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Archive for Friday, August 12, 2011

ABC invites us to watch ‘Karaoke’ alone together

August 12, 2011

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I’m a sucker for titles that include “USA” for no apparent reason. So “Karaoke Battle USA” (8 p.m., ABC) is a natural for me. Was the network really thinking that a show hosted and judged by Joey Fatone and Carnie “I’ll Appear in Anything” Wilson might be confused with “Karaoke Battle Belgium”?

Other judges include Joe Levy, a music journalist, and Brian Scott, who, some of you may recall, was the 2009 National Karaoke Champion. Or maybe you don’t.

Now that the nationality of the program is firmly established, it’s safe to assume that “Karaoke Battle USA” is a karaoke contest. Wow, karaoke! A chance to see somebody sing “Ballroom Blitz” and remember all the words!

So it should be interesting to see how many viewers want to watch this alone and presumably sober, in the confines of their living room. Will they enjoy it, or will it only serve to remind them that they are not out with friends on a Friday night hearing, through addled ears, somebody’s suddenly uninhibited girlfriend butchering “I Will Always Love Yoooooooo” to thunderous applause?

• A virtual catalog of guy-sploitation genres, the ultimate fighting/spy thriller/soft porn/shoot-’em-up “Strike Back” (9 p.m., Cinemax) is set in the secret world of anti-terrorism, high-tech gadgetry, neck- snapping violence and frenzied, won’t-call-you-in-the- morning one-night stands.

A coed multinational (OK, U.S. and British) task force has to find a rogue Pakistani terrorist, so it goes out and finds the only living man who knows what he looks like. And wouldn’t you know, he’s Damian Scott (Sullivan Stapleton), a washed-up special forces soldier holed up in a Kuala Lumpur cathouse, making his living in fixed fights and sampling the wares. Let’s just say Damian samples a lot of wares in the show’s first hour. His randy antics only stop, or slow down, so he can shoot himself out of a terror siege modeled on the real life Mumbai hotel massacre. Not sure how many guys will tune out football (see below) to watch this.

Tonight’s other highlights

• A tough day for a rookie on “Flashpoint” (7 p.m., CBS).

• Kansas City hosts Tampa Bay in preseason NFL action (7 p.m., Fox).

• On two episodes of “Friends With Benefits” (NBC): pecking orders (7 p.m.), a forgettable date with an amnesiac (7:30 p.m.). Wow! It took three episodes to get to a plot about amnesia!

• A gang leader’s murder may spark all-out war on “CSI: NY” (8 p.m., CBS).

• Scheduled on “Dateline” (8 p.m., NBC): a tragic fall seems suspicious.

• A shooting touches Danny’s old haunt on “Blue Bloods” (9 p.m., CBS).

• A race against time on “Torchwood” (9 p.m., Starz).

• In-your-face competition on “Whisker Wars” (9:30 p.m., IFC).

• Stand-up musings on “Lavell Crawford: Can a Brother Get Some Love?” (10 p.m., Comedy Central)

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