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22 Mar 2004

Dream Job Week 5

Reviewed by: Patrick Laverty

It really is getting harder every week, and the little things really do matter, as continually pointed out by judge Al Jaffe. Two contestants had trouble with the correct pronounciation of Xavier, calling it "X"-zavier, rather than the correct "Zavier". Mike Hall was the first to make this gaffe and it was quickly and sternly pointed out by Jaffe. Making matters worse was when Casey Stern made the same exact mistake four times, a little while later. Would it lead to the downfall of the little man with the big effort? We'll see. There may even be a little off-screen romance going on as well, but we'll touch on that later as well.

The night started with six contestants, each hoping they'll make the Dream Job's Final Four. Making the job harder tonight was that each contestant needed to do a two-story SportsCenter at the desk, but they could only prepare for one of them. For the second one, they will have never seen the video and the "shot sheet" or, the paper that tells them what happens on the video, is handed to them less than 10 seconds before they have to tell the story, and while they're doing their first story. All at the same time they have a producer talking in their ear counting down camera shots and lead-ins to video.

First up was one of the favorites in the competition, Mike Hall. As already mentioned, he had the Xavier mistake, but some of the other things that I picked up on him tonight was looking down to the video before his camera was turned off, his lead in to his blind story was "And on to this shot sheet...". He was clearly thinking out loud. He kept up with the highlights pretty nicely though, which is no easy task.

Next was the big Texan, Kelly Milligan. He reads really fast, as judge Lavar Arrington pointed out, almost sounding like an infomercial. He mispronounced another school, referring to it as Valpar-I-so, rather than the correct Valpar-AY-so, which was also pointed out by Jaffe. I thought he did a great job with calling a video that he'd never seen before. The roughest part of his night so far was he had to wait through a commercial break for what the judges thought. It's got to be tough enough to stand there for the judges critique, but even worse when you have to wait two minutes for it.

Aaron Levine did pretty well, he got a little tongue tied at the end, which judge Tony Kornheiser pointed out a few times during the show to express his disappointment with Aaron's performance. Aaron did throw in a nice new basketball catch-phrase which even Stu Scott asked if he could use, "wines and dines the twine from the three point line". Nice job.

The game for tonight was the Al Jaffe sports quiz. If you thought you knew sports, you should try Al's quiz. I'm sure someone's reading this right now thinking, "that wasn't hard, I got them all right", and if that's the case, then that's great, you must really live on SportsCenter. The story goes that every person who wants a job at ESPN must take Al's quiz, regardless of whether you're an on-air talent or not, you get to sit in Al's hot seat. This contest really exposed the weaknesses of the contestants, and showed who knows a thing or two. First up was Casey, who got one right, I wish I had written down some of his questions, but I know I wasn't really impressed. Zach was next who did the best even though he named Al Sharpton as one of the 5 pitchers in the Boston Red Sox rotation (he got Pedro and Schilling). Kelly Milligan got one right and answered "pass" the the other four, much to the disdain of Kornheiser. Aaron got two right, Maggie answered two, including naming two of the three numbers Michael Jordan wore for the Bulls. I didn't remember that he wore #12 either, but oh well. Mike Hall finished up by getting one right, but really raised the ire of Al by walking up and stating "You're going down, Al" and then answering his home town as the site of the next summer Olympics and using Zach's name as another answer. Tony was most upset with Kelly and his "pass" line, Kit still can't really say anything bad about anyone, but what can you really expect from someone who got their start by being on MTV's Road Rules. Lavar got on Zach and Mike for not taking the contest seriously enough with their joke answers. I really disagree with Lavar and Al here. I can see why they would be upset by this, but this is on tv now. This isn't some sitdown in Al's office. These guys showed a personality, they intended to entertain. Guys like Zach and Mike will bring ratings, make people want to watch. So I thought that criticism was wrong.

Going into commercial after the contest, Stu pulled Maggie and Mike aside and mentioned a NY Post article from last week that linked them as something more than competitors on the show. Neither denied the report, but instead gave the non-answer that neither would let anything get in their way of winning this competition. On to commercial and the stupid Mr. Wendy's guy. If we have to watch a Wendy's commercial, why can't it be the beach volleyball one?

Casey was next at the SportsCenter desk and this was his worst night so far. He also looked down early, looked asleep at times and as mentioned, mispronounced Xavier a few times, even after watching Al get on Mike Hall for it. As soon as Casey finished, I really felt bad, as Maggie was still yet to go, but a performance like this might mean that Casey is going to go home.

Speaking of Outsiders favorite (Brown student) Maggie Haskins, she was up next. She had a small tongue-tied flub in there, adds good writing and once did a little ad lib away from the teleprompter script, which also led to a really small blip. Advice to Maggie, when someone is talking to you and you're listening, try to close your mouth. I don't know if she's seen it on the video, but it just doesn't look good to me. In the judging, Tony had really high praise for Maggie and Kit was a little more stern with her, still trying to work with her to improve.

Zach was the final contestant to go and he had some great lines. Once, he mentioned during his basketball highlight that the player was throwing it in the "fruit basket". Just my personal choice, but I think it would have been better to call it a "peach basket", but that's just me. Zach had a nice play on words with hoopster Gerald Fitch when he said he gives the opponent fits, and then he had to call the result of the UAB-Kentucky game, and I think at that time, he really had not heard that UK had lost. So yet another good job by Zach. He is right now the #1 contender for this job, no question.

One thing that I noticed, which I thought was a bit odd, was for the impromptu video, two of them were re-used. The first three contestants got an original video, then the next two contestants got to see a video that was already shown. Then, they switch it up again and give Zach a video that had not been seen before. I'm not sure if they ran out of original video on the day or just wanted to throw Zach a mini-curve.

The voting was no major surprise to me, as last week, I had Maggie, Kelly and Casey in my "next to go" list and predicted Casey for my Final Four. I had doubts as soon as I saw Casey's performance this week, and they came to reality. Here's how the voting went:

America
Tony
Kit
Lavar
Al
Casey
Kelly
Casey
Kelly
Maggie
Casey
Kelly
Aaron
Kelly
Casey

So with 4 votes each, Casey and Kelly were sent to the locker room and the ESPN Dream Job Final Four are Zach Selwyn, Mike Hall, Aaron Levine and Maggie Haskins. Check out the show next Sunday night at 9 pm for the two-hour show finale, when we all find out who will win the one year contract with ESPN to do SportsCenter.

Posted by: on 22 Mar 2004

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