Timothy White/E!
Ken Tucker
January 20, 2013 AT 12:00 PM EST

Wedged between two new episodes of Kourtney and Kim Take Miami, Chasing the Saturdays is an E! channel reality show about a hit English-Irish girl-group trying to make it in America. The premiere edition on Sunday night did a decent job of establishing these women’s personalities if not exactly showcasing their music, even as it suggested they’ve got a ways to go before they can reach the exalted heights of fame that the Kardashians have achieved.

The Saturdays, who’ve had a string of pop hits overseas, were shown arriving on these shores — specifically the shores of Santa Monica: They were immediately ensconced in a posh apartment house in Los Angeles, where they spent half of their first show sobbing and shrieking about small closets and stiff-backed sofas.

In performance (it was filmed to look as though their U.S. stage debut took place somewhere in the vicinity of the most recent of MTV’s VMAs), the Saturdays sounded like a cross between the Spice Girls and approximately 487 random auditioners for American Idol. Their harmonies are fine; their stage wiggling was charmingly sloppy; the songs sounded not so much pre-fab as flabby. But this last is an opinion based solely on the mere snippets that were played this night, so the Saturdays’ music might be better than what I described. After all, so much was made of the support Perez Hilton has given the group — how could they be bad?

I have a feeling I’d rather listen to a bunch of Saturdays singles than watch another episode of Chasing the Saturdays, especially if it means seeing the tail end, so to speak, of Kourtney and Kim, and the Kardashian commercials during Chasing. However, if I was to become a steady viewer despite those obstacles, it’s likely I’d be most fond of Mollie, who has an easy smile and the distinction of having been criticized by Sharon Osbourne on the British X Factor for dressing “inappropriately.” Anyone too vulgar for Sharon is fine by me.

Twitter: @kentucker

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