The Best and Worst Pop Star Cameos on Television


BEST: The Simpsons

The long-running animated series does it better than anyone. Michael Jackson helped Homer write a birthday song for Lisa; Aerosmith sampled the Flaming Moe; Homerpalooza hosted everyone from the Smashing Pumpkins to Cypress Hill; the Ramones; Johnny Cash; Green Day. You're officially a music icon if you've been rendered two-dimensional by Groening & Co.
Chris Polk

WORST: Jessica Simpson on That 70s Show

Jessica Simpson played (what else) Kelsos ditzy bombshell California girlfriend in an extended cameo that ran three episodes. The gig offered viewers an opportunity to watch Simpson flit around in skimpy outfits. 'Cause that so rarely happens.
Annamaria DiSanto

BEST: Whitney Houston on Silver Spoons

Well before her Bobby Brown period, Houston played a fresh-faced nightclub singer who bewitches Dexter (Ricky's dad's business manager). Her on-screen performance of "Saving All My Love for You" was so compelling in its simplicity, we forgave her for modifying the lyrics to suit the family-friendly audience. ("We'll be holding each other the whole night through.")
Larry Busacca

WORST: Jermaine Jackson on Facts of Life

We never could understand Tooties disturbing freak-out following an invitation to a Jermaine Jackson concert. Jermaine really had his own fan club?
Jean-Paul Aussenard

BEST: Davy Jones on The Brady Bunch

The Monkees dreamboat played Marcias surprise prom date. That episode also featured his performance of Girl, which became his breakout hit as a solo artist. That episode is said to be the most rerun of all the Brady eps, besting even the three-parter that has the Brady family mixing it up in Hawaii. (Tarantulas, anyone?)
kobal/ABC/PARAMOUNT/The Kobal Collection

WORST: Color Me Badd on Beverly Hills 90201

A convoluted effort to meet the silk-shirted, supergelled supergroup ends with the Baddies harmonizing in the Peach Pit. The cameo violates a basic principle of the pop star cameo: The artist should be relevant at least one season later.

BEST: George Michael on Eli Stone

Admit it: You were bopping along with the rest of us when the Wham! front man popped up in the shows premiere singing Faith atop Johnny Lee Millers coffee table. A classic song, a controversial artist in an unconventional role (guardian angel) the perfect brew for a memorable cameo.
David Munn

WORST: Clay Aiken on Scrubs

The American Idol runner-up played Kenny, a perky hospital cafeteria worker whose job is at risk. The episode culminated with Kennys talent-show rendition of Isnt She Lovely. His performance lasted all of 20 seconds, a disappointment for Claymates, a lifetime for regular viewers.
Mike Guastella

BEST: Janet Jackson on Diff'rent Strokes

Though calling her recurring role on the show a cameo may be a stretch she played Williss girlfriend Charlene Jackson was a favorite visitor to the Drummond penthouse. In those early years, the diva-to-be was all sugar, soft-spoken, demure, and oh-so-pretty. We turned the volume up when she appeared.
Ron Galella, Ltd.

WORST: Boy George on The A-Team

Were still scratching our heads at the baffling pairing of the gender-bending Culture Club front man and the brawny Vietnam war vets. The plot was even stranger thanks to a booking mix-up at a local honky-tonk, Boy George shows up in place of the intended performer, Cowboy George. Mr. T welcomes him, presumably glad to finally have another dude to talk to about jewelry.
Ron Wolfson
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