NBC brings nostalgia to an Idol-like format, as the network debuts a US version of the UK series Hit Me Baby One More Time. On each of three episodes, five has-been groups will perform their biggest hit and a current song. The audience will vote, a winner will be selected, and then they’ll fade back into obscurity all over again.
Tonight, starting at 9 p.m. ET, A Flock of Seagulls, Arrested Development, CeCe Peniston, Loverboy, and Tiffany all perform. In future episodes, we’ll see Wang Chung, The Knack, Irene Cara, Sophie B. Hawkins, Cameo, Tommy Tutone, Vanilla Ice, and The Motels.
The New York Daily News says this show proves that “[t]he beginning of the end of ’80s nostalgia is upon us.” A Spin editor, Doug Brod, tells the paper, “It could be a lot of fun because it’s basically humiliation for these artists. … But once you have a battle of the ’80s bands, where else are you going to go?” Fordham professor Paul Levinson says, “I think ‘Hit Me Baby’ will lead to laughing again at this music, but with affection this time, not derision, as when it was first heard. Separated from its original context, it’s now just looked at as a joke.”