It took an artist as big (yet so tiny in stature!) as Ariana Grande to resurrect “TRL,” the beloved MTV variety show that started out in 1998, which was a time when you actually had to wait for Carson Daly to cue up a music video, as opposed to now when you can just lazily tell Siri to do it for you.
It’s been six years since “TRL” last aired, and while the show’s premise was video countdowns, it was so much more than that. Back before Instagram and Twitter and Snapchat, you didn’t know what your faves had for breakfast, and the word “selfie” was just the word self with an “ie” on it. If you wanted face time (which came before FaceTime) with your faves, you had to be home at 4 p.m. ET so you could see them live and in person. Interviews with and appearances by celebrities were special events, not daily occurrences. We had to hope, wait, and watch.
Careers were launched on the iconic “TRL” stage, which was really a platform for Standom. So before Ariana takes the stage six years after the final show, let’s take a look back.
The teeny tiny BB Britney Spears made her “TRL” debut on December 12, 1998. She was just 17 and SUCH a wee thing! And was wearing sweatpants. BOW DOWN! Also, CRT TV!
Then along came Christina Aguilera who appeared on “TRL” for the first time in 1999, when she was interviewed by 98 Degrees’ Nick and Jeff. Shrug!
Britney’s first time wearing a belly chain on “TRL”? May 16, 2000!
Britney also brought “TRL” copies of her CDs, and she’s laughing because no one remembers what those are!
Jennifer Lopez appeared at a “TRL” photo shoot in February 2000, and I’m guessing that was probably the last time she and Fred Durst hung out.
Christina Aguilera’s first “TRL” appearance with Brian McKnight was December 8, 2000… because it was the year 2000.
Destiny’s Child called in to “TRL” in 2000, but they didn’t appear IRL on “TRL” until May 1, 2001, when both they and their matchy-matchy rodeo outfits made their debut.
Destiny’s braids: Also 2001.
Rihanna first appeared on “TRL” September 6, 2005, and while this outfit is conservative by Rihanna-today standards, I feel like she could still totally pull it off, you know? Also, it’s not her fault! Clothes were universally SO bad in 2005!
A teeeeny lil’ baby Miley Cyrus appeared on “TRL” June 20, 2006, a full seven years before the foam finger made its MTV debut at the 2013 VMAs. It was worth waiting for, IMO.
Katy Perry made the best faces at her first “TRL” appearance on June 9, 2008. Still does.
And Lady Gaga waved obscurity — and wearing pants — goodbye when she appeared on “TRL” for the first time on August 12, 2008!
Broken doll? NAILED IT.