<p>Michael Sarver of 'American Idol'</p>

Michael Sarver of 'American Idol'

Credit: Michael Becker/FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' - Down to the Top 10 with our first elimination shocker

With a long-standing judge and audience favorite in danger, would we see a Judges' Save?

9:00 p.m. "In my hand, I hold the results that may shock you..." Ryan Seacrest teases, kicking off the start of Wednesday (March 18) night's "American Idol." Am I up for a good shocking? Why yes, I am.

9:01 p.m. Over 31 million votes came in last night. That's the good news (unless you remember that 33 million votes were cast last week and unless you compare last night's ratings to the previous Tuesday's numbers). The bad news is that we can look forward to performances by Brad Pais ley, Carrie Underwood and Randy Travis. Again, I'm disappointed we won't get a performance by Macho Man Randy Savage.

9:02 p.m. Ryan reminds us that in the entire storied history of "American Idol," the Judges' Save has yet to be used. A partially audible Simon Cowell can be heard muttering, "It's only been one week." Then Ryan again teases the possibility that a surprise may be coming.

[Results and that surprise after the break...]

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<p>Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and partner Karina Smirnoff dance for their lives in the show's first ever dance-off.</p>

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and partner Karina Smirnoff dance for their lives in the show's first ever dance-off.

Credit: ABC

"Dancing with the Stars" Results show - Week 2

Carlisle vs. Wozniak - who survived the first ever dance-off?

 

As Tom immediately informs us, this is the first ever results show featuring a dance-off.  But first some award winning performers! This is my first Dancing With The Stars results show (as I noted in an earlier blog, I've never seen the show prior to this season), and I went into it questioning how they could stretch a dance off to a full hour of programming (let alone the hour "recap" episode before it starts). Now I have my answer: Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Jewel, and various other poorly produced forms of filler.

Once Big Bad Voodoo Daddy finishes their performance and I look back up from my laptop, we get an update on the condition of contestant Steve-O - who did not dance last night.  He is present at the show, at explains that a risky, last-minute change in dance routine (an added backflip) landed him on a stretcher. He is prepared to do a "dance off," which could very well be the case as Tom relays the order of the judge's placement of the contestants:  Steve & Karina and Steve-O & Lacey are the judge's bottom two.

[More after the jump]

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<p>Matt Giraud of 'American Idol'</p>

Matt Giraud of 'American Idol'

Credit: Michael Becker/FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' - Country Night for the Top 11

Anoop and Megan got back on the board, Adam alienated the judges and Matt pierced Paula's heart on Grand Ole Opry Night

Tuesday (March 17) night's "American Idol" finds the Top 11 singing songs performed by members of The Grand Ole Opry, a needless and barely clarified variation on what could otherwise just be called "Country Night."

Alas, we'll never know what Jorge Nunez and Jasmine Murray would have done under the tutelage of Randy Travis, nor will we know what anybody would do under the tutelage of Macho Man Randy Savage (guest mentor, I'm assuming, for "Songs of WrestleMania Night").

Whatever happens, it's sure to be Simon Cowell's favorite night of the season...

Full recap of Grand Ole Opry Night after the break...

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<p>Kurtwood Smith on '24'</p>

Kurtwood Smith on '24'

Credit: Kelsey McNeal/FOX

Recap: '24' Episode 14 (9 p.m. to 10 p.m.)

People keep dying on Jack Bauer, but at least he did some investigating and killing of his own

Yikes. Was that the most shocking ending in "24" history?

I'm not referring to Jack Bauer once again being framed for murder and once again racing against time to simultaneously save the world and also clear his name. That's the exact way we left last week's episode, so it's hard to be even slightly shocked and thrilled by that sort of cliffhanger. 

Yawn.

No, I'm referring to the fact that after several hours of taking a beating to get to the bottom of the Sangalan conspiracy, Jack finally got enough information to loop Tony Almeida in. 

He calls Tony and what do you think Tony's up to?

A) Torturing a informant to get some information of his own.

B) Unloading weapons as part of Evil Jon Voight's plot, a terrorist once again.

