A ton of you have emailed us asking if we will be covering the new PUSSYCAT search on the CW. Potential new TVgasm contributer O. Snapp has tossed her hat into the ring for the position. . . without further ado, I bring you O. Snapp. – MYL
by O. Snapp
May I just be the first one to say, THANK GOD there is a new CW reality show that can be everyone’s guilty pleasure, since America’s Next Top Model just hasn’t been cutting it since that season with the girl with a flesh-eating bacteria. No, America deserves the kind of program where the stakes are high (depending on your perspective of priorities in life), the judges are bitchy, and the competition breeds true drama for a group of gorgeous 20-year-olds with bangin’ bodies. We deserve the kind of show that, upon first gaze during commercials that air during the 3 months leading up to the first episode, we would think, No way will I watch that. I draw the line somewhere.
But we watch anyway and know, in the first few moments, that yes… this will be the show we watch with fascination, with bated breath at every elimination because that one chick did NOT dance that well and have you seen the size of her thighs?!?! The show that we bashfully ask our coworkers if they’ve seen the next day. The show that we can watch every week with our friends alongside a pitcher of homemade margaritas and absolutely indulge our catty sides upon. America, I have seen the top, and it is good. It is called “Pussycat Dolls: The Search For The Next Doll.
We open upon a dramatically color-corrected montage of slow-motion clips of selected body parts of the Pussycat Dolls themselves, their overwhelming success highlighted by the obsessive screams of some generic crowd. The announcer informs us that they’ve sold over 6 million albums and infiltrated the pop charts with 5 whole singles. Indeed, that would make them an “international phenomenon.” We break into a snappy, sexy sequence of the Pussycat Dolls strutting their stuff, touching their hair repeatedly and popping their hips to the infamously catchy beat of “Don’t Cha.” Now apparently they need one more girl to be yet another Nicole Scherzingsomething backup singer. Which begs the question: why do they need another member? Is this show merely a way to get a new frontwoman while Nicole heads off into the pop sunset with her own career? Or are they simply looking for America’s Next Top Stripper? Er, I mean, Burlesque Dancer?
The show begins with the obligatory shot of the round-the-block line of Pussy Hopefuls, and the credits reveal that this program is brought to us by none other than McG, the director/producer behind such gems as “Charlie’s Angels”, “We Are Marshall” and a slew of stylish music videos by the likes of Smashmouth and Sugar Ray. Hmm. More to come on that note later…
As the announcer wonders aloud who will be freakin’ awesome enough to become the next Doll, we’re transported into the sparkly world of the opening credit sequence, where some plasticky-looking woman tells us about what it’s gonna take to grab this “chance of a lifetime.” “If you don’t dance like this,” she informs us brazenly, “YOU’RE OUTTA HERE!” And back to the regular ol’ strip clubs you’ll go!
From the beee-utiful Warner Grand Theatre in Los Angeles, who appears as our host but none other than Mark McGrath, he the king of pop music sellouts. I’m shocked, SHOCKED that McGrath has made the leap from Entertainment Tonight host to this top honor.
“Anybody remember that time I walked on the ceiling? Anybody?”
Anyway, he tells us that this group of chicks wouldn’t even EXIST without its creator, Robin Antin, the aforementioned plasticky chick. She looks to be the typical Los Angeles lady: long straightened hair, eyebrows that don’t move. We’re greeted with a slo-mo clip of her from a music video in a “PCD” wifebeater as she nods knowingly to the camera. Classy. Her voiceover informs us of her credentials as a choreographer who’s “always been interested in style,” which led to the creation of the Pussycat Dolls. What a crazy concept!
Robin tells us the new Doll “has to be sexy” (we see Nicole straddling a chair), “she has to be a good singer” (Nicole singing a slow song), “and she HAS to be the hottest dancer” (Nicole crooning “hot like me” and thrusting her hips at the camera). Huh. I wonder what kind of woman Robin is looking for in this nationwide search.
