenth edition.

The 25-year-old former Survivor: Cook Islands castaway from Los Angeles, CA claimed Survivor: Micronesia's $1 million grand prize during the live portion of last night's finale broadcast from New York City.

"I wasn't going to start playing in the beginning. I was going to fly under the radar and play the flirt and let everyone underestimate me," Parvati said after she was revealed to be the winner. "[But Jonathan Penner] outed me and said, 'This girl's a threat! We've got to get rid of her!' I was like, 'Okay. I've got to start playing.' I got my head in the game and started making moves."

Parvati defeated former Survivor: China castaway Amanda Kimmel by a 5-3 margin during the final Tribal Council jury vote. The finale marked first time since Survivor: Panama, the show's twelfth season, that a Survivor edition had ended with a Final 2 instead of a Final 3.

Survivor: Micronesia's finale broadcast began at the Dabu camp with Parvati, Amanda, former Survivor: Panama castaway Cirie Fields and Natalie Bolton celebrating being the show's first ever all-female Final 4, which they were able to achieve by convincing Erik Reichenbach to give-up the Individual Immunity Idol at the previous Tribal Council.

The next morning, the "Black Widow Brigade" continued to bask in the fact that they were able to eliminate all the guys while Natalie was surprised and happy to be the only remaining Fan.

"I definitely made a personal bond and connection with Parvati," added Natalie. "I think Parvati is an ally for me in this game."

The girls then received some Tree Mail, and were unsure if it would be a Reward or Individual Immunity Challenge.

"We're thinking that winning this challenge is pretty much guaranteed Final 3," aid Cirie. "So we have to beat Natalie."

Amanda, Cirie, Natalie and Parvati then arrived for Survivor: Micronesia's sixth Individual Immunity Challenge, and host Jeff Probst explained the rules.

Each castaway would start on a very small perch at the top of a 20-foot pole in the water. Using a bucket with several holes in it, they'd each gather water, which they would then pour into bamboo shoot. As the water filled up the shoot, it would raise a set of keys.

Once the keys were reachable, the castaways had to unhook them, jump in the water and swim to shore -- where they'd each unlock a chest containing 16 individually shaped latter rungs. The first castaway to correctly assemble her ladder and raise her flag would win Individual Immunity.

The challenge commenced and Natalie and Parvati got off to quick starts, as Natalie grabbed an early lead swimming to shore. Both opened their chests just as Amanda and Cirie grabbed their keys and began to swim to shore.

Natalie was the first to begin assembling her ladder but the other girls quickly caught up to her and Amanda eventually started to pull away. She subsequently completed the ladder and raised her flag to win Immunity.

"I made Final 3! I can't believe it," Amanda told the cameras later. "I'm ecstatic. That's twice in a row. This time I played my game so different and I feel so much better about it."

Meanwhile Natalie opined being the "low woman on the totem pole," but vowed to "explore all [her] options" before Tribal Council. She planned to be "calm, cool and collective."

"There's a way to weasel in and communicate with them in a way that may seem reasonable," said Natalie, who planned to appeal to Parvati as a last chance by explaining that Cirie is a bigger jury-vote threat.

Amanda and Parvati discussed who they would vote for, and Amanda thought Natalie "definitely deserved to be here" because she played a better game than Cirie.

"I don't who I'm voting for tonight," said Amanda.

Natalie then told Parvati about Cirie being a bigger jury-vote threat.

"I love Natalie to death and I think she's a lesser threat as far as jury votes than Cirie," said Parvati in a confessional. "Now the time has come where I could switch it up now and then we have our biggest jury threat out of the game."

Cirie was aware she might be booted.

"I could be going home tonight," she said. "They could of made a deal with Natalie."

The four women then arrived for Survivor: Micronesia's fourteenth Tribal Council, and the jury members --Eliza Orlins, Ozzy Lusth, Jason Siska, Alexis Jones, James Clement and Erik -- entered. Natalie gushed how Erik's blindside went down "seamlessly" before Jeff asked what she expected to happen with the impending vote.

