Matt's Picks: May 23-26
Surprise Oprah! A Farewell Spectacular (Monday-Tuesday, syndicated, check tvguide.com listings)
You didn't think the queen of daytime talk would leave the stage without a flourish, did you? In a two-episode gala taped last week at Chicago's United Center, Oprah Winfrey's historic domination of the daytime-TV landscape is celebrated with an all-star tribute that includes Aretha Franklin singing "Amazing Grace," Tom Hanks serving as emcee, appearances by Madonna, Tom Cruise, Michael Jordan and many more superstars. It all leads to Wednesday's hush-hush finale episode, which marks the end of an era. OWN, now it's your turn.
American Idol (Tuesday and Wednesday, 8/7c, Fox)
The final showdown commences with an hourlong singoff on Tuesday — and if you're really into competition finales, you could flip over immediately afterward for the two-hour reveal of this year's Dancing With the Stars winner on ABC. Idol then reunites the top 13 on Wednesday (Remember Naima? Thia and Pia? And who can forget James Durbin, who should have made it to the finals?) as part of the two-hour spectacular that ends with the crowning of this year's Idol. (Reminder: the finale bleeds over into the 10/9c hour by at least seven minutes, so set your machines accordingly if you're not watching live.)
Glee (Tuesday, 9/8c, Fox)
While the reality-competition contests are reaching their climax this week, the fictional journey of Lima, Ohio's New Directions glee club finally makes it to New York City for the second-season finale. (And if they can make it there ... well, you know the song.) Special appearances by Broadway legend Patti LuPone, Charice and Cheyenne Jackson add to the musical fun. Will Rachel nail her solo? No one better rain on her parade.
Modern Family (Wednesday, 9/8c, ABC)
TV's best comedy wraps its triumphant season with hectic activity swirling around Jay's birthday, which he'd love to keep quiet — but when did that ever stop the family from making a frantic fuss? Earlier in the evening, The Middle (8/7c) finds the Hecks in a panic as the school year ends, with Brick in danger of being held back in third grade because he hasn't complete a daily journal for his fearsome teacher (Doris Roberts) and Sue in danger of not being able to document her perfect-attendance record. And in a wonderful finale to Cougar Town's season before the show is benched for fall, the cul-de-sac crew heads to Hawaii to snap Travis out of his funk — and have a good time while they're at it.
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