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Posted at 12:15 PM ET, 02/25/2011

Lists: The Academy Awards' worst-ever musical numbers

By Allison Stewart

banderasWhy did Antonio Banderas sing at the 2004 Oscars?

The Academy Awards ceremonies used to be famous for their song and dance routines: big, strapping, overwrought production numbers of terrifying ridiculousness, done for no particular reason. Throughout most of the ‘90s and the ‘00s, musical numbers were de-emphasized, for reasons that will soon become clear.

Best Original Song performances have had a similarly spotty history: Some years the songs are sung in truncated form as part of a montage, some years the original performers are not allowed to sing their own songs, some years Robert Goulet sings them all, just because.

The production numbers have slowly been added back into the program, as have Best Original Song performances (this year, expect appearances from Gwyneth Paltrow, Florence Welch, Mandy Moore and the oft-nominated Randy Newman).

Because it’s unlikely there will be any numbers as ostentatiously awful as those in years past, Click Track thought we would take a look back at some of the show’s worst-ever musical numbers. Just don’t expect us to include Hugh Jackman’s controversial 2009 song-and-dance routine. Click Track likes Hugh Jackman.

4. Carlos Santana and Antonio Banderas, 2004

This was the year Uruguayan singer-songwriter Jorge Drexler wasn't allowed to sing his own Best Original Song-nominated "Al otro lado del río" (from "The Motorcycle Diaries") because he wasn't famous enough. A hammy Banderas and an inexplicably sunglasses-clad Santana performed it instead. Not the worst Oscar performance in history, just dull, and wrong on principle. After his song won, Drexler sang his acceptance speech. Sweet.

(Hot messes, dancing cocktail tables and other things that can’t be unseen, after the jump.)

3. Random young stars, 1989

This song and dance number hails from the 1989 Oscars, widely regarded as the most campy, tone-deaf, ostentatiously awful ceremony ever. In this number, then-ascendant young stars like Patrick Dempsey, Chad Lowe, Corey Feldman and Ricki Lake sing about Oscar victories to come with lines like, "Some day I'll be the one who walks up here accepting the prize." No you won't, Blair Underwood. No, you won't.

2. The dancing soldiers of "Saving Private Ryan," 1999

The Academy Awards Choreographer From Hell, Debbie Allen was responsible for many of the show's most entertainingly awful musical debacles. The highlight of her reign of terror: The now-infamous "Saving Private Ryan" interpretive dance, part of a longer sequence, assembled to celebrate nominated film scores, which The Post's reviewer described as a "hapless, protracted gaffe."

1. Rob Lowe and Snow White, 1989

The stuff of legend, this 12-minute opener included dancing tables, Merv Griffin serenading Hollywood old-timers with "I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts" and, of course, a mortified, post-sex scandal Rob Lowe dueting with Snow White on a modified version of "Proud Mary" (Rollin’, rollin’/Keep the cameras rollin'"). All video evidence appears to have been destroyed, except for this (fast forward to 3:00).

By Allison Stewart  | February 25, 2011; 12:15 PM ET
Categories:  Lists  
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