Making the Band
New Year's Eve

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Mr. Pearlman and the Rats of N.I.M.H.

Previously on Making The Band: The New Year's Eve holiday weekend stalled the contract-finalization process, so Lou invited all six remaining guys to his special Millennium bash. And Ikaika? Well, he fled back to Hawaii. His brother, Haku, fancies himself a businessman and tried formally negotiating with Lou about Ikaika's flight plans. This montage omits the news that Ikaika had one more final exam to take, and instead makes it look like he's running away because he's a little wuss. "When I hear about the contract, that's when I'll be back," Ikaika asserts here for our benefit.

The moral of today's tale: Give up your passion for partying and sacrifice your identity in your determination to be a successful boy-band. This is a healthy message indeed.

The show opens with overhead shots of a dingy parking lot and a bunch of bland buildings -- such is Lou Pearlman's Orlando empire. The guys are in the studio rehearsing, and oh my God, Pearlman answered my prayers: It's a different song. They've traded synthesized idiocy for some semi-folksy guitar riffs, and Trevor's on the lead mike:

"Veronica's the song that's in my head
Veronica's the name I've often said
But her friends say she's too good for me
It's kinda like a West Side Story."

Originality be damned -- they've gone for a terrifying hybrid of Elvis Costello's "Veronica" and Santana/Wyclef Jean's "Maria, Maria." I can't wait for the third single. Eminem meets Bryan Adams, anyone? I'm game to hear Ashley Parker Angel rap his way through "The Summer of '69." For the dance, the group acts like it knows where to stand and how to move, but there's no choreography here. Trevor has his back to what would be the audience, and Mike's just standing there bopping aimlessly. Now, I love TyJuan, and everybody loves Raymond, but I have to wonder if they're truly qualified choreographers -- especially considering I once achieved greater success making a My Little Pony waltz gracefully with Rainbow Brite. Trevor interrupts me to share his newfound confidence, and his utter certainty that he's shown signs of improvement. In voice-over, Jacob tells us that since Paul's departure, Trevor's gone from discouraged and despondent to determined he'll make the final cut. "I know I can do it. I know I can. GOD, I know I can," Trevor says, eyes welling for the first time this episode but, of course, not the last. Stock in the maker of Kleenex soars.

Tensions run high during rehearsal, and not just because they've reverted to that "All For Love" nonsense. TyJuan is holding court, in control and definitely wearing a turban. The singing sounds rather good -- comparatively speaking, of course -- but the dancing lacks synchronicity and TyJuan calls them on it. "I did the same thing with y'all last week...and I don't like dealing with people who don't take it seriously," TyJuan tells them. "You wanna see me angry? Take this for granted." Erik-Michael's confessional scene tells us TyJuan is simply pointing out areas everyone knows need a lot of extra work. "We're just...slacking," he confesses, about three episodes after the rest of the world came to that same conclusion. As punishment, or maybe entertainment, TyJuan commands the kids to drop and do twenty-five pushups. Hey, Erik? You're not supposed to have your knees on the ground. The guys run through the dance again, and TyJuan acknowledges improvement. "I'm coming down hard like that because we've been doing this a lot, and I just broke it down for you as elementary as I could do it," TyJuan says. Hunger strikes, and half the gang starts moaning. "Crying that you're hungry isn't going to help," TyJuan points out. Jay says they're expected to have eaten and digested their food before rehearsal starts, which puts Trevor right on the defensive: "The progress of the day is that you get hungry three times a day," he practically yells. There's general bitching and bickering, ending with Mike likening this experience to being in kindergarten. Minus all the coloring, reading, and learning, of course.

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Making the Band

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