Thursday, September 04, 2008

The truth of reality TV shows (How we put together the German superstar girl band 'No Angels')

I've recently started a MySpace page, only because someone else was going around pretending to be me on MySpace. So now I have my own really bad MySpace page as I have no idea how to make it look nice (anyone wants to help spice it up a bit?)

Anyhow, it's a nice tool for catching up again with people from 'my old life'. People like the 'No Angels' girls. This was the band that we put together on the first Popstars series in Germany in 2000/2001.

So, let me tell how they were chosen.... At the end of all the auditions, the jury and the production team gets together and discusses their points of view. Throughout the series there had been people who would have been booted off by the judges, but the production team demanded that they stayed on as they made 'good television' for whatever reason (being funny, being overly emotional, etc.) But, at the end of the series, it was all about who would make the best band.

We (Rainer Moslener& I as part of the jury, the record label & the production company/future management company) shuffled around with photographs of the girls and there were several possible routes to take. The record company and some of the people in production were leaning towards a very 'safe' formula. They simply wanted the prettiest 'girly-girls' to form a band. I disagreed. Passionately!

My very first choice for the band was Lucy, who is everything but a pretty 'girly-girl'. She is brash, she is wild, she's 'in ya face' and she is an extremely hard working woman. I was convinced that she would set the pace for the band & that she would give it a feel all of its own.

Lucky enough, Rainer backed me up. But we were pretty much on our own on this one. We also both strongly believed in Nadja, even though we realized that her voice was not that well suited for straight-forward pop music. It is almost 'too soulful' for that. Still, her voice had been able to bring us all to tears before, so for us she was a definite 'yes!' The fact that she was a struggling single mother made us even more determined to give her a chance.

There was one girl (Called Curley, if I remembered right?) who I had really wanted in the band. And guess why we didn't pick her? Was it lack of talent or charisma? No. We didn't pick her because she was too tall. It was an awful reason for someone to miss this chance of a lifetime and she deserved that chance, for sure. But next to the girls that we had already chosen, she looked weird. It is something that none of us normally think about, but when you put a boy of girl band together, they have to look 'right' when you put them all next to each other & having one person being much taller just looks 'wrong'. It really does.

So we couldn't have her in the band. And it broke my heart to tell her that. I never actually had the guts to tell her the real reason why she wasn't picked. It was just such a crap reason for losing out on a chance like this.

One other girl (who did make it into the band), almost did not get picked because she used to pull weird faces whenever the camera was pointed at her. She would scrunge her nose up and it just made her look all 'piggy'. Still, Rainer and I argued that this was something that was easy to work on and we made sure she got into the band after all.

One of the girls was picked only because the was a 'steady worker'. Someone to complete the overall picture (5 looked nicer as a line-up than 4, we thought)

And that was that.

What I am trying to explain with this is the randomness of these processes. It could have gone so many different ways and so many line-ups were possible.

I did feel very hurt when I saw the girls back months after we had formed the band. Rainer and I had been the people who had battled for this particular line-up, but we were bad-mouthed a lot afterwards by people around the girls. So when I saw the girls at their 'Dome' performance, they were kind of cold towards me & once again my heart broke. I had felt like a mother to these girls and this band and now they acted (almost) like I was a stranger.

Even so, I couldn't contain my pride when I saw the whole stadium chant along to 'Daylight'. With tears running down my face, I knew we had made the right choice and I felt blessed to have been able to impact 5 people's lifes in such a profound way.