American Idol begins its finale as Dancing with the Stars 4 concludes and On the Lot debuts

One of America’s two most popular television shows will conclude its fourth season tonight, while the other will begin its sixth-season finale and a new show will debut.

At 8 p.m. ET, American Idol 6 finalists Blake Lewis and Jordin Sparks, neither of whom really cares if they win, will each perform three songs during the season’s last performance show. One of those songs will be the winner of the songwriting contest (who The New York Post says is “a male songwriting team who’ve penned what’s described as a ‘ballad’”), one will be a song they performed earlier this season, and the third is up to them. Then America votes, the producers waste one hour and 58 minutes of our time on Wednesday, and the show is over.

It’s worth noting, as Best Week Ever did on Friday, that we’re left with one contestant who cites Hanson’s “MMMBop” as her favorite song and another who his influence and favorite band of “all time” is 311–never mind the fact that he introduced us to his alter ego/character Jimmie Walker Blue.

At 9, Dancing with the Stars 4 concludes with a two-hour finale. After their two performances last night, Apolo and Julianne were in first with 58, Joey and Kym in second with 56, and Laila and Maksim in third with 55.

Those scores will be combined with viewer votes and more judges scores tomorrow night, with each counting for 50 percent using the show’s impossible-to-understand scoring system. How exactly can two entirely different metrics–scores and total votes–be weighted evenly and fairly? And how is it that Samantha Harris’ only real job is to encourage viewers to vote, yet if she encouraged me to continue to breathe, I’d stop?

While Samantha is mangling her last sentences of the season, FOX will debut Steven Spielberg and Mark Burnett’s new reality series On the Lot at 9. Two episodes will air every week, with filmmakers creating short movies during the first episode and being eliminated after viewer votes during the second. They’ll get to place products in their films and face a revolving panel of industry judges. Spielberg himself won’t appear until the final episode.

The second “preview” episode airs Thursday at 9:30, and the show settles into its regular timeslots, Mondays at 9 and Tuesdays at 8, although next week’s Monday episode will start at 8, just to keep viewers guessing.

American Idol [FOX]
Dancing with the Stars [ABC]
On the Lot [FOX]

Review: Married at First Sight

Marriage At First Sight

In an era of Tinder and Grindr, instant acceptance or dismissal of a potential partner, or instant sex with another body, Married at First Sight offers the thrill of watching strangers deal with the very basics of relationships.

Beyond the headline-grabbing premise, the series has turned out to be a stripped-down, authentic exploration of something very interesting. Read the full review.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.