When ‘Total Request Live’ Ruled the World

Total Request Live meant everything to me from 1998-2002. One time while visiting New York with my family I was navigating and I somehow turned us around and ACCIDENTALLY (I swear) walked us right to where TRL was filming. I obviously insisted on stopping and when I realized the bleached blonde head in the studio window belonged to Joshua Jackson I almost fainted in the middle of Times Square.

This was when I was VERY invested in lots of important things like all of Carson Daly’s relationships, his decision to paint his nails black and just, all music videos. Don’t worry, I won’t say “remember when there used to be music videos on MTV?” because, frankly, there are still loads of awesome music videos. What we’re missing is the magical countdown show to go along with them.

So when MTV announced they’ll be doing TRL again—FOR ONE DAY ONLY— I got really excited. The show will, of course, be different than the original version. MTV’s Sway Calloway will host the July 2nd episode, dubbed Total Ariana Live, and the whole thing will revolve around live performances by Ariana Grande. In honor of the second coming of TRL, let’s look at some classic old-school moments from world’s greatest countdown show:

Mariah Carey showed up in a t-shirt toting ice cream in 2001


This is the kind of thing we came to expect from TRL. “Unannounced” visits from stars and I mean, say what you will about Carson Daly but he was PERFECT for this job.

‘N Sync singing “Tearin’ Up My Heart” in 1998

Stop everything and watch this video immediately. This is straight up amazing and THE performance of this song I think of when I’m thinking about ‘N Sync. Those girls in the matching yellow shirts, Chris’ hair—everything is perfect. (I was always a JC girl, myself.)

Destiny’s Child. Period.

I will be the first person to remind you of Beyoncé’s matching outfit Destiny’s Child days, because that is when I fell in love with her. These particular blue numbers are burned in my brain (and for good reason).

Jennifer Love Hewitt. And her music video.


Here Carson interviews his then-girlfriend about her MUSIC VIDEO for “How Do I Deal” from I Still Know What You Did Last Summer. I was obsessed with Jennifer Love Hewitt at this time and snuck into I Know What You Did Last Summer when it was in the theaters (I think we bought tickets to The Big Green?). This song? It’s amazing.

Britney Spears on TRL. . . always

Britney Spears was my first Queen. I wanted to look like her and dance like her. I was obsessed with perfecting a particular look she gives in the “Sometimes” video. So whenever she was on TRL it was a special treat.

Just look at her.

I cannot wait for Total Ariana Live. I hope they bring back more of TRL or at least air the original episodes somewhere so I can relive ALL of it.

(Main image , Destiny’s Child image via, Britney image via, 2nd Britney image via)