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Fame, Episode 2: The Fast Laneby Donna Reynolds -- 06/05/2003
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Fame debuted last week, and NBC was the ratings champ, winning all four half hour time slots for the evening. 10.6 million viewers tuned to watch this quest for super-stardom, earning the show a 4.5 rating/13 share among adults 18-49, dispelling the notion that people had overdosed on the reality/talent show genre.
This week’s show starts out with Debbie Allen giving the contestants a pep talk. “The world loved all 24 of you,” she tells them, but “the expectation is greater… stay focused, hit your mark, and deliver.” She challenges them to “tear it up” and all of the contestants take the stage, apparently having “come to work” again. The six who will perform tonight introduce themselves in a shortened version of last week’s number. I suspect that this is going to be the norm. The extra week of training is obvious. They are more polished and seem to have more energy than in week one, if that is possible.
Joey Fatone and Debbie Allen welcome us to Fame. Joey tells us a little about last week’s show and explains the format of tonight’s show. Debbie tells us again about the triple threat – singing, dancing and tonight we are adding acting as the third threat. Okay – this third component of the triple threat is still a bit sketchy, but acting is good.
Joey introduces the judges – Johnny Wright, Carnie Wilson, and JoJo (he of the number one radio station in L.A). Everyone seems primed and ready to roll. Joey tells us that in just two weeks, we, the viewers will get the chance to decide who moves on. Two weeks? After tonight, there are still six people left to choose. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how this is going to unfold.
First up after the break is Brandon O’Neal of Knoxville, TN. In his pre-performance clip, he tells us that he started out playing basketball and then got into dancing. He challenges anyone who criticizes him to give it a try. He says that his Mom is worried about him but he assures her he is safe and will make her proud.
His sings Stevie Wonder’s “I Wish.” His singing isn’t as strong as his dancing but he can really move. He’s very fluid and generates a lot of excitement. There is an edge to him that is definitely marketable. He messes up at the end but it doesn’t seem to faze him at all.
Johnny is impressed by Brandon’s vocals and thinks that he is very smooth for sixteen (sixteen – yikes!). Johnny figures he could have gotten a lot of girls at sixteen if he could have danced like Brandon.
Carnie thinks Brandon has an adorable face and his dancing freaked her out. She did point out the “funky” ending.
JoJo thinks Brandon would be an easy sell to an audience. “You’re raw right now but you’ve got the triple threat” he says.
Next up is Michelle Livigne from Boca Raton FL. She is another teenager and was her class president two years in a row. She missed her prom to take part in the show but feels it was worth the sacrifice.
She performs “Black Velvet” and sets the stage on fire. She really sparkles and is very polished for her age. A strong dancer/singer, she certainly knows how to move it and has a nice voice.
Johnny thought she was uncomfortable with the song and doesn’t feel it was the right choice for her. He likes her voice quality though, telling her it was great. He advises her to sing what she wants, not what someone tells her too.
Carnie asks, “ Is anyone else getting ‘horny’?“ (Apparently she is). Once she regains her composure, she tells Michelle that she has a great voice but is a little “too sexual.” Sounds like a bit of a mixed message to me.
JoJo agrees that it was the wrong song choice and doesn’t see her as a naughty Christina Aguilera type but thinks she is more the “girl next door.” He wants to watch her again. (I’m sure he does!).
Debbie disagrees, and says she thinks it’s okay to be hot. She and Johnny argue back and forth with Johnny insisting that people want something that’s real. “We’re not casting here,” he says. Michelle thinks she did well and really enjoyed herself.
After the break and before we get to the next performance, Joey tells us again about the prizes – a contract with Johnny Wright, a single to be recorded on Johnny’s label, a year at Debbie’s dance school, luxury accommodations at the “sleek and stylish” W Hotel, and “priceless” career guidance by an unnamed top Hollywood agency.
Our third performer this evening is Todd Evans of North Bellmore, NY. He tells us that he studied the moves on the Mickey Mouse Club and that’s how he learned to sing and dance. He was about to give up but his mother encouraged him to continue. He is psyched.
His song is “Overjoyed, “ another Stevie Wonder tune. He comes out dancing, doing some strange head moves and flailing his arms about. He’s a bit over the top for me. I think he is overcompensating. He has a decent voice but his movement doesn’t seem to coordinate very well with his singing. I don’t like his white socks either!
Johnny says it was a great performance and he likes his vocals and movement. He has questions as to whether or not Todd can be a recording star though.
Carnie thinks Todd has a beautiful, stunning voice and feels that it was a good performance. However she does point out an overabundance of smiling and finger snapping and thinks it was a bit overdone. She tells him that she doesn’t think he has to do that.
JoJo says that when he saw Todd in rehearsal, he wasn’t sure he could sing and was pleasantly surprised when he got out on the stage. He points out the choppy movements and says that he will reserve judgment until he sees him in the second (group) number.1 2 Next-->
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