Onstage and off, teen performers at Z100's Zootopia drown out Slim Shady

By Elyssa Yoon-Jung Lee
June 07, 2000 at 04:00 AM EDT
Corbis Sygma

At Friday’s Z100 Zootopia concert in New York, Christina Aguilera brushed off Eminem’s musical slurs against her, saying that the unapologetic rapper couldn’t endure the kind of nastiness he’s been dishing out. And Aguilera wasn’t the only one to bite back: The annual concert at Long Island’s Nassau Coliseum featured a chart-topping lineup of young stars, some of whom have lately attracted the wrath of the rapper, whose real name is Marshall Mathers.

Aguilera thinks she knows why Eminem — who has written a song in which he fantasizes killing his wife — has been on her case. ”I’ve been really protesting about domestic violence,” the 19 year old singer told EW Online. ”That issue is something I feel very strongly about, just the same way he feels very strongly about voicing his opinion on pop music and pop singers. But whenever someone does it back, he can’t take it. So, whatever!”

Another potential target of Eminem’s anti-pop stance, Nick Lachey of 98 Degrees stuck up for his band mates, who were in Los Angeles working on their follow-up to ”98 Degrees and Rising.” ”I think it’s somewhat ironic that Eminem’s becoming everything he’s bashing,” Lachey said backstage. ”He’s become a pop act. These are not all rap and hip-hop fans on ‘Total Request Live’ — these are young pop kids voting for his song.”

Performing his hit duet ”Where You Are” with girlfriend Jessica Simpson got Lachey’s temperature rising for a different reason: During her set Simpson’s zipper broke, prompting a fashion emergency. ”I don’t know what it is about New York City,” Simpson cheerfully told the crowd. ”Last time I was here, during the Ricky Martin tour, my whole pants ripped. I hope you don’t hate me.”

Mandy Moore, a Zootopia newcomer, hasn’t been on the scene long enough to rate a bashing on Eminem’s album, but the 16 year old singer is bracing herself. ”I hate it when people judge me before they meet me and think, ‘Oh, she has to be slow, she has to be unintelligent.”’ said Moore. ”Just because I’m blond and a pop singer, I automatically have to be like the other people out there. It annoys me that I have to explain myself.” Well, it’s better than having to say you’re sorry.