Pussycat Doll Search 3/27 Recap: Dancing Like a Drag Queen
Back in the fin de siecle of the last century, there was this great little game show on VH1 called “Rock ‘n’ Roll Jeopardy!”. It was hosted by a fairly unknown dude called Jeff Probst and would frequently have celebrity contestants. No such contestant did quite as well as the front man from a popular late 1990’s band called Sugar Ray. That Probst guy has gone on to big things on a real network; meanwhile the crack quiz kid has slipped to “hosting” a competition amongst a handful of late teen girls for a spot in an erzatz girl group. Among these “hosting” duties is providing a voice over that, after the departure of Jaime last week, the contestant pool has shrunk to seven remaining girls, and will be reduced by one again this week. Thanks, Mark McGrath; that was very insightful.
Confident unique sexiness.
On the morning after the last elimination round, Sisely is groggy because she couldn’t sleep. She’s been mulling over all the negative comments on her performance of the Pat Benetar song, and isn’t in good spirits. Chelsea, on the other hand, is feeling more confident and hanging out in the kitchen discussing how she thinks Asia will make it far in the competition. I’m momentarily distracted by the gi-normous glass medicine jars of candy on the kitchen counter. It looks like an old-timey candy shop dumped its surplus in the PCD house. Maybe the producers were hoping for sugar-high induced insanity, as the cast is mostly underage for alcohol.
Asia then happens upon a sign reading “Play Me” in the living room, and like Alice, decides to follow the instructions given to her by a handwritten card. The girls gather around the big screen and we’re all treated to the real PCDs addressing the contestants, extolling the virtues of being creative, being sexy, and being creatively sexy. This theme carries on when the girls meet Robin in the dance studio. She introduces Carmit from the PCDs, who is the bendy one. I guess…she’s had a lot of gymnastics experience and uses that to make her particular brand of sexiness unique. In a creative way. With confidence. Or something like that.
Robin and Carmit, along with Jazz-Hands™ Mikey and No-Lines™ John, announce the next challenge. The girls will be divided into two groups—one of three people, one of four people. The strongest team will be safe and one member of the weakest team will be eliminated. Changing it up a bit, Robin picks team captains who will chose their own teams. Chelsea is picked as a team captain because Robin wants to see if she can step up and be a leader. Asia is the other leader because Robin wants her to be more open and take the lead in something. Both girls privately say they don’t want to lead, but Asia is far more adamant about it. She equates being a leader with being a “mean girl” and doesn’t want the responsibility of running a team because it increases her risk of being eliminated.
Playing choosies like it’s grade school gym class, Asia goes for Melissa R. and Melissa S. Chelsea goes for Anastacia and Mariela. Sisely is last to be picked, and by default, ends up on Asia’s team. Sisely supposes Asia didn’t pick her because Asia doesn’t like her. Robin then announces that they are going to be doing songs from the disco era because it was the most creative era in dance, music and fashion. See, you can pull that crap with girls who weren’t even alive in the ‘70s, but it isn’t fooling me. I’d have much preferred Robin pick the Weimar Period; perhaps my expectations are too high. Asia’s team is assigned “Don’t Leave Me This Way” and Chelsea’s team gets to perform “Shame.” They have three days to get their acts together.
Practice, practice, practice.
The girls split off into their two groups. First up, Chelsea’s team meets with No-Lines™ John and he actually speaks. He helps them a bit with the song, then splits and the girls work at it alone. They seem to get along well, and Chelsea does sort of take charge, but there’s no drama in it.
Later, Asia’s team is around the piano with No-Lines and Rolly-Eyes™ Eric. Eric’s eyes are getting a real work out because Asia’s team is having all kinds of problems sounding remotely decent. Asia keeps yawning and Eric is calling her on being the team leader and not being awake. She looks crazy nervous and is kind of bouncing up and down on the floor like a jackrabbit on speed. She clearly doesn’t want to be in charge of this hot mess, and her two Melissas both say she’s not much of a leader. Eric’s eyes roll some more…I hope he has a good optical plan.
Back at the house part of the accommodations, the girls sit around the table eating lunch. Melissa S. says she really enjoys Asia’s dancing, and all the other girls agree. Well, not all of the girls—Sisely says that Asia dances like a drag queen, and that just pisses Asia off. The other girls laugh heartily. Capricious wenches, no?
Back in rehearsal, Robin has arrived to evaluate the groups. Asia’s group sounds terrible and the dancing is not what it should be. Asia looks glum, so Robin asks what is going on. Asia whines like a child about how mean ole Sisely said she dances like drag queen. Robin and Jazz-Hands exchange knowing looks, and Robin tells Asia she is looking for a girl who is confident and able to express herself. Robin then visits Chelsea’s group and likes what she sees.
