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VH1 is returning an American TV classic to the airwaves with a breath of the new millennium...

But first they need to cast it. That's where you, the viewing public, come in.

Recaps by Chico Alexander, GSNN


FACT FILE:
Host:
Todd Newton
Judges:
Bill Oakley, Nancy Matalon, Mary Jo Slater, Tim Palmer
EP: Jeff Margolis
Packager: Jeff Margolis Productions, Sony Pictures TV, VH1
Airs: Sundays at 9:00pm ET on VH1


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"Battle of the Keiths" - September 12

Last time, 32 people, based on resemblance, singing, and acting ability, were invited to "C'mon, Get Happy", as hopefuls for a new Partridge Family sitcom to debut later this fall on VH1. Tonight, eight will compete to become the next Keith Partridge. Once again, the eight hopefuls are...

David Petruzzi; Minneapolis
Sutter Zachman; Punta Del Mar, CA
Leland Grant; Norfolk, VA
Lucais Reilly; Pittsburgh
Jonathan Redford; Orange County, CA (yep, the OC)
Teddy Geiger; Rochester, NY
James Snyder; Sacramento, CA
Paul Carpenter; Miami

One of them is the new Keith Partridge. As we get the first glimpse of the stage and the host, the Whammy-meister himself, Todd Newton.  He explains how this is going to go down. One by one, the performers will do their thing. At the end of the night, the judges, Bill, Tim, Mary Jo, and oncoming judge Nancy Matalon (exec for Sony Music, replacing Josh Weinstein), will cut the field to three. Those three are presented to you, the public, to vote via phone or via website (VH1.com) on which one will be the successor to David Cassidy.

And speaking of which, he'll be on hand to help feel out which ones will be rightly prepared, and which ones are just pretenders to the throne. And in case you haven't figured it out, Todd Newton is very tall. "One of these performers will be incredibly wealthy, lusted after by countless women... a couple men." Before we get to business, we see what the original Keith had to go through. Basically, he was the perfect combination of good looks, talent, and pooka shell shag fantasies that the women of the day were known for.

But he never had to go through Partridge Family Boot Camp, with requisite classes for singing, acting, and looking like Keith Partridge with hair and makeup. Or maybe he did, as he visits the finalists for a pep talk.

The first round was based on looks, charm, and why these guys wanted to be the next Keith Partridge. Based on that as well as singing and acting, we're making first cuts to five. Each finalist was given a numerical average and if it exceeds 18, then they move on automatically.

Teddy: 18.2, advances
Jonathan: 17.5, does not advance
Sutter: 18.5, advances
David: 20.7, advances
James: 17.1, does not advance
Leland: 22.1, advances

That leaves Paul & Lucais... Paul, with a score of 16.5, is going home, giving Lucais (18.5) the slot. Now, it's Idol time, as we sing for our supper.

First, David Petruzzi, who has a tattoo saying "Live to dream, dream to live." He thinks that he's very opinionated, like Keith. He sings "Faith" by George Michael and/or Limp Bizkit. Just weak all over the place.

Tim: 8.0 Mary Jo: 8.5 Bill: 6.3 Nancy: 8.0. AVERAGE: 7.7

And it seems that only Bill agrees with me.

Sutter Zachman taught himself to play piano and guitar. He also taught himself to surf. Sutter thinks he's the teen idol. He sings "Like a Rolling Stone" with his own accompaniment. The fact that he plays his own guitar may help him, as he sounds ever the rock star, gritty and a mite pitchy.

Tim: 7.0 Mary Jo: 4.4 Bill: 6.1 Nancy: 7.0. AVERAGE: 6.1

Leland Grant sleepwalks a bit. You remember him as the biological son of Krissy, one of the Shirleys. He thinks that Keith should be honest. His weapon of choice: "Addicted to Love". And abs of steel. He's owning the stage. And he actually sounds good doing it.

Tim: 8.2 Mary Jo: 8.6 Bill: 7.4 Nancy: 6.0. AVERAGE: 7.6

Teddy Geiger is a songwriter. His dad likes math. He likes math... He doesn't love it. Teddy thinks he can relate to Keith, as they love to write songs. He doesn't like holding back. He also plays guitar, as demonstrated by "Slide" vis a vis the Goo Goo Dolls. Very velvety at start, but goes high energy in the middle, but tires out at the end.

Tim: 8.3 Mary Jo: 7.4 Bill: 6.4 Nancy: 7.7. AVERAGE: 7.5

Finally, high school prom king Lucais Reilly. He loves rap music, especially old school Public Enemy and Beastie Boys. he thinks Keith needs to be more upbeat. "He's the one that drives the band!" He's gonna get it on with "Let's Get It On". He spend most of the time forcing the song out (and it shows), but nice falsetto, that man.

Tim: 7.1 Mary Jo: 8.0 Bill: 7.9 Nancy: 7.0. AVERAGE: 7.5

Now the cuts, as Tim favors Teddy ("Should be in a band, I think"); Mary Jo, Leland; Bill, Lucais; and Nancy, David. But there's only room for three... Those three are David, Lucais, and Leland. Now it's onto the acting round, and here to help out, a blue screen and the original Shirley Jones. We all know she won't play favorites, what with her stepson being the original, right?

Okay, we've removed footage of Keith from original Partridge footage, as each finalist will reenact that same role. Judges are looking for an interpretation of Keith from each Keith.

David's first, and... whoa, that's pretty freaky. Mary Jo think he's adorable. Then it's all Leland. Tim thinks it takes a bit more to move him, but very well done. Finally, Lucais tries his hand. Personally, my favorite. Just goofy enough. Bill's very impressed with Leland, though.

Todd's back to put America on the spot to decide which Keiths moves on to the final round to compete head to head showdown on October 10. By the time you read this, the phone lines will be closed, so probably best to go to VH1.com to register your vote. Remember, either David Petruzzi, Leland Grant, or Lucais Reilly. You can vote all week.

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