This Week in Television: May 22-May 29

Well, this was definitely an interesting week in television. We had a new American Idol crowned, an interesting (to put in mildly) battle on The Voice, all sorts of teenage (and adult) drama in New York on the Glee season finale and a new winner danced away with the mirror ball trophy on Dancing with the Stars. Let’s take a look back at what happened this week in television.

Casting News

Michael C. Hall as Dexter Morgan

The real casting news came from Showtime’s Dexter with several new faces joining the cast for the upcoming sixth season. Mos Def (Be Kind Rewind, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Italian Job), Aimee Garcia (Trauma, Off the Map) and Edward James Olmos (Hill Street Blues, Miami Vice, Battlestar Galactica) have all signed on. Dexter season six begins airing this fall on Showtime.

On the leaving side of things, Chris Meloni (Det. Elliot Stabler) has announced that after twelve seasons, he will be leaving Law & Order: Special Victim’s Unit. Over at Criminal Minds things are a bit more complicated. Rachel Nichols (Ashley Seaver) has been let go and Paget Brewster and AJ Cook will be returning. Thomas Gibson is still a question mark as he has not yet agreed to return, but Shemar Moore and Kirsten Vangsness will be back.

Cancellations and Pickups

Buck, Alice, Max, Tara and T.

Pickups and cancellations are always good to make some people angry. I’ve been fortunate enough to not have any of my favorite shows get the ax, but that changed this week when Showtime announced it was ending United States of Tara. While I’m also a fan of Nurse Jackie (which Showtime renewed), I definitely think Tara is the strongest of the two shows – especially this season.

Reality Recap

So You Think You Can Dance is back.

The Premieres

It’s summertime, so you know what that means – So You Think You Can Dance is back and better than ever. In the premiere episode we saw Nigel Lythgoe and a revolving cast of judges hand out a record number of tickets to Vegas and hand out a few more to lucky contestants who impressed following choreography. I’ll be honest, this is the first season I’ve watched of SYTYCD but after only one episode, I’m completely hooked. The talent is incredible – very excited for where things are going.

The Voice needs to pick up the pace.

Mid-Season Reality

The Voice… well, I’m going to be honest. I was a big fan of the show in the beginning but I’m getting a little bored. Am I the only one that thinks these battle rounds are just going on too long and aren’t really all that exciting. I love the contestants. I love the coaches but at this point, we’re watching people we’ve already seen in a process we’ve already seen. The audition process in American Idol works so well because we get to see someone new every night. The ‘Hollywood Week’ portion of the show works because there are different themes. The Voice doesn’t have any of that going for it yet. I’m hoping things pick up for the live shows. Let’s break down this week’s battles:

  • Team Xtina: Julia Eason and Raquel Castro perform Only Girl (In the World) by Rihanna. Raquel chosen.
  • Team Blake: Dia Frampton and Serabee perform You Can’t Hurry Love by The Supremes. Dia chosen.
  • Team Adam: Devon Barley and Rebecca Loebe perform Creep by Radiohead. Devon chosen.
  • Team Cee Lo: Kelsey Rey and Tori and Taylor Thompson perform Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield. Tori and Taylor chosen.

I loved Devon and Rebecca’s rendition of one of my favorite songs, Creep. It was everything I hoped for. Did Adam make the right choice? Honestly, I love Rebecca and I wanted her to move on, but I love Devon and am glad he moved on. This one was bittersweet. They were both so evenly matched in their performance that I really wouldn’t have known who to choose. As for Tori and Taylor, I liked them over Kelsey but only narrowly. All are talented, but Kelsey is a bit more generic. Together, Tori and Taylor are unique and I like that.

Between Raquel and Julia, I liked Raquel but I don’t really know why. They were both fantastic, but they also both need a lot of work. As for Serabee versus Dia… well, Serabee came across as arrogant, conceited and just plain mean. Had she made it to the live shows, she would’ve been eliminated immediately because no one wants to vote for someone like that – just ask Clint ‘Junbug’ Gamboa  from American Idol – Who, by the way was more talented than Serabee but looked downright humble when compared with her.

