The bootylicious Jennifer Lopez was on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” earlier this week promoting her new album, Love?, as well as her judgeship on “American Idol” when Leno asked her about her first big-deal dancing gig. Lopez revealed that it was on a 1991 American Music Awards performance with pop darlings New Kids on the Block. Of course, Leno then pulled out a clip of the performance and showed it to the audience, appearing to mortify J. Lo.
Truthfully, it was the first time I noticed the fact that Lopez appeared in the performance (of course, back then no one knew or cared who Jennifer Lopez was), but the New Kids’ performance ranks up there as one of my all-time favorite awards show performances for several reasons. One-considering hip-hop as a genre wasn’t very well-reflected on televised awards shows (or prime-time television at all) during that era, NKOTB’s B-Boy-centric performance of “Games” was (believe it or not) one of the most authentic examples of urban street culture to show up in that medium at the time. Two-at least one kid had a massive chip on his shoulder. Donnie Wahlberg came out with fire in his eyes, almost definitely peeved with what he saw as a lack of respect from the arbiters of pop culture, as well as the audience, who booed NKOTB at the beginning of the performance. By the end of the performance, the booers were silenced.
There was also the unnecessarily introduction of Flavor Flav mid-performance, perhaps to provide some street cred. 15 years later, when Flav and Jordan Knight starred on a reality show together, the Public Enemy member didn’t even recognize Jordan. Blame it on the crack.
Anyway, I couldn’t find a less-fuzzy version on YouTube, although I could still pick Lopez out of the lineup-it’s the ass, y’all. Even blurry, it’s still a pretty enjoyable performance.