We’ve waited six weeks and in this episode of Chasing Destiny, we finally meet our girl group. Kelly Rowland and Frank Gatson Jr. as well as vocal coach Stevie Mackey are ready for the last round of cuts. “It’s time. I’m about to form the group,” says Kelly.
*Episode spoilers to follow*
“We kinda got to get to it. We’ve had so many great girls,” says Frank. The girls are — understandably — NERVOUS. They’ve sacrificed their lives back home for a shot at stardom. “What am I supposed to do?” asks Mayah, who left college to be here. “This is the induction,” says Kelly. It’s really anybody’s game at this point. Each of the girls has something special to offer but which group of five is collectively magic?
My personal five: Mayah, Kristal, Ashly, Alyxx and Skye.
So how do my choices stack up to the judges? Drum roll, please.
The final group is… Gabby, Kristal, Ashly, Brienna and Shyann!
“Immediately we clicked,” says Brienna. “Let’s do it. We’re here,” adds Gabby. “I’m just thankful,” says Kristal.
Kelly explains her reasoning behind her Final Five. Ashly is the soul of the group while Gabby’s tone is “so fly.” Shyann is the “youthful, energetic fun” while Brienna is the “full package.” Kristal is the “heart of the group” that will hold the rest together.
The judges want to keep the vibes as positive as possible and speak to the girls who don’t make the cut. It’s nice to see the judges continue to empower and mentor these young women, instead of kicking them to the curb reality-TV style. Kelly has faced her own rejections as a singer so she totally gets how they feel. “Pick yourself up from here and keep it moving,” she says. “I’m not a dream killer. I’m the person who likes to see you grow.”
Understandably, the girls that are cut are sad but at least Skye and Mayah seem to have a good attitude about it. Our friend Khylah B? Not so much. She angrily packs and refuses to wish the new group farewell.
There isn’t too much time to celebrate. Frank takes our winners back into the dance studio and it’s time to get to work. “I don’t want to settle for mediocrity. Tough is coming from trying to make them be the best,” he says. In the next coming weeks the girls are getting a crash course in singing, a girl group boot camp. Singing, dancing, fashion and even what they’re putting in their mouths. Shyann gets criticized for eating half of a donut because she needs to tone up. This is not a game, ladies. Beyonce didn’t become Beyonce by eating Krispy Kremes all day.
Ashly has a mini breakdown and says she has to “work the hardest.” She reveals that she’s struggling thinking about her mom who passed away. “It’s something you never get over,” she explains. “Oh, wow,” says Frank. “Dance for your mama. Use it.”
Meanwhile Kelly goes into the studio with Tricky Stewart, producer extraordinaire, to get his professional feedback in the group. “Definitely good singers,” he says. “The question I would have is how do you envision the group? Is this a vocal group? Those voices don’t record well, to me.” Tricky says that a group of five may be too big and fans won’t invest in it. “I always wish one or two of them wasn’t there,” he says about large groups. He’s right. What girl group in the history of music had five strong members? Even the Spice Girls allegedly cut Posh Spice’s microphone off because she couldn’t sing. This gets Kelly thinking, does she need to make ANOTHER CUT?
This decision comes as the girls prepare to perform for Tricky at his Taco Tuesday dinner party. Stevie Mackey and the girls rehearse with Drake’s “Hotline Bling” and Tricky shows up too. No pressure, of course. Just the guy who’s produced for Mariah Carey (“Touch My Body”), Rihanna (“Umbrella”) and Beyonce “(“Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It.)” Gabby struggles with her vocal range. Kelly and Stevie encourage her to embrace her falsetto and not play it safe.
Before we go any further, it’s time for a celebrity cameo! New Edition, the legendary group, gives our Final Five a little pep talk. “One thing about a group, you’re gonna go through some sh*t,” says Michael Bivens, “but we hold each other down.” Amen. As a group that’s been together forever and a day, they know what they’re doing. “Push each other,” says Johnny Gill. “They gave us some really, really deep advice,” says Kristal.
Back at the hotel, the girls rehearse for their debut performance. Their voices sound pretty good but they’re still learning to be in sync with each other. It’s one thing to sing well solo but a completely different game to blend together. “We all were stressed,” says Kristal. “But we were excited.” For Kristal, performing at Tricky’s comes with added pressure. LA’s a small town and as someone who’s been signed with a professional girl group in the past, she’s likely run into a familiar face or two. Always nice ray of sunshine, Stevie hypes them up before they take the stage. “You guys are ready for this,” he says. Pressure is running high. All eyes (and ears) are on the girls — and Kelly. “My name is on the line. Their name is on the line,” says Kelly. “I’m not gonna have my name go down in flames.”
The Final Five does a solid job. Their harmonies are on point and they seem to be getting over their nerves. Kristal and Ashly kill it as usual. Drake needs to take some notes for his next performance of “Hotline Bling.” The crowd loves it and Kelly is a proud mama. “I’m very, very proud,” she says. “And it’s only gonna get tighter.”
Everything seems like it’s going to be wrapped in a nice, neat happy package... until…
The show’s producers find a video of Gaby online that is S-K-E-T-C-H-Y. In it, our usually shy nerd is making out with random white dudes around town. Is Gabby really who she says she is or is she a messy, attention-seeker? Mama Kelly needs to have a sit down — and hopefully put the fear of God back into her. Just because you’re in the Final Five doesn’t mean you can’t be sent packing at any time.
Do you think Gabby should stay or go?