The 65th Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday night did things a little differently. Host Neil Patrick Harris engaged in his Tony Award styled production number halfway into the show. It was like watching the Grammys with performances by Elton John and Carrie Underwood. A spectacular dance number honoring the outstanding choreography nominees, a first in Emmy history, reminded one of watching the Tonys. This was a nice break from the oftentimes awkward moments presenting one category after another.
Elton John performed a new song, written with songwriting partner Bernie Taupin, “Home Again” as a tribute to Liberace. The HBO Liberace biopic “Behind the Candelabra” won a total of three awards later in the broadcast, including outstanding TV movie. This was Elton’s first performance on the Emmy Awards.
Midway into the over three-hour live telecast was a special tribute on the upcoming 50-year milestones in television history. Narrated by Don Cheadle, he took the viewers through November 22, 1963 on the assassination of President Kennedy. In August it was the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, and finally the arrival of The Beatles with their historic appearance on Ed Sullivan. Grammy-winner Carrie Underwood sang a beautiful rendition of Lennon/McCartney’s “Yesterday.”
One of the true highlights of the Emmys was a breathtaking presentation for outstanding choreography. In the past this category was exclusively presented at the non-broadcast Creative Arts Emmys. Neil Patrick Harris surprised these nominees at an Emmy certificate event with news their category would be featured on the live show. Derek Hough, Mandy Moore, Sonya Tayeh, Travis Wall, Warren Carlyle, Allison Holker, and couple Tabitha and Napoleon D’umo choreographed stunning numbers for each individual program nominated. Derek Hough and Allison Holker of “Dancing with the Stars” won their first ever Emmys.