NBC’s big gamble (reportedly $9 million production) paid off. The live special of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music starring Carrie Underwood and Stephen Moyer scored boffo ratings. It was NBC’s best Thursday performance (excluding sports) in the adult demo since the ER finale on April 2, 2009 and best overall viewing since the Frasier finale in 2004. The musical earned a 4.6 adults 18-49 rating, peaking at 19.3 million viewers during the 9pm hour. The NBC offices were definitely alive with the sound of music today for sure.
No doubt, Carrie’s huge fan base tuned in to support Nashville’s favorite daughter. I’m sure a fair amount also checked it out to see how Underwood would handle the iconic role of Maria von Trapp which was immortalized on film by the legendary Julie Andrews. While no one can ever touch Andrews, especially in this role, I thought Carrie handled the musical numbers quite well. Her acting, however, left something to be desired. Not surprisingly, she was quite wooden. With exception to very few outlets, Underwood was raked over the coals. Check out some of the scathing reviews in between the musical numbers below.
On a more positive note, I thought the Von Trapp kids were fantastic. “Do Re Mi” and Liesl’s duet with Rolf on “Sixteen Going On Seventeen” were two of my favorites. Audra McDonald as Mother Abbess was simply divine. Her Broadway roots definitely shined through. Acting opposite her, must’ve been daunting for Underwood. Also props to NBC for pulling this off so masterfully. Given the scope and logistical nightmare, I’m shocked there were no major technical problems. I hope NBC plans to bring another beloved musical to television next year. This is one holiday tradition I can get behind.
The performances can only be viewed within the United States so change your IP to a US one. If you don’t know how to that, Google it. It’s relatively simple.
“How do you solve a problem like Carrie Underwood?” and believed the show “was so cringe-worthy that it was at least fun to watch.” The writer commented that Underwood’s facial reactions were “like an emoticon for being constipated, if such a thing existed.” – Time
What’s necessary, perhaps even more than a great voice, are a presence, theatricality and personality to make the [Maria] part more than it is. In that regard, Underwood, despite her blonde wholesome sunniness, was miscast.” – People
“While Underwood can deliver the songs — I’m sure that anyone with the desire to plunge themselves into the American Idol ringer has been singing those songs for most of her life — she doesn’t acquit herself so well when it comes to the carrying the emotional weight of the production… Underwood nails the look of a virginal almost-nun, but goes no deeper than that. Blank stares and placid smiles.” – The Hollywood Reporter
“The Maria-Von Trapp relationship has its problematic aspects under the best of circumstances, and Underwood and Moyer didn’t come close to threading that needle. Given the absence of chemistry, one could be forgiven for hoping he’d lapse into True Blood mode and simply bite her neck.” – Variety
“The only real problem was the real reason most people tuned in: Carrie Underwood, an American Idol winner and country music star, sang well as Maria but her acting inexperience was laid bare. She had zero chemistry with her love interest and lacked any intensity or shading. Deer in headlights have emoted more. How do you solve a problem like Maria, indeed.” – The Associated Press
“The quality of Underwood’s singing voice is not the problem. It’s that she doesn’t know how to use that voice to sing in character.” “The strength of the songs and of her own vocal talents pulled her through when she was singing. It was the speaking that did her in: The eyes went blank, the voice went flat, and Maria turned to wood.” – USA Today
Here are a couple of more positive ones.
“The scenes with the kids were some of the best, and Underwood seemed most comfortable in them,” adding, “Considering this version of The Sound of Music was the first live TV musical in 50 years, it was quite a feat.” – Yahoo
I definitely agree with their sentiment.
“Underwood grew stronger through the first hour… and by the time the children gathered for the bedroom thunderstorm scene, she seemed as comfortable in front of the television cameras as she did beneath the hot lights of the Blown Away Tour in 2013.” – A Taste of Country
Did you watch the special? What do you think of Underwood’s performances? Who do you think did phenomenally last night? Sound off below.