TV finale season draws to a close this week, with The Celebrity Apprentice, Family Guy, American Idol, Dancing With the Stars, Modern Family, Glee, Revenge, and Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt. 23 all wrapping up their seasons, and House closing up shop for good. But as a bunch of doors close, some breezy summer TV programming whirls in through the open window, including the newly results-show-free So You Think You Can Dance on Fox going up against the new singing-with-a-music-star competition Duets on ABC.
Meanwhile, Will Smith returns to the multiplex after a four year absence, and the week kicks off with the music business celebrating its (quantifiably) biggest stars. Enjoy!
SUNDAY, MAY 20
The Billboard Music Awards, ABC, 8 p.m.
Adele, Katy Perry Lady Gaga, Lil Wayne, LMFAO, and Rihanna are all competing for “Top Artist” — and that word “top” is important. Unlike most every other awards show that bases its winners on subjective taste, Billboard’s winners are based on more-or-less measurable metrics, including chart performance, airplay, touring numbers, video streaming, and social media interaction. And if anyone has any hope of making all that funny and interesting, it’s hosts (and Modern Family Emmy winners) Julie Bowen and Ty Burrell. Performers include Justin Bieber, Usher, Kelly Clarkson, Nelly Furtado, and Carrie Underwood.
MONDAY, MAY 21
House series finale and retrospective, Fox, 8 p.m.
Say farewell to Hugh Laurie’s irascible drug addict and brilliant diagnostician, first with an hour-long retrospective on the eight-season show, and then the finale episode, “Everybody Dies,” which includes the return of past docs like Thirteen (Olivia Wilde). With Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) electing to end his cancer treatment last week, will Dr. House be able to confront the mortality of his best/only friend?
TUESDAY, MAY 22
Dancing With the Stars finale, ABC, 9 p.m.
Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas may be walking away with all the high scores, but you better believe William Levy, Cheryl Burke, and William Levy’s arms are gonna give them a run for the mirror ball trophy when it comes to the audience votes. And, hey, if Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd manage to eke out a surprise win, editors and recap writers everywhere will be resisting the urge to use “Heavens to Murgatroyd!” as their headline.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 23
American Idol finale, Fox, 8 p.m.
Not since 2007, when Jordin Sparks triumphed over beat-boxing Blake Lewis, has a woman won American Idol. Could the big-voiced Jessica Sanchez break the streak, or is Phillip Phillips destined to join David Cook, Kris Allen, and Lee DeWyze as the fourth good-looking, guitar-strumming, easy-groove folk-y rocker to win the Idol prize since 2008? Jessica may suffer at times from a surfeit of power without a strong point of view, but she’s already made Idol history as the first contestant to be “saved” that made it all the way to the final. One thing is for certain: Somehow, some way, the judges will manage to slip in a passive-aggressive dig at Hollie Cavanagh.
THURSDAY, MAY 24
Duets, ABC, 8 p.m. vs. So You Think You Can Dance, Fox, 8 p.m.
How do you like your summer reality competition show? Unknown vocal talent singing alongside major music stars Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Nettles (of Sugarland), John Legend, and Robin Thicke? Or unknown dancing talent getting judged by an orange air-raid siren and a British Florence Henderson? I know, it’s a Sophie’s choice, but that’s why the universe invented DVRs.
FRIDAY, MAY 25
Men in Black III premieres
It’s been almost four years since Will Smith last starred in a movie: the 2008 box office disappointment Seven Pounds. It’s been even longer since Will Smith last starred in a movie opposite Tommy Lee Jones: the 2002 critical disappointment Men in Black II. But something tells me the combination of Smith, Jones, new castmate Josh Brolin, and 3-D equals the first movie to beat The Avengers at the box office.
SATURDAY, MAY 26
Kick off the long weekend by checking out some choice TV marathons. There’s something for (almost) everyone, including Everybody Hates Chris on BET, Sex and the City on E!, The Mary Tyler Moore Show on the Hallmark Channel, Adventure Time on Cartoon Network, and Lottery Changed My Life on TLC.
SUNDAY, MAY 27
Game of Thrones, HBO, 9 p.m.
Last season, some fans of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series groused that the climactic battle in the first book were excised from the HBO series due to budget constraints. For the penultimate episode of season 2, however, we’ve been promised that we will actually get to see the major battle (on both land and sea) from the second book, A Clash of Kings. As if to guarantee fan satisfaction, the episode, called “Blackwater,” was penned by Martin himself.