(Improved TV column for Tuesday, May
24. It slightly rewrites the first two itemss, then adds the first
bullet, on “Oprah.” To make room, it deletes two bullet paragaphs
and shortens several things.)
By MIKE HUGHES
TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “American Idol,”
8-9 p.m., Fox.
The biggest, broadest “Idol” season
is ending with surprising sameness. Two Southern teen-agers – one
singing country, the other country-pop – are in the finals.
Scotty McCreery, 17, of Garner, N.C.,
and Lauren Alaina, 16, of Rossville, Ga., are pleasant kids; McCreery
is Nashville-ready, with a deep voice and a manner so casual that
when he won the coin toss, he let Alaina decide if she'll sing first
or second; she chose second..
Tonight, they get their last chance to
impress viewers. On Wednesday we'll learn who won; we'll also see all
13 finalists – and remember what a wonderfully diverse group this
TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE II: “Dancing With
the Stars,” 8-11 p.m.,, ABC; or “The Biggest Loser,” 9-11 p.m.,
At 8 p.m., “Dancing” reruns
Monday's episode. At 9, Hines Ward, Kirstie Alley and Chelsea Kane
get one more chance to impress judges. All 11 duos will be back to
dance; there will also be music by the Black Eyed Peas, the Go-Go's
and Sara Evans.
“Loser” has two sisters – Hannah
Curlee, 32, and Olivia Ward, 35 – in the finals. Tonight, we'll
learn whether viewers gave the third spot to Irene Alvarado, 26, or
Jay Jacobs, 53.
Before being sent home to work on their
own, Curlee had lost 98 pounds, Ward and Alvarado were at 108, Jacobs
at 154. The winner is chosen via percentage of original weight lost.
TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “Glee,” 9
This oft-terrific show wraps up its
season in a cozy spot behind “Idol.”
We see the Ohio teens head to New York
City to compete in the finals. Guest stars include Patti LuPone (a
two-time Tony-winner for “Evita” and “Gypsy”), Jonathan Groff
(a Tony-nominee for “Spring Awakening”), Cheyenne Jackson and
teen sensation Charice. Expect some singing.
Other choices include:
– “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” 5
p.m. On the eve of her final new show, Winfrey
invites a crowd. Barring a late change, this will have songs by
Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Usher, Jamie Foxx, Rosie O'Donnell
and Kristen Chenoweth, plus comedy by Jerry Seinfeld, a poem by Maya
Angelou and appearances by Michael Jordan, Will Smith, Maria Shriver
and Simon Cowell.
– “NCIS,” 8 p.m., CBS. An
all-rerun night on CBS starts with a stolen purse containing
– “Hellcats,” 9 p.m., CW. This
show won't be back next season but we can savor this fairly good
pilot film. Aly Michalka is excellent as a tough pre-law student who
needs a cheerleading scholarship.
– “Frontline,” 9 p.m., PBS. This
documentary studies PFC Bradley Manning, who a year ago was arrested
and charged with leaking a half-million classified documents to
– “Independent Lens,” 10 p.m.,
PBS. Shelbyville is a Tennesse town of 16,000, about 30 miles from
the birthplace of the Ku Klux Klan. This documentary views a
different kind of hatred, aimed at Somali immigrants. It also finds
warm efforts to bridge gaps.