Lauren Alaina and Scotty McCreery celebrate.

The Finales

It was a big week in reality TV. American Idol, Dancing with the Stars and The Biggest Loser all crowned their champions. Dancing with the Stars kicked off the week on Monday night with contestants Kirstie Alley, Chelsea Kane and Hines Ward all hitting the dance floor for their last chance to win the votes of the American public. All of them performed well, but Hines and parter Kym delivered a killer freestyle and went on to win the whole thing on Tuesday night’s live results show with Kirstie and her partner Maks coming in second and Chelsea and her partner Mark coming in third.

Over on the Biggest Loser, the difference between first and second place was a mere three pounds with Olivia Ward marginally beating out younger sister Hannah Curlee. Olivia, entering the competition tipping the scales at 261 pounds, shed a total of 129 pounds leaving her at a lean 132 pounds. Hannah entered the contest at 248 pounds and left weighing 128 pounds. Finishing in third was Irene Alvarado who entered the competition at 255 pounds and lost 116 pounds over the course of the show; leaving at only 139 pounds.

As far as reality competition shows go, though, American Idol is really where its at. The final performances were, I’ll admit, a little less than stellar with finalists Lauren Alaina and Scotty McCreery taking the stage for three songs each. The only real drama came when Lauren nearly had to bow out of the competition after blowing out her vocal cords in rehearsal. Both contestants put on a great show but I couldn’t help feeling the whole thing would’ve been better if Haley, Casey or even James had made it to the finale. With that said, at the end of it all, I was pretty sure Lauren was going to win with her incredible final performance. I would rate the performances as follows:

  • Scotty McCreery: Gone by Montgomery Gentry – my favorite performance from Scotty thus far. 10/10
  • Lauren Alaina: Flat on the Floor by Carrie Underwood – same as above. 10/10
  • Scotty McCreery: Check Yes or No by George Strait (chosen by George Strait) – decent, but not mind blowing. 8/10
  • Lauren Alaina: Maybe it was Memphis by Pam Tilis (chosen by Carrie Underwood) – incredible but not quite perfect. 9/10
  • Scotty McCreery: I Love You This Big (Scotty’s first single should he win) – I… didn’t love it. He did a good job, but I didn’t like the song. 8/10
  • Lauren Alaina: Like My Mother Does (Lauren’s first single should she win) – a big epic ballad well suited to her and beautifully performed. Loved that she sang to her mother. Loved everything about it. 10/10

The finale show was spectacular. Idol really knows how to put on a finale. It was probably the best show of the entire season and much of the time, I forgot a winner would be crowned at the end. With incredible performances from Marc Anthony featuring Jennifer Lopez (Aguanile), Lady Gaga (performed Edge of Glory), Beyoncé (1+1) and Steven Tyler (Dream On). The night was really at it’s best, though, when the contestants from this season took the stage with music industry legends. Let’s talk about those performances.

