It was the golden age of pop! Back in 1998, MTV launched the insanely successful countdown show "Total Request Live" — and teens across the country were instantly hooked! Every afternoon right after school, kids tuned in to see their favorite stars stop by as Carson Daly counted down the top music videos of the day. *NSYNC singer JC Chasez (pictured on the show's set in 2004) appeared in many of those music videos as a member of the hit-making boy band, which topped the "TRL" countdown a whopping 165 times! In honor of his 45th birthday on Aug. 8, 2021, Wonderwall.com is taking a look back at JC and more of the biggest stars of "TRL."
Keep reading to see how much they've changed over the years…
RELATED: Stars who broke up the band
One thing that hasn't changed since *NSYNC split in 2002? JC Chasez's dashing good looks! After his boy band broke up, he released one solo album — 2004's "Schizophrenic" — and dabbled in acting. He also served as a judge on "America's Best Dance Crew" from 2008 to 2012. JC is the only member of *NSYNC who's never gotten married or had kids.
Britney Spears — who's pictured on the set of "Total Request Live" in 2001 — took the top spot on the countdown 87 times, and her video for "…Baby One More Time" came in at No. 1 on the show's series finale, which ranked the most iconic "TRL" videos of all time. There's a reason why we call her the Princess of Pop!
Britney Spears released her ninth studio album, "Glory," in 2016 and headlined an uber-successful Las Vegas residency from 2013 to 2017. The following year, she hit the road on her "Piece of Me" tour. She hasn't performed live since then. Instead, she's taken a step back to focus on her health and fighting her conservatorship, which her father, Jamie Spears, began overseeing in 2008. In February 2021, the #FreeBritney movement gained steam after the singer was the focus of a New York Times documentary, "Framing Britney Spears," that explored her mental health, treatment by others early in her career and the terms of her conservatorship over the last decade.
"And the No. 1 video on 'TRL' belongs to… Christina Aguilera!" That phrase was certainly uttered a lot on the MTV show, as Xtina won the coveted top spot 82 times over the years. Shown here at an appearance on the show in 2002, the star went through multiple image and music overhauls ("Come On Over" to "Dirrty," anyone?) before fans' eyes.
Christina Aguilera went on to release eight studio albums in total — her latest being 2018's "Liberation" — and dabbled in acting on both the big screen ("Burlesque") and the small screen ("Nashville") before joining the world of reality singing competitions and signing on as a coach on "The Voice" in 2011. She embarked on "The X Tour" in 2019 and performed in her own Las Vegas residency, "The Xperience," from 2019 to 2020. In 2020, she released the track "Loyal Brave True" from Disney's live-action "Mulan" film, for which she also re-recorded her hit song "Reflection" from the original 1998 animated version.
One of the biggest heartthrobs of the '90s and '00s? Justin Timberlake, who's pictured on the "TRL" set in 2002. There was always a spot on "Total Request Live" for the superstar, whether as a member of *NSYNC or as a solo artist. With smash hits like "Bye Bye Bye," "Pop" and "Girlfriend," *NSYNC topped the "TRL" charts a whopping 165 times. Solo Justin fared pretty well on the daily countdown show too, scoring the No. 1 spot 73 times!
Justin Timberlake still has a solo singing career but also dabbles in acting ("The Social Network," "Friends with Benefits") and voice-over work. He lent his voice to the lead character in the 2016 film "Trolls" and earned an Oscar nomination for the film's big song "Can't Stop the Feeling." In 2020, Justin reprised his voice role in "Trolls World Tour" — and quietly welcomed his second son with wife Jessica Biel — and in 2021, he starred in the drama "Palmer."
The kings of "TRL"? That unofficial title goes to the Backstreet Boys, who hit the coveted No. 1 spot 187 times during the show's run with songs like "I Want it That Way," "Larger Than Life" and "Drowning." The guys — A.J. McLean, Nick Carter, Howie Dorough, Kevin Richardson and Brian Littrell, pictured visiting the "TRL" studios in 2005 — stopped by many times to rile up fans in New York City's Times Square.
