Monday 9pm, NBC
What a bizarre season this has been. Virtually no frontrunners have emerg-ed, like, at all. (By contrast, Randal was clearly earmarked as the victor from the beginning last season.) We’re down to eight and I don’t see an apprentice in any of them. Pretty, pretty Tarek has been played for a fool since the start, Lee is a smarmy suck-up, Michael is an utter disaster, and Sean has a charming British accent but little else. The women fare better, as Allie, Tammy, Roxanne and Char-maine all have potential, but…that’s it. Potential. None of them really bring the goods of, say, a Kendra or a Bill. Still, I’m going to call it for Tammy or Roxanne, the only two who have yet to make massive screw-ups. Talk about damning with faint praise…
Wednesday 8pm, UPN
Why, Ms. Tyra Banks, you sly dog. You really got me good! I had perennial challenge-winner Nnenna picked as Top 2 from the start, and then you sent her increasingly annoying ass home last week in a shocker of an elimination. That leaves the winner of this, the ugliest season of “ANTM” ever, wide open. My gut tells me it will come down to Joanie, the recently de-snaggletoothed preacher’s daughter-cum-cage dancer (love you, baby!) and Danielle, the gap-toothed ghetto girl who dispenses sage advice. I’d be delighted if either one took the tiara. Jade has put in a masterful turn as the requisite house bitch, and Sarah and Furonda have…well, been there. But Joanie and Danielle have great pics and tons of sassy attitude to spare. They’re head and shoulders above these other fashion disasters.
Thursday 8pm, CBS
This 12th installment of the prototypical reality game show will be noted in the record books for two reasons: 1) The introduction of the “exile island,” and hidden immunity idol twists; and 2) the incredibly inept way in which they were used by Terry. The retired pilot could have totally changed the course of the game if he’d had a scintilla of savvy when entering the “tribal merge” phase. Instead, he wasted golden opportunity after golden opportunity, putting him and his little idol in ever-worse odds each week. Shmuck. If I had my druthers, the million bucks would go to Cirie, who smartly dipped under the radar after getting targeted in week 3. But since Internet betting sites have all-but-disclosed the actual winner, I’m not holding my breath.—Eric Rezsnyak