December 2, 2008

Pussycat Dolls

The Pussycat Dolls are an American pop girl group, and dance ensemble founded by choreographer Robin Antin in 1995. The group began as a burlesque troupe based in Los Angeles, before being "re-cast" as a music group in 2003, comprising leader Nicole Scherzinger, Melody Thornton, Ashley Roberts, Jessica Sutta, Kimberly Wyatt, and Carmit Bachar who left the group in March 2008. The Pussycat Doll brand have also diversified into Reality TV programs, a Las Vegas act and venue, and other ventures overseen by Antin and her partners. The music group released their first single in 2004, and have gone on to international commercial success. They recently released their second studio album Doll Domination on September 23, 2008.

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History

Burlesque

1995-2003

Robin Antin began exploring the idea of a modern burlesque troupe in 1993 with her friend Christina Applegate.[1][2] The dance troupe's first performance was in 1995. During this period, they performed with numerous guest vocalists, with a repertoire of 1950s and 1960s pop standards while dressed in lingerie or old-fashioned pin-up costumes. They secured a Thursday night residency at Los Angeles nightclub The Viper Room, where they stayed from 1995 - 2001. The troupe received wider press coverage in June 1999, when Playboy ran a Pussycat Dolls pictorial, featuring at least seven contemporary members. Three years later, the Dolls moved to The Roxy. The group became internationally popular and was featured in magazines, television specials for MTV and VH1, ad campaigns, and movies. Some of the Pussycat Dolls appeared in the 2002 film Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, dancing to "The Pink Panther Theme". They were also featured in Pink's "Trouble" music video

Along with Applegate, Christina Aguilera, and Carmen Electra (who was the group's lead performer for many of their shows) the troupe was featured in a Maxim shoot in 2002,[3] which increased public interest in them. Following this wider popularity, and with the involvement of music producers Jimmy Iovine and Ron Fair, the Pussycat Dolls were re-cast, transformed into a pop recording group, and became employees of Iovine's label Interscope Records. The only troupe members who remained after the re-casting process was Carmit Bachar, Cyia Batten, Kasey Campbell, Ashley Roberts, Jessica Sutta, & Kimberly Wyatt. Electra, when asked about her lack of involvement with the group's evolution into a pop group, said: "I was part of the Dolls for over two years and did every show with them... but financially, I couldn't become part of their new music project... It was a sacrifice I couldn't make."[4] She later made a cameo appearance in the music video for "Don't Cha". In late 2003, Electra formed another burlesque troupe called The Bombshell Babies, which included ex-Dolls Staci Flood and Nadine Ellis, and later adding ex-Doll Kasey Campbell.

2005–present

In parallel to Pussycat Dolls as a recording act, in April 2005 a resident live show commenced at the "Pussycat Dolls Lounge" adjacent to Pure Nightclub in Caesars Palace on the Las Vegas Strip. This show contains "cast members" who continue the burlesque-style show which began in Los Angeles in 1995. At least one early member of the L.A. dance troupe, Rachel Sterling, made the move to the Las Vegas show.[5] The cast includes vocalist Jamie Preston,[6] Cindy,[6] Hayley,[6] Amanda Nowak, [6]Ashley Gates,[6]Colby,[7] Bridgy,[7] and Jamie Ruiz from Pussycat Dolls Present: Girlicious also joined the group.[7] Former dolls include Mallory,[8] Jen,[8] Loreli,[8] Victoria,[8] Rosa,[8] Marcea,[8] Rita,[8] Jessica Lea,[9] Rachel Sterling,[9] Laura Diane,[9] Laurel,[6] and Alicia[6] between others. The venue is operated by Pure Management Group, Robin Antin has some involvement, but it is unclear whether Interscope also has a financial interest. The Pussycat Dolls recording group have made occasional appearances. In February 2007, Caesars Palace opened the Pussycat Dolls Casino located across from the Pussycat Dolls Lounge. It features "Dolls-style" decor and attire for the gaming staff, waitresses and dancers.

