Televisualist: Sing, Sing, Sing (Off)
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Televisualist: Sing, Sing, Sing (Off)

Each week, Torontoist examines the upcoming TV listings and makes note of programs that are entertaining, informative, and of quality. Or, alternately, none of those. The result: Televisualist.

Nick Lachey with the best singers a cappella has to offer. Illustration by Brett Lamb/Torontoist.


Hey, do you remember Clash of the Choirs? It aired last year for an entire week and it was a reality show about choirs, ahem, clashing. It also flopped pretty badly, so NBC, much like Sisyphus rolling his rock up the hill, hasn’t given up on the general idea! This time, it’s The Sing-Off, and instead of celebrity-led choirs it’s a weeklong American Idol for a cappella groups, because NBC saw that Glee was doing kind of well and thought “we can do that! For less money!” And get this: it’s hosted by Nick Lachey and the judges are Ben Folds, one of the dudes from Boyz II Men (no, the other one), and the girl who won Popstars and then joined the Pussycat Dolls. That is like the most random assortment of celebrities ever. The only way it could be more random is if a Gabor sister showed up. (8 p.m.)
While we’re having you remember things, do you remember Jennifer Hudson? Was on American Idol and then won an Oscar for Dreamgirls and then won a Grammy for being a singer? Well, she has her very own holiday special! I wonder if she’ll sing. Do you think she’ll sing? I hope she sings. Also featuring: Michael Bublé. I wonder if he’ll sing! (ABC, 8 p.m.)


More The Sing-Off! Some of the groups competing: Maxx Factor (four middle-aged moms from Baltimore who rock their pantsuits!), Solo (unofficial motto: “Why Yes, There Are Black People In Nebraska”), the Beelzebubs (the token “annoying a cappella group from an expensive Northeastern university” contestants), and the SoCals (who describe themselves as “the premier a cappella group from the University of Southern California,” which probably pisses off all the other a cappella groups that go there). (NBC, 8 p.m.)
So You Think You Can Dance‘s strange fall season concludes early, with six dancers in the final episode rather than four, for reasons that escape us. Things we have learned: the format the show had previously was pretty good and messing with it was a bad idea. Ditto the stage, which is terrible. Adam Shankman is better than either Mary Murphy or Nigel Lythgoe as a permanent judge, but isn’t better than a rotating third spot for guest judges. Paula Abdul thankfully seems to have better things to do than appear on the show. And no matter how much the judges might try, they can’t convince everybody that a bad dancer (cough cough Mollee cough wheeze) is a good dancer just by saying it over and over and over again. (Fox, 8 p.m.)
Gordon Ramsay has Cookalong Live, which basically appears to be your standard cooking show except done live. Presumably he will spend the entire hour trying not to swear. We hope he fails. (Global, 9 p.m.)


The Sing-Off continues with “Songs of Hope,” which means God, God, and more God! This episode is the shout-out to the six people who watched Clash of the Choirs! (NBC, 8 p.m.)
Saturday Night Live Presents: A Very Gilly Christmas is the same old two hours of SNL sketches with a few new Kristen Wiig sketches tacked on here and there as bookends. Still, you do get to see the Steve Martin “if I had one Christmas wish” bit, and that is one of the best SNL bits ever. Besides, with so many great SNL holiday sketches, how many bad ones can they air? Answer: probably about half the show. (Global, 9 p.m.)


Still more The Sing-Off! Hey, remember when everybody thought Jessica Simpson was the big deal in the Newlyweds relationship? Well, we guess Nick Lachey showed her, huh? At least he hasn’t had to go country to keep a dying career alive. (NBC, 8 p.m.)
If you missed out on the Family Guy parody of Star Wars the first hundred times it aired, Global has you covered. Thanks, Global. No, really. (9 p.m.)
Teletoon airs the pretty bad Bah, Humduck!, which is a Looney Tunes Christmas special made less than five years ago. Of course, we could have just said “made after 1960” and it would have meant about the same thing, since the number of Looney Tunes cartoons made since then that are as good as the old ones is, what, maybe four? (8 p.m.)


Somebody wins The Sing-Off! Will it be the bunch of white guys? The middle-aged moms? The six strapping young Puerto Rican men? The other bunch of white guys? Or perhaps the bunch of white guys? (NBC, 8 p.m.)
In the midst of a bunch of relatively uninspiring Christmas fare, CHCH’s new policy of “just air whatever movie is on the top of the pile” results in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, which has aged surprisingly well for a movie as gleefully stupid as it is. Except, in addition to being gleefully stupid, it’s also wickedly clever at the same time. Bill and Ted is the neverending paradox, the Mobius strip of time-travel buddy comedies. (9 p.m.)
The Simpsons rerun of the week: “Marge Be Not Proud,” where Bart gets caught shoplifting a video game and tries to regain his mother’s love. A Christmas special in all but name. “Why do you think I took you to see all those Police Academy movies? For fun? Well I didn’t hear anybody laughing. Did you? Except at that guy who made sound effects. Vroom! Beep! Honk honk! Ha-ha! Where was I? Oh yeah, stay out of my booze.” (Comedy Network, 9 p.m.)

The Weekend

Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey often gets unfairly dismissed when compared to Excellent Adventure, but it’s honestly even smarter than Excellent Adventure is; it riffs brilliantly on not only time travel but Christian concepts of morality and the afterlife, karma, and purpose. And William Sadler absolutely steals the entire damn movie as Death. (CHCH, 9 p.m. Saturday)
Survivor: Samoa comes to its season finale with Russell, the brilliant sociopath, having managed the near-impossible trick of destroying a larger alliance (comprised, to be fair, of mostly very stupid, self-congratulatory schmucks) than his while keeping his original alliance intact. Of course, some of his alliance members seem to have figured out that Russell in the finale means they won’t win, so the endgame promises to be lively and cap off one of the more satisfying seasons of Survivor all around. (Global, 8 p.m. Sunday)