Oscar show producers cave on limiting best song performances but Warble-gate isn’t totally over yet

The Motion Picture Academy has suddenly changed its tune and will allow all five best song contenders to be performed on the Academy Award telecast that will air live on February 24. The not-so-good news is that each number will allegedly be allowed only 90 seconds. That’s about as long as the aria that Lady Gaga sings in “Shallow,” her nominated song from “A Star Is Born.”

Warble-gate came about after producers of the show told reps that they only had time for “Shallow” and Kendrick Lamar and SZA’s “All the Stars,” both top 10 hits, to be performed during the show, which they are trying to keep to three hours. But now spots have been offered to the other three contenders. Jennifer Hudson has accepted the invite to sing “I’ll Fight” from the doc “RBG,” the 10th nomination without a win for the prolific Diane Warren. As for “The Place Where Lost Things Go” from “Mary Poppins Returns,”  an academy tweet teased that  “a surprise special guest” would sing the ballad instead of the film’s leading lady, Emily Blunt.

So far, it isn’t known if any other performers besides Hudson has said yes. That would include Willie Watson and Tim Blake Nelson who croon the countrified ode to mortality, “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” from the Coen brothers’ anthology Western, “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.”

Variety has cited sources that say the nominees talked among themselves last week and that some ageed that solidarity was important, and that they all took a “perform them all or none at all” stance. Sadly, one idea that would have been a killer if Queen had opened the show with a medley of their hits from “Bohemian Rhapsody.” But that notion, well, bit the dust.

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