By Amy Ryan
January 04, 2006 at 12:00 PM EST

Say what you will about Dick Clark’s stroke-impaired performance Saturday night, but his ailment hasn’t affected his showbiz sense of dramatic timing. His 13 months in silent seclusion turned his New Year’s Rockin’ Eve into the coming-out party his publicist predicted it would be, with more than 19 million viewers tuning in. (Those are Desperate Housewives-size numbers.) Whether those millions tuned in to cheer Clark on for his valiant effort or to gawk at how age has finally caught up with the 76-year-old, the numbers don’t say. Viewers and critics gave Clark’s deskbound performance mixed reviews, with some thanking him for giving a public face and voice to stroke victims and others saying he should have bowed out gracefully rather than perform while he’s no longer up to speed. Me, I was rooting for him to excel, especially since it adds to whatever little All About Eve drama he and Ryan Seacrest have going on backstage. What did you think of Clark’s performance, PopWatchers?

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