Patti LaBelle tripped over her flowing outfit, and WFTV-Channel 9 lost its signal at Lake Eola. There's nothing quite like live television on the Fourth of July.
LaBelle didn't fall. She collected herself, put her soulful stamp on "Over the Rainbow" and thrilled the crowd at "A Capitol Fourth," the live-from-Washington special on PBS.
WFTV's "Fireworks at the Fountain" smoothed over what could have been a major glitch by cutting to Martie Salt in the studio and offering fireworks footage from Walt Disney World. Before that, WFTV anchors Vanessa Welch and Jorge Estevez had been hosting from a downtown high-rise with a grand view of Lake Eola. Welch and Estevez were an exuberant team, just right for the holiday night filled with fireworks and music by the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra.
At the national level, NBC rolled out the "Macy's 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular," and the fireworks were indeed spectacular. The NBC special put the emphasis on popular music, and there were energetic performances by Miranda Lambert, Lionel Richie and Hunter Hayes.
The PBS program offered current and timeless hits from LaBelle, Michael McDonald, Sara Evans, Jordin Sparks, Phillip Phillips and Frankie Valli, who led the crowd in a rousing singalong to "Can't Take My Off You."
But PBS also offered patriotic music with great flair. John Williams led the National Symphony Orchestra in a thrilling new arrangement of "The Star-Spangled Banner." The show brought on Broadway star Kelli O'Hara to sing patriotic music twice, and she was splendid.