Each year, your better angels might make the same suggestion:
Skip any New Year’s Eve gathering. Your body, brain and bankbook would appreciate it.
And this year, that idea is also being pushed by Dr. Anthony Fauci and other wise souls.Even New York’s mega-event in Times Square (shown here) will be crowd-free. You might actually end up spending Eve in front of the TV set; fortunately, there are plenty of choices:
1) The long-time leader.
Back in 1973, Dick Clark invented his formula: He taped a pretend New Year’s Eve party in California, then stationed himself in Times Square. There, he could show the crowd and the ball-drop, while cutting back to the taped performances.
There have been gradual changes: The show has expanded to consume prime time and beyond … Ryan Seacrest has taken over – first co-hosting, then going solo after Clark’s death … And increased competition has forced the show to add some live Times Square performances.
This year, the public won’t be in there, but Seacrest will. He’ll be joined by Lucy Hale and by Billy Porter – who does a duet with Cyndi Lauper. (She wrote the songs for Broadway’s “Kinky Boots”; he starred and both won Tonys.) Big Freedia hosts the Central Time Zone party from New Orleans.
Also performing in New York will be Jennifer Lopez, Jimmy Allen and Machine Gun Kelly. Ciara hosts the California portion, with Miley Cyrus, Nelly, Brandy, Maluma, Doja Cat, Lewis Capaldi, Saweetie, Megan Thee Stallion and more.
(ABC: 8-11 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. to 2:13 a.m.)
2) The challenger
Carson Daly hosts, joined by comedian Amber Ruffin and dancer-turned-TV personality tWitch.
Since this is NBC, there will be performances by Black Shelton and his fiancee Gwen Stefani, who are half the “Voice” judging pamel. Also perfoprming: Pentatonix, Goo Goo Dolls, Jason DeRulo, Kylie Minogue, Chrloe x Halle, CNCO, AJR and combinations – Bebe Rexha with Doja Cat, Sting with Shirazee and Busta Rhymes with Anderson Paak.
(NBC: 10-11 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.)
3) The challenger II
LeAnn Rimes was 14 when her “Blue” album reached No. 1 on the country chart. Now, 24 years later, she’s just revived her career by winning “The Masked Singer.”
She’ll perform here, with Ken Jeong (a “Masked Singer” judge) and Joel McHale hosting. Other performers include Gloria Estefan and Dr. Elvis Francois, the Mayo Clinic’s “singing surgeon.” Also, there will be “iHeartRadio” clips with John Legend, Green Day, Ava Max and Gabby Barrett,
(Fox: 10-11 p.m., 11:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.)
4) The surprise
We don’t really expect PBS to be part of a confetti-strewn night, but here it is: “United in Song: Celebrating the Resilience of America” lives up to its name.
Much of this is from George Washington’s porch in Mount Vernon, but it cuts to a memorial site for his slaves … and the Kennedy Center … and a cliff overlooking the Shenandoah River..
We hear spectacular voices from pop (Patti LaBelle, Juanes), Broadway (Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell) and classical (Renee Fleming, Soloman Howard, Jamie Barton, Denyce Graves), plus two amazing Joshes (Groban, Bell), Yo-Yo Ma and more. It’s a splendid night.
(PBS: 8-9:30 p.m., repeating 9:30 to 11; check local listings.
5) More music.
If you prefer to stick with pop music – with no intervening opera divas – there’s CW.
Over the next two Thursdays, it reruns “iHeartRadio Music Festival,” including BTS, Alicia Keys, Thomas Rhett, Coldplay and Migos. Seacrest hosts, putting a rerun Ryan against a live one.
(CW: 8-10 p.m.)
6) And more:
– The Fox News Channel has “Who Can Forget: 2020” at 7 p.m. ET and NBC has “Countdown to 2021,” from 8-10 p.m. Also, CNN starts a marathon at 8 p.m. ET, with Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen in New York and others scattered around the globe. Guests will be musical (LaBelle, Groban, Aloe Blacc, Jimmy Buffett, Jon Bon Jovi) and beuond, including Carole Baskin of “Tiger King” fame.
– And if you just want to forget the holiday, CBS has reruns – comedies at 8 p.m., “FBI” at 10. At 9, it has one of the best “Mom” episodes, with Rainn Wilson as a therapist whose own life has crumbled.