After the requisite recap of last week’s shenanigans, we jump right in as the 12 finalists move into the loft. The girls giggle and scream and freak-out as they run around looking at everything. At one point, Natalie’s confessional has her stating that she has an advantage over all the other girls because she feels she’s attractive, can sing, can dance and blah blah blah. Cut to her not looking where she’s going and running mid-section first into a stair railing. Karma is a bee-yotch.
We are also treated to mini-bios on all these girls we’re supposed to care about. Cassandra, 23, has been dancing since she was 7-years-old and is very good. Megan heads straight to the phone to call her family. She’s been in pageants since she was four and her peeps have nicknamed her "Jon-Benet Ramsey." Is it too soon for that? Also, they show a clip of her in a pageant at 8 and she looks like she’s 25. Not a good look. Natalie has befriended Chrystina because she wants to align herself with one of the strong contenders in the house. They close themselves off from everyone else and start gossiping in hushed tones. Way to tick everyone off on Day One.
They get their first challenge via an oddly shot and somewhat weak-sauce PCD video – it’s all about confidence this week. And I’m confident someone is going to cut Natalie before all is said and done. They meet Robin and crew in the studio room and are told they’ll be split up into three groups to sing famous Pop hits. The first group, tasked with performing "Holiday" by Madonna, is Ilisa, Natalie, Nichole and Tiffanie. Second group: Carrie, Chrystina, Jenna and Charlie performing "Tearin’ Up My Heart" by N’Sync. That should be interesting. The last group is Megan, Cassandra, Alexis and Jamie with the unenviable selection of Britney Spears’ "Baby One More Time." Jamie is concerned that Cassandra isn’t that strong of a singer. But that’s okay because…well, it’s not a hard song specifically so it can be danced to and sung without losing much of the overall affect.
Carrie and Cassandra are having the same problems but on different ends (dancing and singing, respectively) and meanwhile it’s only been one rehearsal and Natalie is already cutting her eyes at Tiffanie. Natalie does a smack talk soliloquy to the eager audience of Chrystina while the other girls sit in the living room not enjoying it at all.
Now comes my favorite part. When the second group, which I will now refer to as Fem’Sync, are practicing their vocals, JC Chasez pops up and surprises them. The others girls are brought in and it’s smiles everyone, smiles. Robin brought him in to give advice and pointers about being in a group (and be ogled). And then, after an all too short appearance, he’s gone.
Group Three’s Megan is having issues breaking out of the precise pageantry movements she’s used to and trying to break free from. She calls home and gets a smidge of a pick me up from her pops. Next, Robin grabs the girls and whisks them off to a minor league baseball game for their Confidence challenge. They’re going to be singing the Star Spangled Banner – the group with the best rendition will perform it at the game and the one girl with the most confidence will be safe from elimination.
The other two groups have mixed rehearsal results but Group One hits a roadblock from the giddy up as Negative Natalie repeatedly says they’re not going to win and slaps down a lot of the other girls ideas. The others note that this challenge is about confidence and she’s already lost it, not to mention she’s going against JC’s advice of not being afraid to take chances.
Fem’Sync goes first and Cassandra, being the non-singer she is, does quite well except for a bit of a crack on the end of the "rockets red glare" line. But my thing is, if you’re so concerned about her not being a great singer, why stick her with the hardest part of the song? Duh. The other two groups, from what was shown, weren’t too bad but Group Two ended up winning. Nichole’s confessional expresses displeasure at Natalie’s apparent relief when they didn’t win since she was so nervous and concerned about messing up in front of the crowd. While they show the winning group singing, Natalie is spliced in complaining that she wasn’t put in the strongest vocal group. It’s the world’s tiniest violin and I’m playing it just for you. Carrie won the immunity this week and deservedly so.
That night, the girls get together and have at Natalie for her attitude sabotaging the challenge. But it’s not just Natalie’s group, it’s all the finalists. Natalie tries to turn the confrontation away from her by bringing up the fact that Nichole called Tiffanie bossy, but Tiffanie was too smart to take the bait. After a time, Natalie breaks down and cries, sobbing that she doesn’t understand why they can’t just accept her apology. Now, I know this is a reality show and that there can be some creative edits, but her apology seemed a bit weak to me. Natalie then runs off to call her mom for consolation.
Now it’s performance day at the Pussycat Doll Lounge with judges Robin, Geffen Records Chairman Ron Fair (who’s wearing a fedora for some strange reason) and Lil’ Kim. Nichole, Natalie, Tiffanie and Ilisa are up first with "Holiday." Tiffanie and Nichole got the strongest marks – Lil’ Kim told Ilisa she was good but could of use a bit more "Madonna allure" and Natalie got the dreaded "potential" comment.
Megan, Cassandra, Alexis and Jamie are next with "(Hit Me) Baby One More Time." The vocals were shaky overall but they all give good stage presence. And I can’t tell if it’s because they’re not that good or just because of the song. Jamie got the "potential" comment while Megan got the even worse "average" comment. Ouch.
Last up, Fem’Sync – Jenna, Chystina, Charlie and Carrie. Carrie starts it off and…holy crap, Ron Fair is smiling! Lil’ Kim and Robin are boogieing in their seats and Jenna plays towards a dude in the crowd. They were definitely the best vocally and overall. Robin said that it felt like they were already a group and Lil’ Kim added she felt she was at a "Girl N’Sync" concert.
During deliberation, the consensus is that Group Two was the weakest. Robin feels Alexis is not totally committed but Lil’ Kim and Ron Fair both think she has potential. Ron Fair really likes Cassandra but doesn’t think she’s terrific in this particular venue. Robin says Jamie is a great dancer but doesn’t mention the singing which is probably not a good sign. Lastly, though Robin comments that she’s a bit stiff, Lil’ Kim says Megan has more growing to do.
Finally, eliminations. Predictably, the "(Hit Me) Baby One More Time" group is on the chopping block. Alexis and Jaime are saved first but, unfortunately, Megan couldn’t shake her pageant training and will be leaving.
Next week, the girls have to perform in front of 9-year-olds (scary that that’s their demographic – it’s ridiculicious), it’s Ilisa’s turn to be ostracized, and we’re subjected to yet another push of Nicole’s solo album.
Did the right girl go home? Are there any front runners? How long until Natalie gets her come-uppance? And couldn’t they think of a better name for the group than Girlicious?