“Seacrest, the show must go on.”
–Ryan Seacrest, minutes before midnight in New York, recounting the classic showbiz-ism that Dick Clark used to say to him
To usher in 2013, Ryan Seacrest took the helm on ABC’s New Year’s Eve broadcast. Seacrest was the pre-determined heir, having hosted alongside Clark since 2005. While this was the first New Year’s Rockin’ Eve without Clark, who died in April, the longtime host was everywhere – even in the confetti (seriously, people wrote tributes to Clark that were printed on pieces of the confetti that was dumped on Times Square). Other things happened, sure. Jenny McCarthy lost her voice around 10:15pm. Fergie’s hair transitioned from Veronica Lake to Bamm-Bamm as the evening went on. Seacrest almost got pummeled with the balloons everyone was holding. Carly Rae Jepsen performed in Times Square. Justin Bieber performed in Los Angeles. MC Hammer even showed up out of nowhere. But there was no question: the evening belonged to Dick Clark.
And for that reason, many of the best parts of the broadcast were in the two-hour tribute to Dick Clark, when Jenny McCarthy and Fergie hosted a countdown of the top 30 moments in American Bandstand history, interspersed with live performances, celebrity tributes, and great moments from Rockin’ Eve history.
Here are our five favorite moments from the broadcast – with an honorable mention for Fergie’s terrifying nails.
5. Do Parents Have Anything to Worry About? In the clips shown during the two-hour tribute, it was clear that Clark seemed to always want to ask the artists performing on American Bandstand something along the lines of “what are the kids up to?” The responses were of course as varied as the artists, but the funniest was Jefferson Airplane who performed “Somebody to Love” on the show in 1967. “Older people worry,” Clark said to the band. “They see the way you dress. They hear your music. They don’t understand it. Do parents have anything to worry about?” The response from the band: “I think so.”
4. We’ll always have the weather. ABC strung together a series of clips of Clark from various New Year’s Rockin’ Eves where he’s talking about the weather, making one of the more amusing montages of the evening. Even though “it’s really cold” was the general theme (it’s December 31 in New York for goodness sakes), Clark seemed to treat each year as its own fascinating case study. Only a great host can simultaneously convey that he’s actually experiencing the weather with the thousands of people in Times Square, while also winking at the folks tuning in from the warmth of their homes. Seacrest had his own weather moment during the broadcast as well, talking about the coldest New Year’s Eve on record which was “back before space age thermal underwear.” He did not, however, specify whether or not he was wearing space age thermal underwear.
3. Oprah embarrasses Dick Clark/herself. In 1987 when Clark appeared on Oprah, two girls in the audience told Clark that as single girls they wanted to thank him for “being our date on New Year’s Eve.” This inspired Oprah to tell her own story about watching Clark. “I remember in all my years in Baltimore, you turn Dick on to help you through the night. You really do, you turn Dick on,” she said. Moments later she covered her head in horror, realizing what she’d just said. She tried to explain further, but Clark jumped in and assured her that “there’s no way to get out of this.” He added coyly, “you turn Dick on, that’s what you do.”
2. A few words from Will.i.am and Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Let’s just say there weren’t a lack of tributes to Clark throughout the evening. Even the Backstreet Boys all found themselves in the same place to say thank you to Clark. But still, two stood out: Will.i.am’s and Mayor Bloomberg’s. The mayor said to Seacrest, “There are certain people that are bigger than life. Most people come and go. Dick Clark was here for generations. What’s an American? Dick Clark was a real American. He loved the country, loved people, and people loved him.” And then in a pre-taped segment, Will.i.am said that he grew up watching American Bandstand and the American Music Awards and thanked Clark for providing such invaluable platforms for his community of artists.
1. Taylor Swift, doing her whole Taylor Swift thing really well. Even though PSY definitely inspired some palpable energy in the audience, when it comes to showmanship, Swift owned the evening. Performing in the middle of Times Square only 20 minutes before midnight, Swift, decked in a sparkly red motorcycle-style jacket and tight black leather pants, powered through “I Knew You Were Trouble” and “We Are Never Getting Back Together.” It was effortless and totally captivating, making Swift was the perfect Times Square headliner to see in the new year.