It’s officially time for the season finale of Chasing Destiny! We’ve watched as Kelly Rowland searched the country for the next great girl group. She found singers, made cuts and brought us the final five. Gabby, Ashly, Brienna, Shyann and Kristal. They sang, danced and rehearsed for hours. They got advice and encouragement along the way from legendary groups like En Vogue and New Edition. The last nine episodes have led to this. Tonight, the group has to perform live for LA Reid and the staff at Epic Records — the record label that decides their fate. Can they show and prove?
*Episode spoilers to follow*
With just days until the big show, the girls are scrambling to get prepared. That includes selecting a group name. They kick around ideas like Bubble Gum, Alluring, Audacious, Heavenly Charm and Allure. Clearly, they don’t remember the short-lived R&B group Allure from the late ‘90s. “A lot of people will be showing up to the show including music execs, some taste makers and they gotta nail it,” says Kelly. No pressure. Just the BIGGEST show of their lives to date, which is also an audition towards inking a record deal. “We don’t have a record deal,” says Ashly. “We’re working towards solidifying that amazing accomplishment. In the meantime, you gotta grind.”
Aside from a name, the girls need to hammer down their look. It’s been so long since a great R&B girl group has been out and they have no clue what to wear. Brienna says that the on-trend look is “the half-naked Instagram model,” which is something the group — thankfully — passes over. They all agree that they want to be positive role models for girls, especially Black girls. “You can be covered up,” says Shyann. “That is what I am absolutely ready for. [There’s] so many little girls that Snapchat me, ‘I want to be like you when I grow up.’”
While this is going on, Ashly and Kristal talk about the uncertainty of the whole situation. To pursue this dream, both girls had to put their day jobs on hold. They’re worried that if the group doesn’t make it, they’re going to be sent packing with no check to go home to. “I need the money. What if we go home tomorrow?” asks Ashly, who hasn’t told her boss she’s on a reality show yet. This is such a true struggle that most new artists go through but fans never see. It’s not glamorous or sexy but it’s real. “We got real bills,” says Kristal. “We just gotta believe it’ll all work out for the best. Just gotta have faith.”
Speaking of real life, we find out Kristal has been married for six years. She’s sacrificing her relationship but he’s super understanding because he’s a musician too. “He’s always been there for me,” she says. Brienna also has a long-term boyfriend she’s missing. Bae is supportive but sounds understandably upset that he may not see her for awhile.
Back at rehearsals, the girls perform for Frank Gatson Jr. but Ashly is missing in action. She’s gone to get her hair done. “That’s f***ed up,” he says. “Can they stop and put a head rag on her? That’s unacceptable.” Frank is HEATED. Even though Kelly asked Ashly to change her hair three times — #girlproblems — he thinks that the girls should’ve told him about the weave emergency. “It’s a trip to me,” he says. Frank calls Ashly’s hairstylist and she speeds to rehearsals with her hair done.
Hair crisis averted, Ashly now has to tell her boss that she’s unable to return to work. It’s hard to resign from being a substitute teacher but this may be the kick she needs to chase her dream. “I’m still nervous. It’s like walking a tight rope but I completely have faith this group is gonna work out,” she says.
Finally, it’s the day of the performance and things are already stressful. Kelly finds out that the stylist can’t come so she needs to figure out a look ASAP. “I’m pissed,” she says. “I don’t know how to shop for five different personalities! But it’s grind time.” Kelly drives around to stores in Los Angeles to try to find looks. She pulls whatever she can and digs through her own closet to find pieces. “I pulled all the shoes from my closet. I pulled jewelry from my closet. We just made it work.”
Freshly dressed in clothes from Kelly, the girls get ready to hit the stage. Stress is high and Kelly is feeling the jitters, too. “I’ve never been so nervous in my motherf***ing life,” says Frank, as he introduces the girls. We get a flash-forward of the entire journey that has led to this moment. It’s pretty intense. What I’ve loved most about it is how authentic it’s been. Since the premiere, the focus has been music. These girls are legitimately talented. They aren’t looking for drama or insta-fame. They just want to sing.
On stage, the girls get to introduce themselves and discuss how they are still nameless as a group. “And we don’t have a name … yet,” they joke.
They jump into a medley beginning with “It’s Alright,” which we saw them record this season. Kristal and Shyann take the lead on the song and Ashly — as usual — kills it in the soul department. Her voice is so warm and emotional; it’s like a hug. They then go into “All of Us,” a girl power song with attitude. The crowd loves them. Job well done.
The next day, Kelly sits everyone down to talk about what’s next. Kelly is shocked that Ashly and Gabby quit their jobs and Brienna has put college on hold. “I think that in the end, we all know that this is what we want to do and this is what we love to do,” says Gabby. “I respect y’all, for taking a leap of faith on your dream,” says Kelly. “I would probably jump too. I would jump.” Kristal and Ashly admit that they have financial problems. Like magic, fairy godmother Kelly comes to the rescue with their first check! This is kind of a big deal because most singers — even those with deals — get paid much later. To be able to make one off your craft is a huge milestone and hopefully will reduce the stress of having to pay bills. “It’s just a taste,” says Kelly.
Epic Records is definitely interested. This is what the girls have all dreamed about but the work isn’t over. It’s just beginning. “We gotta get a hustling mentality,” says Kelly. Put on your seat belts. The real journey begins now. “It doesn’t matter what’s on the other side,” she says. “These girls are gonna have a kick-ass ride.”