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James Franco in Drag: The Oscar Number That Could Have Been

Franco, Cher, a fabulous gown and a very bad vocal — it could have been an Oscar moment to remember

Academy Awards host James Franco, in drag, doing Cher?

It could have been an Oscar water-cooler moment, but now it's just an if only  pipedream.

Earlier this week, Franco posted an audio file of his misguided attempts to sing Cher's "Burlesque" anthem "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me," with a note saying "They pulled this from the Oscar show. Damn it."

At the time, the whole thing seemed like a joke – after all, there's no way the Oscars would showcase such an amateurish performance, right? 

Wrong. According to two people who would have been involved with the number, a plan was in place for Franco to take the stage in drag and perform the song in his inimitable (and let's face it, colossally tuneless) manner … whereupon Cher herself would emerge from the wings, put a halt to Franco's delicious butchery, and finish the song herself.

Here's Franco's performance of "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me" in all its, um, glory. It's audio-only, although it looks like a video window:

 

The plan hit a snag when music branch voters failed to nominate the Diane Warren song, which had been considered one of the strongest contenders in the field, particularly after it won the Golden Globe for Best Original Song.

James FrancoOscar show co-producer Bruce Cohen has admitted that he was dismayed "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me" was not nominated, but he did not say that his dismay was partially due to having a number in the works for the song. (A spokesperson for Cohen and Don Mischer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)

Cher (who appears to be playing along with the joke) has recently taken to Twitter to express her "heartbreak" over Franco's performance being pulled, saying she was "OVER THE MOON" about his performance even though "I guess his singing (unlike his acting) Sucks."

She did not mention her own possible participation in the number.

Franco is no stranger to appearing in drag, doing so on the cover of the "transversal style magazine" Candy (right) and wearing a blonde wig and sparkly bra when he was named Harvard's Hasty Pudding Man of the Year two years ago.