American Idol
OK, I know I said I was done with this one, but you know how it is. Time heals everything, blah, blah, blah. Constantine wasn't going to win anyway, and with two themes tonight — the relics, er, classics of Leiber and Stoller and tunes from this week's Billboard charts — there's twice the chance that He Who Shall Not Be Named could warble his way right out of our hair. Besides, we all need to work together or the reality terrorists at will have won! Oh, and as a Weight Watchers graduate, I need to stress that I am so not hating on anyone because of their size, aiight? I'm hating on them because they should have been kicked to the curb weeks ago. Way before some other talents. And even more so now that they're getting lippy about sticking it to Simon and not going home until they conquer the Great White Way. Yeah, 'cause Justin Guarini's Beach Boys musical did so well, right?
Carrie Underwood: Aside from looking a little scared every now and then, Country Girl's got chops of the gods. That "Trouble" number was fun, fun, fun, and whoever Melodie Crittenden is, she owes Carrie a big old thank-you for clueing us in to her beautiful "Broken Road."
He Who Shall Not Be Named: As much as I'm loath to say it, this was a very respectable "On Broadway." Those strong vocals almost had me forgetting his tired pointy-nger hand-reach move. Too bad he had to go and undo any goodwill I had going with that cocky 'tude of his. And after a middling facsimile of Brian McKnight's "Everytime You Go Away," no less! Ahh, wouldn't that be beautiful irony.
Anthony Fedorov: Ooof. I think I just got a rash from his "Poison Ivy." That's a shame. Thankfully, Cowell and I are on the same page about A-Fed's take on the Backstreet Boys' "Incomplete." Very well done. And not a bad way to spend your 20th birthday, huh? Still, it may be time.
Vonzell Solomon: Oh, Baby V, I'll treat you nice. And not just because Paula was loving you like Corey Clark only wishes. Voice like buttah. As for the second selection, Simon is obviously huffing, because I'm thinking Idol's benefit single, "When You Tell Me That You Love Me" would totally not suck if it were her soaring solo rendition. Or if she just called me. That would help, too.
Bo Bice: No clue what Paula meant by "you color it all up with Bo," but as always, I'm with the Bice Squad here: This month's Smoking Gun-runner can stand by me anytime. Especially if he can keep making think that Los Lonely Boys' "Heaven" doesn't actually blow. Oooh, sorry. No pun intended, Bogart. &#151 Damian J. Holbrook

(Can't get enough American Idol? Watch Kimberly Caldwell and Rosanna Tavarez dish about the music on Idol Chat, Thursdays at 8 pm/ET on TV Guide Channel. Catch a video preview of the show here)

Gilmore Girls
Remember a few weeks ago, when I said that Dean was wrong, that Luke didn't have to worry about Lorelai wanting more? That she loves her inn and her quirky life in perfect Stars Hollow, and that she wasn't going anywhere? Yeah, well, scratch that. Who knew this hometown girl harbored such wanderlust? (I guess it makes sense, since she never got to see the world after becoming a mother at 16.) Poor Luke. And he was the one who encouraged her to take that business meeting with Richard's colleague. Doesn't he know by now that nothing good comes from her parents? Or nothing without major strings attached, at the very least. And speaking of strings, weren't you amazed by the way Emily roped her daughter back into Friday-night dinners? She's the one who should be repairing things between them after trying to ruin Lorelai's relationship with Luke. Yet somehow, Emily's the one calling all the shots when Lorelai wants in on the Logan dinner. A true master at work. Though I do agree with Lorelai, grandma and pa needed to cool it with the whole kids-wedding-Cape Cod thing. Way too much pressure on a new couple, especially when the guy's used to escaping out the back door.

