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The two-survivng members of one of the top R&B groups of the '90s are looking for a third for a chance of a lifetime.

Recaps by Gordon Pepper, GSNN


FACT FILE:
Hosts: Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins & Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas
EP: Sean M. Kelly, Ken Snow
Packager: The Jay & Tony Show
Airs: Wednesdays at 8:00pm ET on UPN


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"No Scrubs in New York" - July 27

Once upon a time, there was a major R&B group called TLC. They have had many hits, including 'Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg' and 'Waterfalls'. Then one day, Lisa 'Left Eye' Lopes passed away in a tragic accident. 2 years ago, the two surviving members, 'Chilli' and 'T-Boz', ended their performing ways in a tribute concert and they haven't performed since.

The rest of this story is open to interpretation. The women either

1. want to give back to their community by holding a contest for a new (albeit temporary) member of TLC to have them perform with them on stage and record a single or

2. need more money and figure that this is the best way for people to go back in time, spark some attention, have them buy some of their old music, and possibly get some more millions with a new album.

I'll let you decide which is which.

That's not what I'm here for. I'm here to recap this series. I'll give you my opinion when the series ends, but I won't be doing the snarky talk in the middle. I like to see all of the evidence before passing judgment. I will say though that the defense better be supplying a lot of information to convince me that this won't be a 3 month long shill-fest.

The girls are looking for a 'Triple Threat' (Someone who can sing, dance AND rap) as well as someone who will gel and work well with people. The women have seen thousands of audition tapes and have decided to see the best women in each city. They will audition them live. The women who impress TLC the most will go to Atlanta, and the one special girl will perform live with them, and then...who knows? (their words, not mine).

We start the search in the Big Apple - New York City. They will surprise 4 girls and take the ones that they want back to Atlanta. Consider it an 'Upclose and Personal with T-Boz and Chilli'.

We start with Meah, who claims to be a Black Britney Spears. Ambush #1 takes place at her work place - the Bulls Head Tavern, to where she is a bartender. T and C walk in, and Meah is very surprised. They give her an invitation to their audition. They also give her a CD with a specific song that she is to learn and be able to perform for them. They end the conversation with a hug, a kiss and a bubbly Meah. They like her personality, so it's a good start.

We have an interlude at Maroons for lunch. While they are looking at the menu, they are greeted by Mark, who's a huge fan. He gives them a college of images of them. He calls this his gift to them. This wasn't staged at all, was it? Noooooo. It was very touching as they see pictures from the very beginning of their career. They end the visit with a hug. AwwwBarf.

After lunch, Ambush #2 - Brandi, who can rap very well. She's 19 and lives in Brooklyn. She shows us some classical music skills and tells us that she's broke and just got out of the street. She works at a photography studio and that's where she is visited by T and C. She seemed sort of happy to see them, and tells them to it for her to finish her work. T and C weren't nuts that she wasn't screaming to see them, but Brandi says that she was doing head flips inside.

She tells T and C that she was in school, but it was too expensive to stay there. She also talks about her street sleeping experience and she managed to find a place with her friends. They give her the CD and leave. The boss lets her leave, too, so she can rehearse. That's nice of the boss.

The third person is Lauren, who lives in Boston. They love her personality and although she's in Boston, they give her the airfare to fly to NYC. Lauren loves to take care of herself and she likes to get pampered. Her dad was the drummer in Boston, and we see him in the background while she sings along. She's got a nice voice, and she says that she can bring the Boston attitude to the table.

This ambush will take place over the phone. At first, Lauren is stunned that they called her, but then excitement takes over and she is thrilled to go to NYC, hoping that she never has to study again. Uhhh...ok.

While waiting for the 4th ambush, the girls go to FAO Schwartz and gaze upon the giant keyboard (the one used in the movie Big). Chilli is able to play Heart and Soul with a 'piano dancer' while T-Boz stocks up on Star Wars figures. The women walk out with 4 bags worth of goodies.

The final girl in the group is Alju, who is a backup singer for Maxi Priest. She's originally from Jacksonville, Florida and currently sings with a band called Starlight. We hear some of her performance and she can definitely bring it, but her vocal coach (her mommy) tells her to make more contact with the audience. Grandmommy has a form of cancer, and Alju says that she's doing it for her, adding that you never know how many days you have with a loved one. How true.

T and C meet her in a recording studio that she is rehearsing in. Alju sees them and her face lights up like a Christmas Tree. T and C meets mommy and grandmommy and Alju gets the invite. Grandmom gets to dance for T and C and Alju says that TLC was important to her because they symbolized hip-hop.

Dinner time! They meet a waiter who is very chatty - too chatty for T-Boz's case, who looks like she's bored. Hint - if you meet a celebrity and you want to impress them, don't act like you are trying to. It never works.

The ambushes are over and the 4 singers meet up at T and C's hotel. The auditions go this way - the women sing the song off of the CD that was given to them. Whoever impresses T and C will go to Atlanta. They can take all of them - or none of them.

Meah sings first, and she gets Etta James's 'At Last'. She's got a very silky voice and she should be a shoo-in to go to Atlanta. Lauren gets 'Complicated' by Lauryn Hill. She ad libs on the melody line, but she also sounds very good. She also dances a little bit for T and C. Uhhh...stick to singing. She thinks that she could have done better. Hmmm...

Alju sings 'Oops' by Tweet. Oops, there goes her memory for the lyrics. Alju thought that they were going to start the song over for her. They didn't. Well, we know that the lyrics aren't up on the wall, as she completely blanks out on them. Oops - there goes her shot at going to Atlanta.

Brandi gets 'Hold On' by Vogue. She has a nice voice, but she wasn't on pitch with her runs, and when you are singing acapella, that's deadly. It's even deadlier when the music comes on and her high pitch does not match the music. T is bobbing her head, while C is politely scratching hers. I am scratching mine too, as she is ad-libbing the song - and a painful one at that.

This should be a VERY easy decision. It SHOULD be Meah and Lauren advancing. T and C talk to themselves in the deliberating part of the suite. They say that Meah gives a lot of feeling, while Brandi was projecting too much. They love Alju's voice, but they hated her lyric butchering. They like Lauren's personality and dance moves.

T and C has decided that out of the 4 of them, 3 of them will be coming to Atlanta. They thought that Meah was too serious. They thought that Lauren was struggling, but they loved how she went with it - and they loved her little dance. They didn't like the lyrics and told her to be creative if she's going to mess up lyrics. They like Brandi's passion, but not her pitch.

T and C say that they should all be proud of themselves. The first person to go to Atlanta is...Meah. Next up is...Lauren. Finally, the last person to go with them will be...Alju??!!? Whoa. I guess screwing up the lyrics isn't as bad as screwing up the pitch. Alju swears that she is going to work on her memory, and she better. They tell Brandi that it doesn't mean that she's not talented, and to keep striving for it. The group hugs together, and even though Brandi was disappointed, she prays that the rest of them does well. I would have taken only 2, but what do I know?

After the auditions, T and C talk about getting dinner. That ends the episode. Next Week - the women will be doing some eating in Florida. Join us next we ek to see who doesn't wilt in the Miami heat.

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