Oscar Music Highs & Lows: Adele, Bassey, Babs Soar; “Boobs” Homage Doesn’t
To borrow a cue from Superman: Look, it's the Grammys! No, it's the Tonys! No, it's a super-musical edition of the Oscars—which have never focused on music quite as much as they did on Sunday night's gotta-sing, gotta-dance telecast.
It didn't hurt (or did it?) that host Seth MacFarlane is more of a song-and-dance man than most viewers knew, or that the show's producers were responsible for the Chicago movie, or that Dame Shirley Bassey had to represent for Bond in lieu of Sean Connery's apparent unwillingness to show up for a 50th anniversary salute.
Who came out ahead or behind amid all this hoofing and histrionic singing? "Here's to the losers," as MacFarlane and Kristin Chenoweth sang at the end...and, while, we're at it, the night's crooning winners, too:
HIGH Adele bonds with the world, again. "Skyfall" rose once more in the capable hands of the most reliably great live singer among today's pop superstars. Her Connery-era styling was almost as fantastic as her dynamic vocal prowess. Was she or Shirley the better Bond girl of the night? Do we have to pick? The only letdown was MacFarlane's subsequent joke about Rex Reed critiquing her performance...which, yeah, was ostensibly aimed at Rex Reed, but also seemed aimed a little at the adored diva who'd just been on stage, too.
photo: Getty Images
photo: Getty Images
HIGH Shirley Bassey proves there's nothing like a dame. Admit it. You felt a little scared wondering if, at 76, Bassey could still hit the brassy high notes. And besides, there's that legendary story about how she wasn't able to nail down the original recording of "Goldfinger" in the studio until she took her brassiere off. Would she have to do the same now (and provide an illustration of the previously mentioned MacFarlane number) to get the song across? Happily, her lungpower is apparently undiminished with age. Our only complaint: Why couldn't she have done a medley with her arguably even better "Diamonds Are Forever"?