TV Article

Rock You Like a Hurricane

On the season premiere of ''Making the Band,'' the five winners hit New Orleans, where they tour Dawn's flood-damaged neighborhood and then party like rock stars

TO BEAD OR NOT TO BEAD The ladies (from left, Aundrea, Dawn, Shannon, Aubrey, and Wanita) threw trinkets from a Mardi Gras parade float
TO BEAD OR NOT TO BEAD The ladies (from left, Aundrea, Dawn, Shannon, Aubrey, and Wanita) threw trinkets from a Mardi Gras parade float

''Making the Band'': Girls gone a little wild

Sweet Honey Bunches of Oats, the band has finally been made! After what felt like an eternity of tears, dance-offs, and injuries, Diddy finally selected the ladies for his yet-unnamed band: Aubrey, Aundrea, Dawn, Shannon, and Wanita. And while I'm a little sad that my favorite competitor from last season, Dominique, got the boot, I can live with the decision knowing that Aubrey and Aundrea (my other faves) were chosen.

The premiere of the new season gave us more insight into who these lucky ladies are and, more specifically, what they're like at home. First up was the tan-tastic Aubrey, who hails from Palm Springs, Calif. Was I the only one surprised by the fact that Aubrey had a boyfriend? The girl doesn't exactly carry herself like she's a kept woman. Oh, and she co-hosts a radio show!

Aundrea is living at home in California with her parents, who must be paying some heavy electricity bills due to this girl's blow-drying action. Good Lord! Her hair almost didn't fit into the frame during her interviews. But as big as her 'do is, Aundrea is still such a cutie. You just wanna pick her up and hug her through the television. But, readers, please don't do that because you'll probably hurt yourself.

Wanita, who hails from Hotlanta, offered some hilarious home videos of herself as a child bustin' some hardcore moves. I certainly did not have that kind of rhythm as a youngster. Although I did once reenact Madonna's dance routine from ''Vogue'' with a couple neighborhood friends, but that's neither here nor there.

Shannon, another California girl, is the only married woman in the group. She and her husband, Ron, have been married for two years! How old is this girl? She also used to be a dancer for the Portland Trailblazers. She's like Making the Band's own little Paula Abdul.

Dawn, originally from New Orleans, has been living in Baltimore since Hurricane Katrina. Her family threw her a little Mardi Gras party to celebrate her triumph.

After the updates, the five ladies traveled to manager Johnny Wright's Orlando compound, which kinda reminded me of Professor X's school in X-Men. But instead of being a training ground for mutants, Wright's home serves as a safe haven for pop stars in the making. Johnny told the girls they were going to be traveling to New Orleans and riding on one of the Mardi Gras floats. This conversation of course made Dawn nervous since she hadn't been back home since the hurricane hit. I thought it seemed a little unsympathetic of Johnny to book them at Mardi Gras when he knew Dawn's home could have been destroyed.

The girls arrived in New Orleans and almost immediately descended upon a local club for an all-important publicity appearance. Once business was done, the girls dropped it like it was hot. Or should I say Aubrey dropped it like it was hot? She inspired her bandmates to go on a little Girls Gone Wild bender, which culminated in my favorite moment, when Aubrey rammed her own eyeball with her drink's straw after too many Jell-O shots. (To be fair, I've heard that Barbra Streisand does Jell-O-shots before performances. It loosens up the phlegm.)

And now comes the time in the TV Watch when I embarrass myself by mentioning how this reality show brought me close to tears. Dawn took the girls on a tour of her now-devastated old neighborhood and her mother's old dancing school. It was incredibly sad to watch Dawn and her sweet mother walk through the school and attempt to comprehend what had happened. Afterward, the girls paid a visit to Dawn's high school and donated $5,000 to the school's recovery effort, which made the principal misty-eyed. Who says Diddy isn't a good role model?

The girls capped off the episode with a stint as bead tossers on a Mardi Gras float. I kept checking to see if they were riding by the old Real World house, but I didn't see it. Secretly, I hope that David (''Come On, Be My Baby Tonight'') and Mormon Julie are still living there. A guy can dream.

What do you think? Did you like getting to know the girls better, or would you have preferred more music — or more infighting? And was the segue from hurricane damage to bead tossing a little jarring?

Originally posted Jun 15, 2006