July 06, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT

”Making the Band”: Aubrey’s sick singing

I approached this episode with a great deal of fear. From last week’s coming attractions, it appeared as if one of my Danity Kane favorites, Aubrey, would be going home. ”No,” I cried, only slowly realizing that I was alone and no one cared what I thought. ”It can’t be!” Luckily, Aubrey’s ”going home” only meant her returning to the apartment after coming down with a fever during a late-night recording session. Thank God. Aubrey and Aundrea cannot be split up. That would be like separating the Duff sisters, and we can’t have that now.

In this episode, the ladies began ”hell week,” in which Diddy basically tested their ability to live the life of a recording artist. It meant a lot of physical activity, including the welcome return of Miss Laurie Ann Gibson, and more vocal lessons with the lovely Betty Wright. Laurie Ann looked good, as she’d had a little makeover. But I feel she keeps having the dancers do the same choreography they’ve been doing since the initial season of this show. It’s all a lot of head throwing and shoulder shaking.

Aubrey excels at dancing, but during her visit with Betty, her vocal weaknesses were apparent. She definitely is one of the weaker singers of the group, but I say give the girl some time. After all, it took her months and months to figure out that hair looks better as a solid color.

The highlight of the show was the girls’ visit to Hot 97’s Miss Jones, an infamous New York DJ who often cuts her guests down to size. She definitely put the girls in their place when she asked them to sing and the five simply blanked. But the biggest jab was when Miss Jones and the radio-show staff revealed to the girls the top-three names for the group and the number one name was: Only Three Y’all Bitches Can Sing. Loved it. Laughed out loud. True, it was mean, but it was fair. (Miss Jones’ team named Dawn, D. Woods, and Aundrea as the three talented ones.)

As if Aubrey weren’t having enough problems, she was suddenly sidelined by some kind of virus. She later had to miss out on some quality songwriting and recording sessions, but you could definitely tell the other girls were like, ”Diddy, make this sick chick go home.” Thankfully, Laurie Ann offered up some moral support and even had an ”Oprah moment” with the girls in the middle of the New York Sports Club. I think that was Laurie Ann’s bid to become the next Tyra Banks and get her own talk show.

And in the end, Aubrey proved that she does have some pipes. Now we just need to work on her makeup. That eyeliner-mascara combination is a little much. But we gotta take it one day at a time.

What do you think? Were you also fooled into thinking Aubrey was a goner? Do you agree with the Hot 97 team’s assessment of the best singers? And should Laurie Ann get her own show?

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