TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: “American Idol,” 8-10 p.m., Fox.
With six singers left, “Idol” tries something new: Each person
does two songs, one rock and one country.
It has the right voices for it, with hints of Southern-based
country and blues. Jessica Meuse and C.J. Harris are from the Alabama towns of
Slapout and Jasper; Caleb Johnson (usually a rock belter) and Sam Woolf (who
does intimate pop) are from North Carolina and Florida. The country part may be
more of a stretch for Alex Preston, from New Hampshire, and Jena Irene, a
powerhouse from suburban Detroit.
TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE II: “Nashville on the Record,” 10 p.m.,
Late in its first episode, “Nashville” showed that it wasn’t
your standard music drama. The song was “If I Didn’t Know Better,” co-written
by John Paul White of the duo The Civil Wars; it was sung with extraordinary
passion by Clare Bowen, in her Scarlett O’Connor character.
Now this concert special has Bowen singing that one plus
another great duet (“This Town”) and the gorgeous “Black Roses.” There’s strong
work from others, including Sam Palladio, Charles Esten, Chris Carmack and
Hayden Panettiere. (Connie Britton, who stars with Panettiere, isn’t included).
There are also conversations, filled with hollow praise; ignore them and wait
for the music to resume.
TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “The 100,” 9 p.m., CW.
For once, CW ha a first-rate show, written with intelligence
and acted with quiet skill.
Tonight, we learn the full story behind Bellamy’s obsession
with protecting his sister, Octavia. That has led to big problems among teens
testing life on a ravaged Earth; now he leads a perilous mission to rescue her.
Also, the newly arrived Raven realizes her lover (Finn) had an Earthly fling with
Other choices include:
“Nature,” 8 p.m., PBS. In the Japanese highlands, snow
monkeys lead troubled lives … eased because humans turned the swimming hole
into a hot tub. Beautifully filmed, this has some cruelty, plus genuine warmth:
An exhausted mother raises an orphan; a cheery youth bonds with a grumpy
“Nova,” 9 p.m., PBS. Wrapping up the three-week “Inside
Animal Minds,” this asks which animal is the smartest. It focuses on ones that
form complex societies – dolphins, apes and elephants.
“Modern Family,” 9 p.m., ABC. Phil brings everyone to Australia,
where he was conceived. Alas, he finds rejection; his wife and father-in-law
are overworked. Rhys Darby – the New Zealander who co-starred in “Flight of the
Conchords” and “How to Be a Gentleman” – plays an annoying celebrity
“Mixology,” 9:31 p.m., ABC. The link between the bartender and
the waitress has been based solely (and cheerfully) on sex. Now she wants a
real relationship … and he has to find out what that is. Also, Liv is getting
drunker and funnier. It’s a dandy episode, marred a little (as usual) by the
“Your Inner Fish,” 10 p.m., PBS. This three-week series
started with fish evolving into land creatures, 375 million years ago. Now the
finale has monkey-like tree-dwellers becoming … well, us.
“The Americans,” 10-11:11 p.m., FX. Oliver North, who helped
plan the secret Nicaraguan Contra schemes 30 years ago, co-wrote the story for
this deeply emotional episode. Philip and Elizabeth – Russian spies, planted
here long ago – sneak in to photograph Contra training; things go so wrong that
he’s off-kilter everywhere. Also, FBI guys find things crumbling at work (Gaad)
and in marriage (Stan).