Did NBC and Usher Take Over the Macy's Fireworks Show Too Much?
If you weren't out celebrating the Fourth of July last night, there's a decent chance you were beating the heat while plopped on a couch inside your house, watching Macy's annual fireworks special. This year's program, per usual, was aired on NBC, and boy, did they not let you forget it.
For the first time ever, the music playlist for the fireworks show was curated by none other than NBC's The Voice judge Usher. With a selection that included tracks from fellow Voice judge Blake Shelton, his wife Miranda Lambert, Kanye West, Rihanna, and four songs from Usher himself, it seemed that both the singer and the network really wanted viewers to know that this wasn't just any random playlist, but an NBC playlist.
This is the first year that the fireworks special has seemingly sold out and become "corporate" — in past years, the show featured songs from non-NBC affiliates Lee Greenwood and Ray Charles, among others — and viewers weren't impressed. (Just search "Usher" and "Fourth of July" on Twitter.) Unfortunately, Usher's song selection, which included a rendition of "America the Beautiful" by Shelton and Lambert (really?!), managed to make the Macy's Fireworks Special seem even more corporate than the name already implied.
It's unlikely, however, that NBC will change its ways come next year. The special won nearly 11 million viewers, its biggest audience since 2000. Whether or not that's due to Usher's playlist is unknown, but with ratings like these, NBC might be wise to continue to bank on The Voice's popularity, backlash be damned. Still, we never pictured "Yeah!" becoming our new national anthem.