After the news that the poptastic show is preparing to return, we look back on some of its finest moments.
The musical landscape has changed somewhat in the past decade. Soon, though, we’ll see the return of Total Request Live, the MTV show that invited viewers to rank their favourite current music videos between 1998 and 2008. MTV heads honcho Chris McCarthy says “a massive studio” is being built on the show’s old home of Times Square in New York. TRL was originally hosted by Carson Daly, who interviewed pop stars and hung out with superfans before leaving in 2003, when presenting duties were taken on by a revolving line-up of famous faces.
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Speaking to tvguide.com when the showed closed its doors in 2008, Daly attempted to explain the appeal of TRL. “Look at right now in music”, he said, “there’s now media spread out everywhere. People are spending their time in different ways, but back in ’98, for young people, this was their after-school special. This was something they’d come home to that they count on and interact with, which was new at the time.” One things is certain: countless memorable moments were made during its 2000-episode-plus run. Here are 10 of the best.
Destiny’s Child said farewell to their fans
When Beyoncé, Michelle and Kelly appeared on the show as a group for the final time in 199, one fan implored them to “keep doing what you do”. It’s just a shame that Beyoncé didn’t take that advice. Does anyone know what she’s up to these days?
Eminem’s puntastic takeover
Perhaps what set Total Request Live was the seen that anything could happen. When Eminem was handed the hosting reigns, he played up to his self-cultivated bad boy image, dismissing the Backstreet Boys as – gasp! – “The Whackstreet Boys” and telling the audience: “Yesterday on TRL we saw Britney Spears, *NSYNC, the Backstreet Boys, and a bunch of other trash, but today is actually going to be a good show, as MTV becomes Em TV.”
Prince turning Carson Daly in a gibbering fanboy
Apparently keen to impress his idol, Daly – having presented Total Request Live for a year – made a dig at “disposable pop”. Prince’s response was sharp: “You don’t promote any of that ‘disposable music,’ do you?” Oh snap!
Mariah Carey’s therapy session
Weird one. It seems like Mariah Carey goes viral every time she appears on TV nowadays (usually for her endearingly half-hearted dance routines) but this guest spot was stranger than most. She removed her t-shirt upon arrival, proclaimed that “if you don’t have ice cream in your life, sometimes you go a little crazy” and told the host: “You are my therapy session, Carson. Every now and them somebody needs a little therapy, and today is that day for me.” Righty-ho then.
When Britney Spears and Melissa Joan-Hart were the most ’90s thing ever
It was 1999 and Joan-Hart was still Sabrina the Teenage Witch, so she was teamed up with pal Britney Spears as the pair exchanged compliments and brushed off an awkward come-on from a fan. So, that’s why the ‘90s ended – because it peaked with these two on co-hosting duties.
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That time Michael Jackson shutdown New York City
The King of Pop didn’t even say that much of interest during his interview. He just sort purred about appreciating his success. In the poptastic world of TRL, though, this was considered a seismic event, with fans causing pandemonium on the streets outside, swamping the streets New York City until they looked like something from the zombie-filled video for Thriller.
The fan that threatened to kill Carson Daly
To be fair, the host took it in pretty good spirit. The teen in question as devastated that her faves, the Backstreet Boys, had been beaten to number one by those pesky pop gems *NSYNC. In that tvguide.com interview, Daly admitted: “I was terrified of her, but that was A) that was the fun of doing live TV and B) that’s what we were up against. We were up against these kids that were just so incredibly passionate and into it.”
Robin Williams proved that he’ll always be an icon
The late, great comic actor entertained the teenage audience, goofing around with fans via video link, dripping into the voice he used as the Genie in Aladdin and generally being the world’s favourite uncle.
Remember that time Puff Daddy ran on a treadmill for an entire episode?
Then known as P. Diddy, he went for a whole hour, a time period in which he can change his name at least six times.
Lady Gaga ushered in a new era of pop music
The star appeared towards the end of the show’s first run and this clip sees her shout-out Amy Winehouse, who seemed to occupy a different planet to the gloss of TRL. Let’s hope the show’s return captures this vibe – a confounding an unpredictable celebration of pop music.