Finale (3/2): The End of the Road
The Road to Stardom Finale (3/2): The End of the Road
Welcome to the finale of The Road to Stardom with Missy Elliott! Many weeks ago, Mannawolf and I joined thirteen contestants who embarked on a journey on a smelly bus, less than affectionately dubbed “The Beast.” Along the way, their accommodations were upgraded more than once, many miles were logged, challenges were performed, and ten of the contestants were kicked to the curb. Wednesday night, the last three contestants performed in the semi-live, emphasis on semi, finale, and the winner was revealed in the Most Shocking Spotlight Ceremony ever.
Days Gone By
We open with a retrospective of the entire show. Missy tells us that after 1000’s auditioned, the thirteen best were chosen to compete. We are reminded that the winner gets a recording contract with Missy’s label, a released single, and $100,000. Missy was looking for a triple threat; someone who could sing, dance, and rap. If a contestant couldn’t deliver, he or she was bounced off the tour.
The final three are reviewed. We have 25 year old Matthew, oft compared to Justin Timberlake; 23 year old Jessica who has struggled to prove she is as soulful as she is strong and who has a musical past; and 23 year old Deltrice who is described as a diva with an attitude and a voice to match. Personally, diva and attitude seem redundant.
The Waiting is the Hardest Part
The remaining contestants are lounging uneasily by the pool at the mansion. Matthew thinks that coming to LA was awesome. Deltrice tells us that you never know what is going to happen. Ouch! Subtlety with foreshadowing is not this show’s forte. Next thing we know, Deltrice gets called in to meet with the judges whining that she doesn’t understand why she is always first. Matthew tells us that they suspected this was the start of the last performance challenge.
The creamy filling continues with a recap of Deltrice’s time on the tour. She tells us that the haters are her biggest motivation. They pushed her hard and to prove them wrong means a lot to her.
She faces the judges in a room in the mansion. Mona says that Deltrice should be proud to be at this point in the competition, but that the judges are going to have to go back and consider everything that has happened on the tour to give Missy their recommendation. Mona reminds Deltrice of the session in Vegas where Mona met with all of the contestants and asked them to assess each other’s weaknesses. Mona comments that during that warm and fuzzy meeting everyone’s consistent comment about Deltrice was about her diva-like attitude. Deltrice is still defiant telling the judges that she doesn’t think her attitude is a problem. When questioned, she backs down a little saying that it does matter what people think of you. Mona asks Deltrice what she would do if she wins. Her immediate answer is that she would take care of her family. The spotlight comes on and Mona then tells Deltrice to say or do whatever she can to convince the judges she should stay in the finals. Deltrice says that she will take the time out to tap into what the judges are saying is inside her. Mona challenges her to show it right then. She performs for the judges and really does seem to reach deep inside. After leaving the judges, Deltrice goes to pray asking God to make this all happen.
Jessica confesses that she was nervous, anxious, and shaking at the knees while Deltrice was in with the judges. She has no idea what is going on or what is about to happen.
Chase All the Clouds from the Sky
Matthew is the next to enter the
torture chamber judge’s room. During our review of his tour experience, he confesses that he’s surprised he is in the final three. He knows that maybe his moral convictions are conflicting. Mona asks Matthew how it feels. Is he confident? Bucky tells the judges that he was really ticked at himself after the very first performance challenge. He wasn’t properly prepared for it and he struggled. However, after the third performance challenge, Matthew began to feel confident. He really wants to sing R&B. Dallas asks him about his Christianity. Dallas wants to know if Matthew felt like any of his values were tested on the road. Matthew says that everyone slips on occasion, and he tries not to bludgeon people with his beliefs. Matthew also believes it is important to sign autographs for anyone who asks. That attitude will change with success. When Mona asks him what he would do if he won, Matthew’s answer is markedly different than Deltrice’s. The single most important thing Matthew would like to accomplish with any celebrity he earns is preaching the word of God. Mona also asks Matthew to do or say or sing like his life is on the line. He gives a nice a cappella performance.
Afterward, Matthew goes upstairs and finds an exhausted Deltrice lying in bed. He sums up the meeting with the judges as one big do you belong session.
Body and Soul
During the retrospective of Jessica’s life on the tour, Jessica tells us that she plans on going back to her community and talking to people including the children who look up to her and telling them that nothing is impossible. When she meets with the judges, Teena actually pipes up and questions the “average ‘ho” line in Jessica’s hook to the original track all the contestants were given to work with. Jessica tells her that where she’s from that isn’t disrespectful. It just means she’s normal. I’m pretty sure Teena still thinks she should lose the line. Teena then asks Jessica who has been the most important person to you on the tour. Jessica immediately responds Deltrice. Jessica then breaks down a little and says it’s because she is able to just be normal with Deltrice. Mona tells Jessica that if she can find a way to channel her life experiences and sadness into her music it is going to serve her well. Mona gives the same speech she gave to the other contestants and asks Jessica to perform like her life is on the line. Jessica shows off her awesome voice. She again cements my initial impression of her that she is a modern day Billie Holiday. Not so much in her style, but in her ability to convey raw pain. Mona is clearly affected and tears up. Deltrice tells Matthew upstairs that Jessica is singing a song called, Why Me. By the end of Jessica’s performance, all three judges are clearly emotional.
