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Vh1 is hitting the road in search of the next members of the world-renowned strip troupe, Thunder from Down Under.

Recaps by Gordon Pepper, GSNN


Billy Cross & Rachel Perry
Billy Cross
EP: Billy Cross, Craig Piligian
Packager: Pilgrim Films, Distraction Formats, VH1
Airs: Thursdays at 10p ET on Vh1

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"Would You Buy Me a Cheesesteak?" - June 2

At the start of the first episode, Billy is looking for 15 people to bring to L.A. At the end of the first episode, we have...3. They only have 1 more week to select 12 more people, because if they don't then the series will be over. I personally, am rooting for the end of the series, but being that it's slated for at least 10 episodes, I don't think that's going to happen.

We start this episode at the Blueberry Hill in St. Louis as Billy explains to the auditioners what he's looking for. The guys are looking to impress Billy, as we see a montage of...'nothing', according to Billy. Rachel is confused. 'I've seen guys that I think are alright, but you are saying no to.' Billy says that they have to see a special something, but Rachel is getting fed up and suggesting that she isn't being helpful. Please don't leave Rachel - because if you leave, then I have to deal with no one but Billy for the rest of the

Billy is still frustrated as we get to Nashville. We see another montage of guys stripping - and once again, an unimpressed Billy. 'A lot of the guys that were turning up there probably didn't realize the audition that they were turning up for. A lot of them were bad. Really Bad.'

Billy did like two of them, though, and called them both back to his bus. The first one is Adam, who says that he is a high school jock and is flexible. Billy still wants to cut him, and Rachel just turns to him and says 'What are you, nuts?' Rachel argues that the kid is the definition of wholesome and Billy just blankly smiles at her. Rachel is mystified at him. 'What is Billy thinking?'

Josh, a 21 year old college student, is the second person that Billy calls into the room. He says that he respects the ladies and he tries to be a good Southern gentleman, adding that his mom will whup him if he doesn't. Billy thinks that he is skinny, but he loves everything else about him. Josh - 'Give me a chance, and I'll grow a butt. Butts can be grown'. That's good for Billy, and Josh is California invitee #4. Billy liked Josh over Adam because Adam has more personality, but he says that 'more than likely' will get a call-back as well. We'll see...

We move on to Day 10 as the bus drives to Chicago. Billy hasn't shaved and his hair is looking more scraggly. Rachel notices that is mohawk is turning into a faux-hawk as they see twins Terry and Tony. Tony is a bartender and a weight instructor while Terry, who thinks that he is the better looking one, gets sick when everyone says that Tony looks better. Add Billy to another person who is going to annoy Terry, because he is completely enamored with Tony. We see Tony dance and he is the real deal. We see Terry dance and Billy thinks he's good, but...not as good as Tony, and he wants to take Tony and not Terry. Huh? Rachel says that Tony is more camera-friendly, but Terry is sexier and Rachel wants to take both of them. Billy asks if Tony likes him. WHA??!

Rachel, who insists that Billy is heterosexual, is still wondering about this, but he gives int o Rachel and invites both of them to L.A., adding that they both have the best personality of anyone that he's seen. It's always better to have a twin rivalry, if you ask me.

Day 11 - Next up is Louisville, Kentucky, the home of the Kentucky Derby, and Billy is looking for some studs. He's hoping that Brian, who has a Southern Baptist mom, will lap the field. They want to get his mom's approval first, and they get it from the conservative woman. They ambush Brian, and he is thrilled and excited to see them. He talks about how he loves to strip for the ladies. He has a great body, according to Billy, but the face is aggressive and the dancing...blah. Billy doesn't like his face and this time, he does convince Rachel. Rachel thinks he's going in to say maybe, but he says no and everyone is stunned. Billy, who didn't realize the negative attitude he was going to get from everyone, quickly gets out of the house and leaves his beatbox and jacket inside. Rachel has to get it for him and apologize for his behavior - and then gives him what-for for telling him no instead of maybe.

Continuing Day 11, the group moves to Highland Heights to check out some more prospects. Steve is a 19 year old credit services representative. He was a cheerleader in high school and can do a backwards flip. Billy hates the fact that he is a young 19, but they decide to check him out. They decide to disguise themselves as camera people to interview them all. While Billy is watching from the background, he's wondering if he had any respect for women. Steve says that a woman would be lucky to get a gift from him and Billy isn't happy with the answer - to the point that he's thinking about leaving without even giving him an audition, Oops.

Steve continues to talk when Rachel tells him to turn around. He sees Billy and gets excited - but less so when he's told to dance. After he stalls out the first time, Billy says that he better perform or they are leaving, with
Rachel adding that his football team is going to lose unless he starts to dance. Steve responds by doing high school moves and breakdancing on the lawn shirtless. Billy thinks that the girls are going to love him and despite his skinny frame, Billy (probably out of desperation because he has an alarming lack of contestants right now) invites him to L.A.

