Oh happy day, it’s a brand new, bright and shiny reality television show! Even better, it’s a combination of all the most popular competition shows: scantily clad women sing and dance provocatively in high heeled shoes for an hour and will eventually live in a house together where catfights will likely ensue. Well, I’ll give it to the CW: they sure know how to pander. You know else knows how to pander? Robin Antin, the creator of the Pussycat Dolls. She’s using this show to find a seventh girl to join her burlesque troupe which has swept the nation with its alleged five hits that all mysteriously sound the same.
PCD: Voices of a Generation
Mark McGrath, the poor man’s Hasselhoff, turns out to be the host of this eight week audition process for the next PCD. Robin Antin, who, by the way, looks like Pete Burns of Dead or Alive and is the sister of that moronic hairdresser from Blow Out on Bravo, has held auditions all around the country and has whittled down the audition pool to 18 girls. They are looking for someone who is sexy, a good singer, a good dancer, and is unique. These lucky 18 girls got to come to LA and practice for a week with Robin’s group of music and dance guys before the group is further reduced by half.
The 18 girls range in age from about 18 to 27, with the bulk of them on the younger end of the spectrum. We get to meet some of them as they are getting settled into their hotel digs. Natascha proclaims that the PCD have had a large influence on her generation. Brittany thinks that the PCDs are all about female empowerment, just like she is. Anjelia is excited to be there because she loves performing. Sandra tells us that her parents and only brother were killed when she was fourteen, so she’s learned to seize the moment. Finally, Asia tells us that she’s been dancing since she was six (she’s 18 now) and she wants to be an inspiration to her daughter. Yep, she’s the teen mother of the group. With sufficient sob stories divulged, we’re ready to get this show rockin’.
Day 1: It’s good to know classic names are still en vogue.
All the girls are getting ready to start the audition process. We have a brief moment with Sisely (I really like her) and she tells us she left her punk band for this audition and she, at 24, has a maturity level that will help her. Seeing as how I’m quickly (clock ticking 24-style) coming up on my 34th birthday, I feel really old and like her a bit less.
Robin shows up with her insanely plumped up lips, looking every day plus ten years of her alleged 45 on the planet, and says she is going to divide the girls into three groups to work out routines and performances to three of the PCD songs. She introduces the ladies to John Beasley, music director, and Mikey Minden, her co-choreographer. Performing “Buttons” will be: Asia, Awa, Kelly, Jaime, Sandra, and Melissa R. Melissa R. tells us that her parents are both doctors and they don’t approve of her choice of work.
Performing “I Don’t Need a Man” will be Jasmine, Natascha, Robin, Anjelia, Anastacia, and Chelsea. We learn that Chelsea uses to be fat and friendless in high school. She now wants to prove to the world she isn’t Martha Dumptruck. Finally, performing “Hot Stuff” in ways that will make Donna Summer hunt them down and kill them are Mariela, Katherine, Brittany, Sisely, Melissa S. and Shauntae. Shauntae says her mom made sacrifices for her to have a good life, and they sometimes had to live out of their car. How this explains the tortured spelling of her name is beyond me.
The “Hot Stuff” group goes off to rehearse dancing with Mikey, whom Melissa S. finds hot, even though she knows he’s gay. Mariela confesses she’s not a singer but a classically trained ballet dancer. The girls all practice dancing holding a water bottle in place of a microphone. Apparently hairbrushes were in short supply. The group does o.k. enough for the first day of dance rehearsal, and much better than the “I Don’t Need a Man” group. Mikey says they are the worst dancing group, and Anjelia falls out of the dancing, claiming that she feels weak and has aching muscles. Anastacia has an ego the size of her hair—and bears a striking resemblance to a young Elle Macpherson—and complains that she is worried that the suckiness of the other girls will bring her down. After practice, Anjelia is so weak and miserable she can’t muster the energy to head back to the hotel, so Chelsea helps her back when everyone else ditches the sick girl.
The “Buttons” girls are practicing singing around a piano with John Beasley. Melissa R. and Asia eye each other as competition because they have similar looks. Sandra claims she has problems singing because her parents are dead. Now, I’m terribly sorry she has no parents, but that is the lousiest excuse ever for not being able to sing. The other girls get tired of Sandra’s bad singing and roll their eyes a lot.
The “Hot Stuff” girls also practice singing, and John calls out Shauntae on her flatness. Shauntae says that it was so bad, she felt persecuted, but Shauntae may not comprehend what “persecuted” really means, because he wasn’t that sharp in his criticism. Later on, the girls practice dancing at the hotel, but after a while Sisely has had enough and decides to go to bed. She’s learned from being on tour that rest is important, and she doesn’t want to screw up her audition by staying up late helping these other girls learn the routine.
Day 2: Biohazard!
On the second day of rehearsal, the “Buttons” group is back practicing their singing, but this time with Eric Dawkins, a vocal producer. I’m betting he’s in charge of running ProTools back in the studio. Suddenly, out of no where, Sandra can now sing—at least as well as the other girls—and everyone is shocked.
