The video: With Anne Hathaway and James Franco's awkward, bipolar Oscar-hosting gig still painfully burned in our collective memory, Neil Patrick Harris provided a welcome contrast at Sunday night's Tony Awards. The second-time Tony host drew near-universal raves — for his opening number, his duet with Hugh Jackman, and the two-minute rap with which he closed the show, summarizing its highlights. (Watch the video below.) In the Heights' Lin-Manuel Miranda and Tommy Kail wrote the rap together in the venue's basement, and were thrilled with Harris' performance, his first time rapping. "He is fearless," says Miranda. "He was just amazing...he crushed it."
The reaction: I'm not so sure about this, says CBS News. "A rap finale, NPH? Really?" Oh c'mon, it was an "incredible" number that "brought down the house," says Rosemary Jean-Louis at Examiner.com. From beginning to end, Harris totally owned it, and simply "rocked the awards." Yeah, "enough tiptoeing: The Oscars need Neil Patrick Harris to host in 2012," says Christopher Rosen at Movieline. His wrap-up rap was a fitting end to a night that was "funny, touching, energetic and just about perfect." Oscars producers, take note. See for yourself below: