American Idol will be ending for another season in two weeks, and in years in the faraway past -- say, in 2009 -- a large segment of the country would have been comatose with excitement by this point. But a combination of factors have worked to dramatically lessen interest in Season Nine. It's worth noting, however, that an off season for Idol would represent historic numbers for virtually every other show on network television. So while people shouldn't underrate the issues for the show going forward, let's not kid ourselves: it's still a massive hit by any standard.
Idol is now down to its final four, and on Tuesday (Fox, 8 p.m.), the remaining contestants tackle songs from the cinema, a decent open-ended theme that ought to help those clever enough to take advantage. The quartet will receive from Jamie Foxx, a singer of dubious talents who at least knows a little something about film (last season, he was mentor for "Rat Pack Week" for reasons that remain obscure to this day). The show has thrown its audience for a loop a few times in recent weeks, so no firm predictions here ... except that if you're a fan of Casey James or Michael Lynche, this might not be a fun week for you.
Also this week:
Monday: Chuck (NBC, 8 p.m.): The always great Christopher Lloyd plays a CIA psychiatrist who tries to figure out what's up with Chuck, who is being disturbed by dreams in which a visiting foreign leader is harmed. Also, Anna returns to Buy More with a message for Morgan. Those two kids were always cute together.
Wednesday: America's Next Top Model (CW, 8 p.m. and 9 p.m.): The season finale begins with the last four being reduced to two. The second hour features the usual final shoot and final trip down the runway before the winner and future trivia question answer is announced. Raina seems like the best one to me, but it's not like this show much cares what a straight male thinks about their competition.
Thursday: Private Practice (ABC, 10 p.m.): Addison battles to save both Maya and her baby, despite the odds against her; Cooper makes another run at Charlotte; Sam works on a car accident victim. ABC is promising (if that's the right word) that a major character buys it in this season finale. Can we kill off two from Grey's instead?
Friday: Ghost Whisperer (CBS, 8 p.m.): When is it a bad thing to be alive? When Melinda is trying to help you because you're supposed to be a ghost. The mixup lands Melinda right in the middle of a revenge situation. CBS. how can you possibly deprive us of another season of this sort of entertainment?
Saturday: Saturday Night Live (NBC, 11:30 p.m.): The 35th season finale marks the latest appearance for the most familiar of SNL guest stars, Alec Baldwin, with musical guests Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. This night also should provide some clues about which permanent cast members will be moving on, as those who are departing tend to get goodbye skits for their favorite characters.
Sunday: Desperate Housewives (ABC, 9 p.m.): The season finales for this series are famously dramatic, and we're expecting no less this time around. Susan finds an answer for her family's financial woes; Lynette tries to talk her way out of a dangerous situation with Eddie; and Gabrielle makes the decision to help the held-hostage Angie.