Reality Check: Bridal show here amazes boss


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Lee Jeffries of Naples, Fla., was clueless as a bridal consultant. Yet he was hopeful the experience would help him with his day job.

CBS's "Undercover Boss" featured "Mr. Jeffries" on Friday's show. In reality, he's Paul Quentel, president of Alfred Angelo Bridal, and one of his challenges was to work a big bridal fair in Pittsburgh last July.

"My job was walking the floor and engaging customers, trying to drive traffic to our booth," said Mr. Quentel. "We do a lot of bridal shows across the country. It's a big investment, not only in financial resources but in terms of personnel."

'Undercover Boss' finds out he's no match for brides

Paul Quentel found out he was no match for the brides when his company, Alfred Angelo, was featured on the Nov. 1 episode of "Undercover Boss." (Video courtesy of CBS; 11/2/2013)

Alfred Angelo began in the Philadelphia area and will celebrate its 80th anniversary in 2014. There are 1,200 employees worldwide, including 700 in the United States. It has a presence from the Bahamas to Zimbabwe, and in the Pittsburgh area there are stores in Ross and Monroeville.

In taping the program -- where CEOs pretend to be everyday workers in their companies, sort of a "Prince and the Pauper" corporate mash-up -- Mr. Quentel had to be certain he would not be recognized by his employees.

"I think I looked ridiculous," he said, laughing. "I'm wearing these tight shirts and vest, and I have big gold chains, a gold watch.

"I look like I'm out of the '80s. I have this big hair and this big fake tan to go with it."

After referring to himself as "Paul" twice in the first two days, he settled into character.

"And, there was an employee at the Pittsburgh bridal show that looked at me strange, and I knew I'd met her before. But she never said anything the whole time we did the show."

At the heart of "Undercover Boss," company leaders get a chance to learn about the everyday workings of their companies, with luck, benefiting both employer and employees.

"I expected to find we had good hardworking employees, but the personal level of commitment they had just blew me away," Mr. Quentel said.

At the end of each program, the company head meets with several memorable co-workers -- some good, some not -- and there is a big reveal.

Often, an employee in need is rewarded.

In Mr. Quentel's case, it was very emotional.

"I cried. One of our [upper-level management] people was there, and he said, 'You know what Paul? You looked really presidential except when you were crying.' "

■ On NBC's "The Voice," former CMU student James Wolpert scored a Knockout Round victory over his friend, teen singer Juhi Pathak, on last Tuesday's show. This moves him into the live performance shows Monday and Tuesday nights.

A fan of classic rock, Mr. Wolpert chose Boston's "More Than a Feeling" and handled the tricky tone in rehearsals. On stage, however, his pitch was, to quote Christina Aguilera "all over the place."

Ms. Pathak rocked a version of "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" but also went flat in spots.

Adam Levine, their mentor, defended Mr. Wolpert -- "He just had a bad day, man," and sent Ms. Pathak home.

■ Onetime Pittsburgh resident Tate Steinsiek is going to the ballet. He flew through an aviary challenge on Syfy's "Face Off" and will be featured next week in the finale. Also in the top three are Roy Wooley and Laura Tyler.

■ Season 4 of Lifetime's "Dance Moms" premieres Jan. 1. Abby Lee Miller travels the country looking for new dancers to join her Penn Hills troupe and, presumably, irritate the longtime Moms. Auditions (and a chance to be on the show) include Friday in Atlanta and Nov. 22 in New York City.


Maria Sciullo: msciullo@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1478 or @MariaSciulloPG.

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