Where would “American Idol” (7 p.m., Fox) be without platitudes and hyperbole? Last week, Randy Jackson called Joshua Ledet one of the best “Idol” performers ever. Not to be outdone, Jennifer Lopez anointed him the greatest singing talent of the past half-century! And Steven Tyler, doing his best impression of a doddering, eccentric uncle in the attic, could only nod in agreement.
For Ledet, the overpraise served only to remind “Idol” watchers that the aura of superiority and inevitability can be the kiss of death. The show’s voters have often punished talent too good to win “Idol.” If you don’t believe me, ask Adam Lambert, Chris Daughtry or Jennifer Hudson.
• Like “The Big Chill,” the drama “White Heat” (9 p.m., BBC America) uses the death of a friend to reacquaint a circle of friends that formed in the turbulent 1960s.
But unlike that “feel good” movie, “Heat” is not a funeral for a sensibility. It’s a story spanning five decades and a multitude of characters, set against the youthful idealism, union strife and IRA violence of the 1970s, Margaret Thatcher’s strident leadership of the 1980s, Tony Blair’s era of affluence during the late 1990s and 2000s and the age of global terror that brings us to the present day.
The action bounces back and forth in time, mixing period footage with scenes of unfolding melodrama.
• In case you hadn’t noticed, NBC axed the largely unwatched “Best Friends Forever.” In its place, look for an hour of pranks on “Betty White’s Off Their Rockers” (7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.).
Tonight’s other highlights
• Brick finds a bad luck charm on “The Middle” (7 p.m., ABC).
• “Nature” (7 p.m., PBS, check local listings) follows two white lion cubs in South Africa during their vulnerable, formative years.
• A challenging trip to Disneyland on “Modern Family” (8 p.m., ABC).
• “NOVA” (8 p.m., PBS) examines killer tornadoes.
• Amanda/Emily’s 10-year plan revealed on “Revenge” (9 p.m., ABC).