PS — I laughed out loud when Logan made reference to the Kropog. Back in my college days in Boston, I discovered that the Smoot (MIT class of 1966) measured the distance across the Mass. Ave. Bridge (364.4 Smoots, plus an ear). So all you Yalies out there, write me and let me know if the Kropog is the real deal. — Robin Honig

The Amazing Race
I tell ya, I would not want to be around Meredith the next time he sees a red double-decker bus. He's been so amiable and even-keeled throughout the race, it's probably safe to say that he has never been as outwardly angry and aggravated as he was during that road block (especially around attempts six and seven). Let's remember, he was the man who last week named his figurine "Jerome the Gnome." I mean, that's a nice guy. Gretchen, his equally nice wife, was getting so fed up that her exclamation "Oh... shoot!" was frighteningly close to an actual swear word. But can you blame either one of them? After that entire leg, it came down to pure driving ability — and that's it. (I feel a tiny bit sadistic saying this, but the quick-cut editing of the various bus mishaps, frustrations and blowups of the final three teams was both brilliant and hilarious.) I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that I'll miss Meredith and Gretchen. As a genuinely touched Phil said, they were an inspiration.

Almost forgot: For whatever warped reason, I found myself laughing out loud during Uchenna and Joyce's visit to Sirkeci train station. Just as they're taking in this beautiful ritual of spinning and chanting, we abruptly cut to the "Rip!" of a clue envelope being opened. It was sorta like, "What a wonderful, solemn experience — now, let's get going."

Hey, next week's the big finale. Oh, and like I won't be screaming like a crazy person for the shaved-head couple to win? — Danny Spiegel

Veronica Mars
Ummm... holy cow! Best episode ever. I don't say that lightly and it wasn't even the season finale. I figured out pretty early in that Duncan was the one who raped Veronica, or at least took advantage of her mostly unconscious state. But the rest of this heart-racing episode kept me guessing right up until the very last scene, when her supposedly rehabbing mom returned home. Did P.I. Daddy pick her up on the way back from meeting with the stripper in Vegas? And if she's home before her stint is up at the poor teen's Betty Ford, did Veronica waste her college fund? I sure hope not, since she sure isn't getting any money from Duncan or the rest of the Kane family. Even though her pops was the one who flew to Havana to pick up the runaway. Did anyone else notice the Cuba poster on V's wall? Did Duncan see that once when he was over and get inspired, or do they think alike because they are supposedly related? Wait, I still can't wrap my head around the fact that they are brother and sister and they slept together. No wonder Duncan has angry fits and smashes up cars. I can't wait for Keith to get those paternity results, because something tells me that Mrs. Kane just told Duncan that vicious bit of info so he'd stay away from her husband's lover's daughter.

And Logan... Logan, Logan, Logan. Please tell me that the cameras in the pool house were one of his daddy's little proclivities before he became all Zen and that the younger Echolls just forgot they were there. I was thrilled that he wasn't the one who drugged and raped Veronica, because I fell hard for him after he stood up in front of all his "friends" and pronounced the school outcast his girlfriend. This emotional roller coaster is so taxing for me that I can't even imagine what it is doing to Veronica. Though, as her proud papa pointed out earlier in the episode, "She's not your average 17-year-old." Hello, understatement of the year. I thought Amy Abbot was all mature for the way she handled her noncommittal boyfriend. What passes for normal in Neptune would rock Everwood's world. I know it shook up mine. Kudos to the writing crew, who not only brought in just about every high-schooler Veronica ever helped, but also for getting me to actually stand up and shout at my TV. I was jumpy because of all the aforementioned drama, but when Veronica lied to Wallace I nearly went through the roof. Then, of course, the world's tiniest detective redeemed herself, boggling her best pal's mind in the process. If the writing staff keeps up the good work in next week's season finale, they'll probably have me gasping for air. Thank you again, UPN, for renewing this show for another year. This is the best cardio workout I get all week as a confirmed couch potato. — Angel Cohn

