QUEEN FOR A DAY
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It's a classic game of "old dog, new trick" as, unlike the game of old where sob stories equal big prizes, women are rewarded for their good deeds. Four start the regal journey, but ultimately one will be crowned "Queen for a day".

Recaps by Chico Alexander, GSNN


FACT FILE:
Host:
Mo'Nique
Judges: Dayna Devon, Joely Fisher, Meshach Taylor
Creator: Raymond R. Morgan (based upon "Queen For a Day")
EP: Phil Gurin
Packager: The Gurin Company, Lifetime
Airs: Thursday at 8:00pm ET on Lifetime


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Remember that old game show, "Queen For a Day?" in which housewives would air their grievances on national TV for a top prize as well as the title "Queen For a Day?" as voted upon by a studio audience? Yeah, it was basically reality TV before reality TV, folks.

Well, in this "everything old is new again" age, we've got an updated version, but this time, sob stories won't help much. For only the most deserved will head to LA to face off for the title. Hundreds of nominations from loved ones led to four finalists. They're off to Hollywood to take on a studio audience and judges Joely Fisher, Meshach Taylor, and Dayna Devon for the title. The prizes attached to the title total up more than $100,000.

That said, "Do YOU want to be queen for a day?"

No, not you, the woman behind you. Heh. Anyway. Mo'nique starts out by airing out how hard it is to look for royalty among us and... well, it's Mo'Nique. You've seen "The Parkers," right? She explains that only one woman from New York, Chicago, Dallas, and LA would be chosen among the hundreds nominated in secret. Sisters, wives, girlfriends, daughters, mothers, female friends, anyone with two X-chromosomes was fair game. Even themselves. Some sang (don't know why). Some lied (see previous remark). Some just cried. All in an attempt to recognize the important women in their lives.

First stop, Chi-town, where Capt. David Noble nominated his wife Jihyun, originally from Korea. She's overcome lots of obstacles, from coming to the US, to becoming a citizen to becoming a college graduate twice. Now she's working on giving back to her mother. That, and she's a big Lifetime fan. Mo'Nique loves a man in uniform, but because his wife is there, she's holding back. Good Mo.

Next up, NYC, where composer and teacher Nora Kroll-Rosenbaum is nominating Margo Lamb, a switchboard operator at Julliard and a friend and mentor to most everyone at Julliard, Nora included. "She would be absolutely floored."

Doing Dallas now, as Tom Hubbard nominates not his wife, but his neighbor Denise Ross.  She had one son, but couldn't have any more, even as she wanted to. So she and her husband flew to Russia where they adopted two little girls. "It's just uplifting to see someone with this type of attitude."

Back to LA, where we Sarah McCrary nominating her mother, Chaye. Her number one: she always wanted to make sure everyone was happy. Also, she always said "Follow your dreams and follow your heart." "She's beautiful and she deserves a man!" Yeah, that too.

Now we get our four prospects to the throne, as they prepare to receive the royal treatment. But before we do, we've got to go back to the moment when they received the royal tidings. First, Capt. Noble rallied his troops together at 1100 hours for "Operation Queen for a Day" (I'll hand it to the military on their creativity). Mission accomplished. "Baby, we're going to Hollywood!" Okay, at ease. She says the hardest thing about being a military wife is the moving (as a military brat, I can relate). She likes to volunteer her time to other families with their loved ones at war. Quoth the captain, "Whether she wins is inconsequential; she is my queen every day."

Oh and did we mention that each woman gets a gift package worth $5000? Just thought we'd throw that in. For Jihyun, that will be FTD flowers for a year, dinner at Spiagga's in Chicago, and the engagement ring that she never got (the captain was a little miffed about that). Group hug!

At Julliard, it's a switchboard overload, as Nora unloads cell phone fury. Her little army responds with a crown and the golden tickets. Matt Servitto, one of thousands of graduates who served as surrogate children to MArgo, salutes the performer from his "One Life to Live" set. "Margo is the base at Julliard. She knows everyone." The everywoman gets her flowers, a Fendi wristwatch, a Costa cruise of the Caribbean, and a visit from Bernie Kopell, telling her that she's going to perform on board! Whoa. Judges agree that it's going to be hard to judge, as Dayna was confused... she thought SHE was going to be Queen for a day. Uh... no.

Tom goes to his church to surprise Denise. She, of course, has no clue what's going on. Cue Handel's Messiah, please. And thank you. Now as to why, well, she's a church organist who agreed to go to work full time while her husband was at seminary. The kicker for her case was her two Russian girls, who spoke no English upon arriving in America. She says you have to find the strength within to remain positive in the face of such adversity. And the girls say "Good luck, mama" with the charm of the Children of the Corn. She's presented with flowers and Ashley living room and dining room sets.

Finally, Sarah visits Chaye in the studio, where the family starts to sing her praises... literally. Look out for the single. Single parent, three children. Loves to cook. She never asked the ex-husband for a thing, saying that her benefits were born out of her own pain. Here's little something you didn't know. One of her sons? Darius "Eddie Winslow" McCrary. But it's not about him. It's about Chaye. And today, Chaye's presented with flowers, a seven-day holiday in Hawaii, Platinum Plus cookware, and a gift certificate to Ciudad in downtown LA. Judges call? Still too close. Joely's swayed by the two moms.

But all is not flowers and sunshine, for this is a competition, and it's about to be on, as the four women must now convince the audience who should be Queen for a day.

Jihyun is asked what she'd do if her husband was called to action. She would stay behind and rally her support group for the cause. Margo is asked what she gets from Julliard students. She gets a very deep fulfillment and vicarious living. She's rooting for all of them to succeed. Chaye is asked how she makes her family close. Love, positive reinforcement, prayer, meditation, and support. Denise is asked how she could juggle everything in her life. She says balance is the key, with her family being top focus.

Enough said. Time to vote. While the old series had a VU meter, this is 2004, so we get the computerized Ask the Audience machinery. Their totals will be one-half of the final tally, combined with the opinion of the judges to determine a winner. If the on-screen graphic is any indication, Margo is a lock.

The moment of truth is upon us. The throne is set. The crown is ready. Our Queen for a Day is... MARGO LAMB! The final tally set her at 38 percent to Chaye's 24, Denise's 23, and Jihyun's 15. And with the crown comes a bounty fit only for a queen: a 1.6 carat diamond pendant, a cruise to England on the Queen Mary, a tour of London, Ricardo Beverly Hills luggage, Whirlpool home appliances, Ashley bedroom set, $500 from Linens-N-Things, one year at Bally's Total Fitness, one year of Merry Maids, $20,000 cash, and a royal carriage... a 2005 Chrysler Town & Country Minivan? Well, it's large, right. And so is the grand total... over $100,000! And she didn't even have to undergo painful plastic surgery and self-help courses to do it. Imagine that...

Well, in this day and age, you'd be hard-pressed to find something so endearing, so positive. That really says it all, what I think. Now go and crown a special woman in your life. Who knows, she just might be the next Queen for a Day.

And it's good to be 'da Queen.

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