Reality Check: Talented and Tone-Deaf on 'Dance,' 'Bee,' and 'Lyrics'

Talent and entertainment don't always go together. Sure, there are shows that manage to both entertain and showcase gifted performers — such as "So You Think You Can Dance," which only has two more contestants to eliminate before next week's finale.

As the weeks have passed, the So-You-Think-You-Can dancers have managed to continue to do the impossible — whether it's nailing choreography perfectly or making a Paso Doble dance something I'd even want to watch.

But there's no ignoring the new singing shows "The Singing Bee" and "Don't Forget The Lyrics." Both seem to perfectly mesh "Deal or No Deal" with "American Idol" — if "Idol" only featured William Hung and Sanjaya types.

And while we could all collectively mourn the fact that displaying the kind of talent any of us could see somewhere around last call at the local karaoke bar is apparently now our favorite form of entertainment, there's no denying the fact that watching people struggle to come up with song lyrics is oddly mesmerizing.

This week, the Joey Fatone-hosted "Singing Bee" featured a fairly obnoxious girl named Heather who got some undeniably easy songs ("Hard to Handle"? The chorus to "I Just Called to Say I Love You"?) and who pouted like Paula Abdul when she didn't win more than $5,000.

"Don't Forget the Lyrics," which stars Wayne Brady as the glorified karaoke jockey (K.J. to those of us who have spent time in karaoke bars around last call) managed to not only feature more likable contestants, but also seemed to extract a lot more drama out of the same concept.

First there was "honky tonk" Erin, who actually sang well and wanted to send her grandparents on a cruise with her winning money. (I'll give her an "A" for a good TV answer, but can't someone just say they want to pay off a few bills and buy some nice things, rather than always giving the Gandhi-like answer?)

And then we got Eddie, the self-declared "world's worst dancer" who seemed to be from "So You Think You Dance" judge Mary Murphy's school of reality TV (lots of yelling lots of the time) but somehow still managed to come off as charming.

But Eddie was really just a warm-up for his earnest and adorable Uncle Ray, who not only showcased his deep baritone when he joined his nephew for a Johnny Cash song but also shocked us all when he actually sang the words correctly.

And honestly, who needs talent when you've got entertainment like that?

Anna David is a freelance writer. Her novel, "Party Girl," is in stores now.