Oooooh, dose wascals who wite dis show, dey twicked me — twice! I was all but certain that little girl was going to do a belly flop from the 10-meter platform at the top of the show — but she didn't. And I'd already canceled my membership to the Jennifer Morrison fan club after watching House let Cameron walk out of his life — but she's back, and in workout gear no less... mmmmm. But, she has an ultimatum: Either House goes on a dinner date with the undisclosed object of his desire, or she takes her sexy immunologist/unrequited-lover act across the street! He agrees, of course, and now the real game begins. Can the show maintain that sexual tension without corrupting House's character by having him return or respond to any of her advances? Uh, yeah... Paging Sela Ward. Nothing like throwing an ex-lover into the mix. I mean look at how House treats the people he likes. Can you imagine what happens when he has to work with his ex?

But getting back to the pregnant 12-year-old diver... if only she had peed in a cup! Isn't a pregnancy test for women standard procedure when they're admitted? Could've saved her having to suffer a lumbar puncture (the polite term for sticking a 14-inch needle into someone's back) or that nasty bone-marrow aspiration in the hospital's morgue. Then again, she was only 12, not exactly a woman. Plus, there was that whole meningitis epidemic going on, so we'll cut them a little slack for skipping the pee test. Besides, that endoscopic video of her small intestine gave us this gem from House: "I think I've seen this movie, the ending's kinda dark." Yeah, and it stinks! — sorry, couldn't help myself. So am I the only one confused about those two disclaimers warning us to beware of "sexual content that might be unsuitable for minors"? That couldn't have been for House ogling Cuddy's breasts and calling them "fun bags"? No, I suppose they were referring to the abortion the young diver had to save her life. But I was hoping for something a little more saucy, you know, like House playing doctor with Cameron. Oh well, at least she's back, and who knows, after their dinner date maybe House will break down and do something really romantic like hold her hand or something. — Dan Roberts

The Shield
Unbelievable! Shane lives! And what a showdown, with him begging for his life while facing the business end of Vic's pistol! In case you missed it, it went something like this:
Shane: Vic, I'm in a lotta trouble.
Vic: [Pointing a very big gun at the man he used to call his best friend] That's a severe understatement.
Shane: Look, man, I tried to be you — that's all I was doin' right? I was trying to be like Vic, you know, working all the angles, playing both sides...
Vic: [Still pointing a very big gun; steam is starting to come out of his ears] You are not me!
Shane: I know, I know. That's what I'm saying. I don't know what went wrong. Maybe it's because I don't have a bitter ex-wife, two autistic kids and a teenage daughter destined to become a crack ho. [Vic begins foaming at the mouth, his finger twitching on the trigger.] Wait! That came out all wrong. What I meant to say is... I love you man. I need you... and Jesus, that's a really big gun.
Vic: Uh... thanks... dumbass. [He holsters the gun]
Shane: So we're cool, right? [Vic grunts.] Whew! For a second there I thought I was gonna be joining Angie under the Porta Potty, cause you had this look on your face like, like — who's that rock monster guy from that comic book? You know, there's the stretchy guy, the invisible chick... The Fantastic Four, that's it! You looked like that big orange... [Vic has his gun out in a flash and his right eye is twitching like crazy.] Uh, yeah, I'll just stop talking. How 'bout that? That work for you, buddy?

OK, so maybe I'm guilty of a little creative exaggeration, but if you've studied Vic for the past four years like I have, you know it's all about the subtext, right? The important thing is that Shane is alive (for now) and he can count Vic as an ally rather than an enemy. Shane and Lem still have some business to sort out, however, and with an Internal Affairs spook joining the strike team they'd best do it quietly.

Here's a prediction about Rawling playing house in the hood; I'll bet you $5 that one of the new neighbors is going to throw her a welcoming party — and I'll bet you another 10 that there won't be a cake involved. And how about Danny getting all turned on by Vic and his quiet-killer vibe? If that's the way she likes it, shouldn't she be knocking on Aceveda's door? — DR

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