On Thursday, Robin talked to Reality TV World about her reaction to first-season winner Asia Nitollano deciding not to join the Pussycat Dolls; what fans can expect to see on the show's upcoming second season; how Girlicious differs from the Pussycat Dolls; and how she already has a "genius" idea for Pussycat Dolls' Present's third season.
Reality TV World: So, will viewers see the same amount of vomiting during Girlicious' premiere as we did during Pussycat Dolls Present's first-season debut?
Robin: (laughing) There's some funny things on the second season, I have to say.
We've got a girl who... Something happens, and all I know is I came into rehearsal one day and I'm ready to rehearse and I'm like, "Uh, where's Jenna?" She just wasn't showing up, she wasn't showing up. I was like, "What's going on?" Where's Jenna?" All of a sudden, this door flies open and in she comes in a wheelchair. I'm like, "What the hell!" She comes in in a wheelchair, and she tells me she's okay, that everything's going to be okay. I'm like, "Wait a minute. You're okay, but you're in a wheelchair?! So can you dance in a wheelchair?"
It's really funny, because I think in the out-take episode -- which is like the recap episode -- I think they show us giving her a lap dance (laughing). There were a lot of funny things like that -- I don't want to say [Jenna being in a wheelchair] is funny, she ended up being okay -- but you just never know with these girls! Now what!? There's a lot of drama, let me tell you. We didn't have to say anything to them, they had so much drama, it was like, "Oh my God... I have a headache all the time."
Robin: At this point, I just felt like I don't want to look for another Pussycat Doll. We've got our girls, the Asia thing didn't work out, fine. The girls are great, the group is great.
I have been wanting to start another group. I really have had lots of dreams of starting this group, because I did it with the Pussycat Dolls, I turned it into a very successful group. I wanted to do it again, and I wanted to really show how it's done. The truth is, there's a lot of other shows that try to show what it's like to start a group. But I don't think anybody really sees the process. I want to show that, and I really wanted to start something else to sink my teeth into that I could do everything with -- brand it and develop these girls and really turn them into something that is my own thing, my own style, just like I did with the Pussycat Dolls.
I wanted to call it Girlicious. Girlicious was a name that I've had for a long time that I really love because it's really young and fun but it has a little sexy twist to it because it sounds like delicious.
It just came together. I brought it to [The CW]. I was like, "Instead of searching for a new doll, I want to make a new group." They were like, "We love it! Go for it!"
Reality TV World: What was your reaction when you learned Asia wouldn't be joining the Pussycat Dolls? Did you regret your decision to choose her as the show's winner?
Robin: Never regret, never a second of doubt or regret did I have. I really believed in her and I felt like she was the right decision because she was the best girl on the season. To me she was the best -- she was the best performer all around -- and that's what I was looking for.
I didn't want it to be this fake thing where... Look, I knew she was a tough girl. She's a New York kind-of street girl. I knew that she was very opinionated about what she wanted. I knew all that. But I did not want to fake-out the audience and bring someone in that... The whole time I was saying I was looking for the best performer. Well, she was the best performer in the end, hands down. So I had to pick her.
So then when it didn't work out, I would never go back on anything. I loved [the other two finalists, Chelsea Korka and Melissa Reyes] but did I think they were exactly right for the Pussycat Dolls? No. I felt like Asia was. Then when she decided she wanted to do her own thing, it was a mutual thing. It was fine. I was cool with for her to go and do that. She knows I'm there for her, she knows anything she ever needs or any help she ever needs, I'm always there for her because she was great.
Reality TV World: How is Girlicious doing to be different from the Pussycat Dolls?
Robin: Number one there's three [girls in Girlicious]. That starts off right away, very different. Number two, [Girlicious] is more sort of in this young, fresh... like urban-pop. But a little bit more on the urban side in the way that if you think of TLC or Ciara. That kind of vibe.
They're super-funky. I have them dress totally different, they're not wearing high heels -- they're in like high-top tennis shoes and like these crazy striped socks. They're really cute. They're like going to the gym, but maybe soccer style (laughing). It's a great look. It a look that, young girls are going to be like, "I want to look like that." They have a very urban kind of vibe.
