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Barbara Walters' '10 Most Fascinating People of 2009': observations, and a poll [Updated]

Tyler Hey, sports fans -- normally I write as "the Ministry," but this time I'm just me. Watched the Barbara Walters special Wednesday night, as I'm sure many of you did, and here are my thoughts on her chosen public figures, many of whom show up on this blog quite often.

Well, OK, Glenn Beck doesn't show up at the Ministry so much, but work with me, all right? If he gets naked next year, or reveals he had an affair with Tiger Woods, or posts another rambling, post-surgical YouTube video, he'll fit right in.

And yeah, I know Barbara and crew can edit and script and all that for dramatic effect, but let's do a willing suspension of disbelief, shall we?

Here's my takeaway, based on Walters' brief interviews.

Gaga Lady Gaga: Barbara sees her in a whole new light, and so do I. Maybe I just didn't "get her" before this? I still can't quite hum one of her tunes, but she seems thoughtful and sincere. Is she bisexual? Makes for a nice tease on the tee-vee, but really, who cares? I hope Gaga doesn't fixate on that as she moves ahead, and that others can find something more interesting to ask about.

Tyler Perry: The juxtaposition of this spotlight sit-down with the fact of his mother's death on Tuesday is heartbreaking. His proudest moment? He says it was being able to take good care of his mother. Forget about Barbara making Tyler cry -- he made me cry.

We could end it right here, but there are eight more interviews ...

Kateg Jenny Sanford: Dang, she's a strong woman who knows how to lay out her boundaries. Two snaps up to her for knowing she would not, had he asked, have stood in support of her wayward husband while he worked out his "soul mate" issues. Love it that she doesn't see politics as some weird, desirable trophy to vengefully pursue. [Updated at 9:20 a.m. Dec. 11: Well, lookie here. Jenny has filed for divorce from Gov. Mark Sanford. Guess that was honesty in the interview!]

Kate Gosselin: Her kids miss the camera crews? Take a deep breath and think it through from their point of view: It's very possible, because kids miss the familiar -- and it's sad. Ouch, when she talks about the Jon she still loves, who doesn't exist anymore. Still working out my Kate-hate guilt, but I do wish she'd rethink that hair. Sorry, petty. Wait, not really sorry. But yes, petty.

Glenn Beck: I have a strange soft spot for the unique people who go into radio. I don't follow Beck's work, but with Barbara he seems less like a Worst Person on Earth and more like an entertainer who cares very strongly about what he cares about -- and has found a way to sell it. Seems like he's holding the world at arm's length.

Adam Lambert: I love Adam. The Ministry is clearly fond of him and doesn't apologize for it. I'd wanted to hate him based on dishy dish from when his season of "American Idol" began, but he won me over. Can we get over the "he's gay" thing? I think he's figuring out where he fits in entertainment, and appreciate his confidence without arrogance. He'll be just fine, methinks.

Sarah Palin: She discusses the healthy protein in moose chili and admits that at 45, after five kids, there are things she dislikes about her appearance. She's sat down with Babs before. Can't find much fodder here for controversy, though I imagine there will be some. Save the mooses, maybe?

Brett Favre: Watching Favre celebrate after his Minnesota Vikings beat his former Green Bay Packers earlier this year, all I could think was, "Wow, he's like a big kid, exuding joy -- how lucky he is to love his job that much." Watching this snippet of an interview?  All I could think was, "Wow, why should I care about this guy?"

Mobama Michael Jackson's children: Prince Michael, Paris and Blanket (Prince Michael II) deserve all the privacy the world can afford them. Tiger? No. These kids who lost their dad this year? Absolutely. Whatever their story, they are children and they didn't ask to be in the spotlight. I think Barbara and team used them as a way to get Michael Jackson fans to watch her special, given the show's "rule" about honoring only the living. At least she used only clips of them on tape and didn't interview them to be gawked at. Ick.

Michelle Obama: This is going to bring slings and arrows, but you know, I simply don't find her that fascinating. A lovely lady. The first lady. Maybe I'm burned out from so many stories riffing on her fascinating-ness? She looks terrific, and I appreciate her warmth as she talks about their girls and the dog and her ulterior motives for getting to the gym -- but Walters comes in a year late with this pick for No. 1. 

My vote for the most fascinating interview of the night goes to Tyler Perry. I just want to know more, you know? 

Your mileage may vary -- please vote in the poll for your favorite.

-- Christie D'Zurilla

P.S. If you want a more political take on the show -- or can't remember who fascinated Barbara the most last year --- check out what Top of the Ticket has to say.

Photo credits, top to bottom: Peter Kramer / Associated Press; Bryan Bedder / Getty Images for VEVO; Billy Ingram / Getty Images; Scott Applewhite / Associated Press.

