At first, people were delighted. Then they were confused. Now, they’re starting to see a larger narrative take shape. But not everyone appreciates it.

This is the journey (to date) for comedian Kyle Gordon’s “Planet of the Bass,” an unexpectedly mega-viral 1990s Eurodance parody song that has yet to be released in full. When a 50-second snippet blew up on TikTok and Twitter at the end of July, viewers were enamored not only of the faux-futurist aesthetic of the video and Gordon’s nonsense rap as the character DJ Crazy Times (“Life, it never die / Women are my favorite guy,” he informs us) but the arresting performance of actor and influencer Audrey Trullinger as Ms. Biljana Electronica, who carries the verses of the tune. In many ways, it was her emotive power that transported us to a world of nonstop club banger bliss.

But Gordon, a true student of the genre he’s spoofing, had another trick up his sleeve. To build hype for the single’s official debut (originally scheduled for Aug. 22, it’s been bumped up to Aug. 15), last week he released another version of the preview clip — this one with health and yoga influencer Mara Olney taking the role of Ms. Biljana Electronica. (The vocal track, which remained the same, is performed by singer-songwriter Chrissi Poland; Gordon performs his own part of the duet and co-wrote the song with Brooks Allison, a staff writer on The Tonight Show.)

Those familiar with Eurodance recognized the joke: these bands are known for swapping out models interchangeably, without explanation, to suit the mood of any given video. But to anyone simply charmed by the first version, replacing Trullinger was tantamount to firing the “real” Ms. Biljana Electronica — even if she never actually sang the song. Commenters rejected Olney’s less nostalgic fashion and relatively muted expressions, demanding to know what had happened to Trullinger.

“Nah bro,” wrote one TikTok critic. “Fly Biljana out, she’s literally half the charm of that video.” On Twitter, referencing an old Tumblr meme, someone observed that “this version has a sadness that you only see in eastern European gay porn.” One distraught fan, echoing many others, tweeted: “WHAT DID YOU DO TO HER.” Olney did have a minority of supporters, at least. “I like this girl better,” tweeted a fan who explained that they “just love controversy.” Another pointed out the brilliant use of a trope: “Trust me, switching the girl around is the most europop thing ever,” they wrote. “He’s 100% committed.” Olney, for her part, seemed amused by the backlash, and in an Instagram carousel shared a few hostile memes calling her a “fraud” and an inferior Biljana.

The update appeared to alienate a segment of the “Planet of the Bass” hive, and Gordon faced claims that he’d destroyed his magnificent creation just as it was poised to become the song of the summer. How could he hope to recover his swag? The only way forward was through: Gordon waited a little longer, then dropped a third version of the “Planet of the Bass” preview on Monday, this time featuring TikTok creator Sabrina Brier. Perhaps it was the recognition of a pattern, or the return to a blonde duet partner, or just excitement over Brier herself, but for many, the concept finally clicked.

“Wake up babe new planet of the bass singer just dropped,” reads one of the top TikTok replies on Brier’s take. That comment section is much more approving overall than the response for Olney, even if a detractor continued to insist that the “OG Biljana Electronica simply set the bar too high.” A convert on Twitter posted, “Yeah i get it now lol, great bit.” There, too, the audience was appreciative of Gordon’s ambition while remaining loyal to Trullinger’s revelatory, iconic turn. Said Washington Post reporter Gene Park: “doesn’t clear Biljana but sabrina still is actually a huge W.” And, as people came to accept the gag for what it was, they also got in on it — tagging the FBI to let them know that Gordon had “disappeared” his previous collaborators, for example.

While there’s no telling how many more Biljanas we’ll get in the next week — or exactly what form she’ll take in the final, extended music video — it’s clear that Gordon is playing a risky game with his own virality. The internet can be unforgiving of perceived missteps, as we saw with Biljana #2. But at the same time, what comes across as “cringe” one day can circle around to being hilarious again, and the promise of an Extended Ms. Biljana Electronica Multiverse has definite appeal. Paradoxically, Gordon may win the meme cycle by doing his best to run the original gimmick into the ground. Because isn’t that the very essence of a Nineties one-hit wonder?


Whatever the outcome, it’s easy to see why a core audience will never be able to move on from Trullinger. The dance, the look, the attitude, the ecstasy — she made the song her own, and a certifiable hit. No surprise that newcomers have struggled in her shadow.