Carrie Underwood showed off her worst habits (ha – nun joke!) last night in NBC’s live broadcast of the stage version of The Sound of Music and somehow no volcanoes erupted, no angry mobs gathered (except via Twitter, and music as we know it did not change forever. Only just a little bit. Underwood played Maria just as saccharine sweet and doe-eyed as we expected, and her breathless belting and inability to cry on cue weren’t so bad because they were, well, expected. We spent most of the three hours wishing that Audra McDonald had been cast as EVERY role. The Sound of Music One-Woman Show Starring Audra McDonald is something we would be behind.
We were fascinated by the Von Trapp kids, especially after devouring the one hour behind-the-scenes special, which showed the audition process that the seven children had to endure before winning their lederhosen made out of drapery. Since we were already in Judgment Mode, we took the liberty of creating this official ranking of Carrie Underwood’s fake kids from most annoying to most wonderful:
1. Kurt, played by Joe West
This kid knows nothing of blending; he diva-belted even more than Underwood, usually drowning out the rest of his cute siblings. His show-bizzy smiling felt fake, and if you paid close attention, you noticed this kid rarely stood still because he was too busy trying to steal scenes. Plus, hitting those ethereal notes in “So Long Farewell” likely took years and years of voice lessons, probably since he was from fresh out of the womb. We smell a stage mom.
2. Louisa, played by Ella Watts-Gorman
Poor thing got cast during the most awkward stage of her life. Not yet a girl, not yet a woman, Louisa came off as pure Debbie Downer. While this could be considered part of the second sister’s role, Watts-Gorman was clunky and as uncomfortable as a Nazi in a pair of shorts.
3. Liesl, played by Ariane Rinehart
Did nerves get to this young Junior from Barnard? Her singing voice crackled all over the place, and she made the only line mistakes of the night (“no? no?”). We will give her some credit for believably digging Rolf, even though his knees stuck out and he obviously is into other telegram boys. Also, to her credit, she had the Liesl big-eyed, soft hair look down fairly well.
4. Fredrich, played by Michael Nigro
Though quite memorable in the behind-the-scenes, this kid completely blended into the gross salmon pink Von Trapp mansion walls. He was neither handsome or ugly, talented or infuriating, nor did he give any indication as to whether he enjoyed himself or hated every moment of the broadcast. He can get one point for looking quite Aryan.
5. Marta, played by Grace Rundhaug
Okay, so she was missing some teeth. And it was adorable. She was undoubtedly overshadowed by anyone from the uptight British housekeeper to Uncle Max’s facial hair, but gosh darnit. The kid is missing some teeth.
6. Brigitta, played by Sophia Caruso
Wow! This little lady memorized an awful lot of lines. During Brigitta’s big speech at the party, her acting abilities lapped Underwood’s. And she accomplished this wearing itty bitty ballet shoes – too cute!
7. Gretl, played by Petyon Ella
Just kidding, there is no such thing as too cute or this cupcake would be out of business. From hanging on to Stephen Moyer like a cuddly koala to perfecting adorableness in her poofy pink dress, Miss Ella made all the other Von Traps look like bumbling, ugly amateurs. Her lines were delivered with the excellency of a highly trained master of Shakespeare and her dancing outdid the prima ballerina of the Russian Ballet. Truly, this cutie was like a classy, Austrian, miniature Honey Boo Boo — yes, that’s a plea for her to get her own show.
Literally, the only thing better than Gretl played by Peyton Ella would have been Gretl played by Audra McDonald.
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