Wow, can you believe we’re down to the second-to-last episode already? It seems not that long ago that we were all getting to know these girls from, quite literally, the inside out. With tonight’s elimination, the final three will be poised for one last chance at being the next real Pussycat Doll.
What it feels like for a celeb.
After Anastacia’s exit in the last episode, the remaining girls reflect on where they are in the competition. Asia comments that Ron’s criticism of her singing has completely discouraged her and she feels she is at her lowest point thus far. Chelsea is amazed that she has made it as far as she has in the competition. Melissa S. shares that amazement, and laughs at Chelsea again for her terrible dancing.
The next morning, another “Play Me” sign is found and the real PCDs once again have an instructional message for the contestants. They say that a real PCD does more than just sing and dance: she is also constantly in the pubic eye, taking pictures, doing interviews, and remaining cool under the pressure of it all. A real PCD must have the skills to handle these challenges and know what it means to be a celebrity.
With these wise words still buzzing in their heads, the girls meet Robin, Mikey and John in the studio where they learn about their next elimination challenge. Each girl is going to sing a solo song and the whole group will perform a dance. Asia will sing “Too Little, Too Late” by Jo Jo; Melissa S. will sing “Don’t Know Why” by Norah Jones; Melissa R. is going to do “I’m Going Down” by Mary J. Blige; and Chelsea will sing “What a Girl Wants” by Christina Aguilera. A passing fancy overcomes me that maybe we’ll see Colin Firth dancing like a fool in leather pants, but then I realize that is just insane and I’m not Bridget Jones.
Asia has the audacity to be a good person.
The girls also have to perform as a group, but in dance only. They will dance to the PCD song “Beep,” performing choreography that involves flexing at the waist and shaking their butts with some arm motions that look like what you do if you’re attacked by a mugger. I’m not a dance person, so I really haven’t a clue what these popping dance moves are. The choreography practice involves a lot of Mikey shouting at Chelsea for getting the moves wrong and getting frustrated at constantly telling her the same thing. Chelsea knows she has to do well on the dancing, because Robin has specifically warned her that this is Chelsea’s biggest challenge and Melissa S. continues to laugh at her for being such a terrible dancer.
Song practice goes fairly well for our fab four when they meet with John. Melissa R. has some issues, but he helps her through them. Melissa S. is a bit concerned about doing a ballad, because that’s not something she usually does. Chelsea’s vocals are fine, and Asia needs some work on vocal control.
After all of the guided practices are over, Chelsea and Asia individually work on the dance routine. Asia tries to help out Chelsea get the pop move down better, which Melissa S. observes. She is simply aghast that Asia would dare help Chelsea, because, after all, this is a competition, not time to be a good person. Bitch edit much, CW?
On the second day of the elimination challenge, Robin meets the girls and discusses what would typically be the immunity challenge. The catch is that there is no immunity in this round, but she assures them that there is a prize that they will all want. This prize challenge is to last a whole day as a PCD, spending the day doing publicity in a variety of ways, and exuding the PCD tenants they have come to learn over the past several weeks. Asia is worried because she is not good at public speaking, while Melissa S. can’t wait to show off her skills at shining in the limelight.
First up in challenge is shooting a commercial for a new deodorant line from Secret. Brent, the Secret representative and Kevin, the director, will shoot each girl individually doing testimonials for the product. They are given scripts which they need to memorize and add a bit of their own mark. They have thirty minutes to prepare, while they are in hair and makeup.
Melissa R. says she’s sure to ace this challenge because she’s a quick study. She is the first to go before the camera and she has a terrible time remembering her lines. Brent even says he was rooting for her but she totally tanked. Melissa S. follows and does a similarly bad job, standing in one position, talking in a little girl voice, and, as Brent says, totally phoning it in. Chelsea does a bit better, and Kevin asks her to sing in the commercial, since she’s supposed to be a PCD. It’s embarrassingly bad and I have to cover my ears. Last up is Asia, and, astonishingly, she aces the presentation. She remembers her lines, personalizes it, and seems at home in front of the camera. Good going, Asia!
After the commercial shoot, the girls have to go to a photo shoot. Melissa R. and Asia do well, but both Chelsea and Melissa S. draw comments from Robin that they are looking tired. Finally, after that bit is over, they all turn up at the Extra! set to be interviewed on camera by Mark McGrath. He’s getting about three times as much screen time on this episode, so he’s finally earning his keep. All of the girls and Robin will be watching from the control room as the interviews happen.
Asia’s, you know, interview contains, you know, mentions of, you know, her daugh-you know-ter. Chelsea talks about making it so far in the competition and really putting in what she learned to “work it out.” She says “work it out” too much. Melissa R. talks about how her parents, both doctors, aren’t exactly thrilled with her career path. Melissa S. is her usual flirty, girly self, and Mark asks her who she thinks will be next to go. She, of course, says Chelsea, which elicits much negativity from Chelsea in the control room, especially when Melissa S. comes back in the room.
