The flurry of band reunions reached amazing(ly terrifying) new heights when the recently reformed Backstreet Boys and New Kids on the Block announced a boy band supergroup tour at last week’s American Music Awards, much to the delight of every teenybopper between the ages of 20 and 40. Justin Timberlake and Mark Wahlberg must be feeling pretty smug right about now, but we think this is a great opportunity to relive the heyday of ’90s pop stars. Since their strangest and funniest moments often came not on MTV but on the talk shows where they connected with the stay-at-home moms of Middle America, we’ve compiled 10 of our favorite moments from when Oprah and Ricki met TLC and Britney.
Marky Mark, TLC, and Kriss Kross on Oprah, 1992
This clip inspires us to add YouTube to the list of things to be thankful for, post-Thanksgiving. Watch Marky Mark and Kriss Kross commiserate over the plight of having too many ladies and TLC lament the price of fame — which, in their case, was not being able to ride the rollercoasters at an amusement park where they opened for MC Hammer. ‘Twas a simpler time.
Mariah Carey on The Rosie O’Donnell Show, 1995
Mariah Carey had already reached star status by the time this aired, but in this clip, she still seems to be a somewhat rational human being, joking around with Rosie about Grease and playing with a dog on stage. The Mimi who dumped Glitter on us was but a shadow of things to come.
Hanson on Live with Regis and Kathie Lee, 1997
Full disclosure: someone we know — definitely not us! — videotaped this appearance when it aired and watched it until the VHS wore out. Thirteen years later, Kathie Lee still seems unhinged, Regis, adorably clueless, and Hanson as earnest and talented as ever. If you say you don’t wanna pinch Zac Hanson’s cheeks after watching this, you are a gigantic liar.
*NSYNC on Ricki Lake, 1997
Like, OMG you guys, the preteen girl at the beginning of clip was like, so totally the luckiest girl ever in 1997, winning a meet-and-greet as well as a backstage pass for *NSYNC’s tour. After a live performance of “Tearin’ Up My Heart,” she can’t even bring herself to look Justin Timberlake in the eye, though it’s quite possible that she was put off by the peroxide fumes emanating from his head.
The Spice Girls on Oprah, 1998
There were a few daytime clips to choose from for the Spice Girls, but we went with this one because, obviously, Oprah introducing them in the Oprah voice is one of the best things that’s ever been on TV. Shots of Oprah awkwardly dancing along to “Wannabe” are close runners-up. Also, this might be the most excited we’ve ever seen an Oprah studio audience that wasn’t getting free Audis.
Destiny’s Child on AXS MuchMusic (Canada), 1998
Not only are Destiny’s Child wearing matching camo outfits in this Canadian daytime TV interview, they’re also discussing who makes them feel starstruck. Yes, at one time, Beyoncé was made nervous by the presence of Wyclef Jean. Also, note the original vintage lineup of Destiny’s Child: four members who “pray together and stay together.”
Britney Spears on Ricki Lake, 1999
What’s fascinating about this clip, aside from absolutely everything, is the fact that Britney actually sings! And surprise, surprise, her voice isn’t that great. Still, it’s a treat to see an unpolished, fame-hungry Brit Brit. If we’re not mistaken, she seems to still actually care in this clip.
Christina Aguilera on Versus (Argentina), 2000
Christina Aguilera, on the other hand, proved that she was more than a sexy dancer right off the bat in this clip from the Argentinian daytime show Versus. And, of course, since she performs “Genie in a Bottle,” it is necessary to have scantily-clad male dancers shimmy to the I Dream of Jeannie theme before Aguilera takes the stage.
Aaliyah on Live with Regis and Kathie Lee, 2001
Most of these clips are memorable for their goofiness, but this video of Aaliyah performing “More Than a Woman” just reminds us of her incredible voice; captivating an audience even under the harsh lights of a daytime talk show stage. Regis, you didn’t know how lucky you were.
Justin Timberlake on Live with Regis and Kelly, 2002
Justin Timberlake may have brought sexy back, but in this clip of from Regis and Kelly, JT was still sporting the gelled-hair-and-wallet-chain look. And then there’s the awkward conversation about his recent breakup with Britney Spears. Oof. Truth be told, this clip shows that Justin wasn’t a smooth-talking schmoozer around the release of Justified, and it’s hard to imagine this guy writing “Lovestoned” — but it’s still kind of adorable.