Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
This morning provided the most surreal moment of this winter’s TCA press tour. The Spanish-language network Univision’s 7:30 AM panel became a must-attend a couple of days ago when the network announced that it will feature Jennifer Lopez and her estranged husband Marc Anthony. But, despite the large interest, critics, already surly after having to rise at the crack of dawn, were squeezed into a smallish room that was rife with set-up cameras that made walking around nearly impossible. Lopez and Anthony, co-creators and exec producers of Univision’s Q’Viva! The Chosen, billed as a crossover talent contest for performers from throughout Latin America, were not there for the opening of the proceedings. They finally showed up about 15 minutes before the end of the session. The two were quizzed about the show by Univision personality Lourdes Estefan, dressed in a style similar to that of Lopez who was wearing a skin-tight blue leather dress with flower applications. “This is a passion project on so many levels,” Lopez said. “It’s really our dream to see it come together. People will be so enlightened, so enriched by this experience.” As for working with her ex, “it’s the same as any other time we work together,” she said, “we have a great time.”
Suddenly, all hell broke loose. As the minutes until the session’s scheduled conclusion ticked down and the critics were being shut out in favor of prepared questions, TCA veteran Jonathan Storm dramatically stood up, interrupting the pep rally. “The critics would like to ask their questions!” he announced. “We’ve got only seven minutes before we need to be somewhere else!” Those onstage were taken aback and briefly ignored the disturbance. But after other critics began chiming in, Storm’s question, “What kind of crossover do you think you have here with the English-speaking audience?”, was answered briefly by Lopez (“It really does translate; it’s not a big leap for anybody, since music and dance is part of the show”) before the panel onstage tried to return to talking amongst themselves. That was greeted with more impassioned protest, so one more critic got to ask a cursory question before Estefan put the session out of its misery, tossing it to a video followed by a wildly energetic live performance reminiscent of the Saturday night variety staple Sabato Gigante. Afterward, the shell-shocked critics filed out, with the spectacle they had witnessed already hailed as a classic of TCA lore.