Gordon Ramsay Gordon Ramsay

American Idol
8 pm/ET FOX
It's the final lap of the long and winding preliminary rounds, which crisscrossed the nation from East Rutherford, N.J., to San Francisco — and tonight includes San Juan, Puerto Rico. There are plenty of bumps on this byway — tantrums and tears from the rejected, clashes and power plays from the judges (particularly between newbie judge Kara and old vet Simon). The road won't get any smoother for those deemed worthy and talented: They advance to the nerve-racking Hollywood rounds, which begin next week. —Dean Maurer

Hell's Kitchen
9 pm/ET FOX
This is the fifth season, so fans must know the drill: Confident (make that cocky) celebrity-chef wannabes are made unconfident, and Vesuvius-like chef Gordon Ramsay somehow manages to keep his carotid artery intact through all the yelling. Ramsay also spits out a lot of food. A new wrinkle is that the field has increased to 16, up from 15 last year. This makes for kitchen logjams, so two contestants are pressed into waitstaff service tonight. It turns out to be important. —Paul Droesch

Super Bowl Bash
9 pm/ET VH1
The big game between the Steelers and Cardinals may not be until Sunday, but that's no reason not to get this party started. Rihanna, Fall Out Boy and Lifehouse perform, and NFL stars make appearances. The host is actor and former college athlete Jerry O'Connell. (Fencing, not football, was his game.)  —Fred Mitchell

Private Practice
10:02 pm/ET ABC
"We're just growin' all over the place," the pregnant Violet told groom-to-be Cooper last week while they were sitting in a closet in her office. They'll come out of that closet tonight. How will they deal with the "growin'"? It remains to be seen, as does how Pete and Sheldon will deal with the prospect of fatherhood. Addison's love life is also in flux (Kevin or Wyatt?), as always, but her attention might be diverted by her brother (Grant Show) — rival Pacific Wellcare's newest hire. —Paul Droesch

Toughest Cowboy
11 pm/ET Spike
Ignoring the wisdom famously offered by Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings, some mommas did let their babies grow up to be cowboys, and 12 of them also get to be reality stars in the debut of the competition series that has rugged types trying to out-buckaroo each other in riding challenges. The toughest cowboy will ultimately lasso a ranch in Wyoming. Giddyup! —Michael Chant