On Sunday night, CBS had a special that celebrated what would have been Frank Sinatra's 100th birthday. It also opened their Grammy coverage. Nominations will be announced on Monday. The Grammys won't be awarded until February 15th. Expect more Grammy related hype on CBS over the next couple of months.
This show had a cavalcade of stars singing Sinatra hits. As with all these kind of programs, some guests are up to the task, some are fair and a few should have stayed home.
The show opened with several artists performing parts of songs. Seth MacFarlane was introduced as the host and spoke about Frank, his music and life. Although Seth was the alleged host, it seemed to me that LL Cool J actually performed that function.
- Zac Brown was the first to perform a full song. I thought he was a strange selection and he looked out of place in a tux. Nevertheless, he did an OK job on The Way You Look Tonight.
- Garth Brooks then did The Lady Is A Tramp in a tux and cowboy hat. He should have stayed home, it was not good.
- Celine Dion did a fair job on All The Way. She was a little over the top and a little off from her vocal best.
- Another country star, Carrie Underwood, sang Come Fly With Me a little too loudly. Remember, Frank was a crooner. Decibels were not the most important quality.
- Host Seth MacFarlane, who is mostly known as a TV and film producer, sang Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered. He did a good job.
- Zac Brown came back, this time in a top hat and with help from Carrie Underwood and Seth on a shortened version of Stars Fell On Alabama.
- One of my favorite contemporary singers, John Legend, did a very good rendition of Young At Heart.
- Another good performance was turned in by Harry Connick, Jr. on Luck Be A Lady. Harry can sound like Frank although this was not his best performance.
- Next up was the highlight of the evening for me. Alicia Keys did a hot, sexy, sultry rendition of I've Got A Crush On You. Full disclosure, Alicia is one of my favorite singers so she could probably sing the phone book, remember those, and I would like it. Still, this was a very good performance.
- The old guy had to follow that. Tony Bennett sang I've Got The World On A String. It was OK, but Tony's age is showing and he is not the premier singer he once was.
- The next slot was some U2 BS from London. Bono and Edge did a song they wrote supposedly for &/or about Frank called Two Shots Of Happy, One Shot Of Sad. Bono was his usual over-important self. I thought this was completely out of character for the show. All the other performances were of songs that Sinatra recorded and mostly used his original arrangements.
- Carrie Underwood came back to sing another too loud version of Someone To Watch Over You. Besides the volume, I thought she had some off tone parts of the song. Some country nasal came through.
- Usher did a very good job on That's Life. Besides sounding good, he had the right stage swagger. He's a talented guy.
- After a brief clip of Frank and Antonio Carlos Jobim doing some Bossa Nova, international star Juanes did a tune with the same beat. Nice, but Juanes is no Sinatra. I don't remember ever seeing Frank do Latin music. Of course he was good at it. Have a look - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0BPRYiZOlig
- The Best Is Yet To Come was done by Adam Levine. He did OK but seemed kind of nervous to me.
- A surprisingly good performance was done by Nick Jonas. I never did catch what the song was. It was much higher than Frank ever sang, parts close to falsetto. Better than I expected.
- Trisha Yearwood, Garth Brook's better half, did a much better job than hubby. She did a decent version of I'll Be Seeing You.
- Seth MacFarlane came back to do another good job on One For My Baby. He did it from a bar stool with a drink. He captured the mood of the song although not quite the voice of Sinatra.
- The finale was Lady Gaga in a tuxedo and fedora. She put in a good performance of New York, New York. This tune had the most elaborate set and production. Not surprising for a Gaga performance.
Overall it was an enjoyable show. Besides the above performances, there were pictures and clips from Sinatra's life. It seemed odd that there were so many country artists. None were outstanding and Garth was bad. There are enough good singers around who do standards and jazz.
As the credits rolled, there was a video of Frank singing My Way. Perfect.