Could Jennifer Lopez have chosen a more perfect song for the NBC Upfront, an event geared towards advertisers, than her new single “Dinero”?
Those lyrics (“I just want the green, want the money, want the cash flow”) are almost too on the nose.
BEST SETH MEYERS JAB
“It’s not surprising for NBC to be dramatic. We are home to the No. 1 drama on television, a show that each week gives us twist and turns, heartbreaking reveals and, this season, the departure of a once-beloved character. I’m talking, of course, about This Is… the Today show.”
(SECOND) BEST SETH MEYERS JAB
Referring to John Legend starring in Jesus Christ Superstar, Meyers quipped, “You know a network has range when they have a black Jesus and Megan Kelly.”
(Kelly, of course, famously declared that Jesus was white in her Fox News days.)
BEST MAMMA MIA SPOOF
This may not have been a jam-packed category, but NBC still deserves kudos for its star-studded opening to the tune of “Mamma Mia.” Debra Messing! Ted Danson! The murderous slow cooker from This Is Us!
And who knew Gina Torres could sing?
WORST ADDITION TO OUR NIGHTMARES
Yeah, we’re just going to leave this Simon Cowell puppet from the NBC Upfront here with no explanation whatsoever.
Since The Simpsons has a knack for predicting things — you know, like Donald Trump’s presidency — Homer made a few more predictions at the Fox Upfront, including this gem: “Apple and Crackle will partner for a new network called Crapple.”
BEST PLEA TO WHITE PEOPLE
When Beat Shazam host Jamie Foxx failed to get the Fox Upfront crowd on its feet, he had the DJ switch from hip-hop to “Start Me Up.” Still nothing. “All these white people and no Stones?!”
MOST RELUCTAT DANCE PARTNER
Speaking of Foxx v. White People, he also spent 45 seconds — which is basically an eternity in upfront time — trying to force Fox’s ad revenue president Joe Marchese to dance. No dancing happened, but there were quite a few “This isn’t scripted!” and “What is happening?” outbursts.
MOST CONFUSING RE-INTRODUCTION
“We will be bringing in some new faces, including one you all know and love but haven’t seen in a while — the fantastic Jennifer Love Hewitt. She’s returning to Fox, and I think you’re going to see a whole new side of Jennifer.” — Ryan Murphy introducing the newest star of 9-1-1
(He does realize she’s been on TV since Party of Five, right? Like, a lot?)
WORST JOKE ABOUT FERGIE’S NATIONAL ANTHEM
“When we come back on June 7, Fergie is starting the show off with a new rendition of the National Anthem,” P. Diddy joked — at least we think he was joking — while promoting The Four at the Fox Upfront.
ABC opened its presentation with a pre-taped segment in which different characters auditioned for the American Idol judges. Our personal favorite contestant was The Good Doctor’s Shaun Murphy, who informed them, “Psychologists believe judging others is a symptom of insecurity and self-doubt.”
It wasn’t in tune, but it was music to our ears.
Then again, we also loved Roseanne Barr Conner’s surprisingly solid performance of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way,” a far cry from her infamous National Anthem fiasco of 1990.
BEST JOKE TAILOR MADE FOR TVLINE READERS
“Fox canceled Lucifer and The Exorcist. They can’t even make a deal with the Devil!” — Jimmy Kimmel at the ABC Upfront
BEST MOMENT OF SELF-AWARENESS
“You may know me from such ABC shows as One Life to Live, Two Guys and a Girl, Castle and Desperate Housewives. If you don’t know me, that’s all right. I’m probably a really big deal to your mom.” — The Rookie’s Nathan Fillion at the ABC Upfront
WORST REMINDER OF PAST MISTAKES
Sure, we loved seeing some of our favorite (former) Idol contestants closing the ABC Upfront alongside Bebe Rexha — but we couldn’t help shake the feeling that at least one of them still deserved to be in the competition.
JAZZIEST COVER OF ‘TOM’S DINER’
Can all future upfront presentations begin with a swingin’ take on this Suzanne Vega jam? Jon Batiste and Stay Human shook their umbrellas and poured the milk all over those advertisers at CBS’ presentation.
Reflecting on the mark Murphy Brown left on television, Mom‘s Anna Faris recalled, “And when she decided to become a single mother, it started a national conversation that spilled into that year’s erectoral politics.”
“Electoral,” Allison Janney corrected.
MOST UNNECESSARY RE-INTRODUCTION
“Please meet Jake McDorman!” Murphy Brown‘s Candice Bergen told the audience as her on-screen son joined her at the front of the stage.
Gee, where have we heard that sentence before? … Oh, right, the 2015 CBS Upfront when McDorman was introduced as the star of Limitless.
DARKEST STEVE BANNON JOKE
“I want to extend a special welcome to my CBS family, our amazing advertising partners, our incredible affiliates and, of course, any former members of the Trump Administration who are looking for jobs at CBS. A word of warning to Steve Bannon: The Amazing Race is not about what you think it’s about.” — Stephen Colbert
MOST CONVOLUTED PITCH FOR A SHOW WE’D TOTALLY WATCH
Coming this fall: Young Corden, a police procedural/comedy set in a (sexy!) hospital chronicling the early life of James Corden (who’s either British or American), co-starring Rob Lowe.
Did we mention the catchphrase? “Zabingo!”
LEAST ROCK ’N’ ROLL MOMENT
30 Seconds to Mars put on a killer show at the CW Upfront, but our favorite part came between their two songs when frontman Jared Leto told the crowd of suits, “I hope you all enjoyed your coffee and your espresso and your egg sandwiches.”
We feared that Stephen Amell’s “big announcement” at the CW Upront would be that Arrow is entering its final season. So we were relieved (and excited!) when it turned out to be about Batwoman’s arrival in the Arrowverse this fall.
WORST PHRASING OF A COMPLIMENT
“I’ve been to a few of these,” All American‘s Taye Diggs said onstage at the CW Upfront. “But this is the first time I’ve been proud.”
We would have loved to see Levi the Dog alongside his In the Dark co-star at the CW Upfront. Too bad the Canada-based “actor” couldn’t score a visa in time. Maybe… next… season?
BEST GENUINE DISPLAY OF EMOTION
That said, In the Dark’s Perry Mattfield — who did attend the CW Upfront — more than made up for her four-legged co-star’s absence, getting all kinds of emotional on stage. Crying is contagious, friends.