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A meltdown and a blown identity

A celebrity’s relative having a meltdown on a Claim to Fame premiere seems to be a new tradition.

Although few things could top Tom Hanks’ niece throwing a fit after being eliminated first on season 2, season 3 kicked off Wednesday with another contestant totally losing it on a hot mic. This time it is the mere threat of potential elimination that has one player, Miguel, in shambles.

Earlier in the episode, we learn Miguel is related to an Oscar-winning actor, but is probably lying about it being his grandfather. Oh, also, his name is not really Miguel, as he admits in a confessional he’s using the fake moniker to “make people think I am more Spanish than I actually am.” He seems to be onto something as the first guess we hear uttered for his relative is (the un-grandfatherly) Antonio Banderas.

Things come to a head for Miguel during the customary Claim to Fame talent show, which features such talents as Hud, the show’s resident new hunk, getting kinda sweaty while jumping rope and Bianca painting a pre-school-caliber heart with the show’s initials, “CTF.” Miguel attempts to recite a poem while inexplicably holding a volleyball, but is only shown apologizing for forgetting the words.

Miguel and Bianca on ‘Claim to Fame’.

Chris Willard/ABC


Miguel is visibly devastated after he and Bianca are named the bottom two, meaning one of them will be determined by a group vote to be the night’s guesser, putting them on the spot to correctly guess another contestant’s relative or be sent home.

Back at the house, Miguel hides in a bathroom away from the cameras, but his mic is still very much on. “Please God. I know I don’t pray often and I know I’m not a very good Christian, but please, please, please help me,” he whispers.

Another player, Adam, comes looking for him as Miguel is heard repeating, “Just don’t cry on camera. Don’t cry on camera. Don’t cry on camera.”

He finally emerges, looking shaken and covering his eyes with one arm, and tells Adam he doesn’t want to let his mom down and needs to be the man of the house, one who provides.

“When I was younger my mother ended up in the hospital, went through some really hard times, and my celebrity relative stepped in to help,” he shares during a confessional.

Miguel tells Adam he doesn’t know who anyone in the house is related to, which makes the other player consider him a “non-threat” and opt to vote for Bianca instead, though Adam does admit he might be getting played. At this point, it is hard to tell what’s authentic and what’s an attempt for 15 more minutes of fame. After all, Miguel does earlier admit he’s “gonna do whatever the f— I have to” to win. But like Adam says, “He’s a nice young kid,” so we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that his emotions are not purely for the camera.

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The next day, Miguel goes on an eavesdropping mission in which he learns Bianca’s guesses for himself (Desi Arnaz) and Shane (Forest Whitaker). He lets Shane know that Bianca is gunning for him, then literally runs all through the house in a full panic, campaigning for others to choose Bianca over him.

“I need the money so badly, please God,” he’s heard praying again in reference to the show’s $100,000 grand prize.

Whether it be thanks to his campaigning or his praying, Miguel is victorious as the others choose Bianca to be guesser by a single vote difference. Bianca chooses to guess Shane, sticking with her guess that he’s related to the Last King of Scotland Oscar winner. This turns out to be wrong and Bianca is eliminated. But first it’s revealed that she is the niece of Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts (the ABC synergy!)

Dedrick on ‘Claim to Fame’.

Chris Willard/ABC


As if everything with Miguel and his hot mic transmitting straight to heaven were not eventful enough, the closing minutes of the episode contain what may be a Claim to Fame first: an accidental identity reveal. As the contestants gather around the table the next morning, Dedrick, who is only known to the group as the nephew of a famous singer who possibly won a best rock song of the year award, drops a whopper of a reveal.

As he tells a story about his accident-prone children, Dedrick muses, “I walk into the ER or something and they’ll be like, ‘For real, Mr. Jackson, again?'”

He quickly glazes over his blunder, but Naomi catches the last name reveal and connects it to a potential Michael Jackson clue on the clue wall: a scarecrow from The Wiz.

If it was an intentional red herring, we may have a new Claim to Fame mastermind on our hands. But if it was truly the accidental reveal it appeared to be, Dedrick might easily find himself on the chopping block.

Tune in next week as Claim to Fame continues Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

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