8 years ago my sister suggested I find a way to publish the amusing emails I sent her about our dog Zoe. Now there is blogging! Zoe tales are about Zoe (3 1/2 lb Chihuahua), Gracie (bigger and the world's friendliest Chihuahua) and other stuff I am thinking about. Enjoy!

Friday, June 03, 2005

Hit Me Baby One More Time: Week 1

Our cast of has-beens for this week consist of:

  • Loverboy
  • Cece Peniston
  • A Flock of Seagulls
  • Arrested Development
  • Tiffany
As the opening credits roll, we are treated to "fans" screaming out the name of their favorite act. The guy with the headband and the girl with the iron-on "lover" t-shirt looked authentically cheesy enough. But the two O.C. extra rejects weren't terribly convincing as Arrested Development superfans.

We are introduced to our host, Vernon Kay, who enters with arms outstreched in a messianic pose, inviting worship from his adoring fans. I simply shrug and ask, "Vernon Who?"

Vernon shares with us the promise that "great music never dies." And when I think of the greats, my mind instantly turns to the one-hit-wonders of the 80's. Then Vernon slaps us senseless with the news that, not only will our greats share their greatness with us - they're gonna "put their spin on one of today's hottest songs!"

Now the rules: the studio audience (who weren't, I'm sure, made up of clueless tourists who wander around Hollywood Blvd. thinking that they are actually going to see some movie stars [tip folks: go to the Beverly Center and you'll almost certainly see at least one C-lister] and then are surprised when they only see prostitutes and sailors on leave hanging out at the USO, and surplus folks from the Tonight Show line who couldn't get tickets for Leno) will choose a winning performer and then the Ameriquest Mortgage Company donates $20,000 to the charity of the winner's choice. (I'll give you a separate post on the oddity that is Ameriquest sponsorship.)

On to the performances:

Loverboy - Working for the Weekend
From the montage to the performance, we witness the transformation of Mike Reno from skinny rocker in skintight red leather jeans to helium-filled stay puft marshmallow man with the thin and gritty voice to match. Highlight of the performance was the guitarist lip-synching into the mike when there were no vocals other than the lead.

Cece Peniston - Finally
Since lip-synching solo to dance music is boring, Cece was provided with two male back-up dancers randomly twirling and plie-ing to complete the bathhouse anthem vibe. The diva's voice is intact, though and, as Randy would say, she can still blow.

Flock of Seagulls - I Ran
I saw this band in their heyday and they sucked then. Mike Score managed to out-puffy Mike Reno and out-working class him in attire, too (Reno proclaimed WFTW to be intended as a "working class anthem.") My guess is that lead singer and synth player Score is the only original member, especially since the guitarist was running around playing something resembling a flying V and channeling Eddie Van Halen.

Arrested Development - Tennessee
I know they didn't have Dionne Farris with them but they did have the wise elder old guy - cool. AD had the crowd genuinely moving and cheering. And may I just note - Speech is tiny! I mean seriously, he didn't even reach Vernon's shoulder. But speech on, Speech, your words are powerful.

Tiffany - I Think We're Alone Now
Tiffany (who won the UK version) doesn't play an instrument and gay nightclub back up dancers wouldn't really be appropriate for a teen mall rat anthem, so Tiffany was given three unnecessary back up singers who distractedly swayed in unison and shifted their weight from leg to leg. I swear one of them was popping her gum. The audience shook their ample, non-gravity defying clevage in unison and in support.

Act 2 - Today's Hits (and I use that term loosely)

Flock of Seagulls - Hero (Enrique Iglesias)
The producers decided that obscuring Mike Reno's girth in fog would be a good idea. As for the song - Loverboy's version was no crappier than Enrique's.

Cece Peniston - There You'll Be (Faith Hill)
Again - Cece's got the vocal chops but it would have been nice to see her apply them to something that showcased them other than this dull, cloying sap. Plus, the distracted house backup singers didn't help.

Flock of Seagulls - On The Way Down (Ryan Cabrera)
So - FoS put their spin on the pop, boy and his guitar, guilty pleasure tune. It was a synth rock totally craptastic version. It was so tuneless and horrible (Mike Score couldn't even pretend that he was into putting any effort into it) that it shows you how much a cute boy who can either sing or at least have the benefit of pitch correction can "sell" a really weak song. (On the other hand, covers of "Hit Me Baby One More Time" by alt bands like Fountains of Wayne and Travis showed it to be a great pop song.)

Arrested Development - Heaven (Los Lonely Boys)
Again, in the words of one mister Randy Jackson, they took this song and made it their own, dawg. This version bore little resemblance to the original, mainly because AD inserted two original raps into it and that made it so much better, I thought. The crowd loved it too and once again they were on their feet cheering and grooving.

Tiffany - Breakaway (Kelly Clarkson)
One word woman, "spandex!" Seriously, I know you were in Playboy and all, and it's great that you're a mom, but if you really want to try to re-live your faded teen pop glory, it doesn't mean you should let it all hang out when you're clothed. (NBC managed to post the one screen shot that doesn't do justice to the sight of a middle-aged mom in a low-rise mini skirt and deep v halter.) The song you ask? Proof that Kelly Clarkson can sing.

And the winner is... no surprise, Arrested Development. They were the real deal and were the only act to have you really miss them. And, extra coolness, their donation went to UNICEF to support their efforts to respond to the crisis in Darfur in Sudan.

Edited to add link to TVgasm Recap - I'm glad to see the comments generally jibe with my take.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

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October 09, 2005 7:34 PM

Blogger De Post Man said...

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October 21, 2005 2:31 PM


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