Jessica joins the others upstairs and crawls into the bed with Deltrice. Back in the judges’ room, Teena looks like she wants to throw up at the idea of having to decide what to tell Missy. In fact, all three judges look a little like the spotlight has hit them. Mona acknowledges that it is going to be a tough decision, but they have to tell Missy something.
All Shook Up
The next morning, Bucky, Jessica, and Deltrice wake up and go to a café. All three look a little like they have a hangover. They get a letter from Missy instructing them to hop into a limo for a day of glamour and style. This turns into our Clean and Clear promo moment. We get to watch the contestants wash and moisturize their faces with the prominently displayed products. Now this is what I call riveting television! The contestants get makeovers and Jessica’s hair gets a complete style change. Think poufy. Finally, they each get to try on some clothes and select an outfit. When they get back in the limo, the contestants have no idea where they are going. Matthew tells us that the nearer they get to the end, the closer the emotion gets to excitement rather than nervousness.
When the three emerge from the limo outside Missy’s bus, Steve greets them and tells them that they are looking good. Steve looks like a proud drill sergeant whose troops have successfully completed basic training. He sends them on to the bus to meet with Missy. Missy calls Matthew the hip hop Elvis and comments on how good everyone looks. Missy tells the three that they will be given an opportunity to perform live in front of America. The “twist” is that only two will get to perform. Mona says to make sure they give it 110%. Way to break out the sports clichés Mona.
We then get one of those suddenly live transformations as the contestants emerge from the bus like on the last episode of Survivor when Jeff Probst has made his overly cheesy entrance into the studio with the final votes and the lights come up on the tribal council. At least none of the contestants has gained twenty pounds or slathered themselves in blue eye shadow or foundation for the finale.
Live on stage, all thirteen of the original contestants perform to the show’s theme song. I am happy to report that a bus did not roll out of Missy’s mouth during the performance. Everyone looks good performing the dance routine. The finalists are featured. Unfortunately, we do get a little mock fight routine from Nic and Nilyne. Akil shows off his MCing skills. *sigh* I need a moment. Yelawolf again shows he’s no Akil.
Our host for the night, MTV VJ Vanessa Minnillo asks the audience to show the contestants some love. Vanessa states the obvious, announcing that the contest started months ago and now it’s down to the final three. She introduces Deltrice, Jessica, and Matthew to the live audience which includes their families and friends. She then tells us that Missy will reveal who will get to perform live. To stretch it out a little bit longer, Vanessa reminds everyone of the prizes that the winner will receive. Vanessa decides to torture us some more by interviewing the losers. She starts with Heather and reminds her that she was the first to go because she wasn’t believable as a rapper. Heather, ever clueless, says that she has to push through. She grew up in the game of hip-hop and it’s her life. Wonder if she knows who Salt-N-Pepa is yet? Vanessa next calls N-I-C out. She asks him about his lady’s man rep. Nic claims that Nilyne is his girl. She’s a great woman. He also says he has a little “collabo” going with Double E (aka Eddie). Nilyne then steps up and stomps on the N-I-C ego announcing clearly that she and Nic are only friends. It was a little like watching Jen on the After the Rose fiasco turning down Jerry.
Finally, we get down to business. The three judges, Teena, Dallas with signature Missy sucker in mouth, and last, but definitely not least, Mona emerge from the bus. Vanessa asks Mona what Missy is looking for. Mona takes the opportunity to give a shout out to her son and her nephew. She then tells us that for the live final performance challenge Missy is looking to see who can take what they learned and turn in a superstar performance. Missy then comes off the bus wearing purple and twirling a green lollipop.
The three finalists take center stage. Vanessa again tells us that only two are going to perform. Missy pronounces that Matthew is going to go first. He does his original song, Girls in the Club. The time to work on the song has definitely paid off. His performance is much more polished and the song is no longer bland. His dance moves are smooth. Overall, Bucky puts in a great performance. Mona is clearly impressed and his family is highly enthusiastic after he finishes. Even Vanessa says he gave an amazing performance. She then sends us to another interminable commercial promising that when we come back, Missy will make the decision between Deltrice and Jessica. The other will immediately be eliminated.
After the break, Vanessa tells us that Matthew killed the stage. Deltrice and Jessica are holding hands awaiting their fates. Missy pronounces that she is feeling good so she is going to let them both perform after all. Deltrice and Jessica both rush over and hug Missy. I’m sure that wasn’t planned. Want to buy a bridge?
Deltrice goes first. She’s wearing something pink. At least it doesn’t have a bunny tail. Her original song is called My Baby. Deltrice doesn’t show as much energy as Matthew during her performance and the song is frankly kind of forgettable. She plays up to Dallas during the performance. Her family, all equipped with Missy pops, loves it, of course.
Jessica then steps up and performs Why Me. All I can say is wow. I’m a little frightened that Vanessa and I are apparently on the same page. After Jessica finishes, Vanessa says “wow” too.
This Little Light of Mine
Vanessa tells the finalists to line up for the final spotlight ceremony. This time though it is a good thing to be in the spotlight. The winner will be the contestant the spotlight lands on. Mona delivers her signature “Spotlights please” line and the finalists hold hands while the spotlights circle. To no one’s shock, the spotlight settles on Jessica. She falls to her knees. Her family and friends in the audience bawl, and the contestants engage in a group hug. Much confetti falls on the stage. As the contestants mill about on stage, Missy hugs Matthew and Marcus in addition to Jessica.
And so the tour ends. Hope you all enjoyed riding along with Manny and me. We have had a great time. Comments? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com