“So You Think You Can Dance,” “Duets,” “James May’s Man Lab”

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“So You Think You Can Dance”
Thursday 8pm, Fox
Here’s the good news: America’s most artistically exciting dance competition is back. The bad news: due to the show’s ratings descent, it has been cut down to just one episode per week. So once we get to the live voting rounds, there will be no elimination show; couples deemed in danger the week prior will dance for their lives at the start of the next performance show. It’s truly a shame, because the show continues to feature incredible talent (although it’s true that at this point, it’s largely contemporary dancers in the mix, as the hip-hop and ballroom experts have seemingly dried up). This year the finals will feature a Top 18, and look for the all-stars format to kick in again at Top 10. Joining Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy on the judging panel will be guests Debbie Allen (yay!), Tyce Diorio (yay?), Jesse Tyler Ferguson (wearing out his welcome), Lil’ C (boo), and Adam Shankman (tiresome).

“Duets”
Thursday 8pm, ABC
ABC wants in on those massive singing competition ratings, but is taking a slightly different approach to the standard karaoke showdown. In “Duets” the four judges went across the country to listen to and recruit undiscovered singers. They each picked two protégés, and every week instead of sitting behind imposing desks or in giant chairs, they will perform alongside the contestants in front of a live audience. The judges/mentors/singers include original “American Idol” and current pop-chart-topper Kelly Clarkson, soul singer (and scion of Alan Thicke) Robin Thicke, Sugarland vocalist Jennifer Nettles, and forever r’n’b ingénue John Legend, who replaced the originally cast Lionel Richie due to “scheduling conflicts.” Legend has a great voice, but has anyone ever made a grotesquely misshapen clay bust of his head in a music video? No? Then he can take a seat. Anyway, go K-Clar!

“James May’s Man Lab”
Monday 10pm, BBC America
The basic gist of this show is that modern males are a bunch of useless, know-nothing pansies (guilty!), and “Top Gear” host James May is going to show us how the tough guys of the past got it done. Each week May and some British personality you’ve almost certainly never heard of engage in various manly pursuits, like escaping a prison, properly polishing a boot, dueling with sabers, etc. Beware: you may never order a decaffeinated soy latte again. 

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