C) Trimming and grooming his facial scruff and applying a tonic to regrow his soul patch.

D) Enjoying a nice, peaceful dinner at an intimate candlelit bistro.

[The answer and the recap after the break...]

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<p>Your 'Dancing with the Stars' judges</p>

Your 'Dancing with the Stars' judges

Credit: ABC

Recap: 'Dancing with the Stars' Performance Episode 03/16/09

Gilles and Cheryl are the judges' favorites, but will viewers agree?

Touting "their most watched season premiere ever," Tom Bergeron & Samantha Harris usher in the second week of the "Dancing With The Stars "second season, and my second attempt at recapping it for you.

Immediately, drama is suspected as Steve-O is not present on the stairs, with partner Lacey Schwimmer shrugging her soldiers and walking down solo. We also get my beloved Denise Richards, looking slightly less whorish this week with her middrift bearing country girl get up (and about a pound of blue eye shadow). 

We quickly learn of the mystery of Steve-O: He's been injured. They'll tell us more about that later, of course.

On to Monday (March 16) night's actual dancing with the "stars" after the break...

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<p>Kisha and Jen of 'The Amazing Race'</p>

Kisha and Jen of 'The Amazing Race'

Credit: Sonja Flemming/CBS

Recap: 'The Amazing Race' - 'She's a Little Scared of Stick, But I Think She'll Be OK'

A train ride through Siberia, a chilly run in underwear and some clunky snowplows on 'The Amazing Race'

Thus spoke the prophet Mike White, "Let the last become first and let the first become last."

We've now had two consecutive topsy-turvy episodes on "The Amazing Race." Last week, the teams got jumbled in unexpected ways thanks to a series of missed flight connections in Moscow, leaving perennial near-cellar-dwellers Jodi & Christie and Kisha & Jen at the top of the pack. We never found out how far ahead last week's winning teams actually were, because a long delay before a train ride into the depths of Siberia offered an equalizer and prompted Mike's comment.

That, in turn, prompted Mel White to gush, "He's quoting the Bible. Thank God. It's a miracle."

But would Mike's prediction come to pass? 

[Full recap, with spoilers, after the break...]

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<p>Eliza Dushku goes in blind on 'Dollhouse'</p>

Eliza Dushku goes in blind on 'Dollhouse'

Credit: Richard Foreman/FOX

Recap: 'Dollhouse' - 'True Believer'

Eliza Dushku's Echo becomes a blind woman to infiltrate a cult on 'Dollhouse'

Pleasant, Arizona. Church bus arrives, much to the disgust of the locals, and a group of hippies – who might as well have WEIRDO CULT MEMBER tattooed above their blank, smiling eyes – get out to do grocery shopping, singing a religious hymn the whole time. The church kids keep singing, no matter what, even when Redneck #1 starts pushing one around. In the confusion, one of the cultists leaves a message on the grocery list: “SAVE ME.”

[More on Friday (March 13) night's "Dollhouse" after the break...]

At the Dollhouse, DeWitt meets with a Senator who’s asking for a favor. He wants an active to infiltrate the singing church kids’ compound. It’s an election year for him, and he needs to avoid another Waco in his backyard. The Senator needs someone who can go undercover without faking it. For all of DeWitt’s carping about never putting an active at risk, this actually makes a lot more sense than high-priced call-girl assignments. Actives would make great spies – sort of like the Cylon sleeper agents on “Battlestar Galactica.”

And speaking of “Battlestar,” there’s Helo – Agent Ballard, begging for a favor from another agent, Loomis. He wants her to run a photo of Echo through a facial recognition database. It’s a little sad that this is what passes for action for Ballard, but he’s funny in his charmless attempts to charm Loomis.

Dominic warns DeWitt again: he says Echo is behaving just like Alpha did before that guy went Jason Voorhees. The guy really does not like her, but he suspects that DeWitt does. It’s almost like Smithers’ hate for anyone else who competes for Mr. Burns’ affections. DeWitt basically tells him to cram it.