After a quick display of some of the best and worst auditions (by the way, I really could go for an American Idol-style three day set of bad auditions right now), we see the 18 finalists gathered on the Warner Grand stage, a group of wide-eyed sexy sweeties dressed in variations of that whole shorts-and-high-heels, as-much-cleavage-as-you-can-spare look. They all look sooooooo psyched to be there, and get all gooey at the sight of the world-famous McGrath. While he talks about the grueling auditions yet to come, they bite their lips and clasp hands in nervous anticipation.
Oh damn, now we get to meet the girls. Natascha tells us that the Dolls have had a “large influence over my generation.” Really? Huh. I have a feeling she’s out. Brittany muses that the Pussycat Dolls are “all about female empowerment” and, of course, so is she, because, you know, she doesn’t even rely on men to make her happy. Melissa R. claims that this audition is “the biggest risk I’ve ever taken.”
Anjelia says that “performing is my favorite thing, ever” and we see photos of her as a Madonna impersonator alongside a Michael Jackson impersonator. What?! That’s quite a leap, from fake Madonna to Pussycat Dolls, honey. Better strap on some fake eyelashes for that journey. Good thing she got the longest set of lashes possible.
“WHY does this eyelash glue have to be so sticky?! WHY?!”
But wait. Some sad music chimes in and we see one particular girl sitting alone. This girl, Sandra, says that her parents were killed in plane crash. Damn, that’s rough. So now she’s learned to make the most out of every opportunity possible. She befriends Asia, who, as a teenage mother, still wants follow her dreams. Okay, now, baby mama: check. Sob story: check. Madonna impersonator: check. Seems like we’ve got all of the usual suspects in line…. no wait. What about the slightly-older-than-everyone-else chick?
Don’t you worry none. As we head into Day 1, Anjelia quiets the crowd with her 8 layers of 80s makeup and the promise for one helluva belch. Before anyone can stop her, she wows them all with a burp louder than I think I can even scream, while the girls look on with a mixture of horror and bemused fascination. Sisely, who looks like a squishier, punkier version of Kirsten Dunst, laments the immaturity of all the other girls. Yep, she’s 24. There’s our old fogie. Hope she plans on getting a walker or something for those really difficult dance steps.
As the ladies chat around a good ol’ fashioned piano, Robin enters to applause and testimonials of her place as an icon in the pop-culture world. She divides the girls up into 3 groups, each with their own song to master, and sends them off with a coquettish introduction to a musical director and choreographer.
Now, Mikey Minden The Coreographer looks pretty tough and hot when you first see him. He just kind of hangs back behind Robin and nods nonchalantly, his lips glistening lusciously. Then comes the first round of dance lessons, when he starts bouncing his hips around and swings his scarf this way and that. Melissa says, “I know he’s gay and all, but there’s just something about him that’s so sexy!!” Cut to Mikey strutting down an imaginary runway to “Hot Stuff” and fanning himself (ya know… because it’s hot), breaking only to gyrate his hips wildly, run his hand down to his crotch, and end with a spank to his own ass and a smile as big as Texas. Melissa beams and giggles at him flirtatiously. Give it up, fag hag. Give it up.
“I got something special for ya… RIGHT HERE!”
During this dance round, Mariela informs us that she is a classically trained dancer, not a singer. Um, then why did you audition to be in a girl group of SINGERS? Well, she hopes that her long legs and innate sense of rhythm can make up for it and, if need be, she’ll learn to sing. Maybe. Now, Chelsea is mainly a singer, definitely NOT a dancer, and she just hopes that her singing can outshine her dancing. Oh, if only they could somehow meld their molecules together to make one hot, singing, dancing SuperDoll. Oh wait. I guess that’s what all the real Pussycat Dolls ACTUALLY ARE.
