While the “Alone Yet Not Alone” scandal has rather dominated the Best Original Song conversation since the nominees were announced, there’s been some good news in the category this year — for the first time in a while, it contains at least a couple of songs that the general public actually cares about. Top 40 hits may have dominated the Oscars in the 80s, but have largely disappeared from the race in recent years. “Skyfall” reversed the trend last year; this year, however, we have two certifiable pop hits: Idina Menzel’s “Frozen” anthem “Let It Go,” and Pharrell Williams’ upbeat R&B track from “Despicable Me 2,” “Happy.”
That’s a happy outcome for telecast producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who are obviously keen to pack as much star power into the show as possible — and it has now been confirmed that Williams will indeed perform “Happy” on stage at the Oscars.
This promises a moment of rare pop relevance for the Academy — the infectiously catchy “Happy” is still climbing the charts in the US, having recently peaked at #11 on the Billboard Hot 100, and should be even more ubiquitous by the time the ceremony rolls around in early March. (The song caught on earlier in the UK, where it remained at #1 for three weeks in January.)
Williams, meanwhile, is on a pretty hot streak these days, having just won a quartet of Grammys (including Producer of the Year and Record of the Year), and featured of two of 2013’s most inescapable pop singles, Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” and Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.” All that, and his awesome Grammy Awards hat prompted a mini-meme online; here’s hoping he has something similarly dashing planned for the Oscars.
Anyway, no surprise that the Oscar producers, who have been inconsistent about featuring nominated songs on the show in recent years, would want him on stage. Here’s hoping this bodes will for performances from the remaining three nominees: aside from Menzel’s showstopper, the presence of U2 and erstwhile Yeah Yeah Yeahs frontwoman Karen O would be reason enough for a lot of people to tune in.