For reasons I won’t bother to go into at the moment, tonight’s TV viewing has been reality-based. I am quite new to the reality genre — scripted TV is definitely much more up my alley. However, I do also happen to like all that singing and dancing stuff, so when Dance Wars with Bruno and Carrie Anne debuted, I thought it might be something that I could actually enjoy watching with Lucy and Will. And, although I certainly understand that all the good-parenting people say that TV and kids shouldn’t go hand in hand, I do have some quite happy memories of the three of us gathering on the couch with popcorn to watch that week’s new episode. (Or, more specifically, of Will standing on the couch with his fists pumping in the air yelling, “Elisabeth! Elisabeth!” for his favorite performer.) At about the same time, I was introduced to Project Runway. It was, well, fierce, I do have to say.

From there, I moved on to America’s Best Dance Crew. That was surprisingly enjoyable! Another one that was mostly dependable in terms of ok kid viewing, plus it was real dancing. Not ballroom, of course, but Jabberwockeez (or however you spell it) was pretty amazing. Status Quo, Kabba Modern, Great Skate (yes, I’m butchering all these names — sorry), weren’t exactly what you’d call bad.

With those being the first foray into reality territory, I felt ready to venture further. Thus I come to tonight’s DVR line-up. First, Dancing with the Stars. Lucy’s liking it, and there are elements I don’t dislike. For example, I kind of like Sheryl Crow. I definitely like the “All I want to do is have some fun” song. What I could really have done without was the two couples dancing to it with both costumes and dance moves that, essentially, were what the Bada Bing girls do (did) in the Sopranos. I mean, are their budgets tight? Can they not afford costumes that cover more of a woman’s body? Do they not understand that less isn’t always more? And the dance itself — it was actually obscene. Give me the street crews from ABDC any day. Sheryl Crow looked a bit stunned as she sang. I didn’t blame her.

The other disturbing thing was the kids doing the ballroom dancing. Much more appropriately, thank God, but still a bit off-putting to see these eight-year-olds as pseudo-adults. Part of it was the costumes, part of it the way they came off in the interviews. Now, I have a precocious eight-year-old of sorts, so I’m more than happy to allow for some of that; the whole stagey-precocious thing is a bit much for me, though.

The second show of the night was Top Chef – the Elements episode. I haven’t taken to Top Chef in the same way as I had to Project Runway. Maybe it’s the people, maybe it’s the show itself. (Although, I do have this overwhelming urge to cook up some of those fancy dishes. Not that you’d know it from our repertoire of macaroni and cheese and McDonald’s.) Tonight, though, I was actually moved.

[SPOILER ALERT – If you don’t want to know who got eliminated, don’t keep reading until you find it out somewhere else.]

I have to admit, I’ve been kind of annoyed by the Jen/Zoi relationship. Well, not the relationship itself, but the way it gets played into the drama of it all. However — the look on Jen’s face when Zoi was eliminated, the quick embrace and kiss, the hugs all around as everyone said good-bye to Zoi, and then the final Jen/Zoi hug and kiss — clinging but not clingy, incredibly touching… It turned me around, I do have to say. I’m going to miss seeing more of them together.

Well, we’re now into American Idol — my first season of it, if you can believe it — with the bottom three in front of me. I usually don’t watch the ‘elimination’ show (speaking of manufactured drama), although I do tend to like seeing them all perform together. … O.k. As I typed that, there was actual drama. A surprise good-bye. I stand (slightly) corrected. Sorry to see you go, Michael. As, clearly, are many others.

Wait – do they always make them sing the song they lost on? Really?

Oh, good. 30 Rock is up next. Accordingly, they’ve got their own reality thing going on in this ep, and, from the little I’ve seen so far, it is Hi-larious. “We no longer want to hit that,” indeed.