Apologies for the late Making the Band 3 recap. I was just so fascinated by this latest captivating episode. The girls went down to Miami where they met a grip of huge producers and began working on their album. But get this — one of the girls struggled with the process and had to dig deep to regain confidence and control so that she could recapture her former glory. As you can imagine, it was quite a departure from last week’s show when Aubrey had to dig deep to regain her confidence, or the week before that when Shannon struggled to regain her confidence too. Variety is the name of the game, and Making the Band 3 clearly has it in spades!This week’s episode began like many a rap video: bright, colorful, and full of flashy boats zipping around Miami. Yes, it was the total South Beach fantasy — the hip hop kind, not the Birdcage type (although, a random Christine Baranski/Diane Weist cameo would be most welcomed. Surely they’re in Diddy’s posse, right?). Anyway, as the girls hung out on the deck of a sweet, sweet boat, their master and commander, Sean Diddy Combs arrived to welcome them to the fair city and have a conversation. He told them that they’d come a long way, and now they were all ready to finally make a record. Mazel Tov! I’ll break out the Manischewitz.
Since this was the umpteenth time that Diddy’s tried to form a pop sensation, the stakes were high for him. He wasn’t about to fail yet again. To ensure success, he called up a few of his music industry friends, who all happened to be major record producers. There was Brian Cox, Rodney Jerkins, and Timbaland (he of the “Girl, I’m a freak you shouldn’t say those things!” — a.k.a. my favorite sing-along line of the summer so far). Of course, these names were cool and all, but let me just say that today, J-Unit and I had a random meet-and-greet with the producer of Kevin Federline’s “Popozao.” I’m not even joking. Yeah, clearly Diddy should be hanging with us more. (And while I’m name dropping random hip-hop encounters of the day, I went to my gym this evening, and Pharrell was performing a MySpace concert in the parking garage. Only in Los Angeles…)
Anyway, the roster of producers involved on this destined-to-fail group was impressive, and at the top of the list was a fella named Scott Storch. He’s the one responsible for such infectious tunes as “Run It” and “Lean Back.” Basically, if a song has two monosyllabic words in the title, it’s a Scott Storch classic. Well, Scott had a sidekick named Pooh Bear, who was essentially a tall, hefty black man with a ponytail. Still not sure what his stance was on honey. Sorry. Dumb Pooh Bear joke. I’ll stop now.
Anyhoo, Scott and Pooh wrote a nifty track the night before and played it back for the girls, who tried not to wince when they heard Pooh Bear’s lovely falsetto on the temp mix. As the music played, the ladies bopped their heads back and forth with forced enthusiasm, but you could tell they were hoping for a lot more from Scott Storch. Still, they knew not to bite the hand that was feeding them, and afterwards, they all praised the track, which I’ve preemptively titled, “Destined to Fail.”
The music producers then decided to start recording the song’s hook. This meant that each girl would have to go into the booth one at a time and sing their part. D. Woods kicked things off with a spunky recording session. She was followed by Shannon, who clearly was undeterred by the growing pimple under her nose. Aubrey then got in the booth and reacquainted the viewers with her breathy (read: weak) voice. All this time, the girls kept singing the line, “YOU KEEP ON STRESSING ME!” over and over again, and after a while, it simply sounded like an SNL parody, especially when Aundrea got in and went ultra-staccato. Last in the booth was Dawn, and guess what? She was having problems! Hmmm… I wonder if she was distracted by personal matters and just had to “let go” of what was bothering her? You know, like Shannon and Aubrey and everyone else who’s profiled on this show every week.
Well, just when things couldn’t get any worse, Diddy walked into the studio to observe. Oh, he would not be happy. His butler could apply all the jheri curl in the world to Diddy’s scalp, and he would still be scowling. Sure enough, Dawn continued to choke in the booth, adding unintentional new meaning to the refrain, “You keep on stressing me!” (which is totally going to be in my head all night). At one point, Dawn’s voice actually cracked, and eventually Diddy left the recording studio, not looking pleased at all. I half expected him to demand that she fetch him a cheesecake from Brooklyn… because he’s that hardcore!
The next day, we found a shiny Bentley convertible driving up to wherever it was that the girls were staying. Turns out this vehicle was part of Diddy’s private collection. Just some old jalopy he had in his garage. He decided to roll it on out so the girls could experience what being a superstar in Miami really meant (minus the strip clubs, cocaine, and occasional weapons charges). Wearing hot, skimpy bikinis (the preferred Bentley garb), the ladies all hopped in the car and prepared for a joyride. The most shocking thing of all: Shannon was driving the car. Yes, Diddy was leaving this beautiful, expensive automobile in these girls’ hands. This was like some bad ’80s comedy waiting to happen.
Nevertheless, Shannon proficiently steered the Bentley into South Beach traffic, driving a cool 7 mph so everyone could see the hotties literally hanging off the car. Yes, in what was surely a violation of every safety code in the DMV manual, the girls didn’t so much as sit in their seats as they sat on top of their seats — basically on the trunk. Keep in mind that they were in real traffic. One accidental rear-end, and Aubrey would be flung face first into an Orange Julius stand.
