The Times Square ball drop is one of the most well-known New Year’s Eve customs, and the entire scene is built around that breath-taking countdown where one year becomes another. As we put the strains of the previous year behind us, the occasion represents a fresh start, a time to sip some champagne, share a kiss, and make some resolutions to be a better person in the upcoming 12 months. “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” named for the renowned TV presenter who oversaw the celebration each year beginning in 1973, is the broadcast that is most closely associated with the ball drop.
To the Archive of American Television, Clark stated: “Being welcomed into people’s festivities is really pleasant. Even though we’re probably just background noise for a lot of folks, there are a ton of people counting down with you when that five minutes to midnight mark arrives.” Since Clark suffered a stroke in 2004 and eventually passed away in 2012, Ryan Seacrest has hosted the celebrations in more recent years.
In contrast to early broadcasts, which tended to be more news- and pre-recorded performance-focused, the show began to feature live performers in the 2000s. As a result, waiting to see who makes mistakes became a new New Year’s tradition. We’ve looked back at some of the most disastrous performances ever below. “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” has become a watch-along event, especially owing to social media.
How One Direction welcomed the band’s worst year
Little did the lads realize when One Direction performed on “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” to ring in 2015 that it would turn out to be the worst year of the band’s all-too-short existence. Zayn Malik would shock the fanbase by announcing that he will be going solo by March of that year. After releasing one last album as a quartet, “Made in the A.M.,” which was released in November, the remaining members of the group would announce in August that they would be taking a protracted break. After then, 1D was done.
However, on New Year’s Eve, they sadly disappointed with their performance of the song “Steal My Girl,” which is a fan favorite. The guys, who are often adored for their silly antics on stage, seemed oddly drowsy. Despite the fact that “Steal My Girl” is frequently cited as one of the band’s tracks that best showcases Malik’s vocals: Malik seemed especially uninterested in what they were playing. When Zayn began reaching notes that can only be heard by dogs, for instance, PopCrush stated, “We knew it was a hit as soon as it was a hit.”
Fans expressed their displeasure with Malik’s rendition of the popular song on social media, especially since he didn’t sing the song’s signature high note. One supporter wrote, “I was soo unhappy… because I couldn’t hear Zayn’s high notes,” followed by the phrase “THEY’RE NECESSARY.”
Cyndi Lauper’s hopes were dashed
Cyndi Lauper was one of the select few artists that performed live in Times Square at the conclusion of 2020 on a sad, COVID-19-restricted version of “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.” Things started to unravel during a duet of her iconic song “Time After Time” with Billy Porter. To ensure she looked her best before continuing, Lauper’s staff stepped on stage, but as the New York Post reported, Lauper was startled by the interruption and uncomfortably said, “I’m being recorded! I’m being recorded!”
As highlighted by NME, her statement before to the song “Hope,” which followed, was at least motivational. According to Lauper, “This has been a year of enormous loss.” “But in my heart, I know that we can get through this if we simply stick together and support one another. I’m hopeful.”
The new song did not work well on television, despite the fact that it may have been a noble attempt in theory to lift the spirits of a people left down after a turbulent year. To put it mildly, Lauper’s performance in a Times Square that had been mostly deserted by the epidemic felt uncomfortable and hollow. A less forgiving response would be to point out that Lauper’s dance steps were so clumsy that a YouTube viewer extended her odd choreography.
Mariah Carey suggested she’d been sabotaged
The most notoriously awful New Year’s Eve performance in history was Mariah Carey’s gaffe in the closing moments of 2016. Instead of just going for it, she spent much of her time wandering around the stage whining because she claimed she couldn’t hear her in-ear monitors. Carey’s interjections, such as “Just let the audience sing” and “Get these monitors on, please!” went viral right after while the backing track for songs like “Emotion” continued to play without being noticed.
A week later, Carey sent out a message. She then suggested that they were deliberately sabotaged, saying, “It’s a pity that we were left in the hands of a production team with technical faults who opted to profit on conditions beyond our control.” She requested that the performance be taken off the West Coast stream, according to her management, but it still broadcast unedited, allowing viewers who hadn’t previously witnessed every embarrassing moment on social media to watch it all. In their own response, Dick Clark Productions refuted the claim that they sought to profit off Carey’s failure: “To imply that DCP…
Mimi’s voice was improved when she returned to the ring in 2018, but she couldn’t help (hilariously) acting like her typical, self-described diva self: In between songs, Carey requested the hot tea she had been promised, then complained that it had not arrived, calling it a “disaster.”
