Hit Me Baby One More Time takes us all on a time warp to visit stars of the past. A hit from the past, a little history of the performers, a catch-up interview, and a cover of a recent hit add up to a pleasant way to spend an hour.
The show is not groundbreaking, or by any means spectacular, but packages music nostalgia in a likable format. Taking musical acts past their prime, generally at least a decade removed from their hit(s), the show gives them two chances to win over the audience for a $20,000 donation to a charity. The first half-hour sees all 5 acts get introduced via a montage of their past greatness, followed by them singing a hit song (sometimes their only hit) from their heyday. The second half sees each band in a short video updating what they're up to today. They then cover a recent hit song, to see if they can transcend their past glory and give spice to a song that's not their own. The audience then votes for their favorite with the winner earning the donation for a charity of their choosing. Transplanted from the original British version, host Vernon Kay keeps things moving, and mostly manages to avoid being irritating.
The cover portion often generates some eyebrow raising performances, as seeing the now 50-something Wang Chung sing Nelly's "Hot in Herre" was mildly disturbing, even if they did do a good job of it. And to people who really only want to hear the good old hits, the second half can be utterly dispensible, making it the show's weak link. The show would finish stronger with the nostalgic hits sung last, though then it would start with a whimper, so it's a bit of a toss up. If they could get acts with two hits and make it 90 minutes, with the covers sandwiched by the past hits, it might work better.
Either way, the chance to see people who've long left heavy rotation on the radio waves is a treat. While it would likely fare poorly against true competition, during a period of heavy reruns it's the ultimate summer concoction!