The good news was that all the local guys gettin’ drunk at the South Beach bars were totally into this debacle. They cheered and raised their beers while the girls tee-hee’d by them. At one point, Shannon brought the car to a stop, and Aundrea announced that she would like to drive the car. Keep in mind that Aundrea is all of three feet tall. I wouldn’t trust her with an old Yugo, let alone a Bentley. Still, Shannon happily gave up the reins, and the girls switched seats, Chinese fire drill style. With traffic mounting, Aundrea then tried to take control of the car, and if it wasn’t bad enough that she could barely see over the wheel, the little moppet had a larger, more concerning problem. She apparently had never driven a car before in her life. Rolling at breakneck speeds of 3 mph, Aundrea treated her passengers to a lovely buffet of jerky acceleration, followed by abrupt stops. As you can imagine, this only brought about a chorus of car horns, and I did not blame those other drivers. Heck, I was down in my garage pressing on my horn too. If ever I’m on the road and I’m stuck behind a bunch of slatternly girls giggling on a slow-moving Bentley, I’m not only honking at them, I’m flipping them off, cursing them, and then, when I eventually pass them, totally doing the passive-aggressive stare — you know, the one that says, “You are worthless. Feel shame for inconveniencing me.”
Well, eventually the inevitable happened. No, the girls did not wind up pinned under some semi. Instead, the local cops pulled them over, and guess what? Aundrea didn’t have her license on her. Ooooh. Sahwwy awficer. The cop then informed the girls, “in the state of Florida, you can’t sit on the outside.” To which Dawn replied, “We didn’t know.” She then added, “You see, we lack any semblance of COMMON SENSE.”
But since they were pretty girls and MTV was following them around, the officer let them off the hook, and disaster was avoided. As they drove away, one of the girls laughed, “Our boss has the key to the city. Hint: we get to sit on top of our Bentley.” I wonder if I should tell them now or later that the key to the city is purely symbolic. It doesn’t actually come with any sort of legal sway.
Anyway, after an afternoon of cruising around, it was back to the Hit Factory for more recording fun. This time, the girls would be working on the individual verses. One after another, the ladies took turns singing, and one after another, Pooh Bear kept letting out an enthusiastic “YEAH!” Hmmm… I wonder if Pooh Bear won’t say “YEAH!” to Dawn, and then as a result, the action will come to a halt with that signature “BOOM!!!!” noise.
Sure enough, Dawn got in the booth, and after only what seemed like two seconds, Pooh Bear began correcting her. That’s right. No “YEAH” for her! To be fair, I’m sure the other girls had their share of corrections and critiques, but hey, that gets in the way of storytelling. Well, Dawn continued to struggle, and right on cue, Diddy walked in at just that moment. The producers must have a Bat Phone they use to bring him in. “Diddy: someone’s struggling in the booth. To the studio!”
Nevertheless, Dawn sang and sang and sang, but she just wasn’t sounding right. She explained that she was trying to expand her range — not that we really cared. I couldn’t say that this had been the most exciting episode, Bentley joyrides be damned, and watching Dawn toil away was not helping. Eventually, Diddy sat back and listened to the whole track (when he wasn’t hugging ragamuffin Aundrea), and after hearing each girl sing her specific part, he decided that Dawn’s section needed lots of work (BOOM!!). He told Pooh Bear to write a part for her because he wasn’t really digging her tone in the present version. For some reason, we were supposed to think this was bad, but I couldn’t help feeling like it was pretty good. It’s not like she was dropped. They just adapted the song to better fit her voice. Well, Dawn was devastated. Absolutely devastated, I tell you. She said it hurt that someone took her part away, and this was evidenced by the screen going to BLACK AND WHITE! Oh, the stark brutality of the music industry has never been made more apparent!
The next day, Dawn moped around about not having a verse anymore. Now she was stuck on the lame-ass bridge — or as thousands of other aspiring singers would call it, the “shut your mouth because you’re still working with Diddy and all the leaders of the music industry, you ungrateful bitch!” Dawn then complained that she was merely the “oooh” girl — as in, the girl who sang “Ooooh. Ooooh.” during Aundrea’s verse. If it made her feel any better, that’s all the Pussycat Dolls really do.
Later, the girls headed back to the studio, and Pooh Bear announced that he would be feeding Dawn lines. In other news, an intern learned he’d in turn be feeding Pooh Bear donuts. Sorry, cheap shot (he’s a fat man). Anyway, the hallowed Pooh/Dawn musical feeding began, but our aspiring thrush still struggled. Don’t these people realize? She needs a pep talk! Where’s Laurie Ann? She could boom-cat these nerves right out of her!
Eventually, Pooh offered some gentle support, saying, “Relax. You’re doing good.” The other girls chimed in with sparing “Yeah!”s, and then Aubrey or Aundrea came on screen to say that when one girl was struggling, they all rallied to help her out. So apparently that minimal, exhausted show of enthusiasm counted as a rallying call because suddenly Dawn was in the groove, clearly the benefactor of her group’s support. Pooh finally approved of Dawn’s performance, and as the girls wrapped up, they learned that it’s OKAY to mess up in the studio. It’s all about learning! Awww! Life lessons from Pooh!
As the show ended, the girls emerged from the studio after sunrise, which was really appropriate because like it meant it was a new day in the evolution of their band. What a testament to the human spirit! I love all the layers this show has! These girls certainly have put in a lot of hard work. Too bad their song sort of sucks. Oh well.
What did you think about this episode?