Echo, meanwhile, has been decked out with yet more unproven human-lab-rat technology by Topher and Dr. Saunders. They’re going to turn Echo’s eyes into cameras that will beam pictures from inside the Happy Jesus Land compound, even though she’ll be blind herself. The downside is, this could kill Echo. DeWitt says the risk is acceptable, which is big of her, since it’s not her brain that could explode.

Boyd joins the ATF as a private contractor who can get them access to the cult compound through Echo. She’s become a smiling, blissed-out believer named Esther, who’s simply overjoyed to be blind.

Boyd drops her at the gate of the compound. Echo/Esther waves around like a spastic mime – so you know she’s really blind – and we finally meet the head of this amalgam of the Partridge and the Manson families, Jonas Sparrow. Ex-con who had a conversion experience in prison, and now has his own private enclave of brainwashed cult members. As always with these guys, you wonder how much of his own crap he believes.  Echo/Esther feels up Sparrow’s face. He’s skeptical but lets her join.

And here’s the communal shower scene. Whew. Worried for a second there. Victor and Sierra in the water. Victor suddenly reacts to a naked Sierra exactly the way a healthy young heterosexual male ought to react to Sierra. He stiffens up. Rises to the occasion. Swings some pipe. Packs some wood. Pitches a tent. You get the idea.

Topher notices this on the cameras – not that he was staring or anything. He goes to Dr. Saunders and explains – not that he was looking – what just happened. “He had an erection?” Saunders asks. Well, yeah. If you want to be clinical about it.

The trouble is, like pretty much everything at the Dollhouse, this isn’t supposed to be possible. 

Now, Dr. Saunders says, she and Topher will have to check the last six months of shower video, to see how far back the problem goes. Yes, that’s right: Topher is going to have to watch hours and hours of Victor’s morning glory. His trouser snake. His family jewels. His... Oh, let’s move on.

Back at Happy Jesus Land, Echo/Esther meets the other cultists while the ATF watches. Jonas questions Echo in a dark room, testing her blindness, and her righteousness – by putting a gun to her head. She can’t see it, so she passes. But Echo’s eye-cameras pick up images of Jonas’ whole arsenal of weaponry, which ought to come in handy for turning the other cheek.

Ballard, gets a visit his lovelorn neighbor, Melanie, who brings him his drugs and manicotti – and another package from Alpha. This time it’s a video of Echo, pre-computer-assisted electro-lobotomy. Melanie figures that Ballard’s obsession with her has to be motivated by the groin area. And that’s not a bad theory, since it makes more sense than any reason the show has given.

More fun with video, now at the Dollhouse. Topher and Saunders are cataloging Victor’s “instances of tumescence.” They discover Victor only hoists his petard around Sierra. He likes her.

Back in LA, Agent Ballard wanders by a TV just in time to see a live report from the compound – and notices Echo as the cultists move from one building to another.  So far this episode, Ballard’s asked to use a computer, gotten lunch, and watched TV. This is not a take-charge night for him.

The ATF goes on the march, with all the subtlety and stealth it’s famous for, and trip an alarm. Jonas is pissed, and he turns on the only new element. He smacks Echo around – and dislodges the cameras. Echo’s vision returns, as does her martial-arts know-how. She stops his hand, but the ATF can’t see inside anymore.

Boyd wants to get Echo out, but the lead ATF guy has a grudge against Sparrow and won’t allow Echo to be extracted. Dominic refuses to allow Boyd to pull her out anyway. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that Dominic hopes Echo will get kakked, and he won’t have to worry about any more glitches from her.

Boyd discovers the ATF guy created the whole incident, that he planted the request for help on the note, using the fight in the grocery as cover. (Apparently he’s the only member of the entire agency who missed what happened after Waco and Ruby Ridge.) Meanwhile, Jonas does remember Waco, so he orders his disciple to set the building on fire. Yes, apparently Jonas really does believe his own bullshit.

Echo, meanwhile, finally gets to do something. She knocks Jonas out and inspires the others to run for their lives, even cold-cocking one of the true believers when he resists.

But when Jonas wakes up and points his gun at Echo – he’s shot by Dominic, out of nowhere. Dominic clocks her in the head with his rifle butt. He looks all proud of himself. Perfect solution: Echo dies in the blaze, no more glitches.