I won't tell you what they're representing yet because... Well, I can tell you. Through the show, you'll see different styles and different looks. One girl sort of represents more of a punk rock style... Like each girl has a different kind of style. It's not even necessarily like exactly who she is, it's kind of like what it sort of developed into. Like, "Wow! This look really looks good on you, and this one looks good on you."
You'll see. It's hard for me to say because I don't want to give it away...
Robin: Well first of all, I look for girls that are very confident in who they are and what they're there for. Girls who come in with great self esteem and self confidence and isn't afraid to say, "Look. I may not be the best. I may not be exactly what you're looking for. But I'm here to prove that I can be it." Then she's got that confidence to really work it.
I look for girls like that who are more on the raw side that I can develop. I'm not looking for that has-to-be-perfect everywhere thing -- the perfect dancer with the perfect face and the perfect body. I'm looking for a girl to develop, because that's what I love to do -- That's what I'm best at. And a girl who's got it on the inside, who hopefully doesn't get into too much trouble (laughing) and wants to work really hard.
Obviously I look for a girl who's got a powerful voice. I'm all about that, but maybe she's also going to be able to work on it and make it even better if it's not there in the beginning. And a girl who really can dance her booty off, but maybe she's not going to be there when I first get to her -- and then the more I work with her -- all of a sudden there it is.
Reality TV World: Just to follow-up on that, which criteria is more important to you -- being a good dancer or being a good singer? Did that change after as the season went on?
Robin: Yeah, because what changes for me is I'm very... One week I'm like, "Oh my God! She's great for the group!" And then the next week I'm like onto the next one, like, "Wait she's great for the group! Now she's great! She's a great singer! She's a great dancer!" I go back and forth honestly. It's hard for me, because there's a reason why I picked these 15. These 15 were -- to me -- they all had something to offer. Some were better singers, some were better dancers, some are all-around.
Everyone has something, I just have to sort of pick it apart and say, "Well, I know this girl may not be either the best singer or the best dancer, but I know that in the end she's going to be able to get good."
But it's hard to say which one is more important because this is a real singing, dancing group. It's for real -- these girls sing and dance. They are incredible. I would start this group hands down without a reality show. I'm so proud of them I cannot even tell you. I love them so much. They're so great!
Reality TV World: What type of dynamic did you see when the contestants were living together? Did the fact that there were three positions available instead of just one reduce the intensity of the competition compared to last season?
Robin: They're so competitive, it's unbelievable. They came into this competition going, "I'm the best. I'm the best, and I'm going to win this. You're not going to win it, I'm going to win it." (laughing) They were CRAZY with each other. I was like, "Guys, chill out!" They are so dramatic, they just wanted it so bad.
When you have the show performances each week when at the end I start eliminating, you really see that in their faces. They break down and cry for a reason, because they're like, "I want this. I want to be involved in the world of the Pussycat Dolls. I want to be involved with Robin Antin and Jimmy Iovine and Ron Fair." They want it so bad, and they know this is a chance that is the chance of a lifetime.
So they are very competitive -- extremely. But they're young girls, and they know what they're getting involved in.
Reality TV World: I know you don't want to go into too much detail, but could you describe some of the challenges the Girlicious contestants will be competing in during the show?
Robin: There's a lot of different things. There's a national anthem challenge where we take them to a baseball game and they have to sing. I put them in different groups, and they all have to compete to be the best group singing the national anthem, which is hard because it's a hard song to sing -- you've got to have great harmonies, you've got to blend, you've got to vibe together, you've got to work together as a group.
I always wanted to see that. Each week it was about groups, and how are you going to work with this group. Some of the girls didn't get along, and I put them in groups and they'd be pissed! I'd be like, "You better work it out, because you may end up in a group with this girl!"
Reality TV World: So the different groups change on a weekly basis?
Robin: Never the same group. They get so nervous, like, "Please don't put me in a group with her!" I'm like, "You're in the group with her." (laughing) I was evil! We also have some celebrity guest judges.
Reality TV World: Yeah, that was my next question.
Robin: We have Nelly Furtado. We have a member of N Sync -- I can't say who -- who shows up and basically tells them, "Look! You want to be in a group? You better learn to be in a group. Because to be in a group is not easy. These are going to be your sisters. You've got to love them, you've got to respect them." It was all about respect. It was really cool. But we've got some great challenges, you'll love it!
Reality TV World: You already touched on this, but would you say the three girls you chose have a good chemistry with each other or did you pick three girls who each have their own different contributions? Was it a little of both?
Robin: I'm going to say both. In the end, I felt like they did have a great chemistry, and even if I felt like there was any tension at all, I felt like I knew that if I put everything into it -- my heart and soul -- and taught them about letting go of the bullshit, letting go of the stuff that didn't matter and knowing what's ahead of you. I knew that I could help them whatever if there was any drama, so I wasn't worried about that.
In the end, it was about the talent. It really was. Just the vibe and the look, they just worked good. They worked it right!
Reality TV World: As the Pussycat Dolls founder, do you have the final decision of which three girls make Girlicious -- or is it a joint decision with fellow judges Ron Fair and rapper Lil' Kim?
Robin: I'm very inspired by what Lil' Kim has to say because she comes from that world, she's been in it for a long time. We had our times with our differences, where she'd be like, "I like this girl!" I'd be like, "Well I don't know about her."
I really knew what I wanted and Ron was very cool with me because in the end it is really me and Ron really working together because Kim is just there to kind of give her expertise and opinions and all that -- but not necessarily going to be working with the girls whereas me and Ron, we're a team.
So Ron would usually say, "Robin, in the end it's up to you. But I'm telling you right now this is how I feel." I had to take that to heart and I really had to listen to him because Ron knows what he's doing. He's a vocal master!
Reality TV World: What are you going to do if one of this season's three winners does the same thing as Asia? Did you ever have that concern?
Robin: Yeah, that was the first speech... I've actually given them that speech about a million times. Like, "You might think it's easy to go do this and that and have these sort of high hopes and dreams that any second you're going to turn around and try to go off and be solo. I have to say being in a group is a great thing and you're going to learn so much. So I hope [going solo] is not where your head is going. I'm not telling you what to do. I'm not telling you that you have to be that way, but I hope that you really are in this for all the right reasons and that you really want this -- not you want this because you want to be a solo artist... You want this because you want to be in a group."
So far, they are very much about being there to be in a group and supportive of each other. It's amazing -- it really is amazing to see how much they respect each other. When we're in the studio recording the album, they like cheer each other on, like, "Yeah! That was so good!" And it's like, "Oh my God! How great is that!"
Reality TV World: Okay, so based on that the three girls you choose are already in the studio working together. How's it going so far?
Robin: It's going great! It was really fun [Wednesday] night too because we were in the studio, and all of a sudden out of no where [Pussycat Dolls member Nicole Scherzinger] shows up because she's coming in because we're also working on Pussycat Dolls' album at the same time. Nicole shows up, and our girls just went nuts! Our girls went like, "Oh my God!" Of course, they're Pussycat Dolls' biggest fans. Nicole walks in the studio, and it's just so cute because it was just sort of this like... They've seen each other, but they haven't seen each other a lot because we've had Pussycat Dolls on the road doing stuff. They've been busy. So then the girls sang for Nicole and Nicole was like, "Oh my God!" It was really cute.
Reality TV World: You've already touched upon how you've been planning Girlicious for a while now. Are you planning to become "the Lou Pearlman" of girl bands?
Robin: I do. I really do. I have another genius idea if we do Season 3.
Reality TV World: Can you elaborate a little more on that?
Robin: Ummm... No not really because it's not really flushed out. But I'm telling you it's something really good and I promise it will be something just a little bit different. I'm never going to duplicate what I do. But it's really, really good. I think everybody will love it!
Reality TV World: Was there anything else you wanted to add?
Robin: I just wanted to add that -- because I have all these other things obviously going on -- we have the Pussycat Dolls Lounge in Las Vegas, and on February 16 I have Paris Hilton performing at the Pussycat Dolls Lounge. Its' her birthday and she's performing for the first time really. She's going to be singing, and it's really exciting to have Paris doing it. So that's a big thing for us. I'm just keeping busy!
(Photo credit The CW)
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