"I think at this point the four of us respect each other enough that I don't think that there would be a blindside," said Natalie, a comment that made Jeff and the jury look a bit surprised. "I would pray for a blindside on some levels because now it would actually benefit me better than all the other four."

Amanda and Parvati said they were surprised by Natalie's comment and Jeff asked if they had just been assuming that there would be a Final 3 instead of a Final 2.

"No one here -- I think I can honestly say -- is expecting a Final 2," answered Amanda. "At this point in the game, it would take us for another whirlwind."

"It is nerve-racking to think that it could be a Final 2 because that makes me feel like -- once again -- I'm on the bottom of the alliance," said Cirie. "Which is not a good place to be Jeff."

Amanda then interjected and asked Cirie when she began to think she was on the bottom of the alliance.

"From the five -- when I started with you, Ozzy, James and Parvati -- basically it's unspoken that I'm on the bottom," Cirie answered, adding it was "obvious" she was also at the bottom when it came to her alliance with Amanda and Parvati. "Not one person in any alliance has ever said, 'I won't vote for Cirie'... So that clearly places me at the bottom of the alliance. I would be foolish not to think that."

Natalie said she saw the bickering as an "opportunity."

"I'm just letting them duke it out and may the best woman win," she said.

However Amanda and Parvati stuck to their alliance with Cirie and all three women voted for Natalie -- who became the seventeenth castaway eliminated from the competition.

"I have to say that I'm pretty happy with the way I played the game," said Natalie after Jeff snuffed her torch. "I was the last Fan standing, and I feel proud of the group of girls that I finished with. I respect the way that you guys played the game with me and I thank you."

Back at camp, Amanda accused Cirie of trying to make she and Parvati look "awful." Amanda and Cirie continued to argue about Cirie being on the bottom of the alliance, with Amanda mostly upset about Cirie mentioning it in-front of the jury.

"If you were me, what would you feel?" asked Cirie as her voice begin to raise. "And because I said it out loud, you're upset?"

She reiterated she's been at the bottom of "every single alliance" and Amanda continued to insist she didn't understand.

"I can't explain it anymore," said Cirie.

"It makes sense," added Parvati, agreeing with Cirie.

Amanda then "broke down" and cooler heads prevailed as the three girls hugged and apologized.

"I feel like I've been doing this forever," said a tearful Amanda. "Straight from China and I come here and I just can't take it."

Amanda told Parvati and Cirie she "almost lost it" when Jeff mentioned there "might be a Final 2."

"There's no way that it would be a Final 2," assured Parvati, although Cirie wasn't so sure.

"It would just break my heart to find out it would be a Final 2," said Cirie.

The next morning the girls let "Gloria" -- their final chicken -- go in the wild. Instead she immediately made a nest at camp to lay an egg.

They then retrieved some Tree Mail, which informed them they'd be remembering Survivor: Micronesia's 17 previously booted castaways via the game's traditional "Fallen Comrades" journey before going to their final Individual Immunity Challenge -- meaning there would be a Final 2.

"It's like when is it going to end. There's only so much you can take," said Amanda. "I am so tight with these girls. This just sucks completely."

Cirie saw a Final 2 instead of a Final 3 as "almost poetic."

"We've been blindsiding people left and right, and essentially we got blindsided," she added. "We thought we had it made. I guess what goes around comes around."

Once the "Fallen Comrades" journey was complete, the Final 3 met for Survivor: Micronesia's seventh and final Individual Immunity Challenge, where Jeff explained the rules.

Each castaway would have a long, wooden cylinder that had been cut into several pieces. In the center was slot, which would hold a metal ball. On Jeff's go, the castaways would pickup the first pieces and balance the ball. Every five minutes, the castaways would have to add pieces to their cylinder, making it longer and more difficult to hold onto.

The castaway able to keep their metal ball from falling the longest would win Individual Immunity at the impending Tribal Council and decide who would sit next to her in the Final 2.

The challenge commenced and all three castaways easily survived the first two rounds. However Parvati dropped her ball during the third round, which both Cirie and Amanda were able to survive.

