Barry Manilow has rarely been a guy associated with cutting-edge music. His biggest hits have been catchy pop tunes like "Mandy," "I Write the Songs" and "Copacabana," all of which have indelible melodies but could never be mislabeled "edgy." However, it's clear that Manilow — who just launched a fresh show in Las Vegas this week — has a taste for genre-pushing young singers.
"I think Lady Gaga is very original," the singer told Reuters. "I really think she's got something going for her." In the same interview, Manilow also gave a shout out to "American Idol" runner-up and current controversy lightning rod Adam Lambert. "I encourage these young singers to do what they are passionate about," he said.
For his part, Manilow has managed to maintain a unique place in the pop zeitgeist. He has been a guest judge on "American Idol" and his song "Mandy" was a running gag on Joss Whedon's cult favorite TV show "Angel." And on Wednesday night (December 2), he'll join Alicia Keys, Michael Bublé, Aretha Franklin and Shakira for "Christmas in Rockefeller Center," the annual tree-lighting ceremony for New York City's premiere holiday tourist attraction. There will be no sign of Gaga or Lambert, but perhaps Manilow will gain an appreciation for the majesty of "She Wolf" on tonight's show (which airs live at 8 p.m. on NBC).