Hairspray Live Best Moments

Hairspray Live!: Link's Hamilton Quote, Kristin Chenoweth's Stolen Bow and 8 More of the Best/Worst Moments

They sang. They danced. They released enough aerosol into the atmosphere to earn them a stern phone call from Al Gore.

The cast of NBC’s Hairspray Live! did the damn thing during Wednesday’s three-hour telecast, giving America plenty of Twitter fodder — for better (Derek Hough!) or worse (those audio glitches!) — throughout the night.

And while we’ve already waxed poetic about some of our favorite performances — Jennifer Hudson’s “I Know Where I’ve Been” was, as expected, the highlight of the evening — it’s time to get nit-picky.

So, as TVLine relives the evening’s best and worst moments, it’s time to ask the difficult questions: Who was responsible for cutting away from Kristin Chenoweth’s bow? Did Link make a Hamilton reference? And, of course, why didn’t we know that Carolyn Hennesy was a part of this?!

Browse our gallery of key moments — you can click here for direct access — then drop a comment with your own picks below.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Dave says:

    They need to fire the person or persons who made the decision to hire Garrett as Link. He has the look and that’s it. His singing was mediocre (it works for those Teen Beach flicks but not this), dancing was awkward, I think he was ill (he was sniffling and wiping his nose more than once), and above all else… dude simply cannot pull off straight to save his life. He had more chemistry with Corny and Seaweed. I mean, cute as a button and that’s definitely how Link should look but lord, I’ve seen more butch men in a back room in the heart of the meat packing district.

  2. Annabelle says:

    I thought Michael slezak would have written this. No offense, I just miss him on a post idol tvline:(

  3. Something's missing... says:

    Why was Nikki Blonsky left out of the previous-Tracy cameos? She was a great Tracy!

  4. MissMel says:

    I actually loved the cameos by Ricki and Marissa. I thought it was really cool how they came out and wrapped the fabric around Maddie. It was like you would have seen at a coronation or maybe an old school beauty pageant. I kind of viewed it as them passing the title/role onto her. I thought it was a sweet little moment for all three ladies.

  5. Raul J says:

    “Hairspray” was good but “Grease”‘ was much better. “Hairspray” just tried to copy the style of “Grease”, but came up short. Still, the performances were enjoyable, especially Jennifer Hudson.

    • ninergrl6 says:

      Hairspray Live learned a lot from Grease Live, which resulted in a better quality product than we probably would’ve seen otherwise. For that reason I think Hairspray Live was by far the best of the recent NBC musicals. It had the live-theater energy that was lacking in Sound of Music, Peter Pan, and The Wiz. Thanks, Grease Live, for showing everyone how it should be done.

  6. Jill says:

    Those were rather obscure choices for the best moments of the show, but I will say I very much enjoyed Hairspray Live!–at least more than Rocky Horror. Which is admittedly not saying much

  7. Rdub says:

    Enough about “Darrin Criss shoulda played Corney”! Dude couldn’t even pronounce his own name!!!! LOL

  8. Jamie says:

    Ariana Grande was awful. She was clearly uncomfortable acting.

  9. Wordsmith says:

    Regarding why Darren Criss didn’t take a more active role, he just got off a solid month of playing Hedwig at the Pantages in LA, so he wouldn’t have been available for rehearsals and probably is feeling a bit burnt out – I saw the show and let’s just say it’s a miracle that a human being can get through performing that role once, let alone once a night for five weeks.

    • ninergrl6 says:

      I was just about to post the same thing. There’s no way Criss would’ve had sufficient time to rehearse and prepare for a significant role in Hairspray Live coming off his two-month run as Hedwig in San Francisco and then LA.

  10. ninergrl6 says:

    Regarding Hough’s “surprising” vocal talent, he and Mark Ballas released a decent pop/rock album as The Ballas Hough Band years ago, so singing isn’t a new pursuit for him.

    • music_girl says:

      Yes! Thank you! Not sure why tvline is acting so surprised about his singing ability when it’s been well known for years. Pretty sure they may have sung on dwts back in the day as well.

    • Juke says:

      I think he was in some production of Footloose, like maybe London. That’s a much better credit than having a pop/rock band. So, yes, people who are Hough fans should know he can sing. Act, maybe not so much. His dancing was the strength of his Corny Collins take and that’s about it. I don’t know if it was the continuing sound problems or that he just doesn’t know how to enunciate when he’s singing, but I couldn’t understand most of his lyrics and that is a shame when the snarky lyrics are the strength of Hairspray.

  11. LDS says:

    How can you leave out Jennifer Hudson as the best moment?

  12. Ashton says:

    In my opinion,
    Best: Jennifer, Kristin, and surprisingly, Ariana.
    Worst: The guy playing Link

    Overall though I loved it!

  13. Jaime says:

    As NBC musicals go, Hairspray was great. It’s a fun show and it makes you feel good by the end of it. Sure, it was no Grease Live but it was still a fun watch.

  14. Iakovos says:

    I loved JHUD and Hough. Of course, Harvey. And Short and Martin. Chenoweth and Cameron made the villains valued. Overall, good job. But I could have done without the backstage and commentary and other excess. Just give me the show! Hennessy is a dream and can do no wrong! What a delightful cameo!

    • Juke says:

      I agree about the backstage commentary. It took you away from the story and the fun of the show and seemed really extraneous and unnecessary.

  15. Mally says:

    The guy who played Link looked a lot like Matthew Morrison who originated the role in Broadway, so I wonder if that was a big part of his casting.

  16. Roxie says:

    Not even an honorable mention for the Divine Pet Food store with a pink flamingo logo?

  17. Rosie5656 says:

    Whoever was doing the sound should be fired, or at least demoted. Audio was terrible throughout which really hurt the experience.