Recording group

2005-2007: PCD

In 2003, Nicole Scherzinger, a former member of Popstars winners Eden's Crush, became the group's lead singer. The Pussycat Dolls' musical line-up consisted of Nicole Scherzinger, Carmit Bachar, Kimberly Wyatt, Ashley Roberts, Jessica Sutta, Melody Thornton and Kaya Jones (Kaya later left the group after recording and appearing in both "Sway", and "Don't Cha" music videos). By the time the recording group were launched, their stage costumes were developed to bear various branding and "PCD" logos, which preceded the sales of a branded clothing range and other merchandise (via websites and at performances). Their repertoire was expanded to include new Pop/R&B songs, with hit producers and guest rappers, while still retaining some of the pop standards from their earlier incarnation. They appeared in two soundtracks in 2004 for the films, Shark Tale and Shall We Dance? The newly formed recording group's first single was "Sway" from Shall We Dance?, with a music video inspired by the movie.

On September 13, 2005, they released their debut album, PCD, debuting at number five on the Billboard 200.[10] Their first single, "Don't Cha" was a hit, reaching number one in multiple countries including UK, Australia and Canada and peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100.[10] The song was originally a cover of the Tori Alamaze single featuring rapper Busta Rhymes. The group won a Billboard Music Award for "Don't Cha" (Ralphi Rosario mix) as Hot Dance Music/Club Play Single of the Year.

The album spawned six more singles. The ballad "Stickwitu" was another top five in the U.S.,[10] selling over three million digital downloads and CDs worldwide.[citation needed] The song was the group's second UK number 1 hit.[11] It was later nominated for a Grammy for Best Pop Performance By a Duo or Group. Their third single, "Beep", which featured rapper will.i.am, did not perform as successfully as the previous two singles but still went to number one internationally.[12] A subsequent single, "Buttons" (with rapper Snoop Dogg) reached number three on the UK singles chart;[12] the next single, "I Don't Need a Man" was not as successful, although it reached the top 10 in Australia,[13] Ireland,[13] New Zealand[13] and UK.[13] The group's sixth single from the album was "Wait a Minute" featuring Timbaland released in the U.S. in August 2006, becoming a top 40 hit worldwide.[10]

In 2006, San Francisco-based company Doppelganger (along with Interscope Records) launched the PCD Music Lounge, an interactive website. In late 2006, the Pussycat Dolls were also featured in a commercial for Cingular Wireless along with Ludacris and KoRn. The group was selected to perform for the introduction for ABC's coverage of the NBA.[14] In 2007, a version of "Right Now" was used as a theme song for the NBA, though the lyrics had been altered.

An official megamix of all the singles from PCD has been released.[15]

On March 8, 2008, Carmit Bachar left the group, confirming the news by posting a blog on the group's official website.[16] The Pussycat Dolls are said to be continuing as a five-piece. They performed for US troops in Kuwait for Operation Myspace.[17] They sang all of their singles. In the absence of Bachar, her vocal parts are now performed mostly by Jessica Sutta, some of them by Wyatt or Roberts.

2008-present: Doll Domination

After a brief break, the dolls returned in May 2008 with the new single "When I Grow Up" - the first release from their second album, with Timbaland serving as executive producer of the album.[18]

The song was performed live for the first time on May 20, on Jimmy Kimmel Live[19][20] and again at the MTV Movie Awards on June 1.[21] They also performed the song at the first results show of the 2008 season of So You Think You Can Dance. The song was released on May 27 2008.[22] The song charted in the top 40 in most countries. The song charted at number nine on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and number one on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play. The song charted at number six on the European Singles Chart. Other promotions include hosting the 2008 Maxim Hot 100 on VH1 on the position number seventeen.[23]

The second studio album from the Pussycat Dolls was scheduled for release worldwide on September 20 2008, and in the U.S. on September 23,[24] with tracks produced by Dr. Dre, Timbaland, The Clutch, Sean Garrett, Quiz & Larossi, New Kids On The Block, Scott Storch, Darkchild, Fernando Garibay, Ryan Tedder, Mark Taylor, Taio Cruz,[25] and others.[26] Two other confirmed tracks are "Bottle Pop" and "Away" which were written and produced by Fernando Garibay.[27]

They performed their hit singles "Buttons" and "When I Grow Up" at the MTV Asia Awards 2008 in Genting Highlands, Malaysia and performed in Singapore for Singfest 2008, as part of a line-up of international music acts. They performed the singles "Buttons", "Don't Cha", and "When I Grow Up", including a special solo dance segment "Show Me What You Got".

