On January 1, 1999, MTV’s Carson Daily rung in the new year by introducing Limp Bizkit, who proceeded to do a cover of Prince’s “1999.”
Unsurprisingly, it was terrible. But it was perhaps an appropriate teaser to the year that would later bring us Smash Mouth’s “All Star” and endless amounts of mass hysteria thanks to paranoia surrounding Y2K, the phenomenon that predicted that the year 2000 would either mark the destruction of the planet and worldwide technological and economic calamity, or absolutely nothing. (Turns out, it was absolutely nothing.)
But did MTV wish to dwell in the despair of what may come when the clock struck midnight on December 31, 1999? Of course not, which is why the network decided to entertain us with the folks they figured would want to be the last musicians we’ll enjoy before the earth exploded. Those musicians included Christina Aguilera, Blink 182, No Doubt, and 98 Degrees. Or at least, that’s who made their way into a series of promotional photos for live performances at MTV’s Times Square studios, which are still lingering in the Getty Images archives, a providing us with an time capsule of the Y2K moment. Join me on a tour of the looks!
Aguilera rocked proto-scene girl hair and a metallic French manicure.
Aguilera whoooOOOOOOOOOoooooHHHHHOOOOOoooooooa’d her way through a performance of “Genie in a Bottle.”
My boyfriends Blink 182 performed “What’s My Age Again?” and “All the Small Things.”
And right after midnight, No Doubt performed a cover of R.E.M.’s “It’s the End of the World As We Know It.” And assuming the multiple YouTube comments on this video are true, Stefani was super upset with this performance, because she was only given a few days to memorize and perform the song. A song which is about 95 percent gibberish. Still, Stefani did an admirable job all things considered.
Side note: This was back when Stefani still had pink hair and braces!
And she was still dating this fuckin’ guy! Gavin Rossdale from Bush! They also performed that night!
They performed “Machinehead.” It was pretty horny!
Something else happened at midnight too: This smooch between then-couple Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey of 98 Degrees. Back when they were still a couple and before exposing all their dirty laundry to millions of people on Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica.
The 98 Degrees performances that night were in abundance, but they were also kinda boring! Their outfits, however, were not:
It really makes you wonder what the temperature was like in the room, because the guys were clearly not on the same page. Please also note the looming Times Square ad for “GiftCertificates.com,” a fun piece of foreshadowing for the dot-com crash that would hit the following March.
Oh, and Diddy was there too, but I’m more focused on the woman behind him with the incredibly 1999 eyebrow/eyeshadow combination.
A thin brow and a shimmery purple shadow that looks like it came straight out of Claire’s? Exquisite.
MTV really entrusted us with a motley crew of talent to get us through the new century. Unfortunately, even the power of pop music couldn’t prevent the endless cluster fucks that followed.
But don’t think about that. Instead, think about this moment when Mandy Moore said she wanted to share a Y2K kiss with Ryan Phillippe at midnight: