‘You owe Australia an apology’
It was the announcement Australian Spice Girls fans had waited 23 years to hear.
In the final moments of the last performance of the group's triumphant reunion tour, in front of 90,000 fans Mel B, aka Scary Spice, revealed that this wasn't actually the end: "We'll see you in February in Australia!" she holler-holler-hollered.
Her word was taken as gospel as news outlets worldwide ran with the story - the Spice Girls, who had just performed to more than 700,000 fans in stadiums across the UK and Ireland, would finally tour Australia for the very first time early next year.
And then, less than 24 hours later, a swift reversal from the woman herself.
"You know me by now," Mel B told 2Day FM's Grant, Ed and Ash during a phone interview yesterday morning. "I always say the Spice Girls are going to continue and continue and tour the whole world.
"I announced it on stage, yes, without everybody else signing off 100 per cent, but I figured if I put it out there, maybe it's going to happen."
Sigh. Is anyone else tired? I'm tired.
@OfficialMelB Why would you say that spice girls will be touring Australia next year and turn around and say it was all a joke. I mean come on, Australia has the BIGGEST spice girls fans of all time... Please rethink it, or are you all snobs...— Nathan Teasdale (@NathanTeasdale2) June 17, 2019
@OfficialMelB You owe Australia an apology! NOW!!!— Jordz&MelyShowofficial (@JordzMelyShow) June 17, 2019
Mel B: See you in Australia in February!— Megan 💖 #SpiceGirlsReunion (@melcfan4life) June 17, 2019
Also Mel B: Im only joking
Australian fans: pic.twitter.com/meShzT1q69
Clearly Mel B is a woman who's read The Secret once or twice and believes in the power of positive thinking, but does her habit of "putting it out there" actually do more harm than good?
If what Mel B said on the radio yesterday is true - that her bandmates had not committed to an Australian tour - then imagine being in Mel C, Emma or Geri's shoes as this PR headache has unfolded.
Picture it. You're about to finish a triumphant reunion tour and the door has been left open for it to continue at some stage. Australian dates are on the cards.
There's still much to organise, though - you all have children, partners and individual careers to manage. The stars may not align for you to continue - perhaps the Spice Girls story ends with three sold-out shows at Wembley Stadium. Who knows?
Then your bandmate makes the decision for you, live on stage as the world watches.
Positive thinking - or blackmail?
Even the most casual of Spice watchers knows, by this point, to take anything this particular Spice Girl says with a large grain of salt.
It was Mel B who "revealed" last year that all five Spice Girls would perform at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding (they didn't - and only Victoria Beckham was invited).
It was Mel B who insisted Victoria would definitely join the group on tour (she didn't).
Whenever Mel B lets slip another lofty Spice-related pronouncement, it's important to keep a clear head and remember the wise words of Gia Gunn:
AUSSIES BURNED BEFORE
Mel B revealed last year that it was she who scuppered the last Spice Girls reunion tour, which crashed and burned 11 years ago before the group could make it to what was to be their first-ever Australian concert, on January 17, 2008:
Aussie fans could enter a ballot to pre-register their interest for that planned Sydney show, waiting - and waiting - for further details to be announced. Instead, a hasty message was released after the group had played dates across the UK and US, telling fans that "sadly the tour needs to come to an end due to family and personal commitments."
But in her tell-all memoir Brutally Honest, Mel B last year revealed that it was in fact "tension" in the group caused by her toxic marriage to then-husband Stephen Belafonte that made the tour collapse.
She revealed that bandmate Geri found her "sobbing in a shower" after she didn't show for a meet and greet on what ended up being the penultimate tour date.
WHAT A SHOW
And here's what really smarts: Spiceworld 2019 is an incredible, joyous pop spectacle; one that the band's Aussie fans deserve to see for themselves.
An unapologetic blast of colourful nostalgia, the impeccably crafted show takes fans right back to that dizzying period from 1996 to 1998 when the Spice Girls ruled the world. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll dance your arse off (watching the opening night of the tour in Dublin last month, I did all three by the time they'd finished their first song).
View this post on Instagram
Me and sporty in our quick change room under the stage before last nights show was about to start!! Me thinking to myself a show in the rain ummm scared,but I herd Bristol’s scream then I thought noooo “let’s ave it” and we danced together ALL night in the rain and me and you Bristol we didn’t care about the rain!!!till I got off stage and I was an ice block but it was all worth it fir you guys #yourthebest #scaryhouse #100
And Mel B is undoubtedly the star of the show: watching her prowl the stage in her iconic leopard print catsuit, I found myself imagining an alternate universe where she'd spent more of the past 20 years as the pop star she was so clearly born to be.
And it's clear Mel B loves living in Spiceworld - there she was at Wembley over the weekend, mingling with fans in the "Spice Circle" at the front of the stage before she and the group performed. At what other stadium show would the headliner join her diehard fans for a dance before she takes the stage?
Make no mistake: The demand for an Australian Spice Girls tour is huge. Australia has always been a massive market for the group - their first two albums went six times platinum each, and we were the only country in the world to send their Greatest Hits to number one in the charts.
A Spice Girls fan group posted fake Facebook events for Spice Girls concerts across Australia after Mel B's onstage announcement over the weekend, and each event scored tens of thousands of RSVPs from excited fans before they were taken down. Aussies are clearly ravenous for a night out with the Spice Girls.
Now it's time to stop the teasing, the "will they/won't they", the all-too-familiar porky pies from Mel B.
I've said it before but it bears repeating: C'mon, girls. Say you'll be there.