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Comments () | Archives (57)

Lets take a quick tour,in my eyes.
Lady Gaga...last name says it all.
Glenn Beck,he is just nuts..
Adam and Sarah,now thats a pair..
Brett Favre,now that game with Arizona,that was a game..
Jackson Children,ok...
Michele Obama,I give her first place,whata charming lady.

I don't find Michelle Obama fascinating at all. what is so fascinating about her? she's the first lady..and?

Probably should have considered Michael Oher.

I didn't watch this show because Babs' list was mostly inane.


Fascinating to whom???? Why do we pay attention to such drivel?


Michelle Obama, Lady Gaga, and Adam Lambert by a mile. Tyler Perry was also marginally interesting.

Had to mute the TV when Beck, Palin, and that hot mess Kate Gosselin were on. I like my common sense, and listening to any of those people talk is like pumping poison into one's brain.

It must have been a bad year. This is the worst list I've ever seen. I'm 10 times more interesting than all of these people combined.

I'm somewhat surprised that Captain Sully didn't make this list. Was he not one of the most fascinating people of the year?

Barbara Walters let us down. There Must be someone, anyone, more fascinating than Michelle Obama. We're tired of hearing about her arms, too!
Old news. How about Ben Bernanke, or how about that guy who made the rocket that takes people out of space? Very disappointing...

I think this country has simply gone down the drain if these people are what we are looking at as interesting!! Interesting should be someone that we want our kids to look up to. Sanford did the right thing by leaving the no good for nothing guy! Perry has done well for himself but I've never seen him as a public figure that affects the country. Favre is great at what he does and I have loved watching him over the years but in the top ten for the entire country, come on! Obama married well but she hasn't done anything extraordinary that I know of. Gosselin (Both John and Kate) sold their souls and family for a T.V. show and shouldn't be allowed to even be on T.V. anymore. Jackson's kids have had to deal with a fruitcake as a dad but top ten? We need the people that have had to sacrifice something dear to them to get where they are and do it the right way, not just the most outlandish way. We need people that our kids can look up to, not the weirdoes, cheaters, crooks and just popular people. Give us someone real!!!!

Interesting that you would find a divisive, intolerant man so charming. While claiming you don't follow Beck's work and thereby absolving yourself of any blame for softening his image, you surely know that he's the last person deserving of your "strange soft spot for unique people."

Sarah Palin? Yawn. Glenn Beck? Fascinating like a train wreck.

Adam Lambert is truly the most fascinatingperson on the list, followed by Lady Gaga. I believe we will be hearing about both of them for quite some time!

You chose the 10 who none of them should even make it to the list, so it's tough to vote which one...if those are really the top ten then 2009 was such a bad year.

for Adam Lambert, well I think people already got over it, he's the one who should get over it and not entertain us with it every time there's a camera...he kissed a man in front of millions and now it's the "people" problem that they didn't get over it...god help us in 2010

I thought it was partially the most hated people in the world......please Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin and Goselin......fascinating? yes, on Tyler Perry and Michele Obama but we could have had a better interview with her........there are things about her that are very fascinating but not the inteview

Babara is insignificant and with her choices of Gaga, Lambert and the Jackson kids -- she's showing how far out-of-touch she really is and demonstrating that she's trying to cling to someone else's youthfulness because she's loosing it.

I seen this article's title and just wanted to see who made the list as I don't watch Barbara, nor do I care 1 once about her or her opinion. But no one on this list is 'fascinating.'

I agree with someone who posted if these are people Americans think are fascinating, then they have bad taste.

Would you people get off of Michelle Obama already. My god what does she do other than go along with her husband and smile. Wow, she wears nice clothes... So to you, wearing nice clothes makes you fascinating? Wow!

Every time I see her in the news, it's just about what she wore to a get together.

The others on the list are not even worth me talking about.

"My vote for the most fascinating interview of the night goes to Tyler Perry. I just want to know more, you know?" No I don't.

10 most fascinating people according to Barb Walter: I stopped having respect for her and her judgements on matter since the View and the book she wrote where she divulges the name of the person she had a big affair with. Just look at the list.

Countering with the LEAST fascinating people, let's head the list with Barbara Walters and Sarah Palin.

I vote None of the Above.

This list is pretty bad, but how is Michelle Obama the most fascinating? What has she done but stand there and smile and shake hands with people? What about all the people spreading peace around the world building orphanages, or someone like Captain Sully? This year was filled with people who became spotlights almost over night, what has Michelle done besides being married to the president?

My most fascinating are not even on the list, but I can tell you who I find the LEAST fascinating ... Barbara Walter's and her top-10 lists, and David Letterman and his 10-ten lists.

Better fix this poll ... the numbers keep fluctuating no matter how many times you vote for one person . I have been coming back to see the results and they are either lower than the time before or the same ... FLUCTUATING ... but never ADVANCING .... What's up????

With 2009 not yet over, its apparent that the most facinating person isn't on this list... Tiger Woods!

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