Barbara Walters' 10 most fascinating people: Who was left off?

Last night, Barbara Walters unveiled the full lineup of her 10 most fascinating people of the year: Kate Gosselin, Adam Lambert, Lady Gaga, Sarah Palin, Brett Favre, Tyler Perry, Glenn Beck, Jenny Sanford, and Michael Jackson’s children (Paris, Prince Michael, and Prince Michael II). And the most fascinating of all? Michelle Obama.

Huh. Not exactly a climactic ending. Michelle is phenomenal, no argument there. But naming her the most fascinating person of the year is like giving Bill Gates an award for being the world’s richest man. It’s in the bag.

But the top 10 list did have some interesting omissions. Namely:

Jon Gosselin– Personally, I’d be happy to never see or hear his name again. But doesn’t he deserve half of Kate’s spot?

Susan Boyle — She dreamed a dream, and now her album is outselling Rihanna and Adam Lambert. Maybe Babs just doesn’t want to admit that she cried at that YouTube clip.

Tiger Woods — You gotta think if the whole scandal had broken just a few months earlier, we could’ve had a teary mea culpa to break up all the back-patting on the show. On the plus side, Tiger’s already a strong front runner for next year’s list.

Mo’Nique — Her performance in Precious is scorching. Her BET show is a hit. And yet many of her recent headlines have focused on her decision to opt out of key appearances for her budding Oscar campaign. She’s the very definition of fascinating.

Taylor Lautner — Just imagine: “Taylor, if your abdominal muscles were a tree, what kind of tree would they be?”

Kris Allen – The American Idol winner has had to deal with losing the spotlight to his runner up. Pretty interesting, if you ask us.

Taylor Swift — With countless records sold (and broken), the teen singer has been everywhere this year. Seems like it’s about time for her next celebrity rite of passage: the mascara-running, “I swore I wouldn’t cry” interview. Something tells us Swift would never crack, but we’d love to watch Babs try.

Okay, PopWatchers: Your turn. Who should’ve made the list?

Comments (246 total) Add your comment
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  • Jugular

    I guess “fascinating” is a pretty subjective adjective. Personally, I am not sure what Michelle Obama has done that is so fascinating.

    I was positive Cpt. “Sully” would’ve been at the top of this list. Guess I am out of touch.

    • Ben

      My feelings exactly! i’d vote him “Man of the Year” — he was the most hopeful thing in all of 2009, and he became a household name alll the way back in January.

      Michelle, I’m tired of you.

    • Fo Realz?

      Jugular, do you really think you’re more out of touch than a 90 year old NYC elitist like Walters? Hardly. None of her choices fascinate me in the slightest, least of all a woman who is famous based on who she is married to.

    • Red

      I agree completely! Where’s Captain Sully??? And Michelle Obama – really?? Other than flexing her arms, what exactly has she done?

      • TC

        Maybe she threatened to beat up the old bag if she wasn’t chosen Most Fascinating.

      • Mark

        I agree with Capt. Sully. But what about Stephenie Meyer? Like Twilight or not, she has kept young girls reading, which is an accomplishment. Kate Gosselin is overblown. Along with Jon, I would never like to hear their name again. J J Abrams for rebooting a 40 year old franchise? The first lady from S Carolina…why? cause her husband cheated on her? Thats original. I really didnt find half the list that fascinating

      • real critic

        wow, mark. that was insightful…not so much. michelle obama is one half of a socialist couple who desire to strip america of its values and add it to the list of countries that have no back bone like france. baba wawa? you are useless on the view and you were always a useless anchor. i truly am not sure how you ever got this far. i pity the public that takes her opinions seriously.

      • real critic

        woah, malfunction much? names are diff now than they were before. this was a reply to pamela in the post below.

      • Jennifer

        Who the heck is Capt. Scully?

    • Anne

      Yeah, Captain Sully really should have been at the top. Or Susan Boyle, who has very clearly captivated the entire WORLD. Nobody cares about Michelle Obama except for Obama-worshiping journalists like Walters.

      • Pamela

        People whom are Black care a great deal.
        Little girls/young ladies/women with brown skin care.

      • Nancy

        To Anne – I so agree with your comment and especially re Susan Boyle. I didn’t watch because I knew Barbara would pick her very own picks, and I found them all boring.

      • sunshinekiller

        Wth cares about SuBo an ugly woman whose fame is like a flash in the pan. Her album sucks and we will never hear from her again because people will move on to the next ugly person who can sing better than her.

    • Monie

      Michelle Obama is doing a lot for military families, to empower young women and you heard her talk about children’s health and the stides she is making to help parents get their children to be more healthy. And this list is obviously based on people that have been grabbing the media’s attention lately. Kate Gosselin, the Jackson children, Lady Gaga, Adam Lambert and Michelle Obama all fall in this category. Have any one of them done anything groundbreaking? No, not really, but this is how this list was developed. TV is based on ratings. If you want som deep meaning in your programming, watch History or PBS.