The Backstreet Boys are still going strong! In promotion of their ninth studio album, 2019's "DNA," the guys hit the road on their "DNA World Tour," which they put on hold amid the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020. (It's scheduled to resume in Australia in March 2022.) During the break from touring, A.J. McLean competed on season 29 of "Dancing With the Stars" and Nick Carter welcomed his third child with wife Lauren Kitt Carter. (All five members of the group are now married with kids.)
Jennifer Lopez held the top spot on "Total Request Live" six times and even accomplished the feat with one of the only Spanish-language songs to ever grace the countdown (her tune "Que Hiciste"). She's seen here stopping by the show in 2002.
Jennifer Lopez is still a massive superstar who continues to thrive as a multi-hyphenate entertainer — and boy is she busy! In more recent years, she's served as the executive producer and star of the NBC drama "Shades of Blue," executive produced and judged NBC's "World of Dance" and performed in the Las Vegas residency "All I Have." In 2019, she starred in and co-produced the crime drama "Hustlers," for which she earned a Golden Globe nomination for best supporting actress. In addition to 2022's "Marry Me," she's also set to star in the upcoming films "Shotgun Wedding," "The Godmother" and "The Mother." In 2019, she got engaged to MLB legend Alex Rodriguez, but it wasn't meant to be… They split in early 2021 and within just weeks, she moved on with a man from her past: Ben Affleck.
Mandy Moore, pictured here on the set of "TRL" in 2002, only took the top spot three times — but she was certainly a "TRL" darling. As one of the big pop princesses of the time (along with Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Jessica Simpson), Mandy was a prominent presence on the countdown.
Since topping the "TRL" charts, Mandy Moore has transformed her career. She found success on the big screen in the '00s in flicks like "A Walk to Remember" and "The Princess Diaries," and in recent years, she's enjoyed a resurgence thanks to "This Is Us." (She scored her first Emmy nomination in 2019 for her work on the hit drama series.) The singer-actress released her seventh studio album, "Silver Landings," in 2020, and the following year, she welcomed her first child, son August Harrison, with second husband Taylor Goldsmith.
Katy Perry's hit song "I Kissed a Girl" debuted in 2008, making her late to the "TRL" scene. She still managed to leave her mark on the show, though: She topped the list 19 times before the series came to an end in late 2008.
Katy Perry continues to churn out music: Her most recent album, "Smile," debuted in August 2020. That same month, the pop star — who joined the judging panel on "American Idol" in 2018 — gave birth to her first child, daughter Daisy Dove, with fiancé Orlando Bloom.
Taylor Swift also just barely made it onto "Total Request Live." Though she never scored a No. 1 video, she stopped by the show in 2008 to sing her hit "Teardrops on My Guitar" and to share that she once sneaked onto the set with a friend while Hilary Duff was on the show.
Taylor Swift would undoubtedly hold a record for No. 1 videos on "TRL" if the show had lasted longer. She's released nine No. 1 albums since her 2006 debut including 2021's "Fearless (Taylor's Version)." (Her second re-recorded album, "Red (Taylor's Version)," is due in late 2021.) She also released the 2020 documentary "Miss Americana" and made history during the 2021 Grammys when she won album of the year for "folklore" and became the first female artist to take home top honors three times.
Rihanna's "Total Request Live" legacy? Topping the countdown an incredible 49 times with hits like "Disturbia" and "Unfaithful." She's seen here stopping by the show in 2005 at the very beginning of her career.
Since her "TRL" days, Rihanna has become a bona fide superstar and one of the bestselling artists of all time. While fans continue to await new music from the multi-hyphenate — who starred in 2018's "Ocean's Eight" and in 2019's "Guava Island" — she's shifted gears, focusing instead on her ever-expanding Fenty brand, which now includes lingerie, skincare and beauty lines and (up next) a fragrance. In August 2021, Forbes announced Rihanna was worth $1.7 billion, making her the wealthiest female musician in the world and the second wealthiest female entertainer (right behind Oprah Winfrey).
A baby-faced Miley Cyrus, who surprisingly never scored a No. 1 video on the countdown, stopped by the "Total Request Live" studios in 2006.
Miley Cyrus has reinvented herself numerous times since making her first appearance on "TRL." In November 2020, she released her seventh studio album, "Plastic Hearts," which includes the singles "Midnight Sky" and "Prisoner."
