Music on TV This Week: Spectacle

People have been telling Elvis Costello that he should host his own show for many years now it seems, but it took the last person, Elton John, for it to finally stick.

Premiering this Wednesday on Sundance is Spectacle: Elvis Costello With..., a talk show with music as both its subject and its highlight. The first guest, fittingly enough, is Elton John, who performs double duty here as executive producer of the show, and who's mostly responsible for Costello taking on the project. Spectacle is like no other talk show before it in that nearly equal time is given to talking about music as there is to performing it, and the depths in which the discussions venture tread into the realm of true music geekdom (be still my beating heart).

Future guests include the varied talents of Tony Bennett, The Police, Smokey Robinson, President Bill Clinton (with his saxaphone,) Jenny Lewis, She & Him and next week's guest Lou Reed -- who actually cracks a smile. The format is loose and comfortable, putting even the prickliest of artists (Reed) completely at ease. The performances are generally covers, as Costello starts the night by performing a favorite song by that night's feature artists (for the premiere, it's John's "Border Song", see video) and later Costello and guest will play another artist's song. It's essentially fans of music who just happened to be famous, getting together and talking about what they love (and, since there's all these instruments nearby, they play some music as well). For real fans of music, it's a real treat.

Costello picked a great week to launch Spectacle, since most talk shows are on vacation this week, except for Leno and Jimmy Kimmel. Tom Jones, who we profiled last week, manages to hit both (Leno on Wednesday, and Kimmel on Thursday).

Playlist: Picks for the week

Monday, December 1

ABC: Jimmy Kimmel Live: T.I. (REPEAT)

CBS: Late Show With David Letterman: Charlie Haden (REPEAT)

CBS: Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson: X (REPEAT)

FUEL: The Daily Habit: Bishop Allen

NBC: Last Call With Carson Daly: Young Jeezy, Nas (REPEAT)

Tuesday, December 2

ABC: Good Morning America: Britney Spears

ABC: Jimmy Kimmel Live: Akon

CBS: Late Show With David Letterman: Sia (REPEAT)

IFC: The Henry Rollins Show: Chris Cornell (REPEAT)

SYNDICATION: The Ellen DeGeneres Show: Lady GaGa

Wednesday, December 3

ABC: Jimmy Kimmel Live: Ice Cube

CBS: Late Show With David Letterman: Jenny Lewis, Elvis Costello (REPEAT)

FUEL: The Daily Habit: 3OH!3

NBC: The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Tom Jones

SUNDANCE: Spectacle: Elvis Costello With...: Elvis Costello, Elton John

Thursday, December 4

ABC: Jimmy Kimmel Live: Tom Jones

CBS: Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson: Little Jackie (REPEAT)

NBC: The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Common

NBC: Late Night With Conan O'Brien: The Airborne Toxic Event (REPEAT)

NBC: Last Call With Carson Daly: The Sounds (REPEAT)

Friday, December 5

ABC: Jimmy Kimmel Live: Ludacris

FUEL: The Daily Habit: The International Noise Conspiracy

NBC: Late Night With Conan O'Brien: Adele (REPEAT)

NBC: Last Call With Carson Daly: Yelle (REPEAT)

Saturday, December 6

BBCAMERICA: The Graham Norton Show: The Ting Tings

drake lelane
curator of the music/soundtrack blog thus spake drake