Shauntae professes that she is going to try her damnedest to be the best singer/dancer she can possibly be, just to prove all those meanies from high school wrong when they said she’d never amount to anything. Unfortunately, that’s right around the time that Mikey declares, “Obviously, you know, Shauntae is a little bit slower” than all the other girls, and will really have to “put on her thinking cap” to get the moves down. Put on her thinking cap?! It’s not fucking astrophysics she’s performing here.
We join the second group, who sings “I Don’t Need A Man” (sadly, the exceedingly independent feminist Brittany is not in that group) and Mikey complains that this is the least danceable group of the bunch. As he explains in further detail the steps of the dance, Anjelia suddenly gets all sweaty and can only move in slow motion. Weird. She says she feels weak and can’t do the dance. “I don’t need a ring… around my fing-errrrrr” Mikey slowly sings while demonstrating the dance, and Anjie sighs and looks around listlessly.
“What?” he says accusingly to her, finally noticing that she looks sick as a dog. “Are you gonna die?!”
“I just… uhhh….” she groans, fanning herself.
“Don’t faint, just sit down,” he commands, pushing her to the side dismissively. “I can’t do fainting girls.” The other girls laugh as Anjie scrunches up her face and crumples to the ground defeatedly.
“I feel like I gave up and I can’t help it,” she whimpers pleadingly to the camera. “That’s… why I’m so upset!” Then she breaks down into sobs and her last eyelash falls onto her sweaty cheek.
When we come back from the commercial break, Mikey is still berating the Pussy Hopefuls, saying with a snap (literally, a snap to his side), “This is for YOU, all right? I already AM a Pussycat Doll, honey.” You go girl!
Anjelia remains on the floor, rocking back and forth, as the rest of the girls finish up their lesson. Fortunately, Chelsea has a freaking SOUL and helps her at least get back to her hotel room while Anjelia hangs pathetically onto her shoulder, panting. Now that’s real friendship, people. I just hope it doesn’t come back to bite her in that cute little ass later.
“Must… eat… humans….”
The next group is singing “Buttons” and they’re practicing ’round the piano. Melissa R. reflects upon her competition in Asia, saying they’re the most alike and therefore she will have to work really really hard to defeat her. Coincidentally, next Asia claims that Melissa is HER biggest competition because they really look alike. Is it just me, or was the only thing that they actually have in common that one chick is named Asia and the other one is actually Asian in ethnicity? Anyone? Anyone?
Meanwhile, Sandra is struggling with learning her lyrics and stumbles on nearly every word, giggling uneasily while the other girls stare at her and each other critically. John Beasley, the musical director, notifies the sweet-faced girl that he doesn’t have time for any “Kewpie doll stuff.” No sir. In case you didn’t notice, Sandra, this is the search for the next PUSSYCAT Doll, not KEWPIE Doll. Don’t get it twisted.
We realize that we’re going into the next room with the other group by the fact that a clip for the video for “Hot Stuff” is played as a transition for the 800th time. Seriously, I don’t need to see that pyramid formation of strutters one more fucking time. I GET IT that we’re seeing a different group. I GET IT.
Anyway, Mikey looks on as the girls sway and sashay, and nods approvingly until he says with a sigh, “… but, Shauntae. Shauntae, Shauntae, Shauntae,” invoking the words of his gay predecessor of the early 90s, RuPaul. Mikey is most definitely NOT satisfied with Shauntae’s performance, and displays this heartily by throwing his hips back again and again to show her THE RIGHT way to do it. “Wrong foot, Shauntae, wrong foot Shauntae, come back!” he cries as the group tries again.
“I need you to feel SOMETHING, Shauntae, because there is NOTHING going on here,” he insists, waving his hands back and forth in front of his face. “You’re ruining it for THEM,” he says of the other girls, promptly breaking Shauntae’s li’l singing/badly dancing heart.
