The show opens with the ubiquitous Regis, who's about to tell us which contestants will next get a chance to have their dreams come true. Oh wait, hang on, my clock's fast -- this is still Who Wants to Be A Millionaire. Same premise, though.
The screen darkens. It's Episode I: A New Hope, and a booming voice reads the scroll: "This real-life series chronicles the creation of a band....There are no actors, no script -- just raw talent, a dream, and a camera recording every step of the journey." A teaser follows, explaining in sum that this season we can expect a lot of singing, deep breathing, sweating, crying, arguing ("You wanna go? Cuz I'll go wit-choo!!") fornicating, a passel of dumped girlfriends and a disapproving father. Oh please! For some people that's just a rockin' good weekend. But fear not, there's also plenty of adults putting the pseudo-stars in their places. "You guys think you're da bomb because you got the gig, but you're wrong," one adult aptly notes. "You ain't got nothin' on 'N Sync or the Backstreet Boys." The 'N Sync crew, wielding the brand-new album, collectively screams "Cha-CHING!"
Roll the credits -- but no commercials. Sigh.
Lou Pearlman heaves himself out of his stretch limo as a voice-over proclaims him a mastermind. Lou is the squat, pasty, roly-poly goof-turned-scientific-genius who created the Backstreet Boys, then replicated them ten times over but with different names -- proving you can indeed clone a human. He enters the neon Hard Rock Café in New York City, where the camera catches a harried assistant saying three hundred hopefuls have already lined up to audition. Nationwide, there are almost two thousand, and some of them slept out all night outside the Hard Rock. "You won't get it if you don't audition," one guy says, as his pal nods sagely. Aw, that is IT man! Where's the justice? My dreams dashed, I fill up my flask and settle down on the sofa. At this point, the show zeroes in on people most likely to Make the Band, which Lou will call O-Town.
Back inside the restaurant, the lads are carousing and singing in mock-unity while they await their turn. Jackie Salvucci, nineteen, goes first and belts out, "...aaaand the rooooockeeeets'..." -- pause -- "Phew, that's high," he says, as everyone laughs appreciatively. "And so am I," thinks Lou. Cut to Los Angeles, where Trevor Penick (nineteen) is bragging about having third-row seats for a Backstreet Boys concert. "I did touch A.J.," Trevor grins. "And so did I," thinks Lou. A montage ensues in which Trev tells us he's always wanted to do this, and then we Trevor's dad Clifton at The Penick House (his real home, not some California brothel), where he and wife Doris get choked up when Trevor talks about wanting to make money so he can give back to his family. Everyone emotes. The moral of this story: Root for Trevor.