  • The Top 13 perform Born This Way by Lady Gaga: The group numbers so far this season have been pretty awful but not this one. The contestants sounded great and it was nice to see some faces we haven’t seen in a while. It was great – lots of fun. 10/10
  • James Durbin and Judas Priest: Could there have been a more perfect match. Taking the stage for a medley of some of Priest’s biggest hits (Living After Midnight and Breaking the Law), James fit effortlessly in alongside Rob Halford and got things off to an exciting start. 10/10
  • Jacob Lusk, Kirk Franklin and Gladys Knight perform I Smile: Very nice job, but a tad awkward toward the end. I think Jacob would be great working with Kirk more in the future, but he really should’ve just let Gladys shine like the legend she is. 8/10
  • Casey Abrams and Jack Black perform Fat Bottomed Girls by Queen: I. Can’t. Even. When Casey kicked the couch out of the way and revealed Jack. Forget about it. So awesome. Weird, wonderful and wicked all around. I can’t rate this one out of 10. I give it a 125.
  • Ladies of the Top 13 perform a Beyoncé medley: I honestly felt this would’ve been better had they left out a few of Beyoncé’s hits. It went on a bit too long, but it was all worth it when B herself came out at the end. Pretty rad. 8/10
  • Haley Reinhart and Tony Bennett perform Steppin’ Out with my Baby: I am so proud of this girl for how far she came in the competition and to hold her own with a legend like Tony Bennett? There are huge things in this girl’s future. I had a smile on my face the whole time. 10/10
  • TLC, Lil Jon and the Ladies of the Top 13 perform a TLC medley: I loved this a lot. Not sure what else to say about this one. Very well done. 9/10
  • Scotty McCreery and Tim McGraw perform Live Like You Were Dying by Tim McGraw: Now this was a seriously awesome moment. I love Tim McGraw and I loved that he seemed to really be genuinely impressed with Scotty. Scotty held his own. I was proud of that little country kid from Garner. 10/10
  • Tom Jones and the Top 13 Boys perform a Tom Jones Medley: This was almost too much fun. Honestly though, when Stefano started out with Kiss in that falsetto, I was floored. Who knew he had that in him. Overall – very enjoyable. 9/10
  • Lauren Alaina and Carrie Underwood perform Before He Cheats by Carrie Underwood: Okay, am I the only one that found this a little awkward? I think Lauren’s nerves got the best of her on this one but it was still pretty good. 8/10

In the end, as I’m sure you all know by now, Scotty was crowned this season’s American Idol. Do I agree with that choice? No, but he is a talented kid with a great voice and I’m sure I’ll be buying his record and after that finale extravaganza it was hard to feel upset about anything.

Notes from All Over

Now that's a situation.

Jersey Shore hasn’t even started airing it’s fourth season yet, but already the drama has begun. Apparently while filming in Italy, Ronnie and Sam got in a fight (huge surprise) and that fight spread to the rest of the house. The result? Ronnie gave The Situation a bit of a smack down. Ouch. It’s all good though. Don’t worry. The boys talked it out. The fourth season of Jersey Shore begins airing later this year. I can’t wait.

Also hitting the airwaves later this year is The X Factor – the reality competition show I’m most looking forward to. Simon and Paula back together for another talent competition? Yes please! The show is not without it’s controversies, though as already they have lost a judge as it was announced this week that Cheryl Cole would no longer be on the judge’s panel. The reason isn’t yet entirely clear with some saying her accent was too thick for American audiences. I don’t know if I buy that. Regardless, Nicole Schirzinger is taking over for her. Will another judge be announced? Who knows!

The Oprah Farewell Surprise Spectacular

The End of an Era: Oprah’s Last Show(s)

I’ve only been a casual Oprah viewer over the years, but I’ve always been a huge fan of Oprah as a person. She’s strong, confident, smart and driven – all qualities I very much admire. Seeing her sign off was pretty emotional. I won’t deny I cried several times. Seeing the good she has done in the world is inspiring and let’s not forget the celebrities that appeared on The Oprah Farewell Surprise Spectacular. There were amazing performances and Oprah genuinely seemed surprised. It was a fitting set up to her much more stripped down send off where Oprah simply took the stage to the last time to speak to her audience. It was moving and inspirational – a great way to end the show.

Rachel and Finn at Nationals in the Glee finale.

The Glee Season Two Finale

On the other end of the finale spectrum, we have the finale of Glee season two. I can’t quite explain what it was about the season two finale of Glee that was so disappointing. There were some great musical numbers, there was lots of drama, there was lots of comedy… or was there. Could that have been what the episode was missing? While I enjoyed seeing Jonathan Groff and Cheyanne Jackson on the finale, none of the characteristic Glee humor was there. Even the long awaited Finn and Rachel reunion felt… off. There was no real cliffhanger – nothing really that left me excited for next season. All in all, it just wasn’t what I was anticipating – and I am the only one who noticed something a little weird about the way Kurt responded to Blaine’s ‘I love you’. Mmm… not sure about this one Glee.


So that’s pretty much what happened on television this week. Did I miss something? Is there something you want to hear more about in these recaps? Something you’d like to see less of? Let me know in the comments below and as always, if you like the recap, share it with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.