      • D

        I think being the first descendant of slaves to be the first lady is the definition of being groundbreaking.

    • MiaS

      He is pretty interesting

    • andrea d

      Another vote for Captain Sully!!!

    • Carwin57

      Way off subject but, I just wanted to weigh in on BaBa Walters’ 10 most fascinating people of 2009. Geez, she completely mailed this one in. As Imus would say, “Time to wipe the oatmeal off her chin, pin a note on her sweater and wheel her down to the closest old folks home.” I can still remember her interviewing Presidents and world leaders in the past. Now it looks like she spent a few hours watching Showbiz Tonite to pick this latest bunch.
      Let’s see, who have we got:
      Jon Gosselin – Shamelessly threw his children to the media just to turn a buck and then cheated on Mom , destroying the children’s one sanctuary from the rest of the world, a happy home with Mom & Dad. Way to go Jon, fascinating.
      Tiger Woods – As much a moral derelict as Jon Gosselin, not to mention the sleeeze bags who laid down with him. The women who could care a less if they destroy a child’s family just for a few minutes of feeling like they really mattered.
      Adam Lambert – Give me a FREAKIN’ break. This guy’s a mediocre singer AT BEST who has chosen to use his 15 minutes as a promotional for gay sex. Hey Adam, everybody has sex. What the hell makes you think anybody wants to watch you simulate it in prime time
      Brett Favre (sp?) – I’ll give him this, he is one of the best at what he does (even though he dumped all over the greatest football fans in the universe, Green Bay), but still, he’s just playing a game.
      The other fascinating people, I don’t know much about. I’m sure they’re nice people and everything, but most are entertainers. How fascinating is that. Then there’s Michael’s kids…… or somebody’s kids….. what the heck was that all about?
      And then finally, Baba Walters, the ever loyal Liberal, bent over and gave one up for the Obama’s. Pleeeease, somebody give me ONE thing, just one, about Michelle Obama that is fascinating. I know two things about Michelle and only two. The hapless media went crazy over her sleeveless dresses and in 2007, for the first time in her life, she was actually proud of her country. Hey Girl, let’s see if you can EVER make your country proud of you.
      Dear Miss Walters:
      When I think of fascinating people, my thoughts immediately turn to nameless police officers who put their life on the line every time they clock in to deal with the dregs of society so I don’t have to. Firefighters who stare death in the face to save lives and property. Teachers, instilling in my three daughters a love for learning, enriching their lives forever. Doctors, nurses and paramedics who let the love of saving lives consume theirs.
      And finally, I think of the hundreds of thousands of Americans who died, face down in the mud, alone, thousands of miles away from their homes, their families, so that we could live in freedom, secure in our homes, sitting on our couches, watching our high-def TVs, while you parade self-absorbed, narcissistic, media robots by and try to convince us that they are fascinating.

      Barbara, climb down from your ivory tower once in a while and take a look at us simple people. You’d be surprised. Fascinating people are everywhere down here but, with a little effort, you can find the truly remarkable.

      • raisins

        Adam Lambert a mediocre singer? Wow the only guy that can fit in Freddie Mercury’s shoes and front Queen is a mediocre singer? I don’t wanna know who you think is a great singer… Kris Allen I bet. lol

        Everybody has sex on tv… yeah right but all you see at the AMA’s is hetero sex. Even you are contributing to the double standard.

        Adam Lambert must be fascinating you post about him!

      • tony

        i completely agree with this one. AMEN!

      • simultaneous strawberry

        raisins, you honestly put that thing’s name near an actual musician like freddie? wow. ok, how about you listen to some real music. i’d name a few bands for you to check out, but i’m sure they’ll go right over your head if they weren’t vomitted out by talentless hacks on your beloved idol.

    • Dallas

      I got it, why BW chose who she chose. Except for Michelle. Kinda like someone getting the Nobel Peace Prize.

    • jaime

      hey jugular – i feel that way when i hear hollywood use the word ‘beautiful’ to describe its white movie stars. beautiful. c’mon. give me a break. they look like trash from the trailer park around your way, just with makeup.

      take away the makeup and you got nothing. no hips, tan, lips, nothing. just flat, boring, high paid – overly paid – sluts and gay bags.

  • Joay Lee

    Maybe Barbara’s most fascinating people are the ones who want to do an interview with her. Tiger Woods is no doubt interesting during the last month of the year but no way would he do an interview with Barbara right now.

    • MiaS

      Michael Jackson’s kids & Brett Favre didn’t give an interview and made the list

  • Adam

    I agree about Taylor but Mo’Nique? I read popwatch everyday and this is the first I have heard of her even being in Precious. And Kris Allen Never had the spot light it was always Adam Lambert who like Tiger became interestng to late in the year. I would put the Govwerner Sanfrod of South Corlina on the list.