Mariah Carey had some legendary "TRL" moments over the years (including that infamous meltdown in 2001), but it wasn't all drama. The star, seen here on the set of "TRL" in 2005, topped the show's countdown 35 times during its run.
Mariah Carey has certainly had an interesting career since "TRL" went off the air. In 2018, she released her 15th studio album, "Caution." In 2019, she embarked on her Caution World Tour. In 2020, she concluded her Las Vegas residency "The Butterfly Returns," published her incredibly juicy memoir "The Meaning of Mariah Carey," released the compilation album "The Rarities" and starred in an Apple TV+ Christmas special.
We first met this lady on "Total Request Live" as Beyonce Knowles, the breakout star of Destiny's Child. The girl group scored the No. 1 slot on the countdown 12 times at the beginning of the show's run, but Beyonce's reign was far from over! Once she went solo, she returned to grab the top spot 47 more times.
The whole world knows where Beyonce Knowles ended up: on the top of the charts as a true superstar. When she released "Lemonade" in 2016, she became the first artist to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart with his or her first six studio albums. Queen Bey has since moved into filmmaking: She directed, produced and starred in the 2019 concert film "Homecoming," which chronicled her 2018 Coachella performances, and wrote, directed and executive produced the 2020 musical film "Black Is King." At the 2021 Grammy Awards, Bey made history: She became the female artist most awarded by the Recording Academy when she took home her 28th gramophone.
Like his future wife, rapper JAY-Z made quite a few appearances on MTV's "Total Request Live" — including this one in 2003. His songs (like "Umbrella" with Rihanna and "Crazy in Love" with Beyonce) were voted to the top spot 31 times during the show's run.
JAY-Z is still a major player in the hip-hop world today, though he's also expanded into other areas in recent years: The billionaire rapper launched a clothing line (Rocawear), a sports bar and lounge (The 40/40 Club) and a music streaming service (Tidal) and also partnered with the NFL. He released his most recent album, "4:44," in 2017.
Lindsay Lohan's career exploded during the glory days of "TRL." She's seen here on the show in 2004, the same year she released her debut studio album, "Speak." Videos for her tunes "Rumors" and "Over" reached the top spot on the countdown 14 times.
Lindsay Lohan has kept a relatively low profile in recent years. She briefly returned to the spotlight in early 2019 on the MTV reality show "Lindsay Lohan's Beach Club," which centered around the staff at her eponymous Mykonos-based club. (She also appeared in the supernatural thriller "Among the Shadows.") The following year, LiLo released "Back to Me" — her first single in more than a decade.
The youngest member of the Jonas Brothers, Nick Jonas, was no stranger to the "TRL" set. His band caused quite the commotion whenever they stopped by the show, including during this visit in 2006.
Following the Jonas Brothers' 2013 split, Nick Jonas found success as a solo artist (thanks to hits like "Chains" and "Jealous") and as an actor (on "Kingdom" and in two "Jumanji" movies). In 2019, he reunited with brothers Joe Jonas and Kevin Jonas to bring back the Jonas Brothers with their fifth studio album, "Happiness Begins." In 2020, they earned a Grammy nomination for best pop duo/group performance for their hit single "Sucker."
During the 2000s, Hilary Duff's music videos were voted into the top slot on "TRL" 19 times. The "So Yesterday" and "Fly" singer is seen on the show's set in 2003.
Hilary Duff transitioned back into acting after enjoying some success in the music world. She scored a hit with the TV Land series "Younger," which concluded after seven seasons in June 2021. In 2019, she married music producer Matthew Koma, with whom she shares daughters Banks and Mae, who arrived in March 2021. (She's also a mom to son Luca with ex-husband Mike Comrie.)
Sean "P. Diddy" Combs made many appearances on "Total Request Live" over the years — 38 to be exact! His most iconic? When he stopped by while training for the New York City Marathon — and never stopped training!
In 2019, Forbes reported that Diddy is worth a cool $740 million thanks to his lucrative alcohol brands (Ciroc and DeLeon tequila), his high-performance water brand (Aquahydrate) and his TV network (Revolt). In July 2021, he announced that he's set to release his first album in 15 years, "Off the Grid Vol. 1," in September 2021.