Next, the “I Don’t Need a Man” crowd is practicing their singing, sans Anjelia. She then comes in the room, stands about 15 feet away, and says that she was feeling so bad because she’s caught some kind of virus that is making her sick. Anastacia, being the ego maniac she is, says she’s worried the virus is going to spread and get her. I hope it gets her stupid hair.
Day 3: We learn what the “hot stuff” really is.
It’s the third of the four days the girls have to prepare their auditions, and Asia decides it is time to differentiate herself from Melissa R., her big competition. So, using time wisely, she spends two hours curling her hair. Melissa R. compliments her on the ‘do and privately tells the camera that it is always good to keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Melissa R. is a fan of Sun-Tzu and probably would do better than the current bunch of yahoos on The Apprentice.
The “Hot Stuff” group is back at the piano and they are sucking. Brittany leads the charge on Sisely for getting some rest, but Sisely doesn’t back down from her stance that she’s not there to help five other girls do better than she does. Robin then comes in and pulls all eighteen girls together. Brittany worries she’s in trouble, but as it turns out, Robin is taking them all to a PCD show that very night where they will get to see the show and meet the real PCDs backstage. They scamper off to get dressed for the show, as they’ve only got fifteen minutes to get ready.
The show is mundane at best. The PCD, save for the lead, prance around and lip-sync. I’ll give them this though—it impresses me that anyone can dance for two minutes, let alone a whole stage show, in stilettos without breaking an ankle. The contestants enjoyed the show and were giddy meeting the PCDs. Everyone was there Anjelia, who was too sick to leave the hotel. Anjelia will soon be in the company of many, because half the girls ended up puking their guts out as they leave the show. Ostensibly they’ve gotten the same virus; no one theorizes it could have been exposure to PCD music and large amounts of collagen.. The puking went on and on, to the point where I had to turn away, much like in The Meaning of Life, but less funny.
Day 4: Suck it up and Deal
Doctors have been called and the sick girls have been given medicine and fluids. At least half of the competitors have been taken with the virus, some worse than others. Jaime worries she won’t be able to compete; Chelsea won’t let the virus stop her.
With two hours left to go before the audition, Anjelia—who is finally feeling better—decides to learn the routine, even though it’s been choreographed for five, not six, dancer. She can’t seem to get the steps down at all, but keeps trying. Anastacia thinks Anjelia is a lost cause, but makes room for Anjelia in the routine anyway.
The girls arrive at the performance hall and are greeted by Mark McGrath. He tells them that even though they are sick, they still have to perform to be considered for the PCD position. They have doctors, medics, and medicines right there next to the stage, which is a good thing, since Chelsea and Sandra both need IVs. Mark introduces the judges of the competition: Eric, Robin, Mikey, and Nicole Scherzinger, the lead singer of the PCD, a/k/a the one with the real vocal talent.
Since being sick is no excuse, the performances begin. The “Hot Stuff” group is up first. Shauntae sings terribly, Mariela sings somewhat better, and that’s not too bad since we last saw her puking in the van on the way over. Melissa S. give a meh voice performance. Sisely’s voice is nice and punk-raspy. Brittany was terrible, and no focus was placed on Katherine. The dancing seemed to go well.
The “Buttons” group went second. Jaime and Kelly did an adequate job; Ewa sounded a bit like Gwen Stefani; Melissa R., and Sandra both sounded pretty good, and Asia wasn’t really singled out in the performance. Again the dancing seemed to go o.k.; no one was out of step terribly or fell down, despite both Jaime and Sandra feeling like they were going to pass out.
Saving the worst for last, the “I Don’t Need a Man” group came up to perform. Chelsea, despite having the shakes from whatever they put in her IV, decided to stay and give it a go. Typhoid Anjelia screwed everyone up by dancing like a loon. Granted, she had only two hours to practice, but that didn’t account for her crazy “Up With People” grin for the entire performance. Natasha, Robin, and Jasmine didn’t generate much interest, and Anastacia of the wild hair was exceedingly off-key in her singing. Mercifully the performance was short, and the debacle ended quickly.
Show Me Your Package
The judges have made their decision and Robin announces who will now be the nine finalists. Moving forward in the competition are: Anastacia, who has the “whole package”; Mariela, who, though not a great singer, is a great dancer; Sisely, whose voice Robin and Nicole love; Brittany, liked because she is a “project” for Robin; Melissa S. because she’s well-rounded; Jaime, because her singing and dancing were both good; Melissa R., who is beautiful, a great dancer, and the “full package”; Asia, because she’s enjoyable to watch though Eric calls her on her bad vibrato; and Chelsea, because Robin sees potential (and all reality shows need an ‘underdog’ to root for).
These nine girls get to move into the PCD house where they will train and audition over the next weeks. Undoubtedly drama will ensue with nine girls living in the same house. I only hope the puking is over.
Anyone else perplexed by all the freaky spelling of these girls’ names? If so, drop me a PM.