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Alana Thompson, aka Honey Boo Boo, is one of Barbara Walters "Most Fascinating People" of 2012. Photo courtesy of TLC

Even Barbara Walters seems to "redneck-ognize" that naming Honey Boo Boo kid as one of her 2012 "Most Fascinating People" is a reach.

"A lot of people will say, 'For heaven's sake, this is ridiculous, this is a child at 5 or 6 years old entering beauty contests,'" Walters says in an interview with Us Weekly. "But the relationship between Alana (Boo Boo) and her mother -- that's the story, the two of them. It's very touching."

Has Barbara taken a fall recently, or maybe bumped her head? Hey, she's human ... these things happen.

Walters said "Honey Boo Boo is not an obnoxious little girl. She's sweet and loving with her mother and loving with her sisters (Jessica, Lauryn and Anna). And now Anna has a new baby, and the baby has (three) thumbs -- but so what? It'll make you smile."

Was that last sentence real?

Other names on Walter's 2012 list are: Ben Affleck, whose film "Argo" is an awards-season front-runner; "Family Guy's" Seth MacFarlane; British boy band One Direction; Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas; New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; and E L James, the author behind the erotic mega-hit "Fifty Shades of Grey."

Walters will announce the No. 1 most fascinating person of 2012 during the broadcast, set to air at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12. Previous honorees have included Barack and Michelle Obama, J.K. Rowling, Nancy Pelosi, Paris Hilton, Gen. David Petraeus, Nelson Mandela and the late Steve Jobs, all of whom would, no doubt, feel blessed to have Honey Boo Boo join their ranks.


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Contact Tony Hicks at thicks@bayareanewsgroup.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BayAreaNewsGroup.TonyHicks.