Elton John to perform Liberace tribute at Emmy Awards

Elton John will pay tribute to flamboyant American entertainer Liberace (pictured) at this month’s Emmy Awards.Flamboyant music superstar Elton John is no stranger to a dazzling pair of spectacles, an ermine coat and a few gaudy diamond rings.

But will he be wearing them when he takes to the stage later this month as part of a tribute to iconic American pianist Liberace at the the annual Emmy Awards?

The critically acclaimed US drama Behind The Candelabra, a biography of Liberace’s life from director Steven Soderbergh, is one of the most nominated programs at this year’s awards.

Behind The Candelabra has drawn 15 nominations, including nods for best miniseries or telemovie, and best actor nods for its stars Michael Douglas and Matt Damon.

Although it screened on US television, it was released in cinemas around the world. It also drew almost universal acclaim at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year.

The producers of the event have confirmed John, the 66-year-old British pop icon, will perform as part of a tribute to Liberace’s career.

Both Douglas and Damon, who play Liberace and his lover, Scott Thorson, in the project, will be presenters at the awards.

At the peak of his career, in the 1950s and 1960s, Liberace was performing around the world on a gold-leafed Bluthner Grand piano, topped by his signature candelabra.

He was also a television superstar, with more than 30 million people tuning in weekly to watch The Liberace Show.

In 1956, one British columnist described him as a “winking, sniggering, chromium-plated, scent-impregnated, luminous, quivering, giggling, fruit-flavoured, mincing, ice-covered heap of mother-love”.

According to reports, the legendary Diahann Carroll, comedians Tina Fey and Amy Poehler and sisters Zooey and Emily Deschanel will also be presenters at this year’s Emmy Awards.

How I Met Your Mother star Neil Patrick Harris will be the host.Reality could be a real competition at EmmysComedy: Why Sheldon deserves an Emmy

In some respects, reality TV has endured a bumpy ride to legitimacy. And in that sense, on Emmy night, reality is still the bridesmaid. All eyes are firmly fixed on the drama categories and even comedy takes a half-step behind the front line.

Despite that, and despite the prejudice which still exists in the industry (and to a lesser extent, the audience), these are tightly contested categories with a lot at stake.

So, the first question is, exactly what is reality TV? The Emmy Awards split the genre into two categories – reality/competition, where there is a competitive game structure, and straight reality, which is either observational or informational.

Outstanding reality-competition program

The Amazing Race (CBS)Dancing with the Stars (ABC)Project Runway (Lifetime)So You Think You Can Dance (Fox)Top Chef (Bravo)The Voice (NBC)

Unequivocally the rock star nominee in this category is The Amazing Race, the reality show which even TV snobs will begrudgingly admit is rather brilliant. While the format is old enough to have wrinkles, it seems to return each year in competitive shape.

Unlike almost all of the other shows in the category, it has also resisted the evolutionary change which seems to morph every show into a celebrity, kids, couples or other tricked-up version of itself.

The Amazing Race remains The Amazing Race, and is empowered for that reason.

The only real threat here is surely The Voice, and in the US The Voice isn’t quite the game-changing juggernaut that it is in Australia.

Here it re-drew the map and forced its competitors to lift the bar or risk looking ridiculous. (To their credit, they did. The X Factor, particularly, responded to The Voice in a very strong and meaningful way.)

In the US it’s fortunes have been slower to define themselves, and, like most American talent shows, seems to be constantly tweaking with its format and lineup. So The Voice comes into this category a contender, but one that’s not too deadly.

Of the remaining three, Project Runway is the star. It’s solidly produced, and sharply delivered, but is not a strong enough player to bump the genre’s darling off the top rung.

Outstanding reality program

Antiques Roadshow (PBS)Deadliest Catch (Discovery Channel)Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives (Food Network)Mythbusters (Discovery Channel)Shark Tank (ABC)Undercover Boss (CBS)

The stakes are unequivocally lesser in this category, though you’d have to think Deadliest Catch is the strongest contender, though ABC’s Shark Tank and CBS’s Undercover Boss could be strong players.

The good news with this category is that we’ll know the the winner early. It is one of the awards announced at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards which are held on September 15. (There are so many Emmy categories, the awards are split across two nights.)

Outstanding host for a reality or reality-competition program

Tom Bergeron for Dancing with the Stars (ABC)Anthony Bourdain for The Taste (ABC)Cat Deeley for So You Think You Can Dance (Fox)Heidi Klum & Tim Gunn for Project Runway (Lifetime)Ryan Seacrest for American Idol (Fox)Betty White for Betty White’s Off Their Rockers (NBC)

Where do we start? Ryan Seacrest is Hollywood’s darling, a young(ish) man who seems to be producing every other show on TV, and hosting everything else.

This award was, in historical terms, the property of Jeff Probst from Survivor, but he seems to have all but faded into the shadows. Last year it was won by Dancing with the Stars host Tom Bergeron, but that franchise has lost a little of its steam this year.

So, who might win? Seacrest seems to make a lot of noise in the corridors of power, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into Emmy votes. You’d think Phil Keoghan would be a shoe-in, because of the consistent winning streak of The Amazing Race, but that doesn’t seem to have come to much either.

If you were a gambling man, you’d back Bergeron. If you think the winds of change are blowing, then it’s even money on Seacrest or Deeley. Outside chance, but a much-loved favourite, is Betty White.

Hollywood loves a lot of things, but it loves nothing like a grand old dame.

Next week: Miniseries and telemovie

The 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards will be broadcast on Monday, September 23, on FOX8 from 9am.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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