Photo Credit: ABC/ Donna Svennevik
Every December, Barbara Walters selects the 10 most fascinating celebrities of the year. Usually, the choices are more obvious than fascinating. In 2008, she featured Michael Phelps and Barack Obama. In 2007, she went with Justin Timberlake and Jennifer Hudson. But this year, she was more adventurous.
"It's the edgiest show we've done," she said yesterday on The View. And judging by the interviews airing tonight on Barbara Walters Presents: The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2009’ (ABC, 10 PM ET), she's right.
In two cases, Walters talks with people who haven't had much (if any) face time with the press. For example: Michael Jackson's children. Since Jackson's death, Prince Michael II, Prince Michael Jr., and Paris Michael Katherine have shown up only in newspaper and magazine photographs—but not in interviews.
Walters also sits down with Jenny Sanford, wife of South Carolina governor Mark Sanford. We've heard precious little from Jenny since her husband's bizarre disappearance and subsequent admission of an affair. Here again, Walters is giving viewers something that they haven't seen elsewhere.
And Walters' inclusion of Lady Gaga adds a hipper-than-usual element. She even startles the outrageous performance artist/pop star when she asks, "Do you have sex with women?"
Sure, some of Walter's picks this year are people who've already done lots of big interviews, like Sarah Palin and Kate Gosselin. (Is there anything new that either of them can say at this point?) And some might say that picking Adam Lambert was too obvious, a no-brainer. But actually, Lambert was the less apparent choice, given another option she was considering. “We said, ‘Should we have done Adam Lambert or should we have done Taylor Swift?’" she told the Associated Press. "And then he did this huge thing (on the awards show) and we said, ‘Ah! We got the fascinating one!’’’
As usual, Walters isn't disclosing the top of her list: "The most fascinating person of 2009." If she takes the obvious route, it'll be someone like Oprah Winfrey. An edgier option? I'd suggest Tiger Woods.
Who do you think was the most fascinating person of 2009? Chime in below!