Tommy's trying to get some z's in the firehouse while Lou snores and the pipes clank. Me, I'll take the clanking. I got used to that in old, steam-heated New York City apartments. Snoring you never get used to. "I gotta really figure out what it is I want to do and how to do it before I go about doing it, y'know?" he says. Well, yeah but why start now? And thus the problems roll on. Jesus mocks Tommy as the pill stash runs low, and Teddy's security program to keep Janet from the kids is about as safe as the cargo coming into our ports these days. But then Tommy actually comes up with a smart albeit completely immoral, but no surprise there plan to use a lady of the evening to get Lou back in with Sandra. "This is why God invented whores," he says. And here I'd been wondering all this time. Looks like Sheila's got a plan of her own, too, playing the lesbian card. Hey, whatever that situation leads to, it can't get any more mean-spirited for either of them.
"You always promise," little Katie says to Tommy later. Yup. And you're still young enough to believe him, hon, but give it time. Shifting gears, however: Is there any scarier scene than a meeting of the "great minds," Sean and Mike, as they scheme about hitting on chicks at the N.A. meeting? Especially since it'll probably work for a while. Then Tommy thinks Mick's overreacting when he talks about Tommy and Johnny's priest-half brother, Murph, and his relationship with the young boy they saw on the ball field. I hope so, but I wonder, too. At least one of Tommy's schemes pays off, though, as Lou scores big with his whore strategy. Sure, it's a winner, so long as he picks up another job or two to make ends meet. The show distinguishes itself with yet another solid episode this week, but hits an even more notable mark: Has anyone other than Denis Leary ever called Jesus a p---- on TV? No, not Fred MacMurray, people that's just urban legend. Michael Peck
Rock Star: INXS
During every Tuesday performance show, I find myself wondering what Dave Navarro is whispering to INXS guitarist Tim Farriss who, incidentally, is looking more and more like Sammy Hagar to me. The two of them are often seen chatting in a damn-near huddled embrace. Maybe Dave's asking him what kind of pomade he uses? Or if he's seen Eddie Van Halen lately? Most likely, though, he's asking Tim the same question I asked myself last night: Can you believe how good the contestants have become? Those performances were so solid that I'd have paid top ticket price (including those obscene Ticketmaster surcharges) to see them live. Here's who rocked what:
MiG: Mighty MiG's take on "We Will Rock You" is some killer Queen for sure. And why wouldn't it be? The guy's been a regular performer in the London production of the Queen musical. Almost seems unfair to the others, doesn't it? But, hey, no one ever said rock and roll was fair. Look no further than Creed's success for proof of that.
Deanna: If they ever make a Melissa Etheridge musical, I know who's playing the lead. Deanna's "I'm the Only One" is note perfect. And she's even working her way through the audience, sauntering right up into INXS' Persian perch. Move that hookah, guys, 'cause you're getting a private show!
Marty: Anyone who can make Creed's "With Arms Wide Open" sound this good deserves some kind of compliment. I'm just not sure that "You're blossoming" which is what Tim tells Marty after his able performance is it.
Ty: Mr. Mohawk has consistently wowed me with his powerful pipes. But, unfortunately, his run through the Foo Fighters' "Everlong" is sounding a bit restrained. While Dave Grohl screams the chorus, Ty's trying to sing it, and it's sounding (to borrow the title of a Captain Beefheart album) as safe as milk.
Jessica: The Violent Femmes' "Blister in the Sun" is a tough one to sing, mostly because it's almost impossible to sound as creepy as Gordon Gano does in the original. But Jessica reinvents it and scores. This may finally be the performance that keeps her out of the bottom three.
Brandon: "If You Could Only See" by Tonic is instantly forgettable, but Brando's recently improved voice makes his version stick around a little longer. But what was with the I'm-falling-down-like-I'm-having-a-stroke stage move? If they ever make "Stroke! The Musical," I know who's playing the lead.
Jordis: "The Man Who Sold the World." In a word: sublime. Jordis is without a doubt the female front-runner.
J.D.: I so wanted to hear the Box Tops' version of "The Letter." Not Joe Cocker's. If I wanted Cocker (or just some good old-fashioned writhing), I'd have séanced in John Belushi. Still, I must admit, J.D. done good.
Tara: If Sting floated me this "Message in a Bottle," I'd throw it back at him. Bon voyage, Tara.
Suzie: I feared Suzie would make "Get Back" sound like it was being performed by a cut-rate Beatles tribute band. You know, the kind where Paul plays bass right-handed? But instead she sounded fab and was secure enough to let the house band shine on.
Almost all the rockers improved this week in both voice and presence. Which makes picking a bottom three as hard as trying to pass through airport security with an aluminum-foil-wrapped cucumber. But, all that aside, I'll say Tara, Ty and Jessica are nearly tapped out. Joseph Hudak
Aiight, we all knew that Sescie was preggers that kid's coif is gonna rock and had a pretty good idea that Jonathan was gonna pop the question. Hell, his sister-slash-host Robin told my senior editor that she was going to be a bridesmaid last week at a Fox party for TV critics on the Santa Monica Pier. But who knew the rest of this get-together was going to be such a lovefest!? Despite the old clips of Jon Boy harshing on his staff and hating on that tool who designed his product line, the family vibe here was thicker than assistant Scott's lisp. Even the absence of former employees Kimberly, Daniel and Edward was handled with more sensitivity than is usually allowed on reality TV. And how much do we love the Antin elders, being so proud of their overachiever like that? Of course, some of you may be out there gagging on this group hug with great hair, so lemme just say two things: Yeah, maybe some of it was faux, but would you rather have Rosie and the rest of the crew singing boss man's praises or some ugly "You screwed me!" mess like those Survivor reunions? And secondly, I got the real deal from adorable Alyn last week while he worked his magic on my locks and it turns out that oh, snap. This is the part where I tell you to check TVGuide.com next week for his take on what we didn't see this season. OK, so then, yeah. Hit up the Insider section next Tuesday. It'll be delicious. Damian J. Holbrook