Melanie Amaro

Things finally started to get dramatic on Fox's The X Factor last week, and could get even more so with this week's first double elimination — but really, show, why stop at two? (If they'd just crown Melanie Amaro already, it would save us all a ton of time.) And here's a thought: Should the decision become as contentious as it was in last Thursday's showdown between the erratic Stacy Francis, who desperately wanted to stay, and petulant little "Astro," who was so disgruntled at being in the bottom he almost couldn't be bothered to "sing for his life," next time the judges should force a tie so the act with the lowest viewer vote totals is sent packing. (Which only seems fair.) What doesn't seem fair is how they've coddled Astro in the first place, so no matter the genre, he gets to perform his own style of rap around the song. Which seems like an advantage, though it clearly didn't connect last week.

Because of Thanksgiving, the show's schedule has been moved forward a day, so the two-hour performance show airs tonight (8/7c) — with the theme of "Giving Thanks" — and the results will air Wednesday (8/7c), with first-year American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson and Bruno Mars performing.

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It's a clash of the reality-competition titans, as X Factor competes with the two-hour season finale of ABC's Dancing With the Stars (9/8c), and I'm still thinking J.R. Martinez is the one to beat. (Both he and Rob Kardashian got perfect scores on their freestyle dance, but which one do you actually remember?) As we endure the long wait for the awarding of the mirror-ball trophy, all 12 couples (remember Metta World Peace?) will return for a final dance, and Lady Antebellum performs.

What would normally seem like a traditional bit of sweeps stunt casting — Robert Wagner returning to CBS' NCIS as Tony's rascally dad — took on some unexpectedly uncomfortable resonance, when authorities reopened the case of Natalie Wood's death last week, 30 years after her tragic drowning. Read nothing but only-in-Hollywood bad timing into the fact that tonight's episode (8/7c), titled "Sins of the Father," finds Tony Sr. pegged as a murder suspect when a dead body turns up in the trunk of his car and he has no memory of the night before. So Tony the younger (Michael Weatherly), who's been taken off the case for obvious reasons, goes rogue to prove his dad didn't do it. ... Meanwhile, on NCIS: LA (9/8c), Deeks (Eric Christian Olsen) is fired and sent back to the LAPD by Hetty, which doesn't please Kensi one bit. Or the show's fans, I'd imagine.

Things are even more eventful on FX's Sons of Anarchy (10/9c), which is rushing toward its season finale in two weeks with several Big Questions looming. Most notably: Can the dastardly, murderous, monstrously abusive Clay (Ron Perlman) possibly survive this season? And who's going to take him down: Jax or Opie or any of the others he's done wrong? Also: Can Jax and Tara achieve their goal of leaving Charming once the club gets clear of the Cartel deal? As the Irish Kings come to town to arrange a meet with the Mexicans on "neutral ground" — is there such a thing? — and smarmy Mayor Hale prepares to push through his Charming Heights development with the city council, Juice is busy tipping off AUSA Potter (who proves to be "the most curious of fellows") and Otto calls a meeting in prison with Bobby. Which means all the dominos are in place for things to get seriously messy. Because, after all, there needs to be more story to tell next season, though it's hard to imagine how they're going to top this one.

His comedy specials tend to get much better ratings than reviews, and there's no denying that Jeff Dunham is one of the most popular ventriloquists on TV. The title of BIO Channel's Jeff Dunham: Birth of a Dummy (8/7c) is double edged: This biographical portrait of the Texas-born performer is also a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of his latest character, Achmed Junior, the "offspring" of Dunham's breakout "dummy," Achmed the Dead Terrorist.

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