On Tuesday night’s finale* of Chasing Destiny, Kelly Rowland selected the final five members of her girl group, whom she’ll now try to mold into stars. What really are their chances?
After the first episode, Chasing Destiny turned out to be a drama-free bore as expected, but as a girl-group fan, the concept was enough to pull me in. Kelly’s chosen ones are all young and all have readymade tween girl group names—Shyann, Gabby, Ashly, Kristal, Brienna. Kelly wants to make them huge. There’s only a slim chance that will happen. While certainly they won’t be Destiny’s Child, there’s room for another Danity Kane or Fifth Harmony in the mix.
Rowland isn’t a music executive overlord like Diddy (who had success with Danity Kane) or Simon Cowell (One Direction), a quality often essential to managing conflicting personalities in a group. It’s no coincidence that successful girl groups in recent history have been largely manufactured and managed by men (music managers Bob and Chris Herbert formed the Spice Girls; Mathew Knowles managed Destiny’s Child)—they’re the ones most often given these kinds of puppeteer opportunities.
Kelly has influence, though, and a level of experience that makes her not likely to underestimate the amount of money, empathy, discipline and time management required to keep these girls together. Still, having more than four members in a group is sort of ridiculous. The odds are already stacked in terms of budgeting. That’s five young women to get fans invested in, five to split earnings, and five to keep focused on the group as a priority.
The main and most important thing working in these girls’ favor is they can really sing. Here’s their damn good a cappella cover of Drake’s “Hotline Bling,” with beautiful, crisp harmonies. Notice that two of their faces are cut off in the SoundCloud pic. Because there are one too many of them.
In this clip, Kelly breaks down that issue in a talk with Tricky Stewart (who co-produced Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” among many other great songs). Stewart says, “Every group that had five people in them in the history of groups, I always just wish that one or two of them wasn’t there.” Kelly says, “When you start thinking about the logistics of everything... it’s no formula.”
The most visible girl group right now is Fifth Harmony, who released their second album this month. Its members are still impossible to distinguish, even if you love their jams like I do. They’re doing fine. Likewise, Kelly’s girl group will work with some good producers. They’ll go on tour and release some great songs before eventually breaking up. They’ll probably be fine.
*Correction: This episode was not the finale.