Fans of 80s music and reality TV had much reason to celebrate over the last two days. First, the new season of Celebrity Apprentice opened with a fundraising showdown between Cyndi “I Want My MTV!” Lauper and Brett “F*ck Me, I’m Diabetic” Michaels. Both were chosen as their teams’ respective project managers for a challenge that involved opening a Burger Heaven on a busy New York intersection for three hours and raising as much money from food sales and tips as they could. Michaels and his crew (Team Rock Solid!) had a distinct advantage in having chef Curtis Stone on their team. The guys also had the audacity to charge a minimum $100 per burger, while Lauper and the ladies (Team Tenacity), Sharon Osborne among them, went the populist route charging $20 a burger.
While the ladies’ place was packed from the moment they opened the doors, and Cyndi even led her team and customers in a sweet, but only occasionally tuneful, accordion-accompanied version of “True Colors”, aside from Brett’s predictable, seemingly on-cue blood sugar crash, the most the men could offer for entertainment was Rod Blagojevich long-windedly regaling businessmen with his tales of political derring-do while a burger en route to Ms. Joan Rivers (in secret shopper mode for His Trumpness) sat in the window for nearly ten minutes getting cold. However, despite poor service and high prices, audacity trumped (har har) Tenacity, and Brett Michaels emerged triumphant. As project manager for her team, Lauper was definitely a candidate for the first firing of the season; but after an interminable, touchy-feely board room discussion, Lauper was spared the ax. 80s hair lives!
Speaking of 80s hair: Terri Nunn, lead singer of the California based new wave/synth rock band Berlin (whose original line-up reunion on VH-1’s Band Reunited a few years ago was one of the most touching things I’ve ever seen) was featured as a guest judge, along with Henry Rollins (yes, that Henry Rollins), on this week’s episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Nunn is currently promoting a new album (credited to Terri Nunn & Berlin) called All the Way In, a collection of covers, mostly of Berlin songs, but also including a very a propo, porn-starrish take on Marilyn Manson’s “The Dope Show”. In addition to a spot on the judging panel alongside regular judges Santino Rice (Project Runway, Season 2) and Paris Hilton-biographer Merle Ginsberg, Nunn got a lot of screen time acting as vocal coach for the queen-testants, who, for this week’s elimination challenge, were charged with actually singing (not lip-syncing, as drag queens usually do) a “heavy metal version” of RuPaul’s double-entendre-laden manifesto “Ladyboy”.
Nunn proved to be an ebullient teacher, whooping, shouting, throwing her arms all over the place, and clearly having a blast with the whole thing. And even if most of the dolls had no idea who she was – Beyonce-wannabe Ms. Tyra Sanchez could barely mask her disdain, and reinforced his ignorance when he blithely confessed to Ru that he’d never seen Tina Turner perform except for that one time with the B.– the queens who did know her (all two or three of them) made up (and then some) for The Other Tyra’s youthful indifference. When contestant Raven found out that Terri Nunn was in the building, his well-cultivated severity evaporated into a nearly tearful fit of fan-boy ecstacies. (I have to admit, I identified.) But the pleasure, apparently, was all Terri’s, who, by the time her ten-minute tutorial with Raven was over, had developed a very visible crush on the man. At one point, she complimented Raven for his nice ass; he, in turn, promised he’d have it all hanging out for her during his performance – a promise he kept, by the way, while wearing a wig replicating the Terri Nunn look, circa 1984. Two words: Balls. You can watch the whole episode here.