'Total Request Live': 12 Memorable Moments From the Original Series

11:32 AM 10/2/2017

by Katherine Schaffstall

From Mariah Carey crashing the show to Destiny's Child making their final appearance as a group, take a look back at the first installment of the MTV show being revived Oct. 2.

Carson Daly TRL - Getty - H 2017
Bryan Bedder/Getty

It's been almost nine years since MTV aired the last episode of Total Request Live, commonly abbreviated as TRL. The series played the most popular music videos at the time and featured interviews from popular musicians and actors. 

MTV announced in July that the series that made Carson Daly a household name would be revived. Daly may be out as the host of the series, but DC Young Fly, Amy Pham and Tamara Dhia are all confirmed as "squad" members who will act as hosts in the revival. The Hollywood Reporter recently reported that social media stars Ethan and Grayson Dolan had joined the series as correspondents. 

In honor of the TRL revival launching today (Oct. 2), THR takes a look back at the best moments from the initial version of the show.

  • Hanson Takes Over as Hosts

    Before the Jonas Brothers, another popular band of brothers stole the hearts of fans and took over MTV's TRL. Hanson may have released their biggest hit “MMMBop” a year before the countdown show premiered, but they were still relevant enough to host an episode in 1998. The band took questions from fans, discussed their favorite music videos and sported some very '90s outfits.

  • The Backstreet Boys Shut Down Times Square

    The Backstreet Boys were at the most successful point of their career during the first era of TRL. The boy band was a staple for the show and made multiple appearances. One of their most memorable visits took place on May 18, 1999 when their third album, Millennium, was released. So many fans showed up outside of the TRL studio to get a glimpse at the band that police officers had to shut down Times Square.

  • Britney Spears and Melissa Joan Hart Co-Host

    Four days after Spears appeared on Hart’s sitcom Sabrina the Teenage Witch as herself, the two friends took over for Daly and hosted TRL in 1999. At the time of the taping, Hart was promoting her film Drive Me Crazy, while Spears was included on the music video countdown for her hit song “(You Drive Me) Crazy.” The music video, which Hart appears in, ended up at the number three spot on the countdown with “Music of My Heart” by NSYNC and Gloria Estefan and “Larger Than Life” by the Backstreet Boys taking the top two spots.

  • When a Backstreet Boys Fan Threatened Carson Daly

    One of the biggest pop-culture questions in the late '90s and early 2000s was which was the superior boy band: NSYNC or the Backstreet Boys? TRL had the two groups' most dedicated fans face off in a trivia battle. The NSYNC fan came out victorious, which left the BSB fan quite upset. After accusing Daly of giving her a trick question, the BSB fan threatened to kill both the host and her competitor. Daly quickly ended the segment and concluded possibly the most uncomfortable moment to be featured on the show.

  • Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey Perform "Where You Are"

    The former couple performed their duet "Where You Are" together on TRL in 2000. The two eventually became a staple on the show and made many appearances to promote both of their individual singing careers, as well as their MTV reality show Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica. The show came to an end after three seasons, which was around the same time the couple announced they were separating in 2005.

  • Eminem Hosts His Own Version of 'Em TV'

    In May 2000, Eminem hosted an episode of TRL, which was dubbed "Em TV." The rapper began the episode by referring to music videos from the likes of Britney Spears, NSYNC and Backstreet Boys as “trash.” He then proceeded to play his personal choices of the top 10 music videos of the day, as opposed to the fan-voted videos that were usually included on the countdown. The two-hour episode consisted of Eminem parodying popular MTV shows, imitating TRL VJs and dissing popular musicians of the time, including himself. 

  • Britney Spears Performs "Oops! I Did It Again"

    Britney Spears made one of her many TRL appearances in 2000, performing her hit “Oops! I Did It Again” accompanied by four male backup dancers in tie-dye ensembles. The performance even included a breakdown section, in which she and the dancers showed off their best choreographed moves. 

  • Mariah Carey Crashes the Show With Ice Cream

    In a 2001 episode of the series, Mariah Carey surprised Daly and entered the stage with a bin of ice cream. She announced, “I’ve got a present for you,” and proceeded to strip off her oversized purple shirt that read “Loverboy.” While the audience cheered during the striptease, Daly was clearly confused. “You’re my therapy session right now, Carson,” Carey told the host. “Every now and then somebody needs a little therapy.” Carey then handed out ice cream to the crowd.

  • Michael Jackson Stops By to Promote 'Invincible'

    The King of Pop made his first appearance on TRL in 2001 only weeks after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. While the city was still grieving, masses of fans showed up to Times Square to see the singer. Jackson stepped outside to greet fans before sitting down with Daly to discuss his album, Invincible. The star showed his humble side while talking about his success. “I don’t take anything for granted. Every time there’s a number one album or song I feel excited as if it’s the first one,” he said.

  • Destiny's Child Makes Final Appearance as a Band

    Before Beyonce went solo, she was dominating the charts as part of Destiny’s Child. The girl group, which also included Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams, made its final appearance as a band on TRL in 2005. The ladies took questions from dedicated fans and discussed their status as role models during the interview. 

  • Robin Williams Answers Random Questions

    The late actor stopped by the show in 2006. During his appearance, he was put through “the wringer” and had to answer a variety of random questions. When asked if he or Three 6 Mafia would win two Oscars first, he responded, “I believe Three 6 Mafia will be there way before me.” He defended his rationale by explaining that when the band won their first Oscar, even Jack Nicholson went “Way to go, bro,” he said in his best Nicholson impression. Williams was also asked what he would get Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie as a gift for their baby, to which the actor responded, “I want to get them something that would go well in Africa. Maybe a tiny sphere.” 

  • The Final Episode

    As the first era of TRL came to an end, host Damien Fahey documented the final day on set of the show in 2008. Fahey talked with many crew members about the series coming to an end. The clip above also shows supervising producer Marta Ravin discussing the show’s plans for the musical guest The All-American Rejects to tear down the stage during the finale. The behind-the-scenes clip ends with Fahey and co-host Lyndsey Rodrigues on stage one last time as they turn off the studio lights.