If you didn’t know TLC is the bestselling girl group of all time, T-Boz & Chilli will let you know it. It’s only two years since the death of Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, but that’s an eon in the pop world, especially among girl groups and boy bands. T-Boz and Chilli join INXS in going the televised audition route to find a bandmate, and the two femme singers have a cuteness factor on their side the Aussies don’t, not to mention the visceral appeal of the girl contestants potentially bonding or getting into catfights.
Producers the Jay & Tony Show have captured the personable appeal of T-Boz and Chilli, following them as they take limo rides around New York to homes and workplaces of the four Gotham semifinalists competing for Left Eye’s spot. (Cameras also capture them shopping for their kids and eating soul food.) Duo shows no diva tendencies; this is the warm and fuzzy side of the music business.
Their celebrity — beyond all those millions of records sold — takes a back seat to presenting T&C as talent scouts, two attractive, soft-spoken women looking for a dancing singer, capable of rapping, but not too tall. Winner is not required to have a name beginning with the letter L.
The duo delivers news to each contestant that she has been selected to audition; the bigger the reaction, the happier the stars are. Semifinalists, each of whom tells her story, are given songs ranging from Etta James’ “At Last” to Tweet’s “Ooh,” and T-Boz and Chilli get to play Randy Jackson, delivering soft criticism that’s easy to accept.
Low-key tone of the show is a mystery — this should be a lot more fun than the pilot suggests it is or will be. Maybe it’s just the jaded nature of Gothamites, and the auditions in other cities will spark a bit more fire in the singers.
Three of the New York contestants will continue the audition process in Atlanta. T-Boz and Chilli will visit Miami, L.A. and Atlanta to round up the rest of the contestants; UPN is being cagey about how many singers make it to the semifinal round. The winner isn’t playing for the sort of prize other shows dole out: The new “L” will record a single with T-Boz and Chilli.