Dave Karger
November 23, 2009 AT 07:56 PM EST

The news today that ace composer Marc Shaiman will serve as musical director for the Academy Awards is fascinating, considering show coproducer Adam Shankman told my colleague Nicole Sperling earlier this month that “I don’t want musical numbers unless there’s an organic fit into the show.” Certainly the hiring of Shaiman (who worked with Shankman on Hairspray and has served in this capacity several times before, most recently when Billy Crystal hosted in 2004) indicates that the telecast will have some major musical component. Which is strange considering that unlike Crystal or Hugh Jackman, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin are not known for their singing ability. Perhaps the guys are more comfortable with the idea of a musical number since they’ll have each other to lean on and won’t have to carry the tune by themselves.

But here’s the question: If Steve and Alec want to break the Oscar-telecast mold, should they sing at all? Or is the big-ticket musical number such a beloved part of the Academy Awards that they should put their own spin on it? At least it’s comforting to know that with Shaiman on board, the ditty will be witty—even if, coming out of Martin and Baldwin’s mouths, it doesn’t sound that great.

Image credit: Martin: Pixplanete/PR Photos; Crystal: Kevin Winter/Getty Images; Baldwin: Ben Hider/ Getty Images

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