Later tonight, the Opening Night ceremonies include a performance by Gloria Estefan. This doesn’t really move me. It’s no surprise that the Open’s musical choice went the way of the Super Bowl: Safe, bland, a second serve that floats harmlessly over the net.
But the annual Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day has been — stunningly — a place to find some talent.
Last year, for instance, Justin Bieber peformed, a little before he was a household name (a friend of the Observer‘s, a reporter for Newsday who was covering Kids Day last year on assignment, said that was the first she had heard of him). In 2007, the Jonas Brothers performed, just as they were hitting their stride. In 2005, we had Rihanna, right at the moment we learned her name. In 2000, it was all about Jessica Simpson, just as her first album was released. In 1999 it was Britney, in 1998 the Backstreet boys, and in 1997 Hanson. All perfectly timed assignments.
This year, the USTA went back with the Jonas Brothers — and that’s fine! — but we expect them to spot some new talent next year.
Whoever books Kids’ Day should just get the rights to handle tonight’s Opening Ceremonies. And if it’s actually the same person who somehow books both, then they should think of their audience as pre-teen boys and girls. The celebs who show up tonight (whether it be Rupert or Alec Baldwin or the Mayor or whoever!) will not keep their backs turned in their luxury suite if they had some emerging stars on the red carpet. Or, at least they’d laugh!