Who did you ring in the New Year with last night? Dick Clark and Ryan Seacrest on ABC? Carson Daly on NBC? Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin on CNN? Or are you a Time Warner Cable subscriber? In that case, you counted down to the minutes to midnight to see if your Fox affiliate would go blank (it didn’t, as negotiations over broadcast fees stretched beyond the 12 a.m. deadline). Here at EW.com, we watched all the festivities, so you could go to bed early. Below, a morning-after recap:
Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest (ABC): Seacrest spent a lot of the night pointing out that his new correspondent, Melissa Rycroft, had been infamously dumped on the 13th season of The Bachelor (“Thanks for continually bringing that up,” Rycroft said with a thin smile), but for the most part ABC’s New Year’s coverage was a good-spirited and youthful, if sometimes awkward, affair. Rock band Daughtry, looking impeccably groomed, and Jennifer Lopez, sporting a spangly tan catsuit, performed in Times Square. With two minutes to go before the new year, Lopez’s hair stylist tried to fix the pop star’s hair, apparently unaware that he was live on camera. After the ball dropped, Daughtry, Seacrest, J. Lo, and her hubby, Marc Anthony, cut to a pre-taped show in Las Vegas hosted by Fergie, who performed with the Black Eyed Peas.
New Year’s Eve with Carson Daly (NBC): Talking in a sing-song drone that made him sound like he was working through his shopping list, Daly didn’t so much as preside over NBC’s New Year’s coverage as he killed time between multiple musical performances. Green Day rocked outside the Staples Center in Los Angeles, and Rihanna bared her midriff in freezing cold rain in Rockefeller Center, joined at one point by Jay-Z in a much more sensible long black coat for “Run This Town Tonight.” Occasionally, Daly chatted up journalists from Newsweek and Rolling Stone about the past year and decade, or threw to correspondents Natalie Morales and Alison Stewart working the Times Square crowd. At one point, while speaking with a decorated soldier, Daly said, “You know, I’m a big fan of the troops.”
New Year’s Eve with Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin (CNN): Reuniting for a third Times Square ball drop, the unlikely but strangely watchable duo of Griffin and Cooper (or “Andy,” as Griffin calls him) once again turned CNN into the Comedy News Network of New Year’s Eve 2010. Griffin’s manic, barbed patter kept the straitlaced Cooper struggling to maintain some semblance of I’ve-reported-from-Afghanistan newsman decorum between fits of giggles. Whatever you think of Griffin, it’s always refreshing to see someone pop CNN’s bubble of self-seriousness. For an added bonus, Griffin—who last year let slip the now-infamous “knock a bag of d—s out of your mouth” line to a heckler—dropped the F-bomb while pretending to fumble over the first name of Falcon Heene, a.k.a. “Balloon Boy.” (PopWatcher Annie Barrett loved the K-Andy pairing; if you watched, let us know what you thought.)
MTV’s Top 9 of 09 (MTV): It says something about the state of MTV when CNN’s New Year’s show has a far higher quotient of outrageousness than the once-cutting-edge music network’s telecast. Hosted by Adrienne Bailon and the stars of Jersey Shore, all of them struggling to look fabulous in the wet, miserable New York weather, the Top 9 of 09—counting down the cultural moments from 2009 “that made you tweet your fingers until they went numb”—was a dull and dreary affair. If anyone was watching this slapped-together countdown, which combined mindless chitchat with canned recaps of overplayed media stories like the Tiger Woods scandal, the death of Michael Jackson, and the Twilight phenomenon, they damn sure weren’t tweeting their fingers numb about it.
Billboard New Year’s Eve (Fox): While most everyone else was blowing noise-makers in Times Square, Carmen Electra hosted a musical bash at the “lagoon” at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, with performances by Kris Allen, Allison Iraheta, and Sean Kingston. They didn’t drop a ball off a building, but they did name Kayne West and Taylor Swift as Billboard’s male and female artists of the year. Britney Spears popped in, as well, with a previously recorded performance of “I’m a Slave 4 U” in front of the fountains at the Bellagio. What, you were expecting “Auld Lang Syne”?