We can always count on France Beaudoin to transform our living room into a festive happening… even when we catch up on her show the day after, on a Monday morning.
Once again, the Live on New Year’s Day team has outdone itself by concocting a harmonious marriage between catchy songs, moments of emotion and an annual retrospective. The impromptu kidnappings (without brushing teeth, shaving or showering… except for Gino Chouinard) were particularly successful, as were the nods to the news of the last 12 months. Among them, we remember Creton (Josée Deschênes) dressed all in Barbie pink, Le REM on Je t’aime by Lara Fabian, Les beaux vegetables to talk about inflation at the grocery store, and Mélissa Bédard who shouts on Oxygène by Diane Dufresne, in reference to summer forest fires.
The chemistry seemed to be in full swing within the quintet of “lively” personalities, made up of Mélanie Maynard, Benoît McGinnis, Gino Chouinard, Élise Guilbault and Ève Côté. The latter perfectly summed up our thoughts by saying “Phew! » well felt at the heart of the most tearful segment of the show: the salute to the deceased, a magnificently stripped-down number (compared to the backfiring medleys) which brought together Alyocha Schneider, Richard Séguin, Kim Thúy, Ingrid St-Pierre and 84 residents of Lac-Mégantic in front of constellations of stars which outlined the silhouettes of Karl Tremblay, Michel Côté, Denise Bombardier, Louisette Dussault, Hubert Reeves and Guy Latraverse.
The more the years go by, the greater the expectations, and the more Live from the Universe exceeds them.
Of the four big December 31 specials, See You Next Year has never been our favorite. We appreciate the performances of the actors/impersonators, who elevate the material we give them, but the good-natured humor of the normally exclusively radio show, conceived, written and piloted by Philippe Laguë, usually leaves us unmoved.
The 2023 edition continued the tradition. We saw most of the gags coming from afar, and after the irresistible whirlwind of emotions of Live on New Year’s Day, the simplicity of the meeting recorded at the Beanfield Theater in Montreal slowed down our surge of enthusiasm, like a shower not necessarily cold, but definitely lukewarm. Fortunately, thanks to the talent of interpretation of Michèle Deslauriers (terrific as Ginette Reno), Benoit Paquette (convincing Bernard Drainville), Dominic Paquet (Normand Lester), Pierre Verville (François Legault, Patrice Roy) and Véronique Claveau (Pénélope McQuade, Sonia Benezra), we didn’t look at our watch too often during the hour. And the obvious enthusiasm with which they perform each of the sketches shines through the screen. (Note to those interested: the show is rebroadcast Tuesday at 9 p.m. on ICI Télé.)
Speaking of Véronique Claveau, the singer had a big night, both in front of and behind the lens. According to what we learned during the behind-the-scenes show on New Year’s Day Live (which will be presented again Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. on ICI Télé), the ex-star-academician helped France Beaudoin surprised Véronic DiCaire by replacing Gowan during rehearsals, then letting the Canadian singer take the stage during the recording, to the great astonishment of the Franco-Ontarian impersonator, who had accompanied him on tour in 1996.
In addition to her (too short) rereading of Céline Dion’s pagan prayer in Live from New Year’s Day, Véronique Claveau also distinguished herself by caricaturing the Queen of Vegas in See You Next Year. His Céline-who-adopts-a-serious-tone-to-discuss-serious-things was stunning. “The last few months have made me realize one thing. This thing is a phrase which, when said, means something, which is also a phrase…” This line promises to become a classic.
Still many, many good finds in Infoman, but for some reason, we didn’t laugh as much as we would have liked while watching the humorous revue hosted by Jean-René Dufort. Could the depressing news of 2023 have something to do with it? Maybe. But we would tend to blame the overly complacent interviews with the political elite. Without providing any particularly memorable moments, they took up half of the airtime. Justin Trudeau, François Legault, Pierre Poilievre, Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, Bernard Drainville, Steven Guilbeault, Yves-François Blanchet, Bruno Marchand… It’s too much.
We would have preferred more innovative and surprising segments, like Parlons baboune with Marc Labrèche and Jean-René Dufort disguised as Pierre Fitzgibbon in front of the real “superminister”, the reading of Barbada to the children of right-wing parents (with titles like The Princess petit Poilievre and Bambi in Longueuil), Les triplettes de Drainville (his almost a cappella cover of Toune d’Automne from Cowboys Fringants is still embarrassing), In the Head of François Legault (with Antoine Vézina) and, above all, La ré- resurrection of the third link, which told the endless saga of the Quebec-Lévis road project by doctoring the images of Jesus of Nazareth. Had to think about that!