Ashlee Simpson certainly made her mark on MTV back in the day, stepping out of sister Jessica Simpson's shadow in the '00s. Not only did she have her own show on the network ("The Ashlee Simpson Show," which ran from 2004 to 2005), but she also made plenty of appearances on "TRL" thanks to her hits like "Pieces of Me" and "Boyfriend." Her songs landed in the top spot 19 times! (She's pictured on the set of "TRL" in 2004.)
After her music career cooled, Ashlee Simpson transitioned into acting, starring on the reboot of "Melrose Place" and performing on Broadway. In 2018, she returned to reality TV alongside second husband Evan Ross on the E! series "Ashlee + Evan." In October 2020, they welcomed their second child together, son Ziggy Blu. (In addition to their daughter Jagger Snow, Ashlee is also mom to son Bronx Mowgli with ex-husband Pete Wentz.)
Shakira hit the American music scene in 2001 and became a fixture on "Total Request Live." She landed in the No. 1 spot 10 times with three different songs. (She's pictured on the set of "TRL" in 2001.)
Shakira is still a superstar! She released her 11th studio album, "El Dorado," in 2017 and — like several other famous "TRL" faces — also served as a coach on NBC's "The Voice." In February 2020, the "Hips Don't Lie" singer took the stage alongside Jennifer Lopez to headline the Super Bowl LIV halftime show, which became YouTube's most viewed halftime show ever at the time!
Kelly Clarkson won the first season of "American Idol" in 2002 and became a superstar essentially overnight! (She's pictured on the set of "TRL" that very same year.) In the next six years that "TRL" aired, she landed in the No. 1 spot on the countdown an impressive 109 times.
Kelly Clarkson released her eighth studio album, "Meaning of Life," in 2017. The following year, she joined the cast of "The Voice" as a coach, and in 2019, she launched her eponymous daytime talk show, for which she's since earned three Daytime Emmy Awards. In 2022, she's taking over retiring talk show host Ellen DeGeneres's syndication slots.
Enrique Iglesias was part of the Latin music boom of the early '00s — and he also became a fixture on "Total Request Live." The singer, who's pictured on the set of "TRL" in 2003, landed in the top spot with his song "Escape" 11 times.
Enrique Iglesias is still making music in both Spanish and English, though he hasn't released an album since 2014's "Sex and Love," which was Spotify's seventh most streamed album in the world the year it debuted. He's since released a handful of very successful singles and continued touring. In September 2021, Enrique — who's welcomed three kids with longtime love Anna Kournikova in recent years — will kick off a co-headlining a tour with fellow hitmaker Ricky Martin.
Jessica Simpson was an MTV darling in the '00s thanks to her hit reality show "Newlyweds" and her very "TRL"-friendly music career. Strangely enough, although her sister Ashlee Simpson topped the countdown often, Jessica's videos got plenty of airtime on the show but never made it to the No. 1 spot! (She's pictured on the set of "TRL" in 2003.)
Though it may not have seemed possible thanks to her notorious "Chicken of the Sea" comments early in her reality TV career, Jessica Simpson eventually morphed into a mogul. In 2005, she launched her own label, the Jessica Simpson Collection, which was valued at $1 billion a decade later, making it one of the most successful celebrity lines of all time. In 2020, Jessica released her headline-making memoir, "Open Book," which became a New York Times bestseller.
Nick Lachey certainly had an interesting run during the "Total Request Live" era. The singer, who's pictured on the set of "TRL" in 2003, first appeared on the show as part of the boy band 98 Degrees: They hit No. 1 three times with videos for "The Hardest Thing" and "I Do (Cherish You)." When the group took a break, Nick became an MTV mainstay thanks to his reality show with then-wife Jessica Simpson, "Newlyweds." He then launched his solo career, which gained steam after his marriage crumbled and he released the breakup album "What's Left of Me." Though the lead single of the same name never hit No. 1 on "TRL," it did have a major tie to the show: Nick cast "TRL" host Vanessa Minnillo to star in the music video!
