Who was the most fascinating person on Barbara Walters’ annual list of the year’s most fascinating people? You can all pull back from the edge of your seats: It was Gen. David Petraeus, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, who took over the role earlier this year.
After weeks of suspense, the identity of this most fascinating figure was finally revealed Thursday night as Walters presented her “10 Most Fascinating People of 2010.”
But for reasons that weren’t explained, Petraeus was not interviewed for the special. In fact, of the 10 “people” (the seven-member cast of “Jersey Shore” were counted as “one” person), only five appeared in fresh interviews with Walters – Betty White (No. 10), Justin Bieber (No. 8), the “Jersey Shore” cast (No. 7), newly minted “American Idol” judge Jennifer Lopez (No. 5) and Sarah Palin (No. 2).
Not interviewed, but merely profiled: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (No. 9), Sandra Bullock (No. 6), LeBron James (No. 4), Prince William’s wife-to-be Kate Middleton (No. 3) and Gen. Petraeus.
Of those interviewed, guess which fascinating person had the most fascinating things to say? If you guessed Sarah Palin, then you are right. We’ll start our list of memorable quotations from this annual special with Palin, who blamed the media for, well, everything.
If Palin is “Polarizing,” It’s Everyone’s Fault but Hers: “I think it’s because the media has shaped that persona and allowed that to be out there as a misconception and a misperception about what my values are,” she said. And when Walters asked her why she’s accused of being misinformed about world events, Palin said, “That too, I think, is something that’s been pretty much ginned up by the press.” She then accused male senators– who blame her support for losing Tea Party candidates for costing them the Senate in last month’s elections–of being unmanly. “Aren’t these boys just silly with their accusation that Sarah Palin, a hockey mom from Wasilla, cost [them the] United States Senate power base?” she asked, fluttering her eyelashes at Walters. She then called the unnamed senators “impotent and limp.”
Moment of Extreme Discomfort: Walters actually asked 88-year-old Betty White about her sex life. “Does one still have sex [at age 88]?” Walters inquired. “If one gets lucky, I bet they do!” Betty replied.
The Ego of a 16-year-old Pop Star: Justin Bieber seemed grounded enough during most of his interview with Walters, but when she asked him who in the world of pop music he’d most like to be like, he answered: “Probably a mix between Prince and Michael Jackson.”
When Barbara Met Snooki: “Do you think you’re fascinating?” Walters asked the “Jersey Shore” cast. Speaking for the group, Snooki said, “I think I’m fascinating. I think we’re all just one of a kind.” Later, Snooki praised Walters’ personal style. “She was very nice,” Snooki said on the show. “And she’s really hot in person.”
Me, J-Lo, a Diva? Are You Kidding? Walters asked Jennifer Lopez to respond to accusations leveled by some that she’ll be a diva on “American Idol.” “It’s ridiculous, it really is,” J-Lo insisted. Moreover, J-Lo said she’s not likely to be harsh with ‘AI’ contestants in the manner of the judge she’s helping to replace, Simon Cowell. “I can be honest [with contestants],” she said. “But I don’t like being mean.”
Fascinating? We think so. How about you?