The fourth round began -- with Amanda holding her cylinder underhand and Cirie going overhand -- and both survived to make it to the fifth round, which would last until somebody dropped her ball. Cirie lost her concentration, dropped her ball and Amanda claimed Individual Immunity for the second time in a row -- receiving a spot in the Final 2.

Back at the Dabu camp, Amanda called deciding between Cirie and Parvati as the "hardest decision" she's had to make in the game so far. Cirie opined her defeat in the challenge.

"Unfortunately Amanda won. Since Parvati and Amanda are so buddy-buddy, unless something happens, I'm probably going home tonight," she said.

Parvati said she was "fairly confident" Amanda would take her to the Final 2.

"We've had an alliance since Day 1 out here," she said. "We also have a really tight relationship that's developed over the course of this game. So I'm not worried about it, really."

Somewhat stupidly, Parvati then told Amanda she thought Cirie "pissed way more" jury members off than she did -- which placed a seed of doubt in Amanda's mind about taking Parvati. Amanda went to talk with Cirie.

"I feel like your best shot with the jury is taking me over Parvati," Cirie told her. "Every person she's screwed over, I've screwed over. We did everything together. Every blindside we orchestrated together -- most of them I did most of the talking for."

Amanda agreed, but said she was still nervous of having Cirie in the Final 2 since she's one of those people who can "talk their way in or out of anything they want."

"Cirie has pissed a lot of people off on the jury -- probably more than Parvati," said Amanda. "But Cirie is a hell of a speaker. She can convince anyone to do anything. In the final Tribal Council, if she can convince the jury -- that's $1 million. So it's kind of a catch 22. Making this decision tonight is killing me. You kind of have to just go with how you feel, your gut feeling. But I know that this decision could cost me $1 million."

Survivor: Micronesia's penultimate Tribal Council then commenced and the jury entered. Amanda described winning Immunity as a "blessing and a curse" because it gave her a "hard, hard decision." Cirie said she believed it was a difficult decision for Amanda since the three of them had been together since Day 1.

"I honestly don't envy Amanda's position at all right now," added Parvati. "I don't think it's going to be an easy decision."

Amanda said picking between Parvati and Cirie was a "toss-up" and got emotional about the impending choice.

"I feel like either way it's a lose-lose situation for me at this point," said Amanda. "I know that this vote tonight is going to hurt someone's feelings. I'm just having a hard time with that."

Amanda then cast the Tribal Council's lone vote for Cirie, who became the eighteenth castaway eliminated from the competition.

"Here I am again, coming up just short," said Cirie, who finished fourth during Panama. "I tried my hardest. It just wasn't meant to be."

The next morning Amanda and Parvati both expressed excitement about being in the Final 2 and being able to go home that night. They received a breakfast basket and celebrated their accomplishment, which both said was the biggest of their life so far.

"I think it's interesting that me and Parvati are in the end of this game together because we have played completely different games," said Amanda. "I think I have played this game loyal to my alliances, and Parvati pretty much did anything she needed to do to take control. Because of that, a lot of people on the jury don't like her. That could be a benefit for me."

"I really honestly feel so relaxed going into this final Tribal Council," said Parvati. "I feel like I've played a game that's been very true to myself. I don't feel like I could have played this game better. My game was a lot more aggressive than Amanda's game -- it was a lot more cutthroat and more cold blooded. I was playing this to win. I think my strongest point that I an make tonight is standing up and owning that I have been a powerful, controlling player throughout the duration of this game."

Survivor: Micronesia's final Tribal Council then commenced. Jeff explained that Amanda and Parvati would each make an opening statement before each of the eight jury members would have the opportunity to either ask a question or make a statement of their own.

Amanda said she entered the competition wanting to "play a loyal game" and "fight physically, strategically and mentally to the end," and thanked the jury for helping her get to the Final 2.

Parvati said she had a reputation as "the flirt" from Cook Islands and had to "play so much differently" in Micronesia -- which included her being more aggressive and making "bold power plays." She assured the jury "honest answers."

Eliza commended both for playing "great strategic games" but added she had no idea who she'd be voting for. However she said she'd "have a lot of difficulty" giving Parvati the $1 million because she "might just be a mean person." In addition, Eliza accused Amanda of being "superficial."