As the group continues on practicing in their hotel room that night, Melissa vows that she will stay up until the crackadawn to get their routine down. This is right around the time that Sisely crankily gets up from relaxing on a La-Z-Boy recliner and declares her intentions to go to bed. She doesn’t want to stay up until 5am to perfect her moves? Wow, she really is old. She mentions something about “staying healthy” but I’m pretty sure she just wants those damn youngsters to shut the hell up and stay off her lawn.
But they’re not the only group to stay up late to boogie. The “I Don’t Need A Man” group is also still going, and here, Anastacia with her lion’s mane of hair, Tia Carrere features and years of “intense training” looks around snootily and announces that she doesn’t want newbie Chelsea to bring down the group (as in, HER) with her amateur dance moves. She also exits early in the night, leaving Chelsea to keep rockin’ it beside her bed while the camera pans down to the clock radio, which reads 4:35 am.
The moon makes its trek across the sky, the sun rises over Los Angeles, and it’s Day 2 of competition. We’re introduced to a lackluster performance by the “Buttons” group in front of a new character: vocal producer Eric Dawkins. He looks on intently while Sandra steps into her solo. He holds up a hand and commands her to stop. He ponders her performance as she waits in anxiously for his assessment, until he says, “I didn’t even know you could sing like you sang! Whatever it is, keep doin’ it!” Sandra breathes a sigh of relief and now she’s grateful that she stayed up to practice, like a youngin’ should!
The “I Don’t Need A Man” sect is next to present themselves to Dawkins, and they’re doing a damn good job of it too when Anjelie emerges from her death bed, only to inform the girls that she’s got a virus. They all take a collective step backward at that. “Uh, like a virus you could spread?” asks Tia- ahem, I mean, Anastacia. “You have to consider OUR health too, you know?” she tells Anjie. As in, get the hell away from me, leper! I’m here to WIN!
As we come back from the break, Asia tells us that she curled her hair because she now has to try extra hard to be different from Melissa. Yeah, because curling your hair makes you look TOTALLY different. Hilariously, just after she says this, we see her explaining her curls to Melissa by saying that yesterday, with straight hair, she “felt soooo ugly!” Melissa counters this with the wise advice that in situations such as this, one must keep her friends close, but her enemies closer.
As the “Hot Stuff” group butchers their given song in front of Dawkins, one girl blames their horridness on not having Sisely around last night for practice. Sisely responds by saying, “Yeah well, I need me TODAY!” with a stoner laugh. “You practiced all night and look where it got you.” Oh snap! That’ll learn ‘em.
Luckily, ol’ Plastic Robin diffuses the situation with her sassy entrance, complete with newsboy cap and copious amounts of lip gloss, and says she needs to have a talk with everyone. Ooooh, what’s gonna happen? Will she lay the smack down? Will she tell them to straighten up and dance right? Will she make them all do 500 crunches right then and there?
Nope, they’re all going to get some renewed inspiration at an actual Pussycat Dolls concert! Yay! Before she can even get the words out, the young ladies are screaming and jumping around exuberantly. Robin squints up her face as much as the Botox will allow and covers her ears. She breaks the news that they only have 15 minutes to get ready, and as the Pussy Hopefuls tear out of the room to get dressed, she runs after them, calling, “Look cute! NO crimped hair!!” Sage advice, I have to say.
A “PCD” transitional graphic puts us at the concert, where the girls dance around with their own learned moves in tandem as the real Pussycat Dolls do everything but damn near rip off their clothes on stage. Even Mikey throws around the ol’ hips here and there. I mean really, who can help but get down when the Dolls are in the house?
The Pussy Hopefuls get to go backstage and meet the real Dolls, where Nicole Scherzingsomething says, “Welcome to Los Angeles, AKA Pussycat Doll Land.” Really? Couldn’t think of anything more creative than that, Nicole? Not something like, “Welcome to L.A., land of the free, home of the Pussy”? Anyway, then they actually all put their hands in together and shout with glee, “1,2,3, PCD!!!”
