Tonight, MTV bids farewell to one of its longest-running franchises: the after-school video and chat party Total Request Live. Rock Daily is blogging at you live from MTV's Times Square studios, where network honchos have managed to wrangle Christina Aguilera, Fall Out Boy, Justin Timberlake, Carson Daly and Jesse Camp (yes, really!) for a blowout finale. So join us, won't you, as our on-the-scene reporter Christopher R. Weingarten and couch correspondents say peace out to the show that brought us Mariah's ice-cream meltdown and millions of high-pitched squeals.!
10:56 pm: "That was the last time Britney Spears will be Number One on TRL," Fahey says. Snoop, Kid Rock, Jonathan Davis and Co. are all onstage sharing a toast (and a blunt!?). "This show launched the careers of so many people (thank God not LFO)," Carson says. "I feel like if we can keep talking we can filibuster the show and keep it on the air ... goodnight from New York, and goodnight TRL."
10:54 pm: "There's no doubt pop culture would never be the same without those three infectious notes," Carson says of the start of "... Baby (One More Time)." As the Britney clip begins, the TRL music drowns out those three notes. Meanwhile, in the studio, they are giving out apple cider to all the kids. And Justin is back. Awkward!
10:52 pm: We're close to the number one video time, and it's a Britney retrospective. This has to be " ... Baby (One More Time)."
10:50 pm: Commercials for Victoria's Secret's miracle bra, the Nicole Kidman movie Australia and the Bosley hair-replacement system. Did MTV just assume their demo aged by 20 years after 50 left the stage? Jesse Camp: the only celeb to hang out with the audience members between the breaks.
10:46 pm: Taylor Swift is back with her yearbook (did they make her do this because she's high school age?). Diddy signed in all his guises, from Sean Combs to Puffy to Diddy, finally admitting his multiple personality disorder. The yearbook is going to be bestowed upon a young person "taking action in their community" - but not the one they're showing on TV. The guy holding the real yearbook is standing right next to me.
10:42 pm: How many more times can they trot out Timberlake? Now he's got his label's first signing with him. They're going to squeeze the last drops of promotion out of this thing. Oh shit. That Aussie girl interviewing him was the one fighting with security to stay in the room. That's how crazy it is here.
10:40 pm: Good Charlotte twins say, "A long time ago, MTV played rock videos." Zing. MTV screws up and misidentifies Benji and Joel, then corrects it with a new chyron. Classy. All these girls are ignoring the Maddens and mugging for Justin.
10:38 pm: Getting all these people out of the studio during the commercial break is troublesome.
10:34 pm: Carson Daly just introduced Tony Banks. Lloyd Banks and Tony Yayo are not amused (they're all wearing primary colors, like Teletubbies). 50 lays it all on the table, and calls TRL a place "to market and promote ourselves."
10:31 pm: This is definitely a fire hazard right now. This place is beyond beyond capacity. Sway can't even get in right now. We get our fourth, fifth, and sixth bleeped words. The show is officially overtime: Something called The Britney Collection is supposed to be on right now, confusing DVRs and TiVos everywhere.
10:29 pm: 50 Cent is just getting out of his car, rapping "In Da Club" as he makes his way into the studio. That was probably improvised to make up for his lateness.
10:23 pm: There are some crazy flashing light coming from backstage. I think Eminem might be on fire. Oh, evidently he's on the phone. Must be 50 Cent. He's glowing like the suitcase in Pulp Fiction. "You sound alive, perky and well," Daly says. Em confirms he's in the studio with Dr. Dre. "We're looking at January, February" for the new record. "I've probably done 100 songs in the last couple of years." His new inspiration? He won't say. He probably doesn't have any songs done yet. Number two iconic TRL video: "The Real Slim Shady."
10:17 pm: A backstage Carson Daly shot reveals the Good Charlotte twins, then he crashes the staff party, revealing a lot of awkward looking dudes holding plastic cups.
10:15 pm: John Norris grills AJ about his decision to tells fans about his rehab on TRL. "They outlived all the other boy bands and TRL," says Norris.
10:10 pm: Number three most iconic video is Backstreet Boys' "I Want it That Way." Samuel L. Jackson has been on TRL more than any other movie star ... which is why he's here to introduce Backstreet Boys? Their performance is ... not good (and not live! Total Request Taped!). You know Justin Timberlake is watching backstage and snickering.
