The countdown to Mega Python Vs. Gateroid begins NOW! The film will be the first professional collaboration between 80s teen pop superstars Tiffany and Deborah Gibson and will surely be horrible beyond words! But hopefully in a good way! (But probably not.)
First off, check out these two plugging the movie on Bravo's Watch What Happens Live!
Um, YES, Tiffany just OUTTED Jonathan Knight of NKOTB! Whooooopseeeeeee!!! I don't think he's open about that, Gurl! And I love that she outted him, then RE-outted him just in case you missed it!
Movin' right along... in homage to this epic pairing, I will be spotlighting these two icons of the 80s! Back then, you were either firmly Team Debbie or Team Tiffany! (Well, that or you listened to heavy metal and didn't care. But screw that! Get in the tussle!) Tiffany came first, so I will showcase her today.
Tiffany began singing professionally as a young girl, at first in bars and later making numerous TV appearances, including Star Search, on which she came in 2nd for the entire year of 1985. Originally, country music was her genre of choice, but after signing a contract with manager George Tobin and a record deal with MCA, she released her eponymous debut album, which was decidedly pop.
In a now-legendary move, Tobin arranged for Tiffany, age 16 at the time, to promote the album on her infamous "mall tour," officially named "The Beautiful You: Celebrating The Good Life Shopping Mall Tour '87." Damn, that was a mouthful! After her initial single "Danny" flopped, her second single, a cover of Tommy James & The Shondells' "I Think We're Alone Now" sporting a video featuring footage from her tour became a smash hit, eventually hitting #1 and driving the album to the #1 spot simultaneously!
The mall tour concept was genius. Children and teens, Tiffany's target audience, couldn't go to bars or clubs to see musical acts nor would they go to see a new, unheard of artist in concert at a theater. Also, back then, malls weren't the drag they are now. They were actually an exciting destination. I know I went there every weekend! (And I wasn't even cool!)
Tiffany filled a certain gap in the pop culture scene, which was ruled by glam goddesses like Madonna, Janet Jackson and Jody Watley, who strutted around in designer clothing, stilettos, tight leggings, bustiers and loads of ornate jewelry. It was the dawn of the Supermodel age, so it was understandable for pop stars to pursue that image, but Tiffany's style was like that of her listeners', average teenage girls that shopped at the mall, not Rodeo Drive.
She rocked lots of pegged acid-washed jeans, denim jackets, sneakers, simple makeup and minimal jewelry. She didn't have the choreographed dance moves of Janet Jackson. She sort of just swayed and grooved like she was at a school dance. And it worked! Teen girls could relate to her. She came off as an idealized friend or classmate.
Musically, Tiffany had a slightly raspy, older than her years voice. Stevie Nicks' influence is definitely evident! However, almost as soon as her career took off, critics started tearing her down. Many called her manager Tobin a Svengali. Tiffany did not write or play music. And ultimately two of her biggest hits "I Think We're Alone Now" and "I Saw Him Standing There" were covers. Others charged that some of the other songs on her album were too "mature" for a girl of 16. Mind you, these songs were likely not specifically written for Tiffany, but rather random catalog songs Tobin plucked from from where ever random pop songs come from.
Then came Debbie Gibson and the rivalry. Debbie was something of a prodigy. She had grown up performing in the theater and played the piano. She wrote and produced her own music. So many critics gave Debbie more credit than Tiffany in terms of artistry and talent.
After her initial success, Tiffany went on tour with up-and-coming act New Kids on the Block opening for her and began a long relationship with NKOTB member Jonathan Knight, a fact that alienated teen girls who wanted him for themselves. (And he wasn't even the popular one!) Over the course of that tour, Tiffany's album sales plummeted and NKOTB's rocketed, so their roles were flip-flopped and Tiffany became their opening act! Sad!
Her sophomore album went platinum, with one last top ten hit, "All This Time" and "Radio Romance" her final top 40 hit which only managed to reach #35. She has released many albums since, but never managed to recapture her initial success.
But she'll always have this!