The cold did bother Idina Menzel after all
Maybe no film in 2014 had a stronger hold on culture than “Frozen,” thus it was only right that “Dick Clark’s New Years Rockin’ Eve” welcomed Idina Menzel, who plays Elsa, to their presentation welcoming 2015. Despite being a seasoned Broadway performer used to showcasing her powerful live vocals, Menzel definitely looked to struggle during the visit. Her rendition of the instantly legendary Disney song “Let It Go” was, to put it mildly, subpar. The song’s last chorus is infamous for having several notes that defy gravity that Menzel couldn’t hit, and everything sounded raw rather than the more polished sounds that parents of children who love soundtrack replays were accustomed to hearing.
Time magazine said that Menzel’s social media followers were eager to make fun of the cold, joking that it was the cause of her vocal chord problems in any case. Menzel published an interview extract on Twitter the morning after receiving criticism and presumably getting sick of seeing everyone else online make the same joke we did in the headline of this piece, referring to a phrase where she discussed giving herself room to make errors.
Menzel has remarked, “I am more than the notes I strike. And that’s how I try to live my life, she continued.
Lady Gaga and Mayor Mike Bloomberg kissed
Local girl Lady Gaga, fresh off the triumph of her album “Born this Way,” assisted in bringing in the New Year at Times Square as 2011 gave way to 2012. But her rendition of a mix of songs from that album didn’t garner the most media attention. It wasn’t even her garish, sparkling attire that was evocative of the fabled Times Square Ball‘s crystal decorations. Instead, as the ball dropped at midnight, while Gaga’s face was concealed by a massive, round, jeweled mask, fans couldn’t stop talking about an awkward kiss that was planted on her lips by then-Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
Following that, Gaga tweeted in the early hours of a brand-new year in New York, “Even now, I struggle to adequately express how tonight felt. a form of lyrical insanity. a reality check. I briefly remember a leather person riding the metro.” Whatever that implies, I guess.
Mayor Bloomberg, however, was unable to evade reporter inquiries over the kiss. “Lady Gaga is quite endearing. Having fun “At a news conference, he stated (according to the Daily Mail). Even Bloomberg’s longtime partner Diana Taylor, who was watching from a distance as the billionaire mayor placed a kiss on the pop icon, was forced to take responsibility for the act. Taylor reportedly told reporters, “He always asks for forgiveness, never permission,” according to New York Magazine.
Taylor Swift rang in an awkward 2009
Taylor Swift made an early appearance on “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin Eve” to perform a medley of songs, the most of which were selected from her second album “Fearless.” Although she has improved greatly as a singer over the past fifteen years or so, the NYE performance was undoubtedly not her greatest vocally. The medley was also one of the last occasions she gave a live performance of the song “Picture to Burn” from her debut album; for the broadcast, she changed the song’s original lyrics, which talked about convincing your ex that they were homosexual on purpose. Swift subsequently said of the lyrics that didn’t hold up over time, “Now, the way that I would express it and the way that I would feel that type of grief is much different.” The 2000s, ah.
The true humiliation, though, came later, when Swift joined other famous people on stage to witness the ball drop. featuring Joe Jonas, a recent ex-boyfriend. The two avoided looking at each other, maybe reflecting on the fact that Jonas had just broken up with her in a notoriously brief phone call. E! “The most awful New Year’s Eve TV moment of all time,” someone afterwards referred to it as.
Years later, Swift made a comeback to the event and gave another performance. then she slipped and tumbled down the steps. Thankfully, the embarrassing incident wasn’t broadcast on television for the entire world to wince about like it had been a few years before, but rather was only caught on a fan’s backstage mobile phone video.
Jenny McCarthy, generally speaking
Jenny McCarthy, host of “The Masked Singer” and well-known anti-vaxxer, joined the group at “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” in 2010. Ryan Seacrest, Jenny’s co-host, said in a statement announcing her new employment, “I was reminded how excellent Jenny is at live broadcasting when she recently stopped by my radio program. That day, with Dick’s approval, I offered her to join us in Times Square!” (via MTV News).
