A TV Show We've Already Set the TiVo For
THE SHOW: Miss America Live!
SHE'S A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY AND A LITTLE BIT ROCK AND ROLL: Once upon a time, before there was a channel for everything, including openheart surgery, the Miss America pageant was a big deal. Those days officially ended in 2004, when ABC bumped the pageant from its airways. And though CMT has aired the pageant for the past two years, Miss America was as ill-fitting on the country channel as are a pair of Kenny Chesney's jeans. That's where TLC comes in. The network that makes a living telling you What Not to Wear, among other things, has inked a long-term deal with the event that gives a crown to a woman who is not young enough to be Miss Teen America and not married enough to be Mrs. America.
REAL DRAMA: What we're really excited about isn't the pageant itself. That's just the finale, after all, to the monthlong reality show TLC is producing. It features, in TLC's words, "52 of the country's smartest and most beautiful women as they prepare for a competition they've dreamed of their entire lives." So it'll be like Top Chef, only without the knives. Maybe.
WATCH FOR IT: The show begins in January, and the competition concludes with the January 26 telecast on TLC.
A CD We're Pretty Sure Will Rock and/or Roll
THE CD: Jukebox
THE SINGER: Cat Power
YOU'VE HEARD OF HER, EVEN IF YOU HAVEN'T HEARD OF HER: Surely it's not by design, but Cat Power's career seems to have been scripted for a VH1 special. The plot? Musician plays inventive, original music culled from troubled past; develops following; becomes more troubled in the process; puts on wacky, rambling stage shows; sinks deeper; goes to rehab; emerges as an even better performer, blending a sparse style with a beautifully mournful voice that makes critics swoon; and so on.
THE SONG REMAINS THE SAME, ALTHOUGH DIFFERENT: Given that her career has played out in such an unfortunately traditional way, it's only appropriate that Power pays tribute to other troubled or tragic musical legends - Bob Dylan, for one - by releasing her second album of cover songs. Her first, titled The Covers Record (what else?), came out in 2000 and included songs from Dylan, Lou Reed, and the Rolling Stones. On the new album, songs from Hank Williams and James Brown get Power's unique, slimmed-down, acoustical, and somber treatment. And that, oddly, makes us very, very happy.
CHECK THE RECORD STORES: In January