The next day, Ali hits the recording studio. If you have a sensitive stomach, you might should turn away now. Dina-saur sits down with some record label execs. Record exec guy tells Dina-saur Ali needs to remain focused while recording because she won't be able to rest on her fame and "talent" (his words, not mine). He says Ali will be under a time crunch and under a microscope because they this record to kickstart her career.
Dina-saur goes into Mom Mode, reminding them that Ali's only 14 years old, though her amazing "talent" (again, her words, not mine) sometimes blinds people to that fact. She suggests they need to find a balance between Ali's "talent" and her youth. In short, they'll need to take it as given that Ali will have freak outs, asthma attacks, and tantrums when she discovers that the unduly seductive croaking she calls singing isn't really that easy on the ears. Dina-saur says they'll put out a great album if they find that "balance." Record exec guy gives Dina-saur a "Bitch, please" face.
Meeting adjourned, Dina-saur joins Ali to go over their game plan. Ali reveals that she criticizes herself a lot. She knows she faces stiff competition and will have to be practically perfect to make it. Of course, that doesn't account for the prolonged success of, say, David Hasselhoff (in Germany), but I'll let it slide. Dina-saur tells Ali to be herself. Eman fires up the sound board while I wonder how Ali being herself (a vapid 14-year-old prima donna) is going to translate into chart topping hip-hop jams.
Shots of slot machines convey the gambling motif as we discover whether Ali will hit the jackpot with only her inferior talent as ante. Ali practices her first track with the piano, gets the go-ahead from Eman, and heads into the booth. Dina-saur then pulls a reverse Archuleta, explaining that she leaves the room during the recording sessions because she trusts the producer's judgment.
An overproduced synth jam fills my speakers as Ali proceeds to sing in a faux husky, uniformly flat tone. She beats the producers to the punch with some fishing self-criticism. She cops to some nerves since "it's been a long time since [she] was in the studio." On the second take, though, she really emotes and even throws in a "Yeah" to make the end of the first verse really pop. Rounds of applause and a shower of compliments ensue. She moves to another part of the song with some tricky note jumps, and, oh... it's rough. She squeaks some unintended sharps, then cuts herself down. The producers tell her to stop criticizing herself. Mainly, though, because time is money, and her self-flagellation is eating it up.