When making her New Year’s resolution for 2016, Jenny McCarthy is taking a cue from General Leia Organa.
Well, sort of. McCarthy was inspired by Carrie Fisher, who blasted Internet trolls debating whether she “aged well” in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
“I decided, and I really thought about this because I didn’t want to do something like ‘I want to lose weight’,” McCarthy tells Billboard of her New Year’s resolution. “I wanted to let go of my taking the high road when people might attack on Twitter or social media. Most celebrities do take the high road thanks to their publicist, but I was watching someone like Carrie Fisher recently who addressed how someone made a comment about the way she looks and how she aged in Star Wars, and she came back with the most brilliant response.”
McCarthy — who confessed she saw the movie twice already — was impressed with the Star Wars icon, and came to a decision.
“You know what? It must feel so good to say what’s on your mind like that,” she said. “I feel like in this new year I am going to do that as my New Year’s resolution. No more Jenny taking the high road. I am going to speak my mind a little bit.”
The 43-year old co-host is ready to take on her sixth year ringing in the new year on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest, 8 p.m. ET Dec. 31. Seacrest will once again emcee the festivities for his 11th straight year, presiding over the midnight countdown live from New York City’s Times Square.
The lineup includes American Idol and country superstar Carrie Underwood in Times Square, joined by Luke Bryan, Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth and Demi Lovato. Fergie will toast the evening on the West Coast with performances by One Direction, 5 Seconds of Summer, Alessia Cara, Andy Grammer, DNCE, Elle King, Ellie Goulding, Fall Out Boy, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Nathan Sykes, Nick Jonas, OMI, Pentatonix, Rachel Platten, Tove Lo, and Walk the Moon. In addition, Jimmy Buffett is set to wish Parrotheads everywhere a happy new year with a special performance live from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. As an added bonus, the broadcast will host the world premiere of Taylor Swift’s “Out of the Woods” video to a worldwide audience.
Once again, McCarthy will do what she does best — provide on-the-ground live coverage while mixing it up with revelers around the globe. The personable hostess was on hand Wednesday morning (Dec. 30) answering questions next to the famed Waterford Ball (fun fact: the ball is illuminated by 32,256 Phillips Luxeon LEDs) before the New Year’s Eve madness commences. Billboard spoke with the former MTV star and current Sirius XM host about the big night, keeping warm, and why her husband will always be there on NYE.
It’s almost New Year’s Eve! Are you looking forward to this?
Yeah! I get excited every year! People are like “aren’t you nervous? Aren’t you scared of the cold?” and I answer “yes and yes.” But the job is that good that I can’t ever imagine not doing it. It is just such a treat.
How are you so fast on your feet with the crowd?
I guess because of my past, maybe doing Singled Out and doing MTV for so long. It was really good practice because most of the audience was out of their mind back in the day on MTV so I was forced to be quick. This to me is my specialty, being out with the people!
What is your favorite thing about doing this?
It is my sixth year! My favorite thing is hosting and live TV. I love when things don’t go right. That is when I get most excited and I have to help Ryan or he helps me with something off the cuff. Things that can break it up like that! Also I love the fact that this is the only time of the year I can honestly say where the world kind of comes together. People from around the world come to Times Square and they are happy and they are unified. I literally get the chills. I cry when the ball drops. Everyone starts singing, the confetti drops and I go, “This is the way the world should be! It’s a beautiful utopia.” Mind you by 1 o’clock in the morning everyone is back to hating each other, but for those five hours it is the most wonderful experience!
When do things go wrong? Do you have an example?
Dick Clark used to be the sole New Year’s Eve provider, and there are so many shows now. Now there are all the networks cramped into Times Square. Think about all those WiFi signals!! The little earpieces that we use to talk to our control tower to find out how much time we have before we go to commercial break if we are on camera… sometimes we don’t even know because we are getting intertwined with everybody else’s feed. So prompters go out, you name it. The electronic part is the chaotic part. I had a repeat in my ear — an echo — the entire time for three hours one year. Any time I spoke it would repeat back in my ear and I had to keep it going like it wasn’t happening and that was really difficult.
It is going to be much warmer this year. It was freezing last year, and Ryan gave Taylor Swift his jacket, which was so gallant of him.
I was hoping he was going to make out with her! But the coat was fine!
Does the weather ever throw you off?
McCarthy: It does. One year I had strep throat. I had 103-degree fever and it was pretty cold outside. I think that was my third year doing it. This year so far I feel healthy but 37 degrees is the report I am getting. To me, that is still cold but I’ll take it over 6 below.
This year’s lineup is strong. Looking into 2016, are any acts exciting you?
I think Adele. Even though she has dominated so far so late in the year, I think as the rest of her songs get released, she is going to take over the entire year. I think 2016 will be Adele’s biggest year.
What do you like the most about working with Ryan?
First of all, he gave me this job. I sat with him for lunch one day and he said “Jenny, I want to work with you — I got to figure out where. I think we’d be a good team.” Then, he called me the next week later and said “how about New Years Eve?” It’s been such a joy to work with him because he is so professional. He’s got my back, and I’ve got his, and we have a brother/sister relationship now. It’s kind of unspoken. None of us annoy each other. We are both on time and do our job the best way we possibly can.
Will your husband, Donnie Wahlberg, be here again?
I think Donnie is going to come every year after kissing a policeman the first year and a fireman the second year. He said no more of that. You are going to kiss my lips! I am totally ok with that. I love him!