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Tuesday, January 11, 2005
I've only been able to catch half of one episode of The Road To Stardom, i.