“American Gladiators” doesn’t disappoint

Recently, my television viewing
has been limited to Cashmere Mafia, my Season 1 box set of 30 Rock and (predominantly trashy) reality television. However,
one new reality show has not let me down: NBC’s American Gladiators. The revived version has proven
to be every bit as campy as the first, and almost all of the secrets to the show’s success are back — bigger than ever.

Last night was the first of
two episodes that serve as the semifinals, and there are four
women left. I know you have already
met the gladiators,
but in case you forgot, here’s a little reminder.



Heaven is right!

OK, onward. Now, let
me introduce you to the remaining female contenders.

In last night’s competition,
Shanay Norvell and Siene Silva battled for a place in the
finals. Norvell is a 31-year old Life Wellness Trainer for adolescents,
and was a self-proclaimed “pipsqueak” when she was younger.
She weighs in with a 5’5″, 141-pound frame, and is shown here
modeling for fitdreamteam.com.

Silva rings in with a slightly
smaller (5’4″, 127 pounds) build, yet just as much punch.
She is currently a gymnastics instructor and life coach, but once was
a high school power lifting champion and an arm wrestler. (Yikes!)
Here she is at the 2007 National Physique Committee’s Southern States
Bodybuilding, Fitness and Figure Championships (mouthful, isn’t it?).
Oh, and P.S. — she was the Overall Winner of the Women’s Fitness Open competition.

While perusing the internet
last night during the men’s competitions (what can I say?
They bore me), I found a very thorough and fun site that focuses on
just what I was interested in: AmericanGladiatorGirls.com. After scrolling down the page
a little ways, I found a poll of site viewers on who they thought would
“win it all” for the women. Siene Silva was showing as the
strong favorite, with 59 percent of the overall vote. Compare
that to the next highest, Monica Carlson (to appear in next week’s
episode) who had 28 percent, or Silva’s head-to-head competitor, Norvell (who
had a measly 5 percent of the vote), and you’d think Silva was a lock, right?

Wrong. Though Silva and
Norvell remained neck-and-neck through the first three events (the Hit and Run, Hang Tough, and the Gauntlet, respectively), Silva started showing
signs of fatigue in the Joust, and was disqualified for stepping
onto Crush’s
platform. Norvell then took a five-point lead and never looked

So Norvell will be one of the
two women to compete for the $100,000 grand prize (along with the chance
to come back as a gladiator in the next season of Gladiators). Who could
she be up against? Let’s take a look.

, 35,
is a rehabilitation physician, a regular entrant into fitness competitions,
and a reality television
, apparently.

Carlson, 32, is a sports model,
former dancer for the Portland Trailblazers and one of 11 children.
Here she is, victorious, after the Joust.

So, who do you think will win
between Venus and Monica? What about the Whole Thing? To
find out, tune in to NBC at 8 p.m. on Feb. 11 and 14.

Viewers ready?! Heck, yes!