Photo Credit: Will Hart/NBC
The Sound of Music Live!, which aired on NBC last Thursday, was a huge ratings win: Over 18 million people tuned in to see Carrie Underwood play Maria Von Trapp. With the exception of some sporting events, this TV special drew more viewers than any other NBC show since the finale of ER in 2009.
It also made history in another way: "The Sound of Music Live! has become the new definition of 'hate-watching,'" wrote CNN's Breeanna Hare, who went on to describe the "tidal wave" of negative tweets that erupted during the three-hour broadcast.
Yep, Grumpy Cat summed up the general public response to Underwood's Maria. Then came Friday's critics' reviews, which generally gave the singer props for bravery and vocal skills, but dismissed her acting as stiff. By early evening on Friday, Underwood felt the need to send a tweet of her own:
Plain and simple: Mean people need Jesus. They will be in my prayers tonight... 1 Peter 2:1-25— Carrie Underwood (@carrieunderwood) December 7, 2013
She promptly received a long list of supportive comments from followers. "Remember even Jesus had his critics, too. Love ya!" wrote one. "People are obviously jealous," wrote another. "Sitting their ass in a chair saying crap over a website. I don't see them making $1 million." (Underwood's salary hasn't been disclosed, but she does command big bucks. She earned $20 million in concert sales last year, according to Forbes.)
Her fans make good points, and Underwood deserves to be commended for her work ethic. On the other hand, everyone knows that among fans of musical theater, The Sound of Music is sacred. Why would the producers choose someone who lacks emotive skills to take on the ebullient Maria? Because her star power could draw in 18 million viewers.
Jennifer Graham Kizer is an iVillage contributing writer. Follow her on Google+.