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Dave on Demand: The television week in review

By David Hiltbrand, The Philadelphia Inquirer –

It had to happen sooner or later. The proliferation of amateur singing contests on TV eventually drained our great nation’s pool of vocal talent.

Everyone who could even tow a tune had already auditioned for “The Voice,” “The X Factor” or “American Idol.”

Game over? Ha! Where other people see a concept that has been beaten into the ground through mindless repetition, TV executives see a fountainhead of fresh ideas just waiting to be exploited.

So it is with great pride that Fox announces a pioneering new show, the next step in music competitions: “Perfect Copy.”

Our performers are not singers. They’re tribute artists, using a combination of costuming, makeup, choreography, lip-synching and mimicry to deliver startlingly exact reproductions of their favorite stars.

Here’s a trailer:

Judge Donnie Osmond addresses an overweight, heavily sweating man who is struggling to catch his breath on stage. The man has on a sparkly, high-collared jumpsuit, oversized sunglasses, and a jet-black pompadoured hairpiece that is starting to tilt starboard.

“What’s your name, sir?” asks Osmond.

“Ralph Trask from Owensville, Missouri.”

“Late-era Elvis — I have to give it to you. That was a hunka-hunka burnin’ fun.” Audience laughs.

“Thank ya, thank ya ver’ much,” mumbles Ralph.

“We’ll be seeing more of you, Ralph,” says Osmond.

“Not like this, I hope,” he responds, sidling off stage. “I think I split mah pants.” Audience roars.

Judge Jane Krakowski regards a thin, Jheri-curled young man in a spangled jacket.

“Somebody call the fire department,” she exclaims. “That was hot!” The crowd cheers. The man smiles shyly. “Of the seven Michael Jacksons we’ve seen today, you are the Michaelest,” she says. He waves his gloved hand at her, mock-dismissively.

“Seriously,” she insists. “You made the rest of them look like a bunch of Jermaines. Come down here and give me a hug!” Audience roars.

Judge Ice-T is shaking his head, looking up at a priestess figure with a towering headpiece, long, blonde, braided hair, and a conical bra. “I thought I was actually watching Madonna. I’m not kidding. You could go out and take her place on tour tonight. Wouldn’t nobody know. She don’t sing on stage anyway.” Crowd titters.

“What’s your name, baby?”

“Edgar Hart,” the performer says in a deep voice.

“You’re a dude?” asks a shocked Ice. “Oh, (bleep)!” Audience roars.

—What’s my G.P.A.? During the last episode of “Glee,” the kids went around sharing their dreams. Quinn (Dianna Agron) said hers was to graduate first in her class at Yale University.

A few days later, it hit me: Quinn got into Yale? Has this girl shown the slightest academic promise — or even interest? Extracurriculars: teen mom. Next they’ll be telling us Brittany (Heather Morris) got into M.I.T.

On the other hand, just last season Yale was desperately trying to recruit Serena van der Woodsen (Blake Lively) from “Gossip Girl.”

Quinn and Serena do share one scholastic distinction: The next time either of them cracks a text book, it will be the first. Use Stanford as your safety school, girls.

—Try the shrimp. The funniest line of the week came on this week’s episode of “30 Rock,” which, by the way, featured distinguished guest stars Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci and Patti LuPone (two of whom were amusing).

Liz (Tina Fey) is urging Frank (Judah Friedlander) to come clean.

“Frank, tell your mother the truth,” she says, “because living a lie will eat you up inside — like that parasite I got from eating sushi on Amtrak.”

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