The curtain comes down on the best part of TV's hottest singing competition, as the "blind auditions" portion of NBC's The Voice reaches its final act (Tuesday, 8/7c) with the selection of the last members of the four coaches' teams. Any fears that the show would lose its oomph this season with new bodies in the hot seats were quickly put to rest when Usher eased onto his swiveling throne with charismatic grace, adopting a signature "one leg up" posture that was parodied last weekend on Saturday Night Live, while Shakira proved a worthy adversary to the boys' club with her feisty attitude, passion and humor.
It was a good joke when top-tier SNL guest host Melissa McCarthy played an untalented grunge-testant in the Voice spoof, wondering incredulously, "Is there anyone that does not get picked by you guys?" In fact, those rare instances when no one turns a chair for the singer are among the most memorable and emotional moments of The Voice. But now it's on to the "battle" rounds next week, where the judges may get a chance to win back a few of the singers that got away from them the first time.
As expected, The Voice has brought some much-needed life back to NBC's struggling lineup. But instead of using its momentum to boost a new scripted contender, as the network attempted to do a year ago with Smash (oh, poor Smash), NBC is instead squandering the Tuesday lead-in on a new dating competition, Ready for Love (9:01/8:01c), in which professional matchmakers try to hook up three eligible bachelors with the ladies of their dreams. Or some such nonsense. Just try to tell NBC apart from Bravo some nights. I dare you.
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GOING TO TOWN: Getting canceled by ABC was the best thing that could have happened to TBS' Cougar Town, which finishes its first we're-kookier-on-cable season already knowing that it has been renewed. We'll drink to that. And so no doubt will the cul-de-sac crew, in back-to-back season-finale episodes (10/9c) that feature the return of Jules' dad Chick (Ken Jenkins), whose health problems inspire the gang to take him to Hollywood in hopes of meeting his big-screen crush Tippi Hedren. (Make your own for-the-birds joke.) In other news, Laurie (Busy Phillips) and Travis (Dan Byrd) take their relationship to the next inevitably awkward level.
FUNNY LADIES: First, the foxes of Fox: Jess arranges a bachelorette party for Cece on New Girl (9/8c), while Mindy reunites with her ex-boyfriend Jake when the docs travel to Santa Fe for a conference on The Mindy Project (9:30/8:30c). ... If your tastes run more toward the classic TV comediennes, PBS is devoting two hours to the career of the legendary Carol Burnett, whose new memoir Carrie and Me: A Mother-Daughter Love Story, about her late daughter Carrie Hamilton, is being published this week. "Carol Burnett Night" starts with a 90-minute American Masters encore of Carol Burnett: A Woman of Character (check tvguide.com listings), which frames her biography through the audience Q&As she immortalized on The Carol Burnett Show. It's followed by a 30-minute cut-down of a Pioneers of Television episode, retitled for the occasion "Carol Burnett and the Funny Ladies," company that includes Lucille Ball and Betty White.
THE TUESDAY GUIDE: DVR and future YouTube alert: For the first time since 2007, tabloid terror Lindsay Lohan braves an interview on CBS' Late Show With David Letterman (11:35/10:35c). Whatever could they find to talk about? ... An even more unlikely pairing, Jennifer Lopez and Andrea Bocelli, perform on ABC's Dancing With the Stars results show (9/8c). ... Also under the "eclectic much?" heading, OWN's Oprah: Where Are They Now? (10/9c) revisits survivors of the 1999 Columbine High shootings, along with Mike Tyson and Bachelorette couple Trista and Ryan Sutter, who beat that show's odds by actually staying married. ... On Tuesday's biggest hit, CBS' NCIS (8/7c), Ziva's game plan for avenging her father's death has Tony up in arms. ... Sure sign of procedural desperation: When one of the good guys is accused of murder. This week, it happens on ABC's Body of Proof (10:01/9:01c), as Detective Tommy Sullivan (Mark Valley) becomes the prime suspect, unsure how he ended up with so much of a murdered girl's blood all over him. ... Undoubtedly the most important and timely program of the night: PBS' Frontline (check tvguide.com listings), which presents Syria Behind the Lines, in which Western filmmaker Olly Lambert spent five weeks last fall documenting life on both sides of the Orontes River valley, a province of war-torn Syria that is now a sectarian battleground.
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