Surviving Members Will Look for New Member on UPN Reality Show
Two years after the tragic death of band member, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, the surviving members of the group, TLC, are looking to move forward, starting with finding a new third to their now defunct group.
Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, 34, and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas, 33, have teamed up with UPN for a reality series aimed at resurrecting the famous 1990s R&B trio. “R U the Girl with T-Boz and Chilli” will be an eight-episode series in which the two will scour the states to find the one lady who will join the duo for a concert and recording session.
"We want to find someone with the right chemistry and magic to work with us," Watkins and Thomas said in a statement. "We have been blessed with great success, and this is a chance for our fans to join us as we give someone a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fulfill their dream."
Despite the fact that contestants are expected to be run through a series of rigorous challenges, there is no guarantee the winner will become a permanent fixture of the group.
It seems all the decisions in making the show a reality have been hard ones.
"It’s a very emotional story," UPN entertainment president Dawn Ostroff said. "I think our viewers, which are the 18- to 34-year-old group, have a very strong connection to TLC. T-Boz and Chilli’s emotional journey over the past two years, since Left Eye died, has been very public. Trying to get past that and (take the next step) has been on their minds, and doing it in a public way, including their audience and their very devoted fans (in the process), made so much sense to us."
The idea of the reality series still remains questionable in the eyes of many fans who remember the veracity of the two members in their proclamation of not replacing friend and band mate, Lopes, in 2002 after her fatal car accident in Honduras.
In an interview on CNN’s "TalkBack Live," days after the death, Watkins and Thomas proclaimed: “Through us, people will always remember Lisa. We’ll always be a group. It doesn’t stop… and she’ll never be replaced."
Melissa Eldridge, a lifelong fan of the group, shares her comments on the proposed reality show.
“It seems a little hypocritical to me that they would taint the group’s legacy like that after promising not to replace Left Eye. They might be thinking with their pockets rather than their heads,” she said.
TLC, founded in Atlanta in 1991, during its peak years experienced much success selling over 33 million records worldwide, gaining four Grammy’s and nine Top 10 singles, including “Waterfalls,” “No Scrubs,” and “Creep.”
Since the death of Left Eye the group has been on a prolonged hiatus after their last album, 3D, failed to produce the record numbers expected.
“I bet they’re looking for a way to stay around,” says Aisha Louis, 21, of Austin Texas. “The reality show will keep people looking for them and it’ll keep them current while they try to rebuild their careers.”
Casting for “R U the Girl with T-Boz and Chilli” is slated to begin shortly but UPN has not decided whether the show will premier mid-season or in the summer.