McCarthy contributed to the event and delivered some of the most cherished and embarrassing moments of the yearly broadcast, frequently reporting from among the throng in Times Square. McCarthy kissed a “super attractive man” in the crowd in the early moments of 2011, but People later revealed that he was really her boyfriend at the time. In 2013, McCarthy performed an impromptu twerk session on a few unaware NYPD officers while donning a huge hat. The officers alternately exhibited bewilderment and confusion. McCarthy used to pick a different man at random every year to kiss at midnight.
McCarthy chose to spend the vacation with her family rather than going back to see the birth of 2020. She told Seacrest (via People) that her decade on the program had been “a beautiful experience” and added, “I’m going to be so delighted watching you from my sofa.”
Macklemore’s poncho didn’t age well
Because they act as a neat little time capsule of what was popular at the time, previous “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” appearances might be intriguing to look back on. Consider Hilary Duff’s oversized belt and cheery beret from her NYE performance of “Come Clean” in 2006, or Fergie’s complete persona from her “London Bridge” performance the year after.
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ performance of the novelty tune “Thrift Shop,” which utterly dominated the radios in 2013, is a more contemporary example of a performance that has nevertheless rapidly deteriorated into cringe-dom. Their performance at “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” was an unusual way to end that year and ring in the new one since Macklemore sounded out of breath and out of sync with the song and looked weird in a poncho that was probably a thrift store find.
One admirer wrote, “Macklemore looks like a Diced Watermelon in his poncho rn.” Another smash, “Can’t Hold Us,” saw the removal of the garment, but it was difficult to escape the feeling that we were seeing something so ephemeral that it seemed strange.
Britney Spears had gum in her mouth
It’s preferable that not all “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” artists perform live in Times Square since bigger stages and better production values may be achieved using pre-recorded songs that are streamed in from elsewhere. Late-December temperatures can also make for challenging circumstances. At least, that’s what was undoubtedly hoped when Britney Spears was invited to perform live from her Las Vegas residency, “Piece of Me,” which according to an original press release had “the largest indoor immersive stage presentations in the world” (via The Hollywood Reporter).
Prior to that, the situation appeared to be improving; the singer tweeted, “Showtime will soon arrive! I simply want to express my gratitude to the #PieceOfMe cast and crew, Las Vegas, and all of the supporters that showed up to sing, dance, and party!” (NME observed that her performances of “Toxic” and “Work B***h” also marked the closing night of “Piece of Me,” making them more than merely the year’s first broadcast performances.) Sadly, despite the fact that she has starred in a number of great television moments, the segment was memorable for all the wrong reasons.
Fans observed Spears’ signature lip-syncing was evident, and owing to a particularly revealing camera angle, they also saw that she was still chewing bright-green gum while she sang. “Oops,” as they say.
Jennifer Lopez sang an Aerosmith song
Jennifer Lopez stormed the “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” stage as 2009 turned into 2010 for a medley of songs that featured classic classics like “Waiting for Tonight” and “Let’s Get Loud,” as well as a, shall we say, less-iconic tune called “Louboutins.” Her performance on New Year’s Eve was, by most accounts, a tremendous success, despite the fact that she had made news a few months before for collapsing during the American Music Awards.
Jenny from the Block made a comeback to the “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” stage in 2020 for another medley that served as a convenient JLo Beauty brand advertising. Sadly, this time around, the reviews weren’t as positive. How y’all feeling, she enquired after performing “In the Morning,” her 2020 single? ! Due to the COVID-19 epidemic, Times Square was sadly empty, and the ensuing applause was depressing. According to PopCulture, she then launched into a speech in which she presented a subdued rendition of the often bouncy “Waiting for Tonight” as a motivational song, merging it into a cover of Aerosmith’s “Dream On.” Many people believed that this didn’t fit her voice at all. A Steven Tyler scream is not really in the multi-wheelhouse, hyphenate’s despite the fact that she excels at many things. Finally, when the medley came to a close with “Dance Again,” JLo slid directly into the camera, which seemed uncomfortable in the absence of the enthusiastic audience response one might have anticipated from such a stunt.
But 2021 would be JLo’s year, even bringing about a reconciliation with her ex-boyfriend Ben Affleck.