Fox didn't send "Q'Viva! The Chosen" out for review, and there's a reason: In the bigger scheme of things, it's only secondarily a TV show — and a derivative one at that, "Latin America's Got Talent."
The program's larger purpose, clearly, is to provide an extra incentive, an ego stroke, to satisfy its co-host superstar, "American Idol" judge Jennifer Lopez.
Lopez produces the talent showcase with her ex-husband, Marc Anthony. And she told the Los Angeles Times that she thought the show would do perfectly fine, despite its rather grim Saturday timeslot, in a piece that oddly failed to quote — or explain why it didn't quote — a single Fox executive about that scheduling decision.
But who are we kidding? Fox wanted to make Lopez happy by ordering the show. And the network obviously didn't think it would be a ratings barn-burner, so it then sought to mitigate the risk by running it on a night every other network has turned into "Encore Presentation" theater.
Not surprisingly, the ratings were at best tepid: Averaging 2.2 mllion viewers, according to preliminary Nielsen figures, edging only NBC's burnoff of "The Firm" among the broadcast networks.
As for the actual series, I watched Saturday's premiere (thank goodness for TiVo), and seeing Spanish subtitles on the usual reality-TV sob stories didn't qualify as a major creative breakthrough. The one moment that stood out had to do with the couple's relationship, with Anthony leering at some buxom Puerto Rican twins and acting like Lopez was going to be jealous. If it was meant to be cute, it mostly came off as a little weird and creepy.
So like a salsa dancer who isn't particularly thrilled with his or her partner, this is one of those instances where everybody is just going through the motions.
What I don't entirely understand is why people seem skittish about stating the obvious: Dress it up all you want in sequins and glitter, and "Q'Viva" is a vanity project, pure and simple — "Sabado Ego Trip." Just once I'd like to hear someone at Fox say, "Look, J-Lo is very important to us, and this is a passion project for her. Frankly, if she wanted to film her trips to the supermarket or yoga sessions, we'd probably commit to six on the air."
Whatever language you choose to use, in Hollywood, that's life.