Barbara Walters Defends Honey Boo Boo 'Most Fascinating' Selection

Barbara Walters Honey Boo Boo Inset - P 2012

Barbara Walters Honey Boo Boo Inset - P 2012

Be silenced, Honey Boo Boo haters. 

Barbara Walters is on the defense after adding Alana Thompson, the 7-year-old phenomenon and star of TLC's Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, to her annual list of the 10 Most Fascinating People of the Year. In 2011, Walter confronted criticism when she placed the Kardashians on the roster (to the reality TV family's credit, they are well aware they are famous for being famous).

"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 and her mother -- that's the story, the two of them. It's very touching." 

She adds: "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."

VIDEO: Jennifer Lawrence on How Honey Boo Boo Caused Her Car Crash

As previously reported, other boldfaced names on Walter's 2012 list include Ben Affleck, whose Argo is an awards-season front-runner; Family Guy’s Seth MacFarlane, who will host the Oscars in February; British boy band One Direction; Olympic gold medal gymnast Gabby Douglas; New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who gained national attention when Hurricane Sandy hit his state; Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; and EL James, the author behind the erotic mega-hit Fifty Shades of Grey.

As is tradition, Walters will announce the No. 1 most fascinating person of 2012 during the ABC 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.

It's a long shot, but could the top ranking go to … Honey Boo Boo?

Twitter: @ErinLCarlson