Every live presentation has a chance to go horribly wrong, but at the Consumer Electronics Show the difficulties are usually with the devices, not the celebrity guests. Not this year: Director Michael Bay, known for his explosive and logic-defying films, had a blowup of his own on stage during a Samsung presentation.
Bay was slated to offer praise of Samsung's monstrous new 105-inch 4K TV, which had appeared on stage a few minutes earlier accompanied by the strains of a grandiosely triumphal orchestra piece.
However, it appears Bay's teleprompter was either not advancing properly or showing him unfamiliar phrases, so after explaining to the audience that, as a director, he dreams for a living, he stopped with a sigh.
"Ahh," he vented, "the type is all off, sorry. But I'll just wing this... we'll wing it right now."
Such hiccups are common in this sort of presentation, so the short pause while he waited for things to sort themselves out was only mildly awkward.
However, winging it did not work out well, and the awkwardness intensified. After a few false starts, Samsung exec Joe Stinziano chirped "the curve?" in order to prompt Bay into talking about the enormous TV's built-in curvature. Instead, Bay abruptly left the stage, apologizing: "Excuse me, I'm sorry. I'm sorry." (See our GIF of him walking off the stage).
It was harrowing to watch the director of such films as "Transformers" and "Bad Boys" to flame out so visibly. Stinziano was unable to salvage the situation; bizarrely, he repeatedly thanked the absent Bay, then attempted to lighten the atmosphere with a "Welcome to Vegas! It's a live show, folks." The giant TVs retracted to their homes backstage and the show went on as if nothing had happened.
Bay later gave this explanation on his blog for his onstage meltdown:
Wow! I just embarrassed myself at CES – I was about to speak for Samsung for this awesome Curved 105-inch UHD TV. I rarely lend my name to any products, but this one is just stellar. I got so excited to talk, that I skipped over the Exec VP’s intro line and then the teleprompter got lost. Then the prompter went up and down – then I walked off. I guess live shows aren’t my thing.
But I’m doing a special curved screen experience with Samsung and Transformers 4 footage that will be traveling around the world.
Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website is coldewey.cc.