By admin|Friday, June 10, 2005 | 2:05 am | 37 Comments
There is very little redeeming about Hit Me Baby One More Time. To enjoy watching it, you either have to love 80s music or revel in the complete humiliation of people in front of a live audience. I don’t really care if any of the people performing on the show do well or not. I really just want to see how fat everybody got, and how much they’ve let themselves and their voices go. Last week, I had Loverboy and Flock of Seagulls. Why the people from those bands haven’t tried to asphyxiate themselves is beyond me. But the point is simple. A band that plays their hit well and does a good cover does nothing for me. Forget talent, I want a disaster.When I saw the list of people who were set to perform, I started to wonder which group had a better chance of packing on the most weight. If I was at a sports book, I would have put a lot of money on a number of the contestants, and The Knack was surely one of them. So I was terribly upset when they came out and not a one of them looked obese. In fact, they all looked almost exactly the same as they did when their hit “My Sharona” came out. Were we in store for some performances that could border on the palatable? Why am I even watching? Well, because no matter how good they sound, there is bound to be something funny happening soon. I wasn’t disappointed when, after about 30 seconds of playing, the lead singer from the Knack started making some really crazy faces. I think this guy moonlights as Dustin Hoffman/Martin Short love child impersonator:
After The Knack, we got to listen to Haddaway and “What is Love,” which most people my age never listened to until it was made popular on Saturday Night Live with the Roxy Nightclub guys and their head bobbing. If there is anybody who I expected to be fat after a dozen years out of the limelight, it would be a black club queen who plays a lot of golf, but Haddaway once again let me down, as it looked like he might have actually lost weight since we last saw him. I am not sure where they get this crowd, as it always seems like they are half-coerced into being there. Most of the people there are too young to remember anybody performing, but must have been told if they mouth the words they get on camera. In any event, nobody in the crowd appeared to be doing the SNL head bob during this song, which was too bad.
One thing I did like about Haddaway was this one dancer. I was surprised when I saw her because she actually had an ass to speak of, and on a white girl too! I was thinking “Damn, that must be jelly because jam don’t shake like that!” She must be new to Hollywood. Poor girl will weigh 98 pounds in two weeks. And speaking of weight, why did they have that skinny girl doing the background vocals? Even with the mike, she could barely pull off any of the notes. If there was anybody I thought would have a huge black woman ex-gospel singer backing him up, it was Haddaway. Come on!
But let’s get on to the next band, Tommy Tutone, known for their great hit “867-5309.” I think the song (or at least the video) is a warning about the danger of soliciting sexual favors from bathroom stalls, but who knows. Once again, THE BAND IS NOT FAT. Where the hell do they get these people? If they recruited last week’s participants from the In and Out, they recruited this week’s contestants from Crunch or something. I sort of liked Tommy Tutone, and at least the band members looked like they were stuck in the past. Did you notice the lead guitarist? Hey jab, Billy Connolly called from 1987, he wants his hair back!
Next up was The Motels, and finally, here was somebody who gained some weight. The lead singer Martha Davis packed on some pounds, but I really couldn’t get the snark going too much. It’s not like she was fat, she just aged, like normal people age. A few things moved south, but she seemed to be OK with it. And she could still jam on that guitar. Good for you Martha, that Joyce DeWitt-meets-Linda Ronstadt look is really working for you.
Finally, we get to the highlight of the evening, Vanilla Ice. Ice’s transformation from white boy rapper to some sort of low-rent Dallas version of Kid Rock is well documented. I was surprised to see him perform, because he previously mentioned that he wanted to distance himself as much as possible from that song and move on. What could have changed his mind? Oh, he has an upcoming album to release? That explains it all. Ice worked the crowd pretty well, but I have to admit, the best part of the performance was watching his sidekick do all of these crazy break dance moves in the background, many of them looking like they really hurt. I also enjoyed the way our stupid British host called him “Vaniller” Ice every single time. God, I hate this host, it’s such a waste of a British accent. Luckily, I think there are some episodes of Creature Comforts on the Tivo that will keep me entertained when I’m hankering for some good cockney accents.