Nick Lachey can credit MTV for the end of one relationship and the beginning of another: He and Vanessa Minnillo tied the knot after she starred in his "What's Left of Me" music video. After that, he released two more albums as a solo artist and reunited with 98 Degrees following a decade-long hiatus. He also hosted "The Sing-Off" from 2009 to 2014 and "Big Morning Buzz Live" from 2012 to 2015. In 2020, he and Vanessa — who now share three children — co-hosted the Netflix dating show "Love is Blind." At least two more seasons are reportedly in the works.
A young Alicia Keys appeared on MTV's "Total Request Live" back in 2003, but she wouldn't top the countdown for a few more years. Her hit "No One" earned that honor 15 times!
Alicia Keys is still making beautiful music! In September 2020, she released her seventh album, "Alicia," which includes singles "Perfect Way to Die," "So Done" and "Love Looks Better." She also severed as a coach on "The Voice" between 2016 and 2018.
Gwen Stefani has served as No Doubt's lead singer since the late '80s. The band made a few appearances on "TRL" before Gwen, who's pictured on the show's set in 2002, tried her hand at a solo career. Tunes from her first two solo albums, "Love. Angel. Music. Baby." and "The Sweet Escape" were often fixtures on the countdown.
Though she hasn't released an album with No Doubt since 2012's "Push and Shove," Gwen Stefani continues to make music with her husband, Blake Shelton, and as a solo artist. The duo connected on the set of "The Voice" and started dating in 2015 after their previous marriages — hers to Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale and his to country star Miranda Lambert — came to an end. She also voiced DJ Suki in 2016's "Trolls."
Pink became a staple on "TRL" after she burst onto the scene in the year 2000. The chart-topping singer, who's pictured on the set of "TRL" in 2001, featured prominently on the countdown, but she only hit the coveted No. 1 spot four times.
Pink's success has only grown since her "TRL" days. The three-time Grammy winner released her eighth studio album, "Hurts 2B Human," in 2019. In February 2021, she released a duet with daughter Willow Sage Hart, "Cover Me in Sunshine."
50 Cent (pictured on the set of "TRL" in 2003) was a "Total Request Live" superstar who landed in the No. 1 spot 42 times with smash hits like "Candy Shop" and "In Da Club."
Like many rappers who dominated the countdown on "TRL," 50 Cent achieved great success outside of the music business. (He hasn't released an album since 2014's "Animal Ambition," though he claimed in July 2021 that he plans to release an album in September 2021.) In addition to his other various business endeavors, 50 moved into acting and producing, scoring a major hit with the Starz series "Power," which has since spawned several spinoffs.
Avril Lavigne, who served as an antithesis to the pop princess parade, brought some edge to the "TRL" top 10 in the 2000s. She hit No. 1 29 times! (She's pictured on the set of "TRL" in 2002.)
Avril Lavigne stepped away from the spotlight for several years to focus on her health amid her battle with Lyme disease. In 2019, she release her first album in six years, "Head Above Water," and embarked on a tour of the same name. In January 2021, she released the track "Flames," a collaboration with her boyfriend, Mod Sun.
When folk artist Jewel went pop, "TRL" welcomed her with open arms. (She's pictured on set in 2003.) Though her tunes never quite cracked the top spot, she stopped by the studio often.
Jewel has continued to make music while occasionally popping up on television. She competed on "Dancing With the Stars" in 2009, hosted the music reality show "Platinum Hit" in 2011 and served as an adviser on "The Voice" in 2012. In 2015, she released her 11th studio album, "Picking Up the Pieces," which she produced herself. She's also starred in several installments in the Hallmark Channel's "Fixer Upper Mysteries" made-for-TV movie franchise.
Brandy's hit collaboration with Monica, "The Boy Is Mine," topped the charts in 1998 — the same year MTV's "Total Request Live" debuted. During its run, Brandy's other big hit, 2002's "Full Moon," landed at the top of the countdown 10 times. (She's pictured on the set of "TRL" in 2004.)
Brandy's career continued to flourish throughout the '00s. She sold more than 40 million records around the world, making her one of the bestselling female artists of all time. She made her Broadway debut in "Chicago" in 2015 and starred on several TV shows including "The Game," "Zoe Ever After" and "Star." In July 2020, she released her seventh studio album, "B7," which received praise from critics.