Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Kennedy Center Honors Forgets the Main Tie In Between Dionne Warwick and Barry Gibb, Runs Gamut from Classy to Cheesy

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The latest Kennedy Center Honors was on CBS last night. It ran the gamut from classy (Billy Crystal, most of the Renee Fleming segment) to cheesy like Velveeta (Dove Cameron screeching, random people singing Bee Gees songs badly).

The producers knew their strongest stuff was showcasing Dionne Warwick, so they led with it. But they forgot or didn’t know that Dionne had a direct tie in with Barry Gibb. She had a massive hit in 1979 with his song, “Heartbreaker.” It would have been so easy to mention it, even better to have someone sing it. It was a glaring missed opportunity. At least we got Cynthia Erivo and Gladys Knight in boffo performances.

Some of the best things: the whole Billy Crystal segment. Bravo! You really felt like the writers understood the subject. Meg Ryan was shining, Rob Reiner has turned into an eminence grise. Whoopi Goldberg citing the absence of Robin Williams was emotional.

The worst stuff came first in the Renee Fleming segment. Who is Dove Cameron? She was painful singing for Fleming. Ditto Tituss Burgess. Why couldn’t the show get a real singer like Norm Lewis? No one involved in this thing had any appreciation for opera or Fleming. I give the honoree credit for not looking horrified in close ups.

And then came the Bee Gees segment. I will spend the rest of my life trying to un-hear Michael Buble’s American cheese version of “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?” and Little Big Town wrecking “Lonely Days.” I would have given anything to hear the ubiquitous John Legend on the former, and no one do the latter. That wasn’t a great choice when they had “To Love Somebody” or “Run to Me” or “Emotion.”

What really came out of this is that two presenters last night — Clive Davis and Whoopi Goldberg — deserve KC Honors next year. So does Liza Minnelli. It’s also time to get back to Hollywood — Denzel Washington? Jane Fonda? Let’s do these things now before they’re mocked for being overlooked.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
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