The novelty of Hit Me Baby One More Time hasn’t exactly been lost for me, but let’s just say that I am glad there are only a couple of more episodes left. Originally, the show was supposed to end with the third episode, but with ratings success that NBC hasn’t seen since Joey, they decided to air a few more episodes. And honestly, with a couple of more weeks before Big Brother gets started, why not try and fill in that space. I am not sure who they are going to bring out for the final two episodes though, because they are already beginning to scrape the bottom of the barrel of marginal 80s talent willing and able to make fools of themselves on camera. But with Wang Chung, Sophie B. Hawkins, and Irene Cara going this week, I knew I couldn’t miss it.First up was Wang Chung, performing “Everybody Have Fun Tonight.” It’s a classic song where everybody knows the refrain, but nobody knows the actual words. Once again, the show started off with performers who weren’t fat. This is really starting to piss me off. What’s worse, Wang Chung was not exactly lighting it up on the screen. The lead singer looked like what I imagined Rutger Hauer looked like in 1987.
One of the highlights of the evening was Sophie B. Hawkins. You could tell she was very excited to be on stage to sing “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover.” Sophie wasn’t that old when she fell out of our minds, so thirteen years later, you have to admit that she really isn’t looking half bad. She is, unfortunately, a huge hippie. I’m sure she burns hemp-flavored candles from the Yankee Candle Company, drives a Prius, and buys only organic fruit from the most obscure of farmer’s markets. Still, you have to give it to her, she was really into her song, and was dancing around (no shoes, of course) and throwing her hands up in the air, displaying her pit stains for all the world to see. It was so hot, she decided to take off her shirt, and finished the song wearing nothing but a wife beater (she obviously burned all of her bras). Also, was it irony or vanity that inspired her to wear the wife beater with “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover” in pink lettering across the front?
Only raise your hands if you’re Sure…
Next up was Cameo. I could bother to write the song that they sang, but I am sure some poster will help me if I leave it blank. Cameo is a funk band from Atlanta, and they were known for the leather pants and cod pieces they would wear to concerts in the 80s. Well folks, they are still wearing their leather pants and cod pieces, and God were they awful. As bad as they looked, it was the fit that was even more disturbing. It’s about now that I realize this show is good for about two and a half episodes worth of material before you start noticing some of these second-level chart toppers just aren’t that exciting.
Speaking of not that exciting, let me introduce you to Howard Jones. I also didn’t write down the song he sung, but he looked very old and was also super boring. As he played, I imagined that if I were going to a Coldplay concert thirty years from now, this is the type of act I would expect to see. I can’t believe this guy sold so many albums. I used to complain that my dad played too much Rod Stewart when I was a kid, meaning songs like Maggie May, Reason to Believe, and Tonight I’m Yours, have a really unnatural sort of appeal for me. As horrible as all that pain was growing up, my dad thankfully spared me from any Howard Jones
Thankfully, we got a lot of excitement after Mr. Paul Simon-with-leukemia in the visage of Irene Cara. Even if you thought the 80s sucked, and I definitely think that the 80s for the most part sucked, how can you not love Irene Cara, or as we all know her, that hot babe from Flashdance. How popular was she? Well, as b-side mentioned, it’s odd to think that she has an Oscar and Martin Scorcese does not. But “What a Feelin’” really is that great of a song.
Irene has put on a few pounds, but she was so tiny back in the day, even by today’s standards, what did you expect? She came onto the stage, and you could see that she would soon be a crowd favorite. Sophie B. Hawkins really got the crowd going with her gyrations, but the audience was so very, very into “What a Feelin’.” She started off with just a couple of shuffle steps back and forth, then went from one end of the stage to another, and when she finally bust out some of the moves from her Flashdance dance routine, everybody was really on their feet.
As sucky and boring as I thought Wang Chung was during their first song, I figured that they would have the most interesting cover of the night. Rutger Hauer said that he was going to be peforming “Hot in Herre” by Nelly. Wow, what a daring song to cover. Really outside of what we would normally expect from Wang Chung, and it would be interesting to see their take on the song. Or at least that is what I thought at first.
The guys stood there, and they were actually pretty good with the lyrics, but there was almost no movement on the stage at all. The lead singer sort of stood behind the microphone, put his arms up every now and then, and sort of motioned to the backup singer every now and then. I was wondering how he came to choose this song, and I realized it must have been something that his kids played all the time in the house. He probably told them to turn it off a thousand times, but he eventually learned the words. Oh, and that reminds me, I thought I was going to see a lot more withered old groupies like that Flock of Seagulls guy, but this dude had a normal family with happy kids. I want to mock them, not respect them. What a joke.
Now, I suspected that Sophie B. Hawkins was a hippie, but little did I know how true it was. After her recording career went to shit, she settled in Venice, CA, also known as the Cheesy Tourist Henna Tattoo Capital of the World. I thought it wouldn’t get any more stereotypical, but then I saw that not only has she taken up painting, but she rides her bike everywhere as well.
Ms. Hawkins stepped up to perform Five For Fighting’s “100 Years.” Seriously, I don’t know how you white kids can listen to the radio. This song is absolute shit and I can’t for the life of me figure out how anybody could have filled a whole album with songs like that, or why anybody would buy it. Maybe it was worse because Sophie was going crazy, but man oh man, this nearly killed me. Luckily, I was too distracted by Sophie’s dress to pay too much attention to the song. It looked like a normal, sleek, black number, but a lot of Bedazzlers had to die putting on all of the sequins and rhinestones that were lining the top part of the dress. But don’t think she is selling out her hippie roots – she wore the black dress, but the stilettos were nowhere to be found. She still went barefoot.
Cameo, oh, Cameo. Now I remember the song they sang in the first part was “Word Up!” The whole group comes across as the band you would call to play at your funk party if Parliament wasn’t available. They got some funk, but with no George Clinton, Mickey Atkins, or Collins brothers, you are left with a lead singer who wears a cod piece and looks like the unholy union of Samuel L. Jackson and Sideshow Bob
Cameo played “1985″ by Bowling for Soup. They still had on their leather pants, even though everybody else had the decency to change. What else is there to say except we’ll see you for happy hour at the Gold Club.
Howard Jones came out and sang something. I am sure it sounded like pretty much everything else he has written and/or performed since he was 15. He did take time to tell us how much he loves living in the English countryside. Howard also says his son loves it, probably because there are fewer kids to beat him up after they hear how boring his dad sounds on the piano.
That leaves us with one last performance of the night – Irene Cara. We learn that she loves the ocean and she has a band and, WHOA! her band has a new album coming up. Her band is called Hot CARAmel. Get it? It’s funny because her name is Cara and she worked it into the name of her band. They should have called it Hot Caravan, because it takes two trips to haul her ass anywhere around town. HA! I kid, I kid. Hot Caramel looked pretty fine to tell you the truth, and I wasn’t paying attention to what they were singing, but the crowd was into it, mainly because the band actually had some life in it on stage. You could have said the same thing for Sophie B. Hawkins and Cameo, but they played songs that nobody really can jam to in the audience. I am assuming Irene Cara was doing an original piece, and it was uptempo enough that people were dancing, even though they didn’t know the words.
Hot Caramel’s slightly less than comatose movements were enought to win the audience favorite and $20,000 for “Women in the Arts,” a charity that is for, well, women in the arts. I don’t know who they’re bringing out of mothballs to get this show together for the last few episodes, but I do have some suggestions. Whatever you do, please, please, please bring back the Fat Boys.
What did you think of this episode? Who do you think NBC should bring out of mothballs for their next installment?