10:03 pm: Pete Wentz is on the phone (not even a video chat?!). He says he was reading Twilight and a girl audibly gasps. Flashback to their 2005 performance in Vegas, when Stump's sideburns nearly conquered his face.
9:59 pm: Number four video on their countdown is 'N Sync's "Bye Bye Bye." Justin Timberlake is back, reliving "one of the finer moments of my life" when Halle Berry hugged him. It was 2002, and his voice hadn't changed yet. The Fall Out Boy dues are milling around.
9:54 pm: Aguilera is musing on "Genie in a Bottle." Has she applied another layer of lipstick? Number five TRL vid: "Dirrty." "I was just having fun as a 21-year-old ... feeling empowered by her sexuality." Mmhmm. Btw, surprise home viewers: this Carson/Xtina interview is not live. He's chilling here watching it, stroking his hairless chin.
9:51 pm: Hilary Duff gushes about meeting Jennifer Lopez on the show. The photogs are swarming.
9:49 pm: Damien's embarrassing moment - Tyra Banks tells America he just spat in her mouth. Carson's? Oh HELL YES: Mariah's ice-cream cart. "I thought I was getting punk'd ... I am a tool, Jimmy Fallon was right," he adds.
9:43 pm: Oh God, they're playing footage of Heidi from The Hills rapping for Nelly. What was he thinking? "I can't believe she's doing this." A flashback to Dre and Snoop doing "Still D.R.E." can't get the taste of Montag out of our mouths.
9:40 pm: Snoop smells goooood. Like expensive cologne — why, what were you thinking? So many extra people snuck in this room to see Snoop drop it like it's hot. The stage is so narrow they don't even all have room to hug.
9:36 pm: Ludacris, Nelly and Snoop. And we have our first bleep-out of the night, swiftly followed by the second. And the third. Nothing like a room full of tweens chanting "I am getting so hot, I'm gonna take my clothes off."
9:32 pm: A montage called Diddy Sells Himself. Shameless. His final plugs: his fragrance, the Notorious B.I.G. biopic.
9:30 pm: Diddy is giving hugs! It's getting chaotic in here. Miley Cyrus is imitating Snoop in the TRL photo book. Is this racist?
9:23 pm: Sway, Suchin Pak and John Norris of MTV News are here to remind us they covered hard news and uh, MTV News over the past 10 years. Highlight reel: AJ from Backstreet admitting he was going to rehab; blink-182 splitting up; Nick Carter's arrest (man, this is BB-heavy!); and Britney, Britney, Britney. Number one news story is Barack Obama getting elected? Hmm. Carson and Norris are discussing their post-9/11 coverage. "This show transcended music, it transcended pop culture. Mayor Guiliani came here to get information out to the youth of America," Daly says.
9:19 pm: Kid Rock is ignoring the NYC smoking ban and puffing a cigar. Holy shit, this room reeks. "Radio was not excited about my music, nobody basically in the world was. This was the place where it did get to the people." Awkward moment: "Hi baby, you're way too young for me," Kid Rock says to a fan. He then resists the urge to moon Times Square. Number six iconic vid: "Bawitdaba."
9:15 pm: I miss Eminem. Well, at least Primus got mentioned.
9:12 pm: Korn's Jonathan Davis is outside with Dave Holmes. "We were a rock band, we were never really in competition with the pop acts," he says. Time to pimp his solo album!
9:11 pm: Humiliating moment time! 'N Sync in Santa hats. Lou Pearlman is watching this from his cell, weeping.
9:08 pm: Justin Timberlake and his little friend JC Chasez! The noise in here for Justin sounds like a shuttle taking off. Vintage photo of Justin's frosted curls = yikes! There some surrrrious security mulling about right now. "This is like a big high school reunion in a way," JT says. "TRL was so integral to our careers." I think I saw a stage manager signal "5-0."
9:05 pm: Evidently 50 Cent hasn't arrived at the studio yet = yikes. Susie's shoes look painful up close. It's montage time again — best performances, featuring Britney, Shakira, Kelly Clarkson, the Killers, Eminem, Gwen Stefani ... okay, more than half of these involve scantily clad women. It's like having your life flash before your eyes, if your life had as much TV in it as mine.
