Spice racked 

Something about chasing celebrity appearances at Universal CityWalk ups the ante on the whole pursuit notion altogether. People movers -- and worse, people -- crowd the way as you shuffle impolitely towards Universal's bloated attempt at overexposed urbanity, all to the tune of Ray Parker Jr.'s seminal theme song from "Ghostbusters."

"Who ya gonna call?" Well you're gonna have to squeeze some conversational sanity from the Nokia, as nobody here is worthy of much more than a pained smile and a "could you please get out of my life?"

Or maybe out of the band. Melanie C (Chisholm, really), who according to a publicist's news release will be performing her own "hits songs" on this particular Saturday night at CityWalk's main stage, is touted in that same release as a "former" member of diminishing Stepford Wives the Spice Girls. Though she's not conceding departure yet.

Although she should. Sales of the recently cropped, spaghetti-strapped quartet's new "Forever" are, sadly, contradicting the "more urban" opus' titular promise. Sure it took "Forever" to make, but, no, it won't take "Forever" to forget as most radio and video tastemakers already have sold their promo copies to CD Warehouse and run out to the nearest package joint for a bottle of wine to wash the taste away.

Poor Sporty

Poor Sporty

"Of course we would've liked it to be more successful," Chisholm recently told the music site Wall of Sound. "It's to be expected that if you're going to work your ass off every day of the year, of course you're going to have more success. We're trying to find balance in our lives now; two of the girls have got babies, we have solo projects. We're just happy to have a good album, and the fans who have it are enjoying it." (Insert obligatory blah, blah, blah here.)

She added: "As people discover it and get to hear it, it will be more successful in the future. We definitely feel this is the best Spice Girls album ever."

Which, of course, isn't saying a lot, is it? "Forever" is, however, a little more endearing (enduring?) than C's own faltering, unflattering Northern Star, which is receiving minor club play due to a by-the-numbers remix of the annoying "Turn to You." And predictably, nobody is here. Yeah, people are "here," to do whatever it is that people "do" at CityWalk. Y' know -- walk. But nobody's turning to Sporty Spice for any help in that department. It doesn't help that she's part of a questionable lineup that includes dreadful ecstasy habits K5 along with urban hopeful (and spelling tragedy) Mon a Q, who pathetically pop the night away as people keep walking toward Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville (where I will find myself trying to be someone else, someone a little fatter maybe, a few hours later).

The short set ends without any real fanfare, and Mon a Q, whose apathetic "Stay in Love" is decidedly not a hit(s), is the only celeb in sight ... although her sight may be challenged, matching a leopardy, stretchy tube top with shiny beige leather pants. "We haven't found the right stylist yet," one can almost here her posse defending. "Give it time."

Pedestrian injury

In a matter of time, the requisite preteens with amply provided black-and-white glossies are milling around her, as Mon A Q and her midsection do their best to placate suburban youth autograph disinterest. Two characterless long faces insure me that Mel C might be coming down "soon" and that's who they're really waiting for.

Me, I'm just waiting for the Gallagher show across the retention pond to meet its necessary end, so that I might push like a salmon through its watermelon-seed-covered crowd, and figure out what City it is that I'm walking this far to do nothing in. At least Mon A Q exits just the way that we do, spooling down the people mover (every other one is broken -- kind of like the people, I suppose), carrying an entourage of one predictably mafioso influence, one queeny publicist and a bunch of unsigned glossies. We try to corner her, to move with her people on the people mover, but the masses are virtually impenetrable -- a fact that she, the Spice Girls, and even Mel C must be well aware of by now.

Who ya gonna call?

Who ya gonna call?

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