First things first: Mariah Carey handled her business. After last year’s disastrous New Year’s Eve performance, she managed to get through two songs during “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest” on Sunday night without major incident.
If you forgot what happened during her last New Year’s Eve appearance (and who could blame you? It happened on Dec. 31, 2016, which feels like 10 years ago), here’s a refresher: The pop diva finished singing “Auld Lang Syne” and began “Emotions” before stopping, asking her dancers to walk her around, and alternating between attempting to sing a phrase and explaining what was happening. Finally she asked the audience to sing the song. Her team blamed a production issue and technical difficulties, while Dick Clark Productions called any suggestion that it intentionally sabotaged a performance “outrageous” and “absurd.” It was all quite uncomfortable.
Apparently the two camps smoothed things over and Carey booked the gig to do it again in 2017. As the music kicked in, she said, “Let’s try this again.” Watching her sing the first line of “Visions of Love” was like watching a trapeze artist walk a tightrope between two tall buildings: I trust you, but you don’t have to do this.
She did it anyway. Who among us would do the same: return to the scene of the crime to repeat the circumstances of our most visible flop? If Carey’s 2016 disaster was a fitting end to that year, her 2017 redemption showed us how to “let the past die” (h/t “The Last Jedi”).
But before we got to move on to 2018, viewers watching New Year’s Eve celebrations at home were treated to some weird, wonderful and cringe-worthy moments. Let’s review the lows and highs (and some literal highs).
The Maria Menounos wedding
The TV host married Keven Undergaro, her boyfriend of two decades, during the live New Year’s Eve broadcast on Fox. She showed up in a lace Pronovias dress, while host/officiant Steve Harvey showed up looking like the Marshmallow Man. (And in white! To someone else’s wedding!)
Undergaro declared his undying love, but first made some jokes about how he was scared to do this. “I was afraid of the big ‘c’ word.” Oh God. “Commitment.” Phew. “And of course, mmmmm-marriage.” Ha ha.
The ceremony was emotional, though. Menounos’s mother is battling brain cancer, and the host recently had a tumor of her own removed. “My parents are here, and honestly, it’s a dream come true knowing that they got to see this,” Menounos said to Undergaro, as she broke into tears. “I love you so much.”
Mariah Carey: “Oh, it’s a disaster”
Carey’s mostly smooth performance wasn’t without a little drama.
After she finished “Visions of Love,” Carey had a simple request, and not an unreasonable one given the temperature in Times Square on New Year’s Eve was the lowest in decades.
“I just want to take a sip of tea, if they’ll let me,” she said.
“They told me there would be tea,” she continued. “Oh, it’s a disaster.”
“Okay, we’ll just have to rough it,” she said, with soothing confidence. “I’m going to be just like everyone else with no hot tea!”
And then she dedicated “Hero” as a show of appreciation “for everyone that speaks out for justice and tries to make the world a better place, a more united planet.” Carey made it through the song — clearly performed live and with the help of a backing choir — with no major mix-ups. (And those watching the wedding on Fox were able to hear Carey’s tea request in the background as Menounos was declaring her love to Undergaro).
And yes, she finally got tea:
Andy and Anderson
Bravo late-night host Andy Cohen joined Anderson Cooper on CNN’s New Year’s Eve celebration (replacing Kathy Griffin, as you recall). A lot of weird and awkward stuff happened. Like a guy in a pot-party bus smoking from a gas-mask bong live on-air (from Denver, where it’s legal, but still?). And a remote interview with Dave Chappelle and John Mayer beset by time delays.
In a different interview, Cohen asked Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman about her viral Oscars clap. The couple rolled their eyes. “I wish that there was more important things to be concerned about or that people were focused on more important things than that sort of clapping,” Kidman answered. “That would be what I would say.”
Don Lemon finds love
Last year, a drunken Don Lemon poured his heart out from a bar in New Orleans. He resolved to find love. This year, Lemon introduced his beau to the world.
Wolf Blitzer “sings” hit songs
Have you ever wanted a serious newsman — the guy you count on to tell you whether a nuclear missile has been tested or whether there’s some new wrinkle in a high-profile FBI probe — to recite the lyrics to “Despacito”? As if he were a spoken-word poet? No? Not at all? Are you frightened? Welcome to your doom: