Asia Nitollano crowned The CW's 'Pussycat Dolls Presents' winner
By Christopher Rocchio and Steve Rogers, 04/26/2007
Asia Nitollano is the cat's meow, as the 18-year-old former New York Knicks dancer from Mt. Vernon, NY was crowned the newest member of the Pussycat Dolls during Tuesday night's finale of The CW's Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search for the Next Doll.
"I've watched [the Pussycat Dolls] on TV, and just to actually be up there with them -- they're talented, beautiful people -- I feel like this is the group for me," said Nitollano when she was revealed as the winner. "I'm just happy that I'm not going to be one of those people who regret anything. I went after my dream no matter what."
Although Pussycat Dolls Presentofficially featured a three-judge panel, the final decision to choose Nitollano as the newest member of the Pussycat Dolls appeared to be made primarily by Robin Antin, the group's founder and choreographer. Nitollano beat out fellow finalists Chelsea Korka, a 20-year-old waitress, singer and dancer from Cooper City, FL, and Melissa Reyes, an 18-year-old performer from Cypress, CA, during the finale.
"You girls have all come such a long way," said Antin prior to revealing the winner. "You've learned so much here, and I truly believe that you have all found your inner Doll. I look at you girls, and honestly, I could start a girl group right here, with these three right now. You all look like the true meaning of a Pussycat Doll."
Prior to Nitollano's selection, the three finalists performed "Lady Marmalade" as a trio and also sang and danced individually. Korka sang "Feeling Good." Antin thought she "transformed, like a chameleon;" fellow judge Ron Fair, chairman of Geffen Records, thought he was "not sure from a vocal performance point-of-view if it was as good as I hoped it would be" but still "liked it;" while third judge Lil' Kim said the performance "put me in the mood." Reyes sang "Stickwitu." Antin commented the performance "just made my job a lot harder" because she thought Reyes "nailed it;" Fair noticed Reyes was "relaxed in the song;" and Lil' Kim "absolutely loved that performance."
However it was Nitollano who stole the finale, as she belted out the Pussycat Dolls' "I Don't Want a Man." Antin called her "such an incredible performer and it makes you look like a star;" while Fair said Reyes had a "great commanding presence," was a "beautiful girl, great dancer," and added the "tone sounded really good" and he "thought she really showed a lot of improvements." Following the judges' deliberations, a tearful Antin revealed Nitollano was the winner because "overall," she was looking for "a true performer who can bring stardom to that stage."
"I'm just taking it in and I'm just so blessed and I just can't wait to see my mom and my daughter because my mom has been there for me through everything," said Nitollano, a teenage single mother. "And just my daughter's gonna know, your mommy's a freakin' singer and she's a performer and she did it all for you. I can't believe it's all going to start right now. It's crazy!"
It literally did start right then and there for Nitollano, who immediately performed "Don't Cha" alongside her new band mates.
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