'New Year's Rockin' Eve' Exec Producer Mark Bracco on Christina Aguilera Headlining & Keeping Tradition Alive

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Mark Bracco doesn’t thoughts engaged on New Year’s Eve. For 13 years, Bracco has served as the manager producer for Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest, the enduring annual occasion that hundreds of thousands of Americans look to because the official begin to the New Year. 

Bracco oversees the reserving of the numerous chart-topping artists who carry out at New Year’s Rockin’ Eve all throughout America. This yr’s present will function performances from breakout artists like Shawn Mendes, Camila Cabello and Dua Lipa, in addition to veterans like Christina Aguilera and New Kids on the Block. Ryan Seacrest will host the occasion stay from Times Square with the assistance of Jenny McCarthy, whereas Lucy Hale and Ciara will deal with protection from New Orleans and Los Angeles, respectively, ushering within the New Year because it happens within the totally different time zones. 

Putting collectively probably the most extremely televised occasions of the yr is not any small endeavor, and Bracco helps make all of it occur. Billboard caught up with the person backstage simply earlier than the 47th anniversary of America’s greatest celebration, to speak in regards to the evolution of Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve and the significance of maintaining traditions alive.

What are you most enthusiastic about for viewers to see throughout this yr’s New Year's Rockin’ Eve performances?

I'm tremendous excited that Christina Aguilera goes to be headlining for us in Times Square. She'll be performing a medley of her biggest hits proper earlier than the ball drops. She carried out for us in Times Square, in 2007, and greater than 10 years later she's again. She's probably the most iconic voices on the earth, so we couldn't consider anybody higher to finish 2018. Being stay in New Orleans once more this yr for the Central Time Zone countdown to midnight, to have Florida Georgia Line and Maren Morris in the course of the Big Easy performing for us can be nice. Our LA celebration this yr is simply stacked. We all the time discuss New Year's Rockin' Eve as a celebration of the most important artists and the most important songs of the yr. This yr greater than ever, each single tune is only a large, big hit. We have been trying on the yr finish listing of the American prime 40, and we've so a lot of these songs on the present. From Maren Morris doing "The Middle" to Weezer doing "Africa," we've so many large hit songs within the present. It's only a nice recap of the yr in music.

So many Americans look to New Year’s Rockin’ Eve as a solution to usher within the new yr, and for a lot of, it’ll be the very first thing they see in 2019. What does that accountability imply to you?

I watched Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve as a child on the sofa, with my household. Whether you're celebrating at a giant celebration, or with your loved ones at residence, everybody watches as a result of it's an American custom. It's one of many causes we've stored Dick Clark's identify on the present even after he handed away a couple of years in the past, even now that Ryan Seacrest is our host. We really feel an excellent accountability on New Year's Eve as a result of we all know that we're the present that's bringing households and Americans collectively to have fun the tip of the yr, after which have fun the beginning of the brand new yr. Really, we simply wish to entertain folks with the perfect music and a protected house for everybody of all ages to observe collectively.

How do you assume New Year’s Rockin’ Eve has developed previously 47 years from what it was then, to what it's right now? 

When it began out 47 years in the past, it was Dick Clark in Times Square with one digital camera serving to to countdown to the New Year. The present simply retains getting larger and larger. Last yr I imagine we had 38 performances all through all the present. I haven't counted what number of there are this yr, however I'm positive it's not less than that many, and the present simply retains rising. When I first began engaged on it, the present began at ten o'clock, after which it expanded to begin at eight o'clock. We went from three and a half hours to 5 and a half hours. Last yr we had our highest rankings in 27 years, which within the tv setting proper now, is a reasonably wonderful feat.

Despite how a lot New Year's Rockin' Eve has grown, what traditions have remained the identical?

What I believe won't ever change is the ball drop. It all leads as much as the ball drop and will get type of larger and extra spectacular yearly. To have all of our expertise onstage because the confetti comes down and everybody sings "Auld Lang Syne" after which "New York, New York," it's one thing that by way of the perfect instances in our nation, and thru probably the most making an attempt instances in our nation, New Year's Rockin' Eve has all the time been there to usher within the hope and promise of the New Year. That's what the inspiration of the present has all the time been.

How does watching the stay broadcast examine to going to Times Square on New Year’s Eve?

It needs to be on everyone's bucket listing simply as soon as to return to Times Square and to be there when the ball drops as a result of it's not like any expertise you'll have. We discover that yearly, with the artists who've carried out proper earlier than the ball drops, whether or not it was Taylor Swift or Lady Gaga, afterwards, all of them really feel prefer it was such a tremendous second to be there in the course of Times Square, in good climate or dangerous climate. 

What's the dynamic like between the 4 totally different hosts? 

We all the time name it our "New Year's Rockin' Eve Family" as a result of our hosts actually do develop into like household. They all simply have enjoyable with one another. Jenny likes to present Ryan a bit of little bit of hell in the course of the present about stuff. Ryan and Jenny, they like to be down on the road speaking to the entire folks within the crowd, and simply listening to their tales. Every yr, that's one among my most favourite components of the present, is that Ryan, Jenny, Lucy and Ciara, are simply so real with the group. Ryan has all the time talked about the truth that Dick Clark was his function mannequin. To have a couple of years the place they crossed over collectively, I believe meant a lot to Ryan. I believe that Ryan actually is the Dick Clark of this era. 

How do you assume New Year’s Rockin’ Eve each impacts and displays popular culture every year?

We love to actually encapsulate the yr in music. One issues that's fascinating this yr, is that we've extra nation music stars on the present than we've ever had. I believe this was a extremely breakout yr for nation music and nation stars crossing over to different genres. One factor we all the time assume is fascinating is because the present goes on and we get into the later hours at like 1 a.m., a variety of the artists will do a more moderen single, and a variety of instances we discover songs that air at 1:30 within the morning develop into big hits that yr.

What's your first New Year’s Rockin’ Eve reminiscence?

This is my 13th yr engaged on the present. The first yr that I started working on the present, to be there in Times Square within the management room because it was all occurring, was type of a pinch-myself second. It was in that second that I assumed "I used to observe this present on the sofa after I was a bit of child with my dad and mom or my siblings.” I'm engaged on the present that I've liked since I used to be a bit of child. Sometimes folks will say to me, "Wow, it should actually stink having to work on New Year's Eve." I all the time say all the time say I'm the luckiest man on the earth that I get to work each  New Year's Eve. I get to be within the heart of the universe in Times Square the place the world is watching. 

After a tumultuous and making an attempt yr like 2018, why do you assume New Year’s Rockin’ Eve is the proper solution to shut it?

With the present being round for 47 years, there are years which have been actually uplifting years for our nation, and different years which have seen tough instances and tragedies. I believe for us, our purpose on Dec. 31 is that everybody is along with their family and friends. I believe it all the time provides the promise of hope within the new yr. We simply wish to be there for everybody to have fun collectively, irrespective of your background or the place you come from, and know that we're there with you, hoping as a lot as you might be that numerous good issues occur within the New Year after that ball drops.