Every few years or so, we see a reemergence of boy bands or girl groups. These groups, although are enjoyable to us for the pop hits they provide, are detrimental to themselves and normally don’t last longer than two or three records. Nonetheless, they’re ridiculously entertaining for the short amount of time they’re with us, from the in sync choreography to the (sometimes) matching outfits to choosing your favorite member, they play a pivotal role in pop music. Now, there are so many groups that come to mind that I could have talked about. Boy bands like Nsync or The Backstreet Boys, R&B trios like Destiny’s Child or TLC, or modern groups like One Direction or Fifth Harmony are all great examples. But I wanted to go over a group that’s a little more unconventional and a little more controversial. And that is The Pussycat Dolls.
The Pussycat Dolls, often shortened to just PCD got their start in the mid 2000’s with their 2005 release, PCD. Could they have thought of a better debut album name? Certainly. Did it matter? Absolutely not. The Pussycat Dolls, made up of six members at the time, clearly had the looks and talent to make it in the industry. Carmit Bachar, Ashley Roberts, Jessica Sutta, Kimberly Wyatt, Nicole Scherzinger, and Melody Thornton were insanely gorgeous and amazing dancers; it didn’t look like there was anything they couldn’t do. Their music was also perfect pop from the times that’s held up very well over the years. They were literally the girls I dreamed of being when I was younger and not necessarily because they were so desirable. I wanted to be them because they had this cool and confident aura they seemed to emit. They made everything look so effortless and easy and they looked like they were genuinely having fun at the same time. I hoped that one day, I would also have that same attitude.
Despite what outward appearances may look like though, there were cracks in the foundation of this group. Shortly after their debut, they lost a member and released their second record as a five piece in 2008. Just merely two years after that, they disbanded completely. For a group with such immense success, this may come as a shock. But this is something I’m sure most people saw coming. Many fans noticed that lead singer Nicole Scherzinger was the constant center of attention. Literally. She was always in the middle, always the tip of their triangle during live performances with the other girls hanging out at her sides. And it didn’t even sound like the other girls even had a voice on any of the songs; Nicole’s seem to overpower everyone else’s. Nobody else got a solo or even as much as a small adlib every once in a while. They’re stuck in the middle, basically rendered as glorified backup dancers but not really there to make too much of a commitment.
To confirm what everyone else already knew, Nicole indeed did acknowledge it in an interview that she was the only one singing in the group. In fact, they recorded the entire first album with only her vocals and brought in the other girls to hear it afterwards. There are even some awkward performances where it’s clear that the other girls are trying to be less in the background and more their own person, without much success. I can’t imagine this working out well emotionally for anyone, even if you’re making a ton of money from it (which I’m only assuming they did). It’s such an unhealthy dynamic where there was of course going to be tension and it’s obviously very unsustainable; you can’t have these girls second guessing their careers by being official members of the group but not really devoting more than some dance moves when a live performance comes up.
All good things must come to an end, as they say, and for pop groups there is no exception. It might be because of arguments between bandmates, solo careers, or if the band just played out it’s course, every group will break up, probably sooner rather than later if history repeats itself. Looking back on it, I think The Pussycat Dolls would have had a very long and possibly even more successful career had everyone in the group been given a fair shot at performing the songs. They are all considered singers after all, and I know I’m not the only one who thinks it’s strange that they put together a group of singers and only had one of them actually perform. And even though they are officially back together now, it doesn’t look like anything has changed. That may be a great thing or a very bad thing, but I guess we’ll find out when we see how long they’ll last this time.