Jason then asked Amanda if they would have told her about their plan to blindside Ozzy before it happened, would she have warned him.

"Yes," she answered.

Jason then asked Parvati about what some of her "redeeming qualities" were in the game since he saw her as "manipulative." She said she was "very protective" of her alliance with Cirie and Amanda and was loyal to them all the way to the end.

Alexis asked Parvati what makes her a better role model for young girls, and Parvati answered she's "more independent" than Amanda.

"Amanda, I have seen a bunch of Oscar Award-winning performances," said Alexis. "We couldn't help but be laughing when you were crying about sending Cirie home... I think you cried wolf so many times that, what about -- if any -- part of your game has been genuine?"

Amanda answered that crying about booting Cirie was "genuine."

"I didn't come here trying to get sympathy votes. I don't want sympathy votes," she added.

Natalie said both Amanda and Parvati have her "respect" and asked Parvati how being a flirt "resonates in the bedroom." The jury laughed at the odd question, and Natalie explained she was asking if Parvati being a flirt was one of her real-life qualities or something strategic for the game. Parvati said she flirts with both guys and girls at home and often uses it to get what she wants.

"It is an old standby, I'm not going to lie," answered Parvati.

Natalie then accused Amanda of always having a "glazed-over look" on her face and asked if that was a strategy or who she really is a person. Amanda said she's a "strong woman" who "definitely has substance" and came into the game to compete with the guys, which she felt she was able to do.

Erik said he would have been "100%" voting for Amanda and saw her as a "big sister" until she had harsh words for him at the two Tribal Councils leading up to his ouster, which he said left him feeling "totally burned" and "thrown under the bus." He asked her on what basis she had to judge him?

"Everything I said in Tribal Council was honest," she answered. "You were un-loyal to me and you tried to get me voted out and I was hurt. I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings."

Erik didn't believe the apology and called "too little too late."

James said he felt Amanda already had the jury vote "in the bag" and added he thought Parvati fed him a "bunch of fluff" after Ozzy was blindsided and asked her to be honest.

"There was no chance for me to win this game if I stuck with you and if I stuck with Oz," she answered. "I felt like I had to make that move when I made it. It also gave me a lot of control, and that's what I wanted."

Cirie asked Amanda "why Parveti deserves a $1 million more than I do." Rather than turn the question into an explanation of how she'd deemed Cirie to be the bigger threat, Amanda instead said that Parvati had "played a very aggressive, bold game" and earned her respect by standying by her throughout the entire game. Amanda added while she also respected Cirie, Parvati made "bolder decisions" and was "kind of the powerhouse" in making those decisions happen. Neither response seemed to go over well with either Cirie or the jury.

Parvati then said Cirie played a "pretty brilliant" game that was a little more under the radar than her own. In addition, Parvati said it would have been difficult for either her or Amanda to compete for the jury's vote against Cirie because she has three children.

Ozzy was the last jury member to face Amanda and Parvati. He said he was "hurt" by Parvati's "great move" to blindside him.

"I never in a million years thought that you could do that to me," he said. "You put a price on our friendship. You threw us away like garbage. It hurts. It really does hurt. How can you say you're a role model when you're willing to discard a valuable friendship like that."

Ozzy didn't even give Parvati a chance to talk.

"Honestly the hardest part for me was the fact that you took away 14 days that I could have spent with Amanda," continued Ozzy to Parvati, adding he was never faking his feelings for Amanda.

"I honestly feel like I started to fall in love with you. I'm glad I didn't win Cook Islands so that I could be here and meet you."

The eight jury members then cast their votes, with Parvati winning by the aforementioned margin.

During the subsequent live reunion show, Jeff revealed James had won the "Survivor of the Season" text message/ vote that allowed home viewers to award $100,000 to one of the season's castaways. James had also won Survivor: China's "Survivor of the Season" $100,000 prize.

In addition, Jeff also confirmed recent online rumors that Survivor's Fall 2008 seventeenth season will be set in Gabon, a west-central African country along the equator that borders Guinea, Cameroon, Republic of the Congo and the Gulf of Guinea.