Dave on Demand | Oscar tedium: Partly, it's the too-faint stars

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When Ellen DeGeneres as Oscar host is too hip for the room, who's next? How about Paris Hilton?

Well, it's been a short week. But only because it took until Wednesday for me to emerge from my Oscar-induced coma.

I hear Martin Scorsese had a good night. I wouldn't know. I flatlined about 11:30 after three stultifying hours of behind-the-scenes awards given to people I had never heard of for films I never saw. I think the Academy was experimenting with a tantric approach.

Part of the problem is the overall dimming of Hollywood star power. Our Jimmy Cagney, the guy sitting in the Oscar catbird seat, front and center, is Leonardo DiCaprio, who to me will always be little Luke on Growing Pains, the most irritating sitcom ever made. And this generation's Audrey Hepburn is Gwyneth Paltrow. I'm sorry, but vacuousness should never be mistaken for allure.

You know the Academy Awards have lost their zing when Ellen DeGeneres is too hip for the room. Next year, why not let Paris Hilton host? She's the perfect personality for these times.

Flat notes. I know it's still early, but I'm having a hard time mustering up much enthusiasm for this year's American Idol contestants. From Sabrina to Sundance, I'm just not feeling this clique.

Is it too soon for Idol nostalgia? I'm starting to long for the likes of Nikko Smith, Elliot Yamin or even Scott Savol.

Maybe this year's finalists will grow on me, but so far they merely remind me of the cast of The Goonies (especially Phil Stacey).

Bang bang. What did we learn from Medium this week? That the Phoenix police department is hard-core. Allison (Patricia Arquette) was being menaced in her home by Eric Stoltz, reprising his role as a psychic serial killer (those are the worst kind!). He's using patio furniture to try to bash in the sliding glass door to her patio. Allison runs out the front, just as the SWAT squad sweeps past her. We hear them shout, "Drop the chair!" followed immediately by a fusillade of gunshots. Now that's Old West justice!

Papa's got a brand-new wig. And what did we learn on Lost this week? That when you put a 60-year-old man like Cheech Marin in a long black wig (to play Hurley's wayward dad in a flashback), he still looks like a 60-year-old man.

We also learned that Three Dog Night's "Shambala" sounds great in every setting, whether orchestral or coming out of a cheap car radio.

Next week, how about using something from Procol Harum?

Rocking the house. Speaking of music, this week I had a revelation. I've never been a fan of John Mayer, regarding him as a fey suburban minstrel. I scoffed when Rolling Stone recently pictured him on the cover as a modern "guitar god."

Then I saw him this week on The Late Show, wailing away on "Gravity" on his lovingly distressed Stratocaster. I admit it: I was wrong. Mayer rocks.


Contact TV editor David Hiltbrand at 215-854-4552 or dhiltbrand@phillynews.com. Read his recent work at http://go.philly.com/hiltbrand.