So that ends the past tracks section of the show, meaning we are now going on to the covers of current hits. First up was The Knack, performing “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” by Jet. With their casual tuxedo look, they almost pulled off the song as if they were some indie band. They really should have done a cover of The Killers or Franz Ferdinand, but Jet would have to do. The Knack was chugging along well, but the lead singer just couldn’t hit a bunch of those high notes. Overall, not a bad couple of songs for these guys. Plus, if we take a cue from the lead singer, it looks like they live fairly healthy retired rocker lives in Los Angeles.
Up next was Haddaway, who had moved to Los Angeles, where he enjoyed the anonymity living in the states gave him. Like I said before, he started playing golf, and I am not sure if being out in the sun all day damaged his brain or something, but he decided to perform “Toxic” by our girl Britney Spears. He even started by crawling on the ground. Unfortunately, this song requires lots of gyrations, and the dancers just weren’t enough. Haddaway tried again to go on the ground and prowl like a cat, but thankfully, the song was over.
Next up was Tommy Tutone, and they did a cover of Blink 182′s “All the Small Things.” We learned that the lead singer lives in Portland and pays the bills by writing computer software. I can relate. When B-side, madeyoulaugh, and I aren’t living the crazy life of celebrity bloggers (you have to imagine I just said that with a straight face), we have to work full-time jobs. Sucks, I know. Anyway, this was probably the worst cover of the night. The guy’s voice was too nasally and I was distracted by the bassist this time. What is with this group and their haircuts? Hey bassist, John Cougar Mellencamp called from 1989, and he wants his greasy hair back! (Yes, that is the last time I am going to use that joke, unless I can work jerk store into it as well.)
Remember what I said about Martha Davis aging gracefully? Well, I think she is just crazy. It turns out that she is also releasing a new album soon, but in the meantime, she has been performing dinner theater. She had some really elaborate way to describe it, but it was dinner theater. Not a bad gig, I suppose, but don’t act like you are turning down some big tour because you are the producer of some play or whatever.
Anyway, The Motels and Martha Davis did a cover of Norah Jones’ “Don’t Know Why.” When they announced that they were going to do it, I really thought it was going to suck; after all, it was Norah Jones. I’m not going to front, I have the .mp3, but let’s be honest, we are all glad she’s sooo 2002. But a surprising thing happened on the way to me hating this song, and that was The Motels didn’t just do a sappy copycat rendition. They opted to put their own spin on the song, in an upbeat, sort of rocking kind of way, and it worked. I also can’t stand Los Lonely Boys[not Los Lobos - thank Todd], but when Arrested Development did their unique cover last week, it was similarly interesting. The only problem was that Martha Davis came out dressed like my grandmother when she is going out to her garden to pull some weeds. The song wanted to be upbeat, but Martha Davis was looking dowdy and more interested in azaleas than anything else. If Gwen Stefani was doing the version of the cover The Motels did, I am sure it would be popular.
Now was the moment we have all been waiting for. What would Vanilla Ice do when given the option to cover something? Linkin Park? Korn? Kid Rock? Destiny’s Child? If you guessed the last one, you were right. Vanilla Ice decided to cover “Survivor,” and he came out with his sidekick dancing up a storm. It quickly became evident that Ice Man simply put the words “Survivor” inside of an original song in order to be able to play it on stage. The lyrics weren’t that bad. He hasn’t gotten any better at writing, but his hip/hop rock was at least loud, and then there was this:
Click on the white boy to play.
I guess that his moves were an attempt at some sort of pop lock, but he clearly is not exactly learning from a master. Please play that movie over and over. I have seen it almost thirty times and I am still laughing. I don’t care if we never see another episode of Hit Me Baby One More Time, because witnessing that spastic display was well worth the price of admission. It also got the crowd into it, securing Vanilla Ice the win and a donation to the Make a Wish Foundation. So as big of an idiot as we may think Vanilla Ice is, his performance means everybody wins. Some kid with cancer gets to meet a celebrity or kill a bear, and we get to laugh, over and over again.