In 1999, while Jewel was on the charts with her Spirit album, featuring the hit single, “Hands,” the Backstreet Boys were smashing sales records and making young girls lose their minds with their sophomore LP, Millennium and its hugely successful single, “I Want It That Way.” Both of those aforementioned songs peaked at Number Six on the Billboard Hot 100, but the latter was an international sensation, scaling the charts in 25 other countries.
As successful as the song was, however, the video for “I Want It That Way” would prove even more influential. In particular, the pop quintet’s all-white wardrobe in the airport-themed clip and the screaming, sign-wielding fans in the background would later be parodied in the hilarious Blink-182 video, “All the Small Things.” The tune has also been covered by a wide array of artists, from fellow boy band One Direction to hard rock legends Vanilla Fudge. (Let that sink in for a while.)
Fast-forward to 2015 and the new late-night series, The Josh Wolf Show on CMT. Wolf is a standup comedian perhaps best known for his roundtable appearances on E!’s Chelsea Lately, starring Chelsea Handler, who is now executive producer of his CMT series. A recurring segment on Wolf’s show is the “Guilty Pleasure Song,” in which Wolf and his guest take the stage for an unexpected collaboration.
Accompanied by the host’s Wild Wolf Band mate, Jiffy on acoustic guitar and a snare drum player, Wolf and the iconic pop-country singer have their way with the Backstreet Boys hit, emphasizing the lyrics with a series of grand hand gestures throughout their performance. Completing the tribute, Jewel dons a white fedora and Wolf, a muscled dead ringer for Tim McGraw, sports a doo rag and white tank top.
After a key change and more than a few notes that went an entirely different way, the song ends with the pair on their knees – then flat on the floor – playing to the camera all the while as Jewel stretches out the last “that way” for several seconds.
The Josh Wolf Show, which has also featured appearances from Brad Paisley and Darius Rucker, airs Thursdays through Sundays at 11:00 p.m. ET on CMT.