The road to finding the next great girl group continues, with some unpredictable turns, this week on Chasing Destiny. Last time, Kelly Rowland and Frank Gatson Jr. gave our final 15 a taste of what being a professional singer is really like. Don’t get too comfy ladies, the grind has just begun…
*Episode spoilers to follow*
“This experience just feels a lot more real,” says Mayah. School’s over and the music student is realizing that this is the real world. She’s homesick but determined to stick through the process. The other girls are similarly grappling with this new environment. Rigorous training, competition and being away from home is starting to get to them. Cracks are beginning to show. “I feel like my fears right now are not feeling like I’m worthy,” says Tampico. I’m hoping Khylah B — our powerhouse vocalist with the two left feet — gets it together. You can feel her struggle and hunger. How can you not root for her? Another personal favorite is Alyxx. The Beyoncé lookalike (Can we officially just call her Baby Bey?) just has a spark and I’d love to see her show out this week.
Unfortunately, Khylah B is still reeling after not being able to dance. Determined, she wants to make sure Kelly and Frank see her passion. “I want them to see how bad I want this. I want them to know that.” Ambriya is mulling over her poor vocal performance. “I overthink everything,” she says about her solos. “In a group, I’ll hold you down.” Khylah agrees that being in a group gives her confidence too. “I’m not ready to be a solo artist. I come from church…and [school] choir…so it’s always a group. By myself, I’m not ready yet.” Usually quiet Johari interjects with this episode’s moment of wisdom: “If you enter a group without confidence, you’ll always be second-guessing your contribution.”
Khylah B and Ambriya have to step up their confidence because Kelly and Frank are making cuts — tonight. “Tonight’s the night we’re gonna send girls home,” says Kelly. Unlike some reality show judges, Kelly isn’t looking forward to being the bearer of bad news. She genuinely feels for these girls and empathizes with their stories and struggles. Still, she’s gotta make a decision. As she puts it, “It’s business.” After last week’s poor vocal performance, I gotta put Ambriya on the chopping block. She was consistently flat in EVERY. SINGLE. GROUP. There’s no escaping that.
Kelly and Frank get down to business by making the first cut.Yep, it’s Ambriya. “Every group that I put Ambriya in was off-key,” says Kelly. Amen, Kelly. “That’s a problem.” Her vocals bring everyone around her down. “You’re only as strong as your weakest link in a group.” While on the chopping block, Ambriya admits that she has a lot on her mind. A LOT. Her ex-boyfriend (now her friend) shot his mother in the head while Ambriya was in Los Angeles. Let that sit for a moment. “She didn’t die. It’s a miracle,” she says in tears. Can you imagine having to go through this process with all of that weighing on your heart?! “You still are human. You’re dealing with a lot,” says Kelly. “Wooow,” says Frank. “Why don’t you just chill a minute?” Kelly and Frank realize that now is not the time to make the cut and they send her back to the hotel. “I couldn’t be so insensitive,” says Kelly. “I just wanted to be a sister supporting a sister.” Thank you, Kelly Rowland. Can we discuss how refreshing it is to see a celebrity be human on a reality show? I can only imagine how emotionally devastated Ambriya would have been if she got cut tonight.
Things get a little lighter when Kelly’s son, Titan, comes to rehearsals. “I like for Titan to see where I am. What I’m doing. He comes to wherever I’m working,” the working mama says. “I want him to know I’m here ever single step of the way.” The girls sing “Mary Had a Little Lamb” for Titan and he looks at them bewildered. Kids. You gotta love them.
It’s back to rehearsals. The girls show off their harmonies to “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.” If you remember the song, En Vogue killed it back in the day. The girls get put into smaller groups based on vocals and style. Ambriya struggles to focus on the sheet music in front of her as her mind is tormented with the drama at home. “I wanted to be there…but it was really hard for me to focus,” she says. In another group, Khylah is struggling to find her footing. “It’s very tough because you don’t know what they have and then you kind of lose what you have because there’s so many creative ideas.” Does she go higher or lower? There are too many voices in one room. Skye shows off her piano skills while practicing with her group. “I play with a band. I do solo shows. I sing the National Anthem,” she says. Not everyone is as experienced. “It was a little nerve-wrecking,” says Jaime, who isn’t used to singing with others. “At this point, I don’t know what I am.”
There’s definitely a difference between belting out solos and blending within a group. Let’s just say, all the groups needed practice.
At midnight, it’s show time! The first group features Khylah B and our nerdy girl Gabby and falls flat. It “looks like they were having fun,” says Kelly. “The con was they didn’t sound that great. They didn’t play up each other’s strengths.” Eeks. The next group features Shyann, Mayah and Jaime and was a bit of a mess. “I don’t know what happened,” says Kelly. Eeks x 2. Our third group features Song — our Spanish-flavored vocalist — as well as Skye and Johari. “Song’s voice is just so strong,” says Kelly. “The con is…it’s just no blend.” Eeks x 3. The next group has Hooters employee-turned contestant Cicily and Baby Bey. This group was the most playful but Kelly wasn’t feeling it at all. “There was no pro…and they were rushing it.” Eeks x 4. If you’re counting at home, all four groups sucked. “I’m not moved by none of it,” says Kelly privately to Frank and performance coach KJ. “This should all start to snap into place. I’m really frustrated. Do I need to look for more girls? I gotta think of something fast.”
Kelly hops on a plane and heads to Houston. Good idea. Maybe there’s talent back in the old stomping grounds of Destiny’s Child? “Let’s hope these girls in Houston are really good.”
While Kelly is away, Frank introduces the girls to professional dancers to help with their movement. Just watching all of the toe-touches and torso movement makes me sore. “You have to rehearse, rehearse, rehearse,” says Frank. Sweaty and tired, the girls get back into “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.” “A real diva girl will know all the sections,” says Frank. Song is fading and forgets her words. “I just want to sing,” she says.
Back in H-Town, Kelly holds auditions. “Houston is loaded with talent,” she says. The day doesn’t go great. We meet Damaria — whose first concert was a Destiny's Child show — but her vocals are forgettable. Naryssa is nervous and needs to take it to church before she can sing. She plays gospel and crouches behind a chair to pray. It didn’t work so well and Kelly’s assistant can barely hold in her laughter. “I’m really mad,” says Kelly about the lackluster auditions. The trip isn’t a total bust. Kelly has an emotional flashback by visiting her home church and old rehearsal space. We get to see some classic footage featuring herself and Beyoncé. Girls Tyme forever! Kelly remembers not being a dancer naturally and how she grew into it. Maybe someone like Khylah B can, too.
In Los Angeles, Jaime feels like she’s lost in the shuffle because she’s quiet. “They love to talk about Gabby,” she says. Frank does have his favorites but he isn’t sold on the group yet. Hopefully, he sees the potential in Khylah, Mayah and Baby Bey. He revisits some of the girls from the very first open audition. “Nothing wrong with being thorough,” he says, calling them back for another round. Kelly isn’t as thrilled to see the rejects again. Maybe she spoke too soon. Ashly from Compton gives a soulful performance of “I’m Going Down” by Mary J. Blige just as the Final 15 walk in. Insert awkward moment. “I have no idea,” says Gabby about what’s going on. “To see the other girls, I think we were all scared,” adds Khylah. The nerves are on high alert for the Final 15 and they’re giving major side-eye. Are the new girls replacing them?!
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!