First. the above link goes to Nikke Finke's blog to show I am not alone in feeling the show was a failure
And I finally realized why I unexpectedly hated the show so much.
I liked the concept of almost everything they tried to do: the presentation order; the musical numbers (other than horrible singing over the obits you couldn't read due to bad direction); the idea of the set; the multiple presenters; and even the attempted style and tone.
My strong negative response was due to how far their execution fell from everything they tried to achieve. Other than the wonderful Tina Fey/Steve Martin presenter banter - the writing was stilted, the direction was confused, the set simply did not work in so many ways, the taped pieces were forced and the musical numbers were.... uniformly embarrassing.
It was just too easy to picture how much better every single part of the production, could have been when contrasted to what happened on the stage during the Slumdog production number and whenever the Slumdog winners were on the stage.
And as for Hugh Jackman - he was always professional, always in command of the stage - and he was never for a second a David Letterman or Whoopi Goldberg embarrassment. But he was also never for a moment a host who could hold together the show like Bob Hope, Johnny Carson - or Billy Crystal.
My solution? Next year have PIXAR produce the show.