Could the next 19 year old do as well as steve did? This one is named Rodrique, who is a corner store stocker in Cincinnati. He has a 3.8 GPA but people think he's a thug because of the way that he looks. When Billy and the crew ambush him at his store, Rodrique looks terrified because he thinks he's going to get mugged, so being asked to do a strip tease dance in front of his co-workers looks like a relief to him. Rodrique does a strip tease as he lowers his clothes - without taking them off. Rachel loves him - until he opens his mouth and says that he wants to be on television and almost forgets all about the reason why Billy and Rachel are here - to find people for a strip revue. It seems like Rodrique cares more importantly to see his mug on the camera than to be traveling in a group, and that's a major no-no. Billy says that he's going to be on TV anyways, but he can tell that he wants to be more on camera than to be on a show so Billy says no. 'I'm an ass', says Billy on the way out of the stores, 'but I had to be an ass.' But it's still all good for Rodrique, because he's on TV! Look at Rodrique! Whoo!

Day 12 - The team travels northward to Independence, Ohio to see Ryan, a 28 year old Mortgage Broker. Rachel suggests that she has a bus breakdown to see if Ryan was really a nice guy. They hide Billy under the trunk with his boom box and they disconnect the car to make sure that it doesn't start. When Bryan comes out, Rachel asks him for Jumper Cables. Ryan knows nothing about jumper cables, so he goes to ask his friend. He even gives Rachel his coat. AwwwwBarf. Rachel decides that he passes and tells him that he has jumper cables in the back. Instead of cables, though, they find Billy and his boom box. Ryan passes the niceness test, and when it's time to dance...he passes that too. Billy gives him the L.A. pass.

Day 13 - The crew stops off at the city of Brotherly Love - Philadelphia - to see Shawn, who dances at a club. Rachel starts by saying that he's yummy...but when she finds out that he's cheated many times on his girlfriend, she calls him a jerk. Way to stay unbiased, Rachel. After dressing Billy up in a ridiculous passerby outfit, Rachel decides to test Shawn and attempts to get him to buy her a cheesesteak. Shawn declines and is led in the direction of Billy, who introduces himself. Shawn already seems perturbed, and doesn't show much as he dances. Billy says that if Shawn can overcome his ego, he could be a star, but Rachel says that he's too into himself. Billy decides that the physique is too good to pass up and invited him to L.A., much to the consternation of Rachel. Shawn promises that he will work hard, but only time will tell and Rachel now sees that Billy is much more concerned with physique than what's inside the person. She says that she has lost a lot of respect for Billy. I didn't have much respect to begin with. Rachel - 'Would you buy me a cheesesteak?' Billy - 'With what you are wearing tonight? No.'

Rick, a 21 year old in PA, had a promising baseball career, but gave it all up to help his dad's business. Because his dad was injured on the job, Rick has some free time that he can use to travel. They get Rick's cousin to help them ambush Rick during his band's practice. They get a 'Holy Sh!t' from Rick as Billy shows up. Billy and Rachel have an opening seat as he sings and Billy was impressed at how confident he was when he performed in front of him vocally. Billy likes his singing (My thoughts? Blech) but now it's time to perform by shredding his clothes. Billy says that he needs to lose weight and shred those abs, but he also gets the invite and Rick gives a 'Yeah' and a 'Whoo-hoo' in approval. Rachel calls him her favorite. 'This man would have bought me a cheesesteak'

Day 14 - the last day of the tour and they go to NJ to meet Marco, a 25 year old who dances in a male revue to earn his keep. You would think that as a dancer, he would know what he's doing, and he knows the moves, but Billy wonders if his experience makes him sleazy. Marco says that he won't hit anyone in the face with it and adds that he wants to make it a performance instead of sleaze. Billy buys it and Marco gets the invite.

The ambushes are over, and the selections are over. We have 11 'Yes' and it's time to go through the maybes. The maybes who get the pass are Johnny, David, Adam, and....Billy takes out someone from the 'No' pile to suggest to Rachel. In attempt to make up with her and to maybe get some respect back, the 'No' person is...Brian. He calls up Brian to eat some crow and explains that he didn't think that he gave him a fair chance. He invites Brian down to audition and Brian screams 'Hell Yeah' in approval. With that, we have the 15. In 25 days, those 15 will be trimmed to 7 and those 7 people will be performing in Vegas.

My take? I'm hoping that what I like about the show will not be tempered by my intense dislike towards Billy Cross, who shows us all that personality doesn't mean as much as muscles. I also wonder about that base of people - If you have to go back into the no pile to get people, it's not looking too good. We'll see if the show can turn it around, but it's not a good start.

Next time - we see our final 15, and in 60 minutes watch it turn in to the final 14. Join us in 7 days to see who is the first to get cut.

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