You know there's going to be a problem when one of the band members keeps referring to herself as the "hype girl" instead of the DJ. Add to that a party-all-the-time mentality, disrespect for others, disregard for professionals and advisors, and an inability to act responsibly and you have chaos. And that is exactly what Nigel Lythgoe and the "OA" team had on their hands by the time unknown Boxford, Mass., Joy Island got to Los Angeles.
Not a particularly auspicious beginning for the prospective opening act for LMFAO, the party rock duo that have simply lit up the charts in the past year with their good time music and their over-the-top videos and performances. After a couple of minor hits on their debut Party Rock album, LMFAO jumped to international stardom with the release of the first single from 2011's Sorry For Party Rocking, "Party Rock Anthem," a No. 1 smash hit is several countries. They quickly followed the hit single with a second No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, "Sexy and I Know It." The duo needed an opening act for their Orlando show and turned to Nigel and his crew to provide...
Lythgoe and the development team chose Joy Island out of a group of candidates from the Internet, then sent host Olivia Lee to the East Coast to fetch the trio. She caught up with the two guys at their jobs and the lone girl in the band still in bed to give them the news. The first sign of irresponsibility came when Drummer (Johnny) noted that the band lived together in his very supportive parents' house. The second was displayed only moments later when the trio insisted on driving to Los Angeles with their equipment. Just as soon as they were on their way, cameras caught the two guys contradicting Lee's orders of "no partying" by agreeing that they never agreed to not party. And the road trip was on...
They made several stops along the way, partying the entire time. And with time running out, instead of driving straight through to L. A. and their first meeting with the "Opening Act" development tea, the gang stopped in Las Vegas the night before -- and partied. Needless to say, they were late getting to "boot camp." Nigel Lythgoe was more than a little annoyed and pointedly asked them if they were late to all their gigs. But after a frosty start, where Nigel also pointed out that there were a lot of people that were there on time just to work with them, the band played an original song, "Wish You Were Here," which had Nigel dancing in his seat. But although the team liked their sound, Nigel suggested Bri (DJ and hype girl), who simply bounced and danced aroudn the stage as Josh (lead singer) performed, be used for more than just "eye candy."
Next up, work on the image and vocals. Josh immediately got on vocal coach Nick Cooper's bad side (as if being late wasn't enough) the following day by seeming to find other things in the room to look at other than Nick. And the vocal coach credited with working with Beyonce flat-out told him he was disrespectful and to pay attention.
But Joy Island was lackluster, hung over from partying the night before. And getting their van towed in the process. This is where Bri took one of several turns at blaming others for the band's irresponsibility, one of several occasions she said the band didn't need the television show, they'd gotten this far, all bluster and hurt pride putting her insecurities on display. Pure attitude and little substance...
While still in the session with Nick, Nigel walks in, listens and tells Nick the band is lacking in talent. More hurt feelings.
(In the confessional, Nigel admits he's willing to work with acts with little talent that know how to sell themselves and are willing to put some effort into it, although he'd rather work with people with talent.)
Then it was on to get their original song from Rock Mafia. Development team member Antonina Armato and her partner Tim James gave Joy Island a song they'd written, "24 Hour Party People." Josh had a bit of trouble learning the lyrics and Bri was simply unconvincing as she said her lines. James noted that Bri was just going through the motions and didn't appear to have what it takes, so Antonina decided to call in some outside help.
Bri is introduced to famed DJ-to-the-stars Samantha Ronson, who, within seconds, sees she's talking to a party girl that isn't serious at all about being a DJ. For Bri, it's all about being in a rock band. Ronson admits in confessional that she felt as if she'd wasted her time talking with the young hype girl and would've better spent her time teaching someone to make a grilled cheese sandwich.
Needless to say, more hurt feelings. More partying.
But somewhere in the mess, Joy Island begins to get the idea that the music industry is a bit more than just performing and partying. They see that they have a tremendous opportunity with "Opening Act" at possibly becoming a well known -- or at least a "known" act -- and begin to get serious about practicing for the upcoming show in Orlando. Bri even calls Antonina and asks if she could help her be a better DJ. Antonina warns her that she won't be able to teach her everything she needs to know in the time remaining but they could get started. She leaves Bri to be mentored by Rock Mafia's in-house DJ.
Joy Island practices the day of the show -- except for Bri, due to her equipment being sent to the venue. The guys confess that some of the music is dependent on Bri being able to pull off some DJ moves and they are worried that her overall inexperience and the freshness of the material might see them getting booed off the stage.
But come showtime, the crowd in Orlando is receptive and Joy Island nail their two songs. After the performance, Redfoo and SkyBlu of LMFAO (and descendants of legendary Motown producer Berry Gordy) meet the band backstage and congratulate them on their show. LMFAO ask the band to come out and stand up front during the show, just as they had done for the trio. The trio is ecstatic -- and as a bonus, they've been invited to the concert afterparty.
What started out rather rocky finally came together at the end. But will Joy Island be a success in the days, months, and years to come? That is an unknown that is entirely up to the viewing and buying public. And if there are those who think that the band's obnoxious, disrespectful, and irresponsible behavior was a turn-off and indicators of ultimate failure, it must be noted that the music industry is littered with acts, opening and headlining, that have become successful -- or sometimes more successful -- despite various bouts of reckless, irresponsible, and counterproductive activities (read: Ray Charles, Steven Tyler, Chris Brown, etc.) in their careers.
"Opening Act" is now airing at a new time on Mondays on E! Television -- 9:00 p.m. EST.
(photo credit: Lunchbox LP, Creative Commons)