Slideshow: Hosts with the Most?
<p>While Danica Patrick may have been tapped to host Tuesday night's American Country Awards, she's certainly not the first athlete to be featured in the central role of a televised event. Hopefully she gave some of these performances a look before taking the rhinestone-studded stage in Las Vegas. (Photo: John Shearer/WireImage) </p>
Hosting Duties: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly
While Danica Patrick may have been tapped to host Tuesday night's American Country Awards, she's certainly not the first athlete to be featured in the central role of a televised event. Hopefully she gave some of these performances a look before taking the rhinestone-studded stage in Las Vegas. (Photo: John Shearer/WireImage)
LeBron James | ESPY Awards | 2007
LeBron James opened the show with his own version of Bobby Brown's "My Prerogative," complete with Hammer pants, a high-top fade, gold chain and some vintage Cabbage Patch dance moves. Can he sing? Heck, no. But his enthusiasm to embarrass himself in front of his peers for a few laughs is admirable. Paired with actual funnyman Jimmy Kimmel, LeBron was able to play up his strengths while letting his co-host do the heavy comedic lifting.
Grade: B+. LeBron was the Dwyane Wade to Jimmy Kimmel’s LeBron James of hosting. Great team player but wouldn’t have been able to carry it on his own. (Photo: Michael Caulfield/WireImage/Getty Images)
Peyton Manning | Saturday Night Live | 2007
Peyton Manning's "Saturday Night Live" hosting gig is held as the gold standard for all other athletes hosting the show, attempting a funny viral video or just telling a joke in a postgame press conference. Peyton is not just funny for an athlete, but actually funny. His mock United Way commercial is an all-time classic and is still referenced frequently nearly seven years later.
Grade: A. Move over Justin Timberlake! (Photo:Dana Edelson/NBC/Getty Images)
Venus Williams | Sesame Street | 2004
Venus Williams has lost to some formidable opponents over the years but none with the iconic star power of Elmo. The elder Williams sister guest-starred on an episode of the famed children’s show and played an imaginary tennis match with Elmo in which she lost. How exactly can one lose an imaginary tennis match? We’re still not sure but Venus did a fine job convincing us of her defeat.
Grade: B. There’s no such thing as bad acting on a children’s show. And she gets bonus points for letting Elmo beat her. The kids appreciate that. (Photo:Theo Wargo/Sesame Workshop/Getty Images)
Charles Barkley | Saturday Night Live | 2012
His 2012 appearance actually marked Sir Charles Barkley's third time hosting the show. While it wasn't turrible, the sketches were mostly forgettable and he got flack for incorrectly calling the NBA lockout a "strike." However, "White People Problems," in which Barkley hosted a fake Investigation Discovery show, was a standout moment.
Grade: B-. Significantly fewer laughs than during TNT's NBA coverage. (Photo: Dana Edelson/NBC/Getty Images)
Gabby Douglas | America’s Got Talent | 2012
Fresh off her gold-medal win in the All Around competition at the London Olympics, newly anointed America’s sweetheart was a natural choice to help Nick Cannon host a results episode of "America’s Got Talent." Decked out with her two gold medals around her neck, Douglas' presence alone prompted more enthusiasm from the crowd than any of the featured contestants. While she didn't have much of the show's heavy-lifting, Douglas did a fine job talking about her Olympic experience and reading from the prompter.
Grade: Solid B. She's no Mario Lopez but significantly better than Khloe Kardashian's ill-fated "X Factor" attempt. (Photo: Virginia Sherwood/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon | Country Music Awards | 2010
While Jeff Gordon didn't actually host the CMA's, he did pretend to be actual host and lookalike Brad Paisley during a portion of the show. And that's good enough for us! With jokes about Paisley lip-synching, the ability to adequately read off a teleprompter and the willingness to go along with a super cheesy bit on identity theft, Gordon actually showed he has the makings of a successful awards show host.
Grade: A-. If Gordon's appearance had lasted more than 75 seconds, he might have have earned an A. And yet somehow, in such a short amount of time, he proved his acting skills were better than those of co-host Carrie Underwood. (Photo: Mark Davis/PictureGroup/AP Images)
Anna Kournikova | The Biggest Loser | 2011
The most famous tennis player to never win a Grand Slam singles title, Anna Kournikova seemed like a natural fit for television after she officially hung up her racket and focused on Enrique Iglesias music videos. Known mostly for her beauty and subsequent popularity, Kournikova was brought in for the 12th season of the hit show as a trainer. However, Kournikova was widely criticized for being unsympathetic and out of touch. She left the show after one season.
Grade: D. All sizzle and little substance. (Photo: Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank)
Chris Evert | Saturday Night Live | 1989
After retiring from tennis, Chris Evert decided to try her hand at something new and agreed to host "Saturday Night Live." Her most talked-about sketch featured her and Martina Navratilova competing in their post-retirement jobs like real estate and tomato growing. Evert received rave reviews for her performance and self-deprecating humor.
Grade: B+. Martina Navratilova undoubtedly would have gotten an A, however. (Photo: Alan Singer/NBC/NBCU)
Lance Armstrong | ESPY Awards | 2006
Before he was a disgraced former cyclist who was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles, Lance Armstrong was an American hero celebrated for his cycling achievements and cancer advocacy. Tapped as the first athlete to host the ESPY awards, Armstrong shocked the crowd with a crude joke directed at his friend Jake Gyllenhaal. His only other memorable moments came thanks to appearances from funny people like Will Ferrell and Ben Stiller.
Grade: C-. A lackluster performance from an athlete at his peak. (Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Tom Brady | Saturday Night Live | 2005
Tom Brady proved that acting really is harder than it looks with one and only "SNL" hosting gig. Playing roles like Tom Brady and a football player, the writers apparently knew his limitations early on. He did draw some laughs from "Tom Brady's Falafel City," in which he dressed up as a genie and promoted his fake restaurant, and a "Behind The Music" spoof of the 1985 Chicago Bears "Super Bowl Shuffle," where he played Jim MacMahon. Brady has not hosted since, a surprise to virtually no one who watched the original episode.
Grade: C. Brady is the Matt Cassel of hosting, only acceptable when your first-choice star is unavailable. (Photo: Dana Edelson/NBC/Getty Images)