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June 10th, 2005

One Hit Wonders Ride Again

Last night we watched NBC’s Hit Me Baby One More Time, which is an awkwardly-titled contest between one-hit wonders of the past. And it was surprisingly entertaining.

The premise is really simple: five bands/artists who had one big song do that song again, and then do a cover of some modern pop song. The audience votes on the winner and the winner gets $20k for a charity of their choice. Simple. It’s not really about the contest; it’s about listening to songs you hoped you’d never, ever hear again.

But last night’s ep was pretty interesting. The lineup included Tommy Tutone, Holloway Haddaway, Vanilla Ice, The Motels, and The Knack. The versions of their songs? Serviceable to good. Vanilla Ice was bringing up the rear while The Knack showed they still had it. More interesting were the cover versions of modern songs. Vanilla Ice went for Destiny’s Child’s “Survivor” and, really, stunk up the place. It was a yelling-based, melody-less rendition.

Tommy Tutone did a strong cover of Blink 182’s “All The Small Things” that added a nice, maniacal edge to the song. The Knack covered Jet’s “Are You Gonna Be My Girl?” but clearly they were close to their discomfort level, as the lead singer had to stretch to hit the song’s high notes. Haddaway did Britney Spears’s “Toxic” and, you know, crawled around on the floor.


The biggest surprise was The Motels’ covering Norah Jones’s “Don’t Know Why”. When I heard their selection of song I figured, “Eh, we’ll have a nice version of it and that’ll be that.” But no! They did a rather fantastic pop/rock version of the song and it totally held up. They even let their guitarist use the flange filter – which made me laugh out loud. It was obvious they were enjoying themselves and the cover version was really original – it was great!

Of course Vanilla Ice won the contest, even though he was still showing signs of his “punk” days through his delivery. Meh. The point of the show isn’t the contest. And the fact that the songs are edited – a verse is taken out – didn’t even bother me. It’s mindless entertainment, much like the original songs by these artists.

Although, Howard Jones is on next week – and I don’t think I want to miss that one.

Posted in Television, Movies, and Music

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