MTV aired its final episode of its world-famous countdown show Total Request Live last night, very appropriately enough, live from its Times Square studio in NYC. Musicians of many genres (but with a distinct affinity for the pop music market) made appearances or performed on the live program last night as original TRL host Carson Daly (and his subsequent subordinate VJs) counted down the Top 10 TRL Music Video of All Time one last time …
… bestowing the honor of Top TRL Music Video of All Time to Britney Spears‘s debut video Baby … One More Time. Here are a few pics of some of the pop stars who made their way into the MTV Studios in Times Square for the TRL Finale event and a run-down of the show overall:
It was like old times in MTV’s Times Square studio. There were superstars everywhere you looked, frantic stagehands darting about, and down below — packed against police barricades — screaming kids … lots of screaming kids. On Sunday night (November 16), after 10 years and more than 2,500 episodes, MTV’s legendary “TRL” bid adieu to the airwaves with “Total Finale Live,” a positively packed three-hour party that was as much about celebrating memories from the past as it was creating ones for the future. It was a livewire, unpredictable and — fittingly — star-studded send-off for a show that prided itself in being all those things. It was a night full of big-time performances, big-name guest stars and nostalgic trips down memory lane. It was the kind of proper, celebratory goodbye that most of MTV’s biggest programs (be it “Jackass” or “Beavis and Butt-head” or even “The Osbournes”) don’t actually get, which sort of makes sense, considering that “TRL” launched the careers of today’s biggest stars, reimagined the concept of live television and, whether you realize it or not, probably defined a generation. A who’s who of “TRL” alumni rocked stages both inside and out of the studio, starting with Beyoncé, who, backed by a cracking live band, poured her heart and soul into “If I Were a Boy” and then flipped the switch and tore through muscled up versions of “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” and “Crazy in Love.” Fall Out Boy (sans bassist Pete Wentz, who was with his wife Ashlee Simpson as she reportedly went into labor) followed her, braving the chilly New York night to shred on a flatbed truck parked in the heart of Times Square. Wentz even got some new-dad advice from Good Charlotte’s Joel Madden on the show. Later in the night, a trio of hip-hop heavyweights — Ludacris, Nelly and Snoop Dogg — performed their greatest “TRL” hits, then joined forces on the Doggfather’s “Drop It Like It’s Hot.” Former “TRL” mainstays the Backstreet Boys took a nostalgic run at “I Want It That Way,” and 50 Cent — who, in true Fiddy fashion, kept show producers waiting until the very last minute — pounded his way through “In Da Club” and his current hit, “Get Up.” (Backstage, he had some choice words for Kanye West and Donald Trump.) And though they didn’t perform, tons of other stars stopped by to pay their respects. Justin Timberlake chuckled as clips of his frosted-tipped ‘NSYNC past played on flat-screen TVs in the studio. Taylor Swift clutched a “TRL” yearbook that she got signed by everyone in attendance. Diddy — who appeared on the show more than anyone else — did a bit of hosting, a bit of joking and (of course) a bit of plugging for his new fragrance, I Am King, and the upcoming Notorious B.I.G. biopic “Notorious.” And, in a move that could only happen on live television, Kid Rock wandered around with a stogie and a glass of beer, then greeted a female admirer in the audience with: “Hi, baby, you’re much too young for me.” There were phoned-in congrats from Eminem and Christina Aguilera. Miley Cyrus geeking out in the “TRL” photo booth. More former VJs than you could shake a stick at. And plenty of video packages that recounted the most memorable moments from the show’s 10-year history — everything from Mariah Carey’s wacko striptease to Rudy Guiliani’s appearance on the show’s first broadcast post-9/11 — and goofy glimpses at your favorite stars’ first appearances on the show (a barely legal Xtina, a super-slim Slim Shady, a giggly Britney Spears, to name just a few). There were on-air bleeps and teary pre-teens and even a few “Oh wait, what?!?” moments — you know, the stuff “TRL” was known for. And, appropriately, there was also one last video countdown. Hosts Carson Daly and Damien Fahey guided viewers (and the screaming fans inside the studio) through the 10 most iconic clips in “TRL” history — everything from Outkast’s “Hey Ya!” and ‘NSYNC’s “Bye Bye Bye” to Kid Rock’s “Bawitdaba” — a list topped with Britney Spears’ ” … Baby One More Time” (sadly, Brit Brit was not on hand to accept the accolades). The fact that all of this played out before a packed (and really squealy) studio audience — and on a massive screen outside in Times Square — only seemed right.
Sarah and I watched the TRL Finale event together last night (snug underneath some warm blankets cuz it’s cold as shizz here in Detroit, y’all) and we reminisced about how we hung out in front of a taping of TRL together on our first trip to NYC in the Spring of 2001. We even got a few seconds of screentime when the cameras zoomed in on us in the crowd. Since then, I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to be inside for tapings of TRL on a few occasions, once with David early in our fledgling relationship (it was the ep where Nelly Furtado debuted her new single Promiscuous, changing her career forever). BUT, I have an all-time fave TRL moment of my own … which is, of course, being able to meet, chat with and take a photo with Madonna (incidentally, the time I met her backstage at TRL in the Fall of 2005 was the last time she was ever on TRL). Even tho I stopped watching the show ages ago (as, I suspect, have many other folks — which is why the show is being retired), it will always hold a special place in my heart. It was a very fun show and I’m going to miss it very much. I have to send out some personal LURVE to Tim Healy, the director of TRL for always being so kind and accommodating to me. It is because of him that I have been able to enjoy some of the coolest TRL moments that I’ve ever had.
After the jump, for old time’s sake, check out the Top TRL Music Video of All Time one more time so that we can say au revior to TRL in style … More »