The second single to be released from Doll Domination was I Hate This Part. The single was originally going to be Whatcha Think About That but was soon scrapped for a worldwide release due to "I Hate This Part" gaining more attention, instead "Whatcha Think About That" was only released on radio in the U.S but has since charted at number 70 on the Billboard Pop 100 and number 66 on the Canadian Hot 100. "I Hate This Part" was released in October and November. The song has yet to be released physically in most countries but has charted in the Top 40. The song first charted in Australia when it debuted at number 45 but has since peaked at number 10.[28] In the U.S. the song is still climbing the U.S. Billboard Pop 100 and is currently at number 67.[29] The song also debuted at number 96 on the European Hot 100 Singles Chart.[30]


The Pussycat Dolls are confirmed to appear as a guest act for the Royal Variety Performance 2008, which will be staged at the London Palladium on Thursday 11th December. The Royal Variety Performance is a gala event held annually at a major British theatre, to raise money for the Entertainment Artistes Benevolent Fund. The show is performed in the presence of senior members of the Royal family and it is considered a great honour to be invited to take part. [31]

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Discography

Solo careers

From 2005-2007, Scherzinger prepared her debut solo album Her Name Is Nicole, as of March 2008 there is no confirmed release date for the album. Between July and December 2007 she released four solo singles. Each of these failed to make any impact on the U.S. charts, but "Baby Love" charted well in Europe and Brazil. Scherzinger has also appeared as a guest vocalist on other artists' recordings (see Nicole Scherzinger discography).

In 2007, Melody Thornton appeared on rapper Jibbs third single "Go Too Far". While Thornton is continuing to perform the backgrounds of the Pussycat Dolls, she has revealed that she will be putting out another album called The Beginning.

Ashley Roberts had a supporting role in the dance drama film Make It Happen which was released in 2008.

Kimberly Wyatt appeared on the VH1 reality television show Celebracadabra.

Sutta has also appeared on tracks from Paul Van Dyk ("White Lies" 2007)The track has been a success on the American dance charts, peaking at #3 on Billboard's Hot Dance Airplay chart in August 2007, becoming Paul Van Dyk's highest charting single. and Dave Aude ("Make It Last" 2007).

On March 28, 2008, Carmit Bachar talked to E! about her solo album planned for release in 2009. Her new single called "Carmasutra" was released on her Myspace.

Touring

In 2006, the Pussycat Dolls performed live shows in North America supporting the Black Eyed Peas. As headliners they toured the UK, Europe, Philippines and Malaysia.

On the date August 8, 2006, after a Dolls concert in Kuala Lumpur, their concert promoter, Absolute Entertainment, was charged with flouting Malaysian decency laws. The Malay Mail quoted Culture Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Mohamad Arif Abdul Rahman as saying: "I believe the way the Pussycat Dolls behaved onstage amounted to gross indecency". The charge was settled by paying a fine of RM5000 (US$1358).[32]

From November 2006 to January 2007, the Pussycat Dolls embarked on their European Tour with Rihanna as the opening act.[33] On February 4 2007, the Pussycat Dolls performed at the Manchester Evening News Arena in a concert that was recorded and later streamed via MSN Music.

