After last week’s grueling auditions, Kelly Rowland and Frank Gatson Jr. have argued, debated and argued some more on which girls will proceed to the next round of Chasing Destiny. It’s a tough decision. Some girls can dance but not sing. Others have the vocals but also have two left feet. “I went into this thinking it was gonna be snap of the fingers easy,” says Kelly. “This is some serious work.”
It’s time to announce the finalists and invite them to Los Angeles. Ready?
*Episode spoilers to follow*
Meet your Final 15:
This is a great list. I love Mayah’s classical training and beauty and quirky, fun Gabby’s so damn likeable. I would totally know her in real life. And don’t forget about Alyxx a.k.a. Beyoncé’s doppelganger. You can’t take your eyes off her. Each of these girls has something special — but can they work together?
Welcome to L.A., ladies. If you thought the auditions were hard, get ready for major singing boot camp. “I’m so excited and still in shock,” admits Johari. “This is gonna change all of our lives,” says Cicily. Kelly and Frank want to give the finalists a rigorous and realistic feel for the music business, which includes keeping vampire hours. “Now you get a chance to get into the thick of everything,” says Kelly. She’s not joking. Before the girls can even unpack, it’s time to start the first day — or should we say, night — of rehearsal.
10:05 p.m.: The girls show up in all-black everything for dance class. It’s baptism by fire because their dance coaches are none other than Chris Grant and Jaquel Knight, who just choreographed a little show called the Super Bowl for Beyoncé. You might have heard of it? “Try hard. Ask questions. Don’t ask stupid questions,” instructs Frank. Clearly, Frank’s middle name could be “Tough Love.” Kelly tries to soften the pressure, saying, “There’s no such thing as a stupid question.” Frank shoots back, “But a right foot is a right foot.” He has a point. Some girls dive right in while others realize they seriously have no rhythm. Khyla B — the girl who slept at the airport during auditions — is hit the hardest. She prides herself as a singer, not a dancer, and it shows. “My biggest fear is failing. I don’t want to fail,” she says. Around 2:20 a.m., Kelly takes her aside for a pep talk. It’s only day one and Khyla is already drowning. Plus, she totally flips out when she doesn’t get a move, which could affect the other girls. “That kind of toxic energy makes me nervous and it spreads,” says Kelly. I feel for Kelly. Khyla is the underdog and she’s one of those girls you’re rooting for. Kelly wants her to win, I want her to win. But her attitude is no bueno. It’s day one and she’s already falling to pieces?! What’s going to happen on tour when she can’t find the beat or forgets her lyrics at the Grammys? Khyla is a ticking time bomb.
Don’t get too tired, it’s time for vocal training. The girls split themselves into smaller groups to put together an a capella performance. The first group gives a unique remix of Rihanna’s “Take a Bow” mashed up with the nursery rhyme “The Wheels on the Bus.” Another group takes on Michael Jackson’s “Butterflies,” but their pitchy, off-key version would not make the King of Pop proud. Group three tries a sultry rendition of Estelle’s “American Boy” while the last group does a killer version of Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly.” Here, Khyla B shines and we totally forget her clunky dance moves. “These girls are not ready to go to the studio,” Kelly says, [but] “there’s great potential.”
The groups keep working on their songs well into the next day. At 11:15 p.m., it’s show time. “Get that four hours before you come in,” Frank advises on how to be well-rested after staying up so late. Beyoncé’s background dancers come in to show the girls how to do the moves they learned the day before and, as you can imagine, they make it look like light work. The girls are trying but the weaknesses are starting to show. Alyxx, our Beyoncé Mini Me, is barely keeping awake. “I wish Alyxx would work,” Kelly sighs. She’s been in three girl groups and looks like Bey, but Alyxx is phoning it in. Mayah (the gorgeous, classically trained girl from the Berklee College of Music) is Kelly’s current favorite. Her only issue is that hippie dippie, natural beauty Mayah needs to loosen up. You can be sexy and true to yourself!
At 1:18 a.m., the signs of fatigue are starting to show. Pick it up, ladies. Suck in the caffeine and get to work. The groups each take turns singing once again. Our “Killing Me Softly” ladies shine while the other groups fall somewhere between OK and horrendous. Ambriya, who has a luscious, low vocal range, is constantly singing flat. It could be from a recent vocal surgery or just nerves, but Kelly is worried. “To me that’s a big problem,” she says.
Day two of rehearsal ends after 3:00 a.m. Kelly and Frank stand outside while all the girls sing in unison. Beyoncé’s Mini Me is falling asleep while Ambriya keeps pulling the group down. There are gems among the rough. Shyann and Mayah stand out and impress Kelly and Frank. “There’s a lot of talent out there,” says Frank. It’s not clear how big the final girl group will be and Kelly and Frank want to see it develop organically. They don’t have that long — just a few weeks to make it happen. “I don’t have time to play,” says Kelly. “Failure is not an option.”
After rehearsals, my list is shook. Mayah is still at the top but Shyann needs to be up there too. Great job, Shyann! I still love Alyxx and think that her experience could bring a lot to a group but she’s faaaading and needs to do something memorable ASAP. The jury’s still out on Khyla. She’s in competition with all of the girls — and most of all, herself.
Who do you think about the Final 15? Who should stay and who should go? Make sure to watch Chasing Destiny every Tuesday at 10P/9C and come back to read next week’s episode recap! Sound off in the comments below or tweet me (@SowmyaK) using #ChasingDestinyBET!