As the Hopefuls exit the Greek Theatre, the footage turns slow-motion, and we all know what that means. Somebody’s getting sick. Jaime says, “I feel like I’m gonna ralph… throw up.” Thanks for the definition. Then comes the best part. The cameraman follows sweet Jaime to the bathroom and films her bending over the toilet and THROWING UP. Is this really necessary? Not even a modest suggestion of, as she so delicately put it, ralphing, but actual full-on vomit.
But it wasn’t just Jaime. Oh no. Ewa, who until this very moment was not even mentioned in the competition, is shown crouched over some bushes outside of the theatre PROJECTILE VOMITING. God! Really? The other girls look on curiously and go, “Ew.” Not to be confused with Ewa.
By 3:14 the next morning, Sandra is sad to announce she’s woken up in the middle of the night to do some “unladylike things,” Chelsea shuts the door to the cameraman in order to barf and lay on the couch, and Jaime is still up ralphing as well. I guess we should have seen this coming, seeing as Anjelie did have a virus, one that she could spread, as Anastacia so helpfully pointed out.
Day 4, the final audition day arrives and there are doctors in white lab coats with stethoscopes and everything, poking and prodding various Pussy Hopefuls. Not so sexy now, are ya? Shauntae gives us a rundown and lists no less than eight girls who suddenly started puking in the middle of the night. Maybe they all should have rethought that whole pillow-fight makeout session with Anjelie the night before?
Now only two girls are shown still practicing and I’m wondering how anybody’s gonna make it to the audition. “My group has lost half the girls to The Sickness” says Asia, doing some fast math.
Chelsea looks out the window with an ashen but brave expression and declares, “I did NOT come this far to give up,” and with that, the girls are shown rising from the porcelain thrones, wiping off their mouths, strapping on their high-heeled boots, and mustering up the strength to sing/dance once again. Huzzah!
With Anjelia proclaiming that she is no longer contagious, Anastacia decides to be the bigger woman and teach her all of the moves she has missed over the last four days. I’m not sure why she did this, since it’s obviously not a character trait of hers to be kind and giving, but nevertheless, she did what she could with the inferior dancer in Anjelia.
As the group rides in their stretch SUV to the auditions, Mariela vomits into a bag conveniently placed directly in front of the camera. Can we puh-leeze get over the vomit obsession? Because if I see one more of these girls ralph, then I might hurl. And if I hurl, I’m afraid it might make one more of those girls blow chunks. And if they blow chunks, it might make me spew.
On the stage at the Warner Grand, Mark McGrath reemerges to greet the ladies and brings with him Ms. Nicole Scherzingsomething herself, who dazedly advises the girls to sing from their hearts. Not to mention their crotches. Nicole takes her judging seat beside Robin Antin, and it’s like looking in a 35-years-into-the-future mirror. I bet they use the same hair straightener.
“Has anyone noticed I can’t move my eyebrows?”
Robin knows that the girls are sick, but you know what? She doesn’t give a fuck. The real Pussycat Dolls dance and sing despite any bad feelings they have, which is bad news for Chelsea and Sandra, who are hooked up to IVs backstage and quivering like little bunnies on a cold night.
The “Hot Stuff” group is up first, and believe you me, they have gotten GUSSIED up for this event. Or perhaps gussied down, depending on how you look at it. Some girls are wearing little more than hot pants, others wear leopard-print bras but were cold so they added adorable caplets. In other words, they were dressed totally appropriately for the occasion and the company. Emily Post would be proud.
During this performance, Eric Dawkins winces at the singing performances and Mikey nods somewhat acceptingly, as if to say with a sigh, “Yeah, okay. This’ll do.” Robin glows obliviously, bobbing her head to the beat and getting distracted by the shiny belly jewelry Brittany is wearing. But it’s hard not to admit that this group of girls didn’t work that shit that God gave them, swinging their butts around as if their lives depended on it. Nicole commends them, adding ingeniously, “That WAS some hot stuff!”