After the long day of practicing, the girls gather in the living upon Asia’s request for a circle time. She says she was hesitant to live with a group of girls because she knew there would be drama and that’s all she’s getting. Melissa R. suggests that Asia is experiencing all this “drama” because she’s predetermined that she will. Asia then bellyaches some more about how she fears fighting and confesses that she had to go to court when she was a freshman for fighting. She goes on and on about being picked on in high school. The temptation to reach through the television and bitch slap her for being an angsty teenager who needs to be in a John Hughes movie is overwhelming. After the little “circle time” episode, Sisely goes back to her room where she cries and carries on about how no one shares her interests, things are getting stupid, and she’s hitting a wall. Melissa R. tries to be sympathetic, but Sisely is incomprehensible.
Boys, boys, boys: Dancin’ down on Sunset Strip.
The next day, Robin again visits the groups as they practice. Asia’s group is still singing off-key and the dancing needs help, but they are better than the day before. Asia has decided to step up to being a leader, and Robin tells Sisely she needs to see more from her and fast.
Robin then gathers all of the girls in the large rehearsal room and tells them that they are going to have another guest speaker—this time it’s Ashley from the PCDs who talks about being sexy with a creative flare and how every woman has a PCD inside her. Ashley and Robin then introduce the immunity challenge: each girl will have to come up with a sexy-unique-creative dance routine and whomever comes up with the best routine will get a free pass at the elimination round. The big twist is that the dances are going to be with some random guys! The contestants are over the moon at the sight of these seven K-Fed wannabes that show up to be the back up dancers.
The girls pair off and come up with their little routines. Sisely really wants immunity, and Mariela is intent on preparing a sensual dance. Chelsea knows she’s got to put forth a lot of effort, since she’s not a dancer. Melissa S. struggles with being sexy, and not so girl-next-door-ish. After the hour of preparation has passed each pair gets up and does their little dances. Robin likes Sisely’s dance and thinks Anastacia is sexy but not creative. Asia’s routine was hard and hip-hoppy, according to Sisely. Melissa S. was deemed “boring but cute with the guy” by Jazz-Hands. Melissa R. incorporated pole dancing and licking the dance pole, which Robin said indicated she really “thought about it.” If she’d truly thought about it, she wouldn’t have licked that dance pole. Mariela’s dance was truly sensual, and everyone rally liked it; Robin called it beautiful. Finally, Chelsea made a fairly ridiculous showing of a fake burlesque show ended by a huge kiss from her dance partner. After all had a chance to strut their stuff, Mariela was crowned the winner and given immunity for her sexy and creative dance.
I Don’t Love the 70’s.
It is finally the performance day, and the girls show up for sound check. The tables have turned and Asia’s group is sounding better than Chelsea’s group. Chelsea’s threesome is falling apart and having difficulty with the choreography all of a sudden. Robin is not pleased. The girls are nervous, but get ready for the big show.
Mark McGrath shows up again, presumably to collect a paycheck, and introduces the same three judges as before: Robin, the pervy Ron Fair, and Lil’ Kim. Chelsea’s group goes first; Mariela should be glad she had immunity because her vocal performance pretty much butchers “Shame”. Chelsea sounds great and Anastacia, after sounding decent in rehersals, sounds to me like Bea Arthur after smoking a couple dozen packs of no-filter Camels. Robin liked the overall group performance. Ron thought Chelsea has a great voice and is picking up the dancing and he also likes Anastacia’s “different” and “unique” voice. Robin loves Mariela’s legs—she can raise them high and does so frequently—but Lil’ Kim says Mariela was way off tune.
Asia’s group is up next. She is nasally as usual, Melissa S. sounds okay, but like your every day poptart, Melissa R. sounds better, and Sisely has lost all confidence in her vocal tone and is really bad. They all dance with the PCD feather boas, and the feathers are flying off. The dancing is awkward and Melissa R. drops her boa at one point. Robin comments that they were not performing together and Ron thinks they were okay but not great. Robin tells Melissa S. she is still not bringing the sexy and Melissa R. that she looked ridiculous dropping her boa. Robin found Asia to be the star of the group, with a strong sense of self-possession. As for Sisely, Robin has issues with her fitting in the group, with her different-sounding vocals. Ron says looking at her off to the side signing her bit he had to wonder what Debbie Harry was doing at the show. Lil’ Kim questions whether or not Sisely can be versatile in her performance.
The girls go back stage to await their fate, and the judges deliberate. They quickly decide that the first group is better—they sounded better and actually worked as a group. Turning to the second group, they comment that Melissa R. needs to relax and stop looking like a deer caught in headlights. Lil’ Kim and Robin both like Asia but Ron isn’t that enchanted with her. Robin also likes Sisely, but Ron does not like her at all. Melissa S. is not sexy enough for anyone.
The girls come back in and Robin tells Chelsea’s group that they’ve won. She then announces Melissa R. and Asia will be staying for another week, leaving Melissa S. and Sisely in the bottom two. Robin says that Sisely has an incredible image, but questions whether her individualism works for or against the group. Melissa S., Robin says, works really hard on finding the sexy girl inside her, but questions whether she’ll ever find the sexy. With that, Melissa S. is congratulated for moving on, and Sisely is directed to hang up her boa and go. More tears, especially from Chelsea, who apparently cries at every elimination.
Next week, the girls head to Vegas, and what happens there is broadcast nationally.