All those crowded clubs, overpriced bars and packed house parties this weekend might convince you otherwise, but the Mayan End Times Prophecy won’t end the world until next December.
So if you’re going to stay home this New Year’s Eve, and you’re not going to get sucked into the mega-blackhole-supervolcano of the coming apocalypse, what are you going to watch?
Here’s a handy guide to decide which network you should choose to accompany you and your friends (or accompany you as your friend? Shh, hush now, I won’t tell!) as you ring in 2012:
ABC: New Year’s Rockin’ Eve 2012 (8pm-2:13am)
Hosted by: Dick Clark (duh!) and Ryan Seacrest (ehh…)
Special correspondents: Fergie (OH, NO), Jenny McCarthy (okay, sure)
Pros: Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve is the seminal stay-at-home New Years TV special. It’s an institution, and the familiar, instantly nostalgic presence of Dick Clark alone is bound to give you the warm ‘n’ fuzzies. Regardless of how you feel about Ryan Seacrest, the man knows how to host a thing. At certain points, Florence, and her machine, and Nicki Minaj will be there — each so lovely and talented and INSANE in her own glorious way. And regardless of your musical tastes, Lady Gaga‘s headlining performance will surely contain so many batsh*t elements that it will entertain you on at least one level, even if it’s unbridled mockery. So-hot-right-now Justin Bieber and Pitbull (who both performed on The X Factor finale, huh!) will each show up and sing, so if you’re a teen girl or … a fan of Pitbull … you won’t want to miss those!
Cons: Jenny McCarthy and Fergie will serve as Times Square and Los Angeles correspondents, respectively. So when one isn’t trying way too hard or distracting you with her swollen plastic face, the other will be. Personally, I’m not super-enthused about the rest of the musical guests, because I either don’t know who they are, or can’t seem to escape them, or thought they were broken up already, but The Band Perry, blink-182, Christina Perri, Gym Class Heroes, LMFAO, OneRepublic, Taio Cruz and will.i.am will all try to inspire you with their special songs about celebrating and living your life and rocking the house and so forth.
Bonus Champagne Drinking Game Idea: Drink every time someone says “Dick” or “ball.”
NBC: New Year’s Eve with Carson Daly (10pm-12:30am)
Hosted by: Carson DaZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Special correspondents: J.B. Smoove (he’s funny!), Amy Robach (she’s pretty!)
Pros: ABC may have Dick, but NBC totally schools them when it comes to special (and hilarious) guests. Jimmy Fallon will do a special comedy thing; Brian Williams is going to use his subtly sarcastic gravitas to review the best of 2011 music; Bob Costas will come by and be Bob Costas (that is, awesome); and a “special greeting” from Ricky Gervais is sure to be cutting and cringe-worthy (aka rewind-worthy). And the musical guests are pretty damn solid, too: Drake, Jessie J, The Roots and 15-time Grammy Award winner Tony Bennett will all stop by and play.
Cons: While both are talented, kooky and spontaneous, the presence of Cee Lo Green and Blake Shelton alongside Carson hints that this may turn into a longform infomercial for The Voice season 2. (When they’re not trying to make Smash happen, that is.)
Bonus Champagne Drinking Game Idea: Drink every time someone references Christina Aguilera or one of her songs.
FOX: American Country New Year’s Eve Live (11pm-12:30am)
Hosted by: Stand-up comedian/country artist Rodney Carrington
Co-hosted by: Pawn Stars‘ Rick “The Spotter” Harrison and Austin “Chumlee” Russell
Pros: If you really, really, REALLY like country music, it’s a no-brainer. If you’re iffy on the matter, maybe you really want to catch up with last year’s American Idol runnerup Lauren Alaina? Or, for once, you want to watch a show that features two Rodneys (Atkins and Carrington)? Or you can’t get enough of those Pawn Stars stars? If none of that applies to you, then go ahead and move these items to the “Cons” list.
Cons: Toby Keith, ugh. Go ahead and defend him in the comments if you want. See if I care!
Bonus Champagne Drinking Game Idea: Drink every time you see an American flag.
CNN: CNN’s New Year’s Eve Celebration (11pm-12:30am)
Hosted by: Anderson Cooper (yum) and Kathy Griffin (…yay?)
Pros: Kathy will spend her time blasting Lindsey/Kim/Charlie and trying to embarrass Anderson, and Anderson will spend his time being a silver fox. Beauty, brains and more than a bit of bitchiness — theirs is a winning partnership, indeed. I mean, all you really need to know is this official CNN quote from Anderson on the matter: “Kathy Griffin scares me. I’ve said this often to CNN management directly and through my attorneys,” said Cooper. “She continues to appear by my side on New Year’s Eve, so clearly no one is listening to me.”
Cons: Unless you’re really into the anthropology of blurry, deafening scream-fests, the rest of the show might be kind of a bore, as the bulk of its content will show “CNN correspondents [reporting] from celebrations across the country and around the world.”
Bonus Champagne Drinking Game Idea: Drink every time Kathy flirts with Anderson/dances around the topic of his sexuality.
MTV: NYE in NYC 2012 (11pm-12:30am)
Hosted by: Demi Lovato and Teen Wolf‘s Tyler Posey
Pros/Cons: I’m officially too old and out-of-touch to be able to tell you whether this is a good line-up or not, but after some quick Googling, I CAN tell you that everyone performing on MTV’s special is very young and pretty and shiny. Oh, here’s one I do know: J.Biebs’ girlfrend/Demi’s BFF Selena Gomez is going to perform. Jason Derulo, Mac Miller and J.Cole will, too. If you’ve seen fewer than 18 New Year’s Eves in your day, you’ll probably enjoy it. (Right?)
Bonus Champagne Drinking Game Idea: Drink every time you have no idea what is happening. Drink double if someone from Jersey Shore shows up.
And if, for whatever completely legitimate and not-at-all super-sad reason, you’re staying home and none of that sounds appealing, CBS is airing The Bourne Ultimatum from 8:30 to 11pm. Ringing in the New Year with Matt Damon? That’s the hot-factor equivalent of at least two Anderson Coopers and a Seacrest.
(Image courtesy of ABC)