LiveBlogging The Neighborhood Inaugural Ball

By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García, also Published At The Instant Callback

I admit, I spent most of Inauguration Day taking it all in quietly. Even my cynical heart warmed a little during the day. I didn’t have a thing to make fun of. Thank the stars ABC gave me the Neighborhood Inaugural Ball.

8:10 — Delayed start, but: Mary J. looked GREAT, and Will.i.am struck a good note — addition by subtraction of Fergie, perhaps?
8:19 — W. had Ricky Martin. O has Maroon 5. This is progress?!
8:20 — Robin Roberts! Yay! I remember when she was a SportsCenter rookie …
8:21 — Nick Cannon is as much a DJ as George Bush was a Decider.
8:22 — Mariah has a blinged-out mic stand. Take that, Mary J.!
8:25 — Oh shit, Denzel is there?
8:30 — Denzel arrives! PLYMOUTH ROCK, GET THE F-K OFF!
8:31 — Mariah can’t lend the President her mic stand?
8:32 — “How good-looking is my wife?” Epic.
8:34 — Is that Faith Hill next to Denzel?
8:34 — Beyonce nails the first note …

8:35 — Beyonce’s mic also had some bedazzle to it. Is this the next arms race?
8:40 — Homeland Security U.S.A. advert — Good to know Republicans still have some programs to watch.
8:41 — For a comedian, Jamie Foxx is a hell of a singer
8:42 — Shakira’s music sucks nowadays, but DAMN
8:43 — Nice to see Sting is growing another rainforest on his chin
8:45 — We have a president who bumps people. This might work out after all.
8:45 — My friend Chris: “The President may think he’s got good music at his party, but I get to see Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings this week. I win.” Can’t argue with that.
8:49 — These “all-star jams” rarely go well. Damn you, ABC, for not trusting Stevie Wonder to do his own damn song.
8:50 — For a comedian, Ray Romano is a hell of a waste of space.
8:51 — “I can’t believe I’m here.” I can’t believe you’re there either, Romano.
8:53 — This moron is DYING out there. Somewhere, there’s a hotel lounge missing a headliner …

8:55 — Ooo-wee-ooo, Jigga looks like Buddy Holly!
Oh Oh, where’s Beyonce Tyler Moore?

8:57 — Is it me, or does Jay sound like he’s out of breath?
8:59 — Y’know, when I wore glasses like those in fourth grade, I got my ass kicked. Now they’re in fashion?
9:03 — “Destiny calls.” You go straight to voicemail, Lost.
9:03 — Who in the blue hell is Kate Walsh?
9:05 — I don’t think I’ve ever seen Alicia Keys do a song badly.
9:08 — This might be the song of the night, up there with Beyonce
9:09 — Send in the clowns tumblers people jumping around on weird-looking sh-t!
9:10 — Info from my friend Paul on miss Walsh: “Best known for playing Addison Sheppard on Grey’s Anatomy/Private Practice on ABC. Don’t judge me for knowing that.” No, but I will quote you!
9:11 — The crowd doesn’t know what to make of the tumblers. Was the wrestling bear booked?
9:12 — The tumblers are cut off. For the first time in my television-watching life, I wish we’d gotten more commercials.
9:16 — If I sent a text from Tijuana, would Mexico get a star on the Map of Vague Good Feelings?

9:17 — Shakira’s butchering “The Right Side Of The Road,” but DAMN.
9:18 — Shakira, harmonica. Harmonica, Shakira.

9:23 — Stevie! Seriously, who needed The 5 Maroons?
9:26 — SW is stealing the show right from Alicia
9:30 — Grover on Scrubs? I thought Zack Braff was the only sock puppet allowed on that show.
9:32 — Even Biden gets a cheer!
9:33 — Even Biden gets an “AWWWWW”!
9:34 — Even Biden gets a dance!?
9:36 — Make that half a dance.
9:38 — Which final 20 minutes will be worse: the Neighborhood Ball’s or the average SNL’s?
9:40 — Who in the blue hell is Carrie Washington?
9:40 — Faith Hill just answered my question. I apologize, Lorne Michaels.
9:44 — Playing Joan Jett as bumper music is just a f-king cruel tease.
9:46 — Hey, Gitmo might be closing soon — are the CMT Awards looking for a new site?
9:49 — Sting + Stevie doing “Brand New Day.” Could be worse — that could be Shakira playing harp.
9:50 — My friend Chris: “Looks like Sting is practicing tantric shaving”
9:52 — If we’re rehashing ’90s inspirational pop for this, why not just book Jesus Jones?
9:55 — Watching the Frost/Nixon advert, wishing for the sequel: Olbermann/Bush.
9:57 — Looks like the end of an SNL episode, doesn’t it? Too bad Obama didn’t close with “Thanks to all of our guest-stars … and Ray Romano.”
9:58 — We’re closing with the tumblers? I miss Ray Romano!
10:00 — ABC News says, “The balls are in full swing.” Now that is how you end a party. YES WE CAN change the channel now.

So, the lesson of the night? The audacity of hope can conquer anything … except bad music. If it wasn’t for Beyonce, Alicia and Stevie, the Ball would’ve made Dick Clark’s NYE show look like Soul Train.

Normally you could blame this on events like MTV and the Youth Ball (what would you rather have watched, Sting and his kite-eating beard or Kanye and Fall Out Boy?), but for cripes’ sake, Common was at the Obama Home States Inaugural Ball. That’s like deciding the national football championship at the Humanitarian Bowl. I can only hope that someday, we as a nation and as a people can come together to get actual hip-hop and rock artists on a “major network” gala event. But hey, there’s always 2012, right?

* All photos courtesy of Reuters