As any true fan of the Emmys knows, the arrivals are almost holier than the show itself. It's our first look at who's wearing what, who's had some work done — and who needs to — not to mention where we find proof that certain former costars aren't so cozy anymore. And for years, the keepers of that sacred land have been the mom-daughter mess of Joan and Melissa Rivers. Tacky, tough and maybe a little tanked, the red-carpet commandos made every mistake in the book. And we loved them for it. So much so that we hired them away to the TV Guide Channel. Unfortunately, due to a few legal loopholes, our picky pair had to sit out this season's kudosfest, leaving Payless queen Star Jones to fill their shoes for Live from the Red Carpet, E!'s annual parade of pretty people piling into L.A.'s Shrine Auditorium. And while she probably won't win a statue for cloying her way down the carpet, there were a few bits leading up to TV's 56th annual pat on the back that were simply golden. Or at least gold plated.
The Angelina Jolie Award
Granted, the sight of Donald Trump is sure to inspire a level of excitement, but hearing Star bellow "I gotta make out with my brother!" should have been enough for The Apprentice mogul to fire the flack who steered him into that ickiness.
The TMI Award
"It's like a sock... you can't wear anything underneath it," revealed Lead Actress in a Comedy nom Bonnie Hunt about her clingy periwinkle perfection. Like we needed that visual so soon after the idea of Jones and Trump gettin' down.
The Steven Cojacaru Who? Memorial
With the net's Frank N. Furter-on-crack Cojo freakin' folks out at Entertainment Tonight these days, we got a breath of fresh fashionisto air from Robert Verdi, who handled the couture questions with more humor and heart than is almost acceptable at these sorts of shindigs. Throwing Joan of Arcadia's Jason Ritter onto that spinning fashion plate off stage, Verdi proudly outed himself as "the Pat Sajak of E!" Somewhere, Vanna White is twitching at his flagrant use of an unsold vowel.
Lead Actress in a Comedy nominee Debra Messing's straightened — and may I say, luminous — locks were almost as divine as her vow that this season will be "vintage Will & Grace." Which, for those of you who can remember that far back, means it'll be funny.
The Cut It Out Now Award
I don't care if it is American Idol's Randy Jackson, Star. Screaming "What up, my dawg?" in Badgley Mischka is just ignorant.
Bowing out of James Brolin's camera time, Barbra Streisand not only allowed hubby to bask in his Lead Actor in a TV-Movie nod for The Reagans. She also got to dodge Jones' put-on "You my girl!" posing. It was cute for the first hour, hon. Of Oprah. Put the ghetto-girl act away, OK?
Best Accessory: Reality
Sporting Survivor: All-Stars winner and fianceé Amber Bkirch on his arm, Boston Rob looked pretty damn good. Then he opened his mouth. And that's a damn shame.
The Hooked on Phonics Can Work for You Award
"I get to present, which has to be the funnest way to do your first Emmys." Oh, Mischa Barton. You're so pretty. Now go stand with Boston Rob!
Best Accessory: Non-Reality
Not since Liza and David's wedding-day tonsil hockey has a man been shoved deeper down our throats than Star's fiancé, Al Reynolds, whose off-camera presence was referred to more times than God at the Gospel Awards. Even worse, her unrelenting gab about their November nuptials left absolutely no room to note their January "irreconcilable differences."
The Pink Is the New Black Award
Kim Cattrall's Pamela Rowland tank dress joined Babs and Messing's pale frocks to show up the noir crowd and prove that the carpet's softer shade can be both feminine and fab.
The Green Is the New Pink Award
Scratch that. Between Cheryl Hines and Lead Actress in a Drama hopefuls Allison Janney and Mariska Hargitay, the carpet was looking more like an emerald aisle. First-time nominee Hargitay gets extra points for the train and the highlights. And for being so freakin' gorgeous.
The Viewer's Choice Award
After two hours of saccharine sucking-up and unsightly attempts to book her victi... I mean, interviewees as guests on The View, hearing Jones finally sign off was actually the best thing on TV tonight. Aside, of course, from the ads for Joan Rivers' upcoming Nip/Tuck gig. Now, let's just hope the swelling's down by next September.