Next up is the “Buttons” set, which is pretty much chock-full of projectile vomiters. But at least when Ewa sings, “I’m a sexy mama/just tryin’ to get what I wanna/wanna just spring this on ya” I really kind of believe her. But maybe that’s just because she looks exactly like the actual redhead of the Pussycat Dolls, just paler. Sandra the Singer comes on and again, Eric Dawkins can’t believe his ears, shaking his head amazedly and mouthing “oh my God” while she breaks it down, Pussy-style.
Best cutaway shot of the night: Chelsea watching the group perform, mouth literally agape, eyes half-closed, barely able to keep her head from drooping. I really thought she was just gonna pass out right there.
The “I Don’t Need A Man” group takes the stage and Anjelie, now fully recovered, is donning her best 80s Madonna gear: fedora hat, black tie with a bustier, pinstripe pants and fingerless gloves. Just lovely. Oh, but wait: don’t forget the pink-and-white polka dot bra underneath the bustier.
Anastacia rocks the mic with her hair in full mane, and Mikey happily watches her, his head bobbling along, pink lip gloss shining in the stage lights. However, something the judges definitely DON’T like is Anjelia making up her own moves as she goes along. They stare her down with evil eyes as she throws her arms up at the wrong times and winks at them. Granted, she was trying really hard and giving it some serious energy, but when you don’t know the moves and five other people do, it’s pretty obvious. Oh well. At least she didn’t throw up everywhere.
As it turns out, only nine of the original eighteen girls will make it into the next round. Robin starts us off with Anastacia. Will she be the first to make it? Or will she be the first eliminated? Luckily for her, Robin thinks there’s something special in that swank. “I just think that you’re, like, a goddess,” Nicole proclaims, staring off into space.
I think she just licked her finger and was making the sizzling-ass sound here
Sisely, who harnessed her punk-rock, old-lady aura during this performance, is assessed by Nicole dreamily: “I love… your essence. I love your rawness…. I love you.” Is she stoned? I’m pretty sure she’s stoned. Everyone giggles girlishly and Nicole says, “Oh, you know what I mean!” I think we do, Nicole. I think we do.
Brittany, with the biggest forehead since Tyra Banks but with a worse bangs situation, is saved by Robin by virtue of her makeover potential. Melissa R. is singled out by Mikey as best of the bunch and one to watch. And the final spot goes to Chelsea, who tries desperately to gather the strength to smile gratefully despite having been hooked up to an IV for most of the afternoon.
That’s no consolation to Anjelie, who blames her poor performance on being sick and thinks the judges should have taken that into consideration. Yeah, you and half the girls there. Anyway, the rest of the girls didn’t make the cut, but who remembers their names anyway? The remaining nine Pussy Hopefuls embrace each other triumphantly, some tearfully, some pukingly, and look toward the competition ahead. “Congratulations girls!!” sings Robin, as her face struggles to form some semblance of a smile.
“Hmm. Did she have spaghetti for lunch?”
Mikey crowns each girl with a hot pink feather boa and they all prance around the stage joyously, unaware that next week will bring them the biggest challenge yet: Pussycat Bootcamp!
All in all, the pilot episode of The Search For The Next Doll proved to be indulgently successful. It’s kind of like “So You Think You Can Dance” mixed with “American Idol” with some Carmen Electra-ish strippers thrown into the mix. I’m just gonna go out on a limb here and call Anastacia as the next Doll, but only if she can get over her fucking ‘tude and learn how to sing. But if watching reality television has taught me anything, it’s to expect the unexpected. I definitely didn’t think Caridee would win America’s Next Top Model last season. But then again, by the end of last season I didn’t really care. Hopefully this new guilty pleasure will afford us all of the drama, cattiness, and scantily-clad vamps that the CW has been so direly lacking.