Contrived pop loses its fizz

Friday, June 23, 2000

How anemic is contemporary pop music? In three different shows, we get slick corporate hucksterism; blatant, plastic imitation; and, to top it off, a duet with the dead.

ABC trots out a surefire entertainment-promotion gimmick with its second annual "Walt Disney World Summer Jam Concert" (7 p.m., ABC, TV-G). Combining concert footage, the sights and sounds of thousands of squealing pre-teen fans and shameless promotion for its Florida theme parks, tonight's "Jam" features plenty of happy, upbeat moments with former Mouseketeer Christina Aguilera. With the Magic Kingdom as her backdrop, she sings three of her hits, "Genie in a Bottle," "What a Girl Wants" and "I Turn to You." Over at Epcot, Enrique Iglesias performs "Bailamos" and "Be With You." The wordy, and (for Disney World) edgy band, SmashMouth get the loudest squeals of the night with their sound-alike songs "Then the Morning Comes" and "All Star." Destiny's Child and a British boy band BBMak also perform when they are not seen splashing around on rides and promoting Disney vacations as something "hot" for summer.

� The gimmicks continue on "Making the Band" (8:30 p.m., ABC, TV-PG) as the seven finalists gather to hear as Lou announces the five official members of O-Town, the manufactured boy band that has been the subject of this highly contrived "reality" show. As in all such series, there has to be some tension, so the big moment does not arrive until Lou sorts things out between the ever-spatting Jacob and Ikaika. This climactic episode follows a repeat at 8 p.m.

� Not satisfied with an imitation boy band? The real (and I use that term loosely) 'N Sync perform their hit single, "Music of My Heart" on the repeat presentation of "Celine Dion: All the Way" (8 p.m., CBS, TV-G), taped last year at New York's Radio City Music Hall.

Dion performs several of her hits, and shares a medley with Gloria Estefan. Dion also performs a "duet" with a recording of Frank Sinatra, who died in 1998.

Other highlights

� Scheduled on "Dateline" (8 p.m., NBC): What happens when an insurance company decides to challenge a claim? Results of a 15-month investigation.

� Complications arise on a planet of lawyers on "Farscape" (8 p.m., Sci Fi).

� Scheduled on "20/20" (9 p.m., ABC): an interview with Vice President Al Gore and his wife, Tipper.

Series notes

Chicago Cub Sammy Sosa pops in on "Kids Say the Darndest Things" (7 p.m., CBS, TV-G) � Wooed by a mobster's son on "Providence"

(7 p.m., NBC, TV-PG) � Long distance lifesaving on "Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction?" (7 p.m., Fox, TV-PG, S, V) � Protecting big winners on "The Strip" (7 p.m., UPN, TV-PG, D, L, V) � Fancy fumes at Jamie's chauvinism on "The Jamie Foxx Show" (7 p.m., WB, TV-PG, D, L).

Extra-long spaghetti on "Candid Camera" (7:30 p.m., CBS, TV-PG) � On back-to-back episodes of "The Steve Harvey Show" (WB), Grandma shares her opinions (7:30 p.m., TV-PG, D, L), and Regina moves in

(8 p.m., TV-PG, D).

Chuck Woolery hosts "Greed"

(8 p.m., Fox) � Viral terrorism on "Secret Agent Man" (8 p.m., UPN, TV-PG).

Malena and Sheri have a disturbing encounter on "For Your Love" (8:30 p.m., WB, TV-14, D, L) � Pauly Shore guest stars on "Nash Bridges" (9 p.m., CBS, TV-PG, D, V, L) � The gay son of a conservative leader is found slain on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (9 p.m., NBC, TV-14).

Late night

Actor Keenan Ivory Wayans and the Piedmont bird callers are guests on "Late Show With David Letterman" (10:35 p.m., CBS).

.. Jay Leno hosts actors Robert DeNiro and Marlon Wayans, and the group Foo Fighters on "The Tonight Show" (11:35 p.m., NBC).

Bill Maher's guests include musician Nikki Sixx, author Ralph Barger, Christine O'Donnell and Todd Glass on "Politically Incorrect" (12:05 a.m., ABC).

Actor Samuel L. Jackson is scheduled on "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" (12:35 a.m., NBC)... Actress Carmen Electra, actor Michael York and musical guests Bad Religion are booked on "The Late, Late Show With Craig Kilborn" (12:37 a.m., CBS).