Open Mic

Finally, a Weekly Show That's as Much an Adrenaline Rush as Was '24.' It's Unscripted. And God Is the Star's Co-Pilot. We Say Hallelujah Whenever God Brings Us TV This Good. Can It Sustain This Pace? Also, More of 'X-Factor' as It Continues to Implode

Chuck Ross Posted December 12, 2011 at 3:32 AM

One of the pleasures of "24" that made it such a hoot for a lot of us was the fun we had yelling back at our TV screens at some of the impossible scenarios with which the show presented us.

Well, in our household, yelling back at the TV has reached new highs in decibel levels in the past month and a half or so as we’ve found another weekly show that’s driving us crazy while simultaneously giving us quite an adrenaline rush.

It’s unscripted and it’s coming to us from an unusual source: The mile-high city, Denver.

It’s Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos. Tebow and the Broncos are not just already THE sports story of the year, they’re the underdog story of practically any year. Tim Tebow is Jimmy Stewart in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” He’s Tom Laughlin in “Billy Jack.” He IS "Rocky."

Tebow can do anything. Of that I am convinced. He’s Jack Bauer in any number of impossible can’t-get-out-of situations that he then gets out of.

Jack had a cell phone, Chloe, and a big-caliber gun at his side. Tebow claims only God, a pigskin and a terrific offensive line. And I thought Bauer was unreal.

For the uninitiated, please consider these facts: The Broncos started the season by compiling a record of one victory and four losses. Tebow played, but he wasn’t really made the team’s full-time quarterback until game six.

The Broncos have now won six games in a row, and are in first place in the western division of the AFC.

Now, here’s the really unbelievable part: Tebow has led the team to victory all six times in game-winning drives that have taken place either in the fourth quarter or during overtime.

Being based here in L.A. I have the advantage — as do the millions of others who live here — of being that most fun-loving of enthusiasts, the freelance pro football fan.

That's because we haven’t had an NFL team here in L.A. for years. So I sorta go with the flow, and glom onto the most alluring team of any one season.

The last time I did that with any enthusiasm was in 2007, when I became a fan of Eli Manning and the New York Giants. They faltered as the season wound down — lots of yelling at the TV then — but recovered and ended with a terrific run, winning the Super Bowl.

But baby, I’m B-A-C-K! Just try and rip off my brand-new blue and orange No. 15 jersey that I’m now wearing on any given Sunday, and you’ll have a fight on your hands.

Here are some stats from Vegas on the Broncos run, emailed to me by RJ Bell of pregame.com:

The Broncos have won 6 straight games. If you started with $100, and let it ride
on Denver to win each of the 6 games, you now would have won $38,450.

Prior to being favored Sunday vs. the Bears, the Broncos were underdogs in their previous 5 games, becoming only the third team since 1978 to win 5 straight games as underdogs in each.

The game played yesterday (Dec. 11, 2011) was another Tebow special that had to be seen to be believed. Bottom line: The Bears were leading, 10-0, with just over 2 minutes remaining in the game. The Broncos caught the Bears and then won in overtime.

The Bears’ Marion Barber was criticized for two critical miscues that helped the Broncos' cause. In one, he stepped out-of-bounds, stopping the clock when the Broncos were out of time-outs, and in the other he fumbled, which led to Tebow being able to position the Broncos to win the game during the overtime.

But having watched the Broncos during this implausible streak of theirs, I'm convinced that if it weren't Barber, it would have been someone else. Fate is the hunter, as the saying goes.

This coming Sunday the Broncos are 6-point underdogs to the Patriots.

Ha!

Tebow and me and the Broncos have got ‘em right where we want ‘em.

____________


As I have previously written, “The X-Factor” loses all credibility when the show has sing-offs and then the judges ignore who sings best during a sing-off. It happened again last week. Better than linking to a video of what happened, here’s a words-eye view by the Washington Post’s most talented TV reporter and columnist, Lisa de Moraes. If you’re not regularly reading Lisa, you should be:

We are at the time of the results show where they have a sing-off between two contestants. The judges then eliminate one of the two. Last week it was Marcus Canty again and, for the first time in a sing-off, 13-year-old Rachel Crow.

De Moraes writes:

Because of this week’s Pepsi Challenge snafu, the X-testants had to use their survival songs on Wednesday night, and we’re in for two repeat performances. For Marcus that’s “I’m Going Down” – only this time his non-microphone hand is going wild for emphasis. In Rachel’s case it’s “I’d Rather Go Blind,” and it’s even better than the first time she sang it. Rachel clearly aced this round and now we’ll hear from some real industry pros, who know true talent when they hear it: the mentors. Just kidding!

LA, Marcus’s coach, informs viewers, “I am a man of principle.” And by “principle” he means he will vote, not based on the best performance, but based on who’s on his team. So LA votes to send Rachel home, and we hope that’s a lesson to little Rachel about “principles.”

Simon is brief. “What’s the point of even saying anything …Marcus you’re going home.”

Paula: “The one who really blew me away was Rachel Crow.” She votes to send home Marcus.

So now we have one vote for principles, and two for talent, and it’s down to Nicole.

Nicole weeps, Nicole stammers. Nicole presses her temples with her bejeweled, perfectly manicured fingers.

“Okay, I can’t made this decision, because I’ve been up there, and love and adore both of you,” Nicole wails while making it all about her. Nicely played, Nicole!

“I have to go to deadlock,” Nicole emotes, meaning the contestant with the fewest votes from the public will go home.

So the tally is: two for talent, one for principles, and one for not understanding the rules.

Too Tall [host Steve Jones] informs Nicole that there is no option called “not making a decision.” To throw it to deadlock, is to make a decision to vote to send home Rachel, tying the mentor votes at 2-2.
Nicole looks annoyed — TTS is cutting in on her Big Moment.

“I don’t want to have to say that,” Nicole snaps. “I don’t want to -- I’m just going to have -- Yeah, I don’t want to send you home, I just don’t --.”

She does the two-handed finger-quote: “The act I have to send home is Rachel.”

Steve, who’s not so dumb as he looks, then proceeds to steal Nicole’s big scene, announcing that, based on Nicole’s act of idiocy, he’s now required to send home the act that got the fewest viewer votes, that act being:

Rachel Crow.

Little Rachel falls to the floor and starts bawling like the little girl she is. Some day Rachel will realize how lucky she is to get out of her X-commitments and one step closer to being free to go out and sign a deal to become the next Disney kid star. Poor little Rachel is now thinking that people don’t like her. Too Tall Steve has gotten down on his knees near Rachel and is finally a proper height.

To read De Moraes' entire column -- which is terrific -- please click on the link above.

Next season -- "The X-Factor" has already been renewed -- a decision needs to be made to eliminate the possibility of a deadlock. If the show's producers don't want to hire a fifth full-time judge (or, conversely, go down to three judges), at the very least they need a "guest" or "alternative" judge for the results night (or for the entire season) who will beak any deadlocks without going to the public's vote (which already votes one contestant off a week).#