HOLLYWOOD—Unfortunately, I’ve tuned out to the Fox series “Empire” most of the season. It just hasn’t been that interesting and it doesn’t have anything to do with the Jussie Smollett scandal. It seems like a similar cycle, the Lyon family loses Empire Records only to regain it and so on. It has become tired to a degree; I want something fresh, fun and slightly different. Now, on the flip side of the coin, I have been glued to “Star.” It just seems like this show gets better with time: riveting characters, unexpected twists, and just drama to salivate over.

This week, “Empire” closed out its fifth season, just as “Star” wrapped up its third season, with plenty of surprises along the way. SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t watched the episodes, stop reading right now. Just a bit of advice “Star” was one of the best season finales I’ve witnessed in years, while “Empire” not so much. “Empire” kicked things off with the will he or won’t he die saga regarding Andre Lyon. He was rushed into the ER and it looked like Andre was literally a goner, but Lucious kept fighting for his son, and it’s a good thing he did because a pulse emerged.

Andre was coming to grips with death approaching and even asked his father, before asking Cookie to help him bid adieu. Both refused and rightfully so, just as it was bittersweet to watch Lucious finally bond with Jeff Kingsley, the son he never knew he had and the son who wanted to take dear ole dad down. Kingsley talked about his childhood, as Lucious threw in his son’s face the importance of his first born; too bad Lucious forgot Kingsley is actually his first born.

Concerned about his mother, Kingsley paid Tracy a visit who was livid to learn her son was bonding with the father who abandoned him. She unleashed a bit of rage and said a few harsh words that would be difficult for any child to endure. Cookie came to grips that her relationship with Lucious was more toxic than she ever expected and after speaking to her sister’s it became clear she wanted to live her life for herself and her kids.

Jeff wanted the truth from Lucious about his love for him. When the top Lyon refused to acknowledge him, Kingsley pulled out a gun and made threats. Lucious tried to diffuse the situation, but before you know it, Kingsley turned the gun on himself. Yeah, that caught me off guard a bit. Lucious wanted to utilize Kingsley’s heart to save Andre, but Tracy was having none of it. It was a riveting scene watching Tracy plead her case, just as Cookie pleaded for this woman to allow her son to live.

After a bit of time, Tracy paid Andre and Cookie a visit and agreed to give Kingsley’s heart to his brother. So all ends well I think. However, what were the writers trying to tease with Andre regaining his consciousness? I swear it felt as if they were saying that Andre’s new flame is pregnant. I’m still livid all this time we thought it was an actual Lyon sitting in that casket, when it was Kingsley all along, and we didn’t really meet this character until this season people.

Looks like Giselle and Becky are moving on from Empire Records to start their own business, just as Lucious was freaking out with the feds getting closer to the truth. As a result he planned for a helicopter to take him and Cookie out of the country, but she wasn’t going anywhere. Hmm, it seems Cookie is officially over Lucious and rightfully so. Let’s turn the focus to “Star” because man was this a whopper of a finale.

Whew, this show just keeps getting BETTER! First off the episode kicked off with Ruby praying as it appeared someone was threatening her life, we would learn later in the episode who, and I’ll be honest it will throw you for a loop. At the start of the episode, the catalyst was the big ASA’s where Take 3 was hoping for a win, as was Bruce and Carlotta.

Carlotta had a lot going on with the revelation that her cousin Rashad is actually her son. Yeah, twisted is an understatement. Take 3 won Best Pop Album, until they actually didn’t which was a poke at that Oscar debacle involving “La La Land” and “Moonlight.” Wow, that crazy chick that nearly killed Alex a few episodes ago, has found a way to escape and had Alex and Derek on her radar. I will admit the music this episode was killer to say the least.

I mean my heartstrings were pulled watching Noah fight for his son in court, as Star dug the dagger into his chest. As much as I love Star sometimes, I hate her. Cassie was thrown for a loop after learning from Xander’s wife that he might not be dead after all. Didn’t see that one coming, just as Derek found himself inebriated to the point he didn’t realize he was being taken advantage of by someone who wasn’t Alex.

Star got a bit of good news from Jackson that Take 3 actually won the Best Pop Album ASA, which Amber originally fixed. He finally broke thru to Star getting her to realize the error of her ways involving Davis, and dare I say these two reunite because they’re great together. The big focus on the episode was Alex and Derek’s wedding which was full of drama. First off, we learned the fate of grandma Ruby who was fatally shot by a group of thugs. Those same thugs hired by Cassie while she was operating her club and working with Xander and who Derek was helping the police take down. It was a gut-wrenching and brutal scene to watch.

Alex and Derek tied the knot, but not before Noah pleaded his case to Star, that crazy chick caused everyone to flip out before Alex decked her, but that was not the end people. Gunfire erupted at the reception and three key characters were shot: Mateo, Angel and Cassie. If you want me to be honest they ALL look like goners. However, that was not the end of the drama.

Things culminated with Star and Noah rushing back to her place to find Jackson knocked unconscious on the floor and Davis missing. Did you get all that because this episode left me reeling and I mean reeling in a big way? So questions we want answered. Where is Xander? Who took Davis? And the biggest of them all who survived the shooting? Guess we’ll have to wait to the fall to get those answers.