The day being done, Robin determines the winner of the challenge to be Asia. She says Asia did the best on the commercial and did wonderfully on the interview. The grand prize that undoubtedly is so coveted is that the commercial she shot will be run on national television. This may be an exciting reward if the commercial were really aired on national television, but it was played just after the end of the segment. I will be shocked if it’s aired independently and repeatedly. Kind of sad really, since Asia probably won’t make the usual national commercial acting rates.
With that, they are back to the house and they have another day of practice before the big performance. Mikey gives Chelsea a hard time again, and she becomes really upset. She is mad at herself for not getting it, and really wants to do well. She calls home and gets encouraging words from her dad, which emboldens her to want to dance so hard her bones break.
Dance and sing, get up and do your thing.
Once again, it is time for the elimination competition at the PCD Lounge on the Sunset Strip. Mark McGrath hosts the performance and introduces the judges: Robin “Pale Lipstick Is Not My Friend” Antin; Lil’ “Lyin’ To The Cops” Kim; and Ron “I Wear Glasses To Look Cool” Fair. We’re going to be treated to five different performances, so they get underway without much fanfare.
The group dance performance goes first. I think the dance routine lasted maybe 20 to 30 seconds. I’m hoping they edited something out, because that was seriously short. After the gyrations, Robin comments that Chelsea isn’t as sharp and powerful of a dancer as the others, but she is getting the moves and improving at an impressive rate. The judges found Melissa S. to be sexy as always. Lil’ Kim thought Melissa R.’s performance was perfect and Ron thought the same thing about Asia.
After a wardrobe change, the girls do their individual performances. Melissa S.’s vocals are all spun sugar and she had pageant pointing going on. Robin comments that she was good when she was in pitch, but she went out of pitch a lot and the arm pointing thing was distracting. Ron found the performance to be good but lacking, and Lil’ Kim liked the breathier parts of the singing.
Asia belted out the Jo Jo song with a great deal of the vibrato and finger-tapping-on-mic stuff she usually puts out. She also had a bit of drama in the performance, which Lil’ Kim liked. Robin merely commented that it was a hard song to sing. Ron was very positive, saying that she did a great job personalizing the song.
Melissa R. came out in what I believe is a left over outfit from any production of Chicago. She did a very nice, soulful, smoky version of the song, which Robin enjoyed, Lil’ Kim thought was great, and Ron found to be flawless.
Finally, Chelsea did the Aguilera inflected exactly as Xtina herself, which is not cool since Ron produced the original album. She sounded more mumbly and kind of off tonight, which I blame on Eric a/k/a Rolly-Eyes who probably exacerbated her elocution problem. Robin liked the performance as a whole—the allegedly seductive writing in the chair and the pale pink flapper dress, but Ron wasn’t as thrilled. He said her ear is great for mimicry, but she needs to work on making the song her own. Lil’ Kim had a problem with the mumbled words and lack of clarity.
Conclusive proof that Ron Fair is a pig.
While the girls wait anxiously backstage, Ron, Robin, and Kim discuss the performances. They all like Melissa R. and Asia and it is abundantly clear that those two are safe. As for Melissa S., Ron says she has that sexy, Vegas-y, and white trashy thing going on that works for him, but Lil’ Kim points out Melissa S.’s vocals are weak. As for Chelsea, Lil’ Kim wonders how much better a dancer she will get in order to be ready to actually join the PCDs. Robin sees more raw talent in Chelsea than in Melissa S., and raw talent may be easier to work with.
Having literally held hands and made their decision, the judges allow the girls back in the room. Immediately, Robin congratulates Melissa R. and then Asia for passing to the next round. Melissa S. and Chelsea cling to each other, as though their prior bickering never came to pass. Chelsea has a fairly defeated look on her face. Addressing Melissa S. first, Robin comments that Melissa S. gives wonderful performances but does not show any individuality or uniqueness. The then comments that Chelsea has proven she can grow, and has become a good dancer, but not a great dancer like the PCDs are. With that, Robin then says that Melissa S. has to hang up her boa and depart. Chelsea breaks down in tears, probably out of relief mixed with glee at her biggest competitor critic will be gone. Melissa S. gets teary as well, thanks Robin for the opportunity and says she’ll miss the other girls. They all have a big hug, and she vows to push harder to make her career happen.
So, we’re down to the final three: the unwed teenaged mother, the former fat girl who overcame obstacles to audition for a sexy dancer brigade, and the girl who has parental issues. The reality television gods must be smiling.