And this is where what was a fairly decent episode falls apart.

Despite holding his trump card, Boyd disappears from the action. If Dominic really wanted Echo dead, he could have let Jonas drill her with the machine gun, or shot her himself.  Instead, he leaves her in an easily escapable burning building, where Boyd finds her, when he’s back from his coffee break. After all the bluster from the ATF guy, he just lets the cultists walk out of the compound. And Ballard makes another fruitless trip someplace to find someone who refuses to talk to him. Again. (Maybe that’s harsh, but I have high expectations of Tim Minear, who wrote this ep, as well as some of the brilliant episodes of “Angel” and “Firefly.”)

Still, Minear does leave us on a sharp note. In the Dollhouse, Saunders asks Echo, her eyeballs re-installed, if her vision is OK. She notices Dominic and gives him a truly creepy look. “I see perfectly,” she says.

Next week, Victor does some naughty touching, and Ballard and Echo finally – finally – throw down.

 

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<p>Apollo and Baltar chat about letting Baltar's "people" have a say in the government. No, that ain't gonna happen on Apollo's watch.</p>

Apollo and Baltar chat about letting Baltar's "people" have a say in the government. No, that ain't gonna happen on Apollo's watch.

Credit: Sci Fi/Carole Segal

Recap: 'Battlestar Galactica' - 'Daybreak, Pt. 1' or the 'flashback' episode

With only the finale to go, why do we not see this ending well?

 

"Daylight, Pt. 1," the last regular hour long episode of "Battlestar Galactica" started off and ended strong, but everything in the middle?  Lots and lots of set up for next week's two-hour finale.  The million dollar question is: after three episodes of building up to the series climax, can the show actually deliver a satisfying ending?  Or, as Athena says when Helo keeps telling her it's going to be O.K., "It's not gonna be alright Karl."

Yikes.  Does Hera really want to come home to a mom with that sort of attitude?

Let's focus on the positive shall we?

[Spoilers after the jump]

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<p>Limbs intertwine during a 'Survivor: Tocantins' reward challenge</p>

Limbs intertwine during a 'Survivor: Tocantins' reward challenge

Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: Tocantins' Week Five -'You're Gonna Want That Tooth'

Spencer comes out, JT cracks a tooth and Taj tries to blow the Exile Alliance

It's time for Thursday (March 12) night's "Survivor: Tocantins."

Pre-credit sequence. Taj has an itch that only Stephen can scratch. Literally. He's just glad to be of use and jokes (we think?), "I've never brought such pleasure to a woman before." Taj explains that she only wrote Joe's name down because she didn't want to vote for Sandy. Really, she's focused on finding the Idol to keep the Exile Sand Dune Alliance in place. In no time flat, she and Stephen lift up the Tree-Mail Man's skirt and they find the Idol. "Everything is complete now," she says. "I just love it when a perfect plan comes together. It's so much fun!" She gives the Idol to Stephen for safe-keeping, but how safe is he keeping it? "Theoretically and ostensibly, it is mine," he declares. "I'm the one wearing the Idol around my neck."

[Full recap after the break...]

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<p>Fo of 'America's Next Top Model,' pre-makeover</p>

Fo of 'America's Next Top Model,' pre-makeover

Credit: Frank Ockenfels/The CW

Recap: 'America's Next Top Model' Cycle 12 Makeover Week

It's Makeover Week on 'America's Next Top Model' and guess which girl bawled over her poor butchered hair

You’d think that after 11 cycles, the top model candidates would know the routine by now: At least one girl always, always gets her hair massacred during the makeover episode, and Tyra always, always beats down said girl during panel, and threatens to send her home.

And yet, every single season, we get some mannequin wannabe wailing and gnashing her teeth and loosing her pistachio-sized mind when the glam squad comes around with the snippers. Did all 13 contestants grow up in yurts?

I’ll let you guess which twiggy stick turns on the waterworks while I begin the recap of Wednesday (March 11) night's "America's Next Top Model."

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