The Pussycat Dolls also toured North America as a support act for Christina Aguilera's Back to Basics Tour, along with Danity Kane and NLT.[34] They also performed at the Cokelive Festival, In Bucharest, Romania and at the UK leg of Live Earth in Wembley Stadium, London.[35]

The Pussycat Dolls announced that in January 2009 they will embark on a world tour in support of their album.[36][37] In an interview with Capital Radio,[38] Ne-Yo revealed he will be touring with the group. Lady GaGa will also be a support act. The tour will begin 18 January at Aberdeen Exhibition Centre in Scotland, UK. She also stated that the group were already in rehearsals for the tour.

The group will be the opening act for Britney Spears's tour The Circus Starring: Britney Spears.[39]

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Awards

Other endeavours

Television series

In April 2006, The New York Times reported that Interscope executives were working to produce their own reality TV series, overseen by the producers of America's Next Top Model and McG, the director of the Charlie's Angels films. The show, entitled Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search for the Next Doll would search for a new member for the recording group.[40] The new member would sing on the next album and tour with the group. The show premiered on The CW, on March 6, 2007. It premiered in Australia and the UK on April 1. The season finale announced the winner of the show to be Asia Nitollano. It was announced in July that Asia Nitollano had "decided to pursue a solo career" instead. Antin and Ron Fair selected finalist Chelsea Korka to join a London-based spin-off group called the Paradiso Girls.

The second season of the show commenced broadcast on February 18, 2008, titled Pussycat Dolls Present: Girlicious. Unlike the previous series which tried to find a new member to join the Dolls, the second series auditioned women to become part of a new three member all-female group, Girlicious. However, on the show's finale, it was revealed that Girlicious would be a quartet.[41][42]

Members of the recording group appeared on both seasons of the Pussycat Dolls Present: in a video message shown to the contestants each week.

As of February 2008, as part of the promotion for the TV series, The CW have sponsored Stardoll.com, a virtual paperdoll website, to include images of the members of the PCD recording group for interactive "Dress-Up" in PCD logo clothes. This site is aimed at girls aged seven to seventeen.[43]

The CW confirmed that the series would not return for a third season and has been cancelled due to low ratings.

Computer games

The Pussycat Dolls had re-recorded "Don't Cha" in Simlish for inclusion in the computer game The Sims 2 Pets.[44] They also appeared in character form in the computer game Asphalt 2: Urban GT in November 2006.

IGN have reported rumours of a Pussycat Dolls video game for the computer, which involves the player taking control of their chosen Doll and guiding them through love, life and dating in an RPG reminiscent of the The Sims.

Merchandise

In 2006, Interscope engaged the California company BandMerch to distribute a range of merchandise, including clothing and other items, linked through the group's official website.

In a merchandising agreement with Interscope in 2006, toy manufacturer Hasbro had plans for a line of dolls modelled after the Pussycat Dolls, and reportedly aimed at six to nine-year-olds. The groups Dads and Daughters and Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood successfully lobbied the company to scrap the plan because they felt that the Pussycat Dolls would have been inappropriate for children, due to the overtly sexual nature of the Pussycat Dolls' songs, videos and live shows.[45]

They also negotiated a deal with Estée Lauder for a Pussycat Dolls line of cosmetics under the Stila brand.[46]

In 2006 vanHaren shoes launched a "Pussycat Dolls Star Collection" in the Netherlands.[47]

In 2008 it was reported that Antin and the La Senza Corporation of Canada were producing a line of Burlesque/Pussycat Dolls-styled lingerie called "Shhh...by Robin Antin".[48][49]

Former members

Burlesque group

Recording group

  • Carmit Bachar (2003-2008) (also in Burlesque period)
  • Cyia Batten (2003-2005) (also in Burlesque period) (appears in "Sway" music video)
  • Kasey Campbell (2003-2005) (also in Burlesque period) (appears in "Sway" music video)
  • Kaya Jones[6] (2003-2004)(joined along with Nicole and Melody) (vocals in "We Went as Far as We Felt Like Going", "Sway", Don't Cha, & "Flirt" on PCD[50].) (appears in "Sway" music video as a main member and Don't Cha music video as a guest member)
  • Asia Nitollano (2007) (left before making any recordings)
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Source: Wikipedia

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