“Top Chef: Just Desserts,” “Fantasia For Real 2,” “Dancing with the Stars”

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“Top Chef: Just Desserts”
Wednesday 11pm, Bravo
Anyone who watches “Top Chef” knows that desserts have routinely been the downfall of many a great chef on that show. We’ve been told over and over again that there is a huge difference between cooking and baking. Baking involves precise measurements and miracles of chemistry, and generally a hell of a lot more time. So I’m actually excited to see how this new spin-off tweaks the format to incorporate all that. Gail Simmons moves from the judge’s table to the host role here, and is joined by Johnny Iuzzini, who fancies himself the culinary Elvis Presley (right down to the hair), and fancy-pants chef Hubert Keller.

“Fantasia For Real 2”
Sunday 10pm, VH1
Fantasia Barrino was my first “American Idol,” even though her career after that show never lived up to its potential. She has an amazing R&B/gospel voice, and after some modest commercial success, she found a home on Broadway, and then in her own candid reality series for VH1 last year. That reignited some interest in her career, and her current album is doing well. Unfortunately, Fanny is not. Scandal recently broke about her relationship with a married man. Even worse: They live in North Carolina, a state where wives can sue mistresses for man snatching. Fantasia did not deal with the turn of events well, and a few weeks ago allegedly attempted suicide with a drug overdose. (She lived, and is better now, thankfully.) The upshot? We get to watch much of this unfold on the new season of her show. That’s actually a little too real for me.

“Dancing with the Stars”
Monday 8pm, ABC
You have to give the producers credit: They always manage to find somebody who everybody will tune in to talk about. This season that’s Bristol Palin, best known as the single teen mom raised by the former governor of Alaska and onetime vice-presidential candidate. Tell me you’re not dying to see if Sarah doesn’t show up in that audience to cheer on her daughter. Bristol is hardly a “star,” but the rest of her competition isn’t lighting marquees on fire, either. “Brady Bunch” matriarch Florence Henderson, The Hoff, Brandy, comedian Margaret Cho, the patently useless Audrina from “The Hills,” and my personal favorite, Jennifer “Dirty Dancing” Grey, will battle it out with athletes I’m unfamiliar with and some Disney Channel kid.

 

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