April 9, 2008By Joe Diliberto Posted: Apr 9, 2008
Ever since ONE TREE HILL went on hiatus with its 100th episode a couple of weeks back, Tuesday nights have been a wasteland for me. The reason is this: I am one of the handful of people who does not worship at the altar of AMERICAN IDOL. In fact, I'd never even seen more than three consecutive minutes of the so-called reality show. Yes, people like me actually exist; we somehow manage to function without knowing what a snippy Englishman thinks of someone whose mother once told her she sings well. However, as a service to you, dear reader, I decided to watch my first-ever entire hour…
AMERICAN IDOL: As my bad luck would have it, last night was "Inspirational Song" night, so just 30 seconds into the show I was regretting my impulsive decision to watch. First up was an ascot-sporting Michael, who confirmed my worst fears of IDOL being a showcase for jumped-up karaoke crooners. I never thought of Aerosmith's "Dream On" as an inspirational ditty, but something inspired Michael to sing it. The show's reputation precedes it, so I was somewhat heartened to see that Randy used his signature "pitchy" crack throughout the night, Paula gushed and Simon scowled — just as I expected. Next, Syesha apparently thought "inspirational" meant "loud," so I was reaching for the remote control (really, could THE BIGGEST LOSER be that much worse?). Luckily, Jason was up next, and his heartfelt interpretation of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" kept me from changing the channel. Next up was Kristy, who is pretty but bland, with a blah version of some forgettable song. Then David Cook mangled an Our Lady Peace song like a drunken businessman on a layover in a Midwest Holiday Inn. Somehow, Carly — whom I had heard was one of the professional ringers — managed to ruin a Queen song to such a degree that even Paula claimed she "didn't feel a connection." Even David Archuleta's lazy interpretation of "Angels" was an improvement on Carly. And, finally, Brooke capped the night with a sincere version of "You’ve Got a Friend." My prediction for the bottom three: Carly, Michael and Syesha.
DANCING WITH THE STARS: Since I'd started down the unscripted road, I decided to commit fully and go with another first: an entire episode of DANCING WITH THE STARS. Sadly, Tuesday is results night, which means 59 minutes of filler while waiting for one couple to be eliminated based on the previous night's performance. Guest Sheryl Crow opened the show with a song from 1993, and when they trotted out the children to twirl to Disney songs I decided — corporate synergy be damned — to change the channel. Fox had women gutting fish on HELL'S KITCHEN; folks were still stepping on scales and crying on NBC's BIGGEST LOSER; and CBS' insufferably smug BIG BROTHER 9 had me limping back to Tom Bergeron's cornball "jokes" and bleatings that DANCING is "Live!" All this to learn that comic Adam Carolla was eliminated in the last 45 seconds.
At 10 o'clock, it was time for some scripted comfort food: LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT! Wait — are those live maggots crawling on that woman playing a corpse in Central Park? Is that Erika Christensen as a hot Fed tracking a serial killer? Damn, I've seen this one. On CBS, J. Peterman — I mean, John O’Hurley, is introducing SECRET TALENTS OF THE STARS. (honestly, I wouldn’t make that up!) ABC has a new BOSTON LEGAL? Sold! Star William Shatner owes David E. Kelley big-time for creating Denny Crane, a character who is not only larger than life, he's larger than Kirk! With the pompous Crane, Shatner has finally emerged from Capt. James T. Kirk's 40-year-long shadow.
And I had emerged from my long, dark night of the unscripted. See you on the next Night Shift...