    • EWsMom

      LOL what a silly list Adam put together – Taylor Lautner? Is this a joke? Even in TWILIGHT he’s not facinating. And Kris Allen? zzzzZZZzzzzz x 100
      (the guy hasn’t done ONE interesting TV interview…he’s the DEFINITION of boring)

    • Alissa

      you read EW and didn’t know she was in Precious? …really? that’s like not knowing what Twilight is. also, I’m not sure what happened to your last sentence. did you have a stroke while trying to spell it out?

      • nezo

        your comment about the stroke made me LOL. Good job ma’am! :D

    • Ambient Lite

      I don’t discredit her perfomance, but I don’t think we should contribute to Mo’Nique’s larger than life ego by adding her to this list.

      • Cici

        Could not agree with you more about Mo’Nique. Her performance was good but the thought of her getting an Oscar is scary.

    • raprilc

      You didn’t know Mo’Nique was in “Precious”? What planet have you been living on?

  • Lauren

    Keep in mind, this is a list at least partially created by “those who would show up”. Kind of like the Teen Choice Awards, you know?

    • rachel

      Um she didnt even interview Brett Farve or the Jackson Kids so i dont think she made her picks based on who would show up, she chose them based on trying to keep her old self and tired show relevant!

  • Rick

    What about Ryan Murphy, creator of the biggest TV hit of the year: Glee? I know a lot of people are sick of hearing about this show, but 1: Fox took the bold move of airing the pilot 4 months before the actual show began, which was pretty fascinating in my opinion, and 2: As much as people hate to admit it, it is THE hottest show on TV right now, not just being a hit TV show, but lighting up music charts along the way. Where this show will go, and how high it could potentially climb is the very definition of fascinating. Oh, and his Nip/Tuck over on FX has always been fascinating as well. :D

    • @Rick

      “Glee” might get a lot of buzz – but at the end of the day, the show barely gets 7-8 million viewers per episode. Not really the “hottest” show IMO
      (hell, the new NCIS spin-off gets FOUR TIMES the number of viewers, and a better demo)

      • TC

        Oh, brother. ENOUGH WITH GLEE! Rick is right. Comparably nobody watches it.

      • G

        Thank god someone in the world has a brain. Glee is retarded, stolid, uninteresting, and I feel like I am losing brain cells if I even read about it. Thank you @Rick and TC for showing how no one really cares about Glee

    • D

      They are not going to p imp a Fox show.

  • Sue Norman

    How shallow this makes the American people seem! I certainly hope there is more depth to us than this list demonstrates!

    • ks


  • Synth

    the big stand out for me was susan boyle. her story is astounding. who woulda thunk in this day and age a homely middle-aged woman can beat out the hottest pop stars of the moment.
    i also agree with cpt sully being on there. weird, cause they both have things to promote (album and book respectively) so i wouldn’t think it’d be hard to get an interview. jenny sanford was the big “so what” for me. i didn’t care then, dont care now.

    • ellen wilkerson

      I agree on Susan Boyle and since her makeover she looks great. Her CD is AWESOME!
      My fantastic pick is Glenn Beck. He is the most honest, scary man I know.
      Michelle leaves me cold. She dresses awful!

  • JR

    How about:

    Bernie Madoff
    Alex Rodriguez
    Chris Brown
    Chelsey Sullenberger
    Conrad Murray
    David Letterman

    • Ambient Lite

      Interesting People, though…Chris Brown need not apply.


    I’m sure Tiger really cares !

  • What Who

    William Kamkwamba
    Bernie Madoff
    Ted Kennedy
    Sarah Palin
    Michelle Obama (I agree on only 2)

    • Ambient Lite

      Um, I don’t think she includes people posthumously does she?

      • Leslie

        Yea, I don’t really see Babs pulling out a Ouja board to do a Ted Kennedy interview.

      • Mark

        no…no dead people

      • tony

        wow, that’s a scary thought…bringing back ted kennedy.

  • Rick

    Honestly, can anyone remeber who was Walter’s most fascinating person of 2008 without googling it?

    • MsDaisy

      I believe that would have been Michelle’s hubby.

      • wendy

        who do you think it’ll be next year? Bo or the girls?

  • Albert K.

    Barbara is losing it! There was a time when her lists were something too look foward to. But Kate Gosselin, Adam Lambert & Lady Gaga? In the spotlight yes, but not fascinating. And for what tired whining, using shock value, and dressing so strange. Have to say her list has hit an all time low.

  • Nina

    I definitely agree that Capt. Sully should have been on the list, but it doesn’t really matter since the interviews were basically edited down to quick soundbites and the most interesting parts obviously left, as they say, on the cutting room floor.

  • Caitie F

    Well Sully, Taylor Swift and Susan Boyle were on the CBS version of the show and Barbara didn’t want to have the same people on her special. Also, Tiger has only been fascinating in the past week and this special was done by then

  • Ponz

    Has this woman totally lost her mind finally. I see nothing fasinating about any of them especially Adam Lambert.

    • pp

      Too bad!!!! Live with it!!!!

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