8:56 pm: Fall Out Boy are outside rocking on the street sans Pete Wentz, who is presumably overseeing his child's birth right now. Sure, the dude from the Academy Is ... is a great substitute for the band's most charismatic member. That's like, "Here's Wu-Tang Clan... Subbing for Method Man will be the guy from the free credit report commercials."
8:54 pm: A look back at the show's fave Times Square moments: weeping Jonas Brothers fans. Lots of oaktag signs. Ashton Kutcher as a traffic cop. Michael Jackson. David Arquette freestyling with Jesse Camp. Tom Cruise introducing Kanye West.
8:51 pm: Number seven video is Beyoncé feat. Jay-Z, "Crazy in Love." Former VJ Hilarie Burton highlight reel! This involves Bono hugging her. If TRL hadn't found her, "I probably would have finished college, that would have been a good thing." Shocking news: a lot of One Tree Hill fans in this room.
8:43 pm: Carson is embarrassing Christina Aguilera with a vintage 1999 appearance. Holy lipstick, current Xtina! Seeing the giant MySpace ad overlooking Times Square is like a lurking reminder that the music industry is doomed. It's near the Virgin Megastore that won't be here next year.
8:41 pm: OMG! Jesse Camp and Dave Holmes! "I was under the impression I would be playing Sasha Fierce in the Beyoncé performance," Camp says. Jesse, it feels amazing that you're anywhere.
8:40 pm: Iconic video eight — Usher feat. Ludacris and Lil Jon, "Yeah." Oh no! I've got TRL spirit. I was just dancing to "Yeah" with all these 15-year-olds.
8:37 pm: Daly is taking the camera out of the studio into the backstage area. Hey, look, there's our live blogger! Oh, and Diddy. Vanessa just called Daly "the man, the myth, the legend."
8:36 pm: Ben Stiller spoofs Michael Jackson accepting the "artist of the decade" award. Tee hee.
8:32 pm: This commercial for the heinous Paris Hilton's BFF show is soundtracked by Vampire Weekend. Somewhere Ezra Koenig is weeping into a cardigan.
8:28 pm: Voila, Diddy. It's his 48th appearance. He looks like he just got done filming The Fast and the Furious 3. I wonder what type of arm exercises the "yell louder" girl has to do every day.
8:27 pm: A Diddy highlight reel. Evidently he's been on the show more than any other guest. Studio is filling with smoke... Can't Diddy just come out?
8:24 pm: Travis Barker (live via satellite) thanks fans for support and tries to avoid answering career-related questions. Time for video nine: blink-182's "What's My Age Again." "After TRL our audience got so much bigger," Barker says on cue. Somewhere an MTV exec is rubbing his hands together and saying "exxcceeelllent."
8:23 pm: It's Miley in the photo booth! (Insert Vanessa Hudgens joke here.) I think I saw Dave Holmes lurking about. Kids are screaming into the camera, looking at the monitors, screaming, looking.
8:19 pm: No idea what the pretty one is saying. SO MUCH SCREAMING!!!!
8:17 pm: Carson reminds us that the original point of TRL was to get fans as close to stars as possible. Exhibit A: Backstreet Boys' October 22, 1998 appearance that shut down Times Square (Daly flubbed his line, though, announcing it was on October 29th, rather than the 29th episode).
8:16 pm: Taylor Swift is pimping the official TRL Yearbook.
8:14 pm: The first of 10 "videos that changed MTV" — OutKast's "Hey Ya." And nope, they don't show the whole thing.
8:10 pm: Damien Fahey and Carson Daly, together at last. And their mikes aren't working. Daly is bragging that TRL pre-dates YouTube and Facebook.
8:05 pm: How badly do I want to Soy Bomb this?? I was wondering why a girl who looked like she stepped out of a Duran Duran video was wandering the halls. Hello, "Single Ladies." B's all-girl band is rocking out. I don't think that last fill that the drummer played matched what came through the speaker: Bootysuspicious.
8:04 pm: That intro totally wasn't live, btw... Magic of TV. Beyoncé is watching it with us! I have no idea where the wind is coming from that's blowing her hair. She's like 10 yards from me and magically windswept.
8:03 pm: Now I know why so many rappers can wear big coats on this show. It's freezing!
7:55 pm: They are testing audience applause. Spoiler: loud.
7:50 pm: What's on MTV right now? America's Next Top Model. Now that's the MTV we know. Ten minutes 'til the music begins (we think).