Talent shows come and go tonight, and that doesn't even include the season opener of "Glee," which focuses on the arrival of new
talents to replace recent graduates.
"America's Got Talent" (8 p.m., NBC, TV-PG) ends its seventh season and crowns a winner. A pleasant summer distraction, this year's "Talent" will likely be best remembered as the moment Howard Stern became more of a mentor than a satirist and a bad boy. Some thought the raunchy radio host might add a little scandal and sizzle to the proceedings, but "America's Got Talent" appears to have domesticated the King of All Media. TV talent shows have ways of bringing out the Howie Mandel in all of us.
And speaking of comings and goings, this season will be judge Sharon Osbourne's last. Her encouraging den mother role will be difficult to replace. Osbourne got into an argument with NBC this summer when she thought the network had dropped her son, Jack, from the cast of "Stars Earn Stripes" after he announced he was suffering from multiple sclerosis. But it turns out that being banished from that dreadful spectacle was probably a good career move.
So, with two more hours to go, three questions remain: Who will win "America's Got Talent"? Will he or she become a genuine pop star or merely settle for fleeting celebrity, like most winners of "Ameri ca's Next Top Model"? And how will a second
episode of "The X Factor" (8 p.m., Fox, TV-14) affect the ratings for the "America's Got Talent" finale?
---Questions also surround "Glee" (9 p.m., Fox, TV-14) as it enters its fourth season. Will viewers embrace a new batch of musical theater brats? Early on, the high school is abuzz with word of competition to be "the new Rachel," the new star of the glee club that has been propelled into popularity after winning
Nationals. Is "Glee" still "Glee" if the kids aren't social outcasts?
Meanwhile, some of the glee club's recent graduates appear to be paying for last year's good fortune. Rachel is just one talent among many at her fancy New York school, and her dance instructor, Cassandra (guest star Kate Hudson), gives her a gruesome, profane and scatological welcome to the Big Apple. Is Cassandra a creep, or just providing tough love?
Stardust has also fallen from Kurt's life. He shows up in the early going, haunting the halls of his old high school while waiting for his community college semester to begin. Coach Sue lets him know just what she thinks about a pathetic ex-star visiting the scenes of his not-so-distant glory. Some things never change.
The season opener takes a whole 10 minutes for the kids to burst into song, an impromptu arrangement of "Call Me Maybe" that they arrange behind Mr. Schuester's back to determine the new group's lead soloist. They perform seamlessly, without a false step or false note -- precisely the brand of musical theater fantasy that makes "Glee" so irresist-
ible -- to some.
---The network of "I Was Impaled" repeats "I'm Pregnant and ... A Nudist" (8 p.m., Discovery Fitness and Health, TV-PG).
---"Great Perform- ances" (9 p.m., PBS) presents Richard Wagner's "Siegfried."
---New socialites and social climbers arrive on
"The Real Housewives of Miami" (9 p.m., Bravo, TV-14).
Produced by George Lucas, the 1986 live-action adaptation of the Marvel comic book "Howard the Duck" (8:45 p.m., HBO Family) still ranks among the worst movies of all time. Lea Thompson, Jeffrey Jones and Tim Robbins co-star.
---Dallas auditions on "The Next" (9 p.m., CW, TV-PG).
---Louie embarks on a mission on "Louie" (10:30 p.m., FX, TV-MA).
---Steven Ho and the Walkmen appear on "Conan" (11 p.m., TBS).
---Milla Jovovich, Nico Santos, Loni Love and Greg Fitzsimmons are booked on "Chelsea Lately" (11 p.m., E!).
---Jake Gyllenhaal, Sharon Osbourne and Neon Trees appear on "Late Show With David Letter man" (11:35 p.m., CBS, r).
---Jay Leno welcomes
Michelle Obama, Gabrielle Douglas and Norah Jones on "The Tonight Show" (11:35 p.m., NBC, r).
---Terry Bradshaw and Dave Matthews appear on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" (midnight, ABC).
---Emma Watson, Tony Danza and Michael Symon visit "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" (12:35 a.m., NBC).
---Craig Ferguson hosts Katey Sagal and Mike Massimino on "The Late Late Show" (12:35 a.m., CBS).
Kevin McDonough can be reached at kevin.tvguy@g mail.com.