Clay Aiken on Rosie Live
Rosie O’Donnell’s foray into live variety television was unsuccessful in the ratings, and tied for the the lowest rating in its time slot on Wednesday night with just 5 million watching. Considering how boring it was, that’s not surprising. We have weekly variety shows here in Germany that are much more entertaining in a language I only partially understand. A lot of high end talent joined Rosie on stage, but you had to sit through a bunch of stupid jokes and chit chat to get to the acts. I’d be surprised if 5 million people even watched it to the end.
Opening with a lukewarm monologue in which she attributed her boobs to a Spanx girdle, (they’re really her thighs, yuk yuk!) promised not to talk politics, and joked about her family, O’Donnell was then joined on stage by Liza Minnelli for the first act. The two launched into for a cheesy rendition of “City Lights” in front of flat city scene. It was more high school musical quality than big production variety show. Rosie and Liza kicked around a little and dancers came out behind them, but it was pretty bush league for an opening act on a prime time special.
Boring, plain set design
The set design was plain without many props and only a minimal constructed backdrop. At one point there were big doors on each side of the set through with guests emerged and it all looked low budget and cheap. The musical acts did have decent stage setups, but whenever Rosie was on we were transported back to a plain-looking stage.
Alec Baldwin came on after the break and talked to Rosie for a while, joking that he had to speak into her mike and putting his head on her chest. Conan O’Brien made a cameo holding a pumpkin pie which inevitably ended up in his face.
A few cute kids from Rosie’s “No No Nanette” show tap danced and it was sweet but boring in a school production type of way. It wasn’t until nearly 20 minutes into the show that a decent act came on. The Lombard twins did an energetic tap dance that just couldn’t save this train wreck that relied too much on Rosie talking ad nauseum.
Jane Krakowski did a burlesque style strip tease to show the audience which goodies they were taking home along with plugging the sponsors. It may have thrilled the recipients but it just couldn’t translate to the home viewers and looked like a big commercial.
Clay Aiken and Rosie talk about what they have in common
Clay Aiken came on in full Spamalot costume. He joked with Rosie that they had a lot in common like a love of Broadway, stints on television competitions, and sons named Parker. They then said there was “something big” they had in common that they couldn’t remember. Rosie said “Oh I remember, we’re both Gay-briel Burne fans.” OMG that’s so funny!
Ne-Yo and his dancers performed “Something about her” on a set of lighted stairs with a decent window pane format background. It was a good performance, but it wasn’t until 30 minutes in and wasn’t enough payoff for sitting through Rosie.
After Ne-Yo Nancy Grace broke in with a stupid faux newscast. It was about how Rosie was “rewarded with a primetime variety show” after “months of bad behavior.” Rosie asked that the feed be cut, and Kathy Griffin came on dressed as Nancy Grace and argued with Rosie for a while in an annoying fake southern accent.
Harry Connick Jr. entered wearing a Santa hat about 40 minutes in. All he did was come on stage, talk to Rosie for a minute and sing a quick version of “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas” while standing next to her. He didn’t even sway much. I would have much rather watched a full hour of Connick singing anything.
A dance troupe named Anti-Gravity did a pretty good combination of breakdancing and live performances.
A much thinner-looking Alanis Morrissette sang one of her new songs, “Not as We.” It was a lovely song but was preceded by a super cheesy skit between Rosie dressed as a cop and a short adult woman dressed as a child, who Rosie called “little Sally.” Sally said “this skit is as dead as a Moose at a Sarah Palin picnic.” Indeed.
The concluding segment was another duet unfortunately featuring Rosie with her neighbor from Miami, Gloria Estefan. They did an original Thanksgiving song with some dancing food.
Overall Rosie just dragged down the great acts she had booked by treating the audience to crappy jokes and a lot of talk. No wonder no one watched. Rosie not only showed that she’s not ready for a return to television, she may have doomed the resurgence of the variety show that everyone has been talking about. When you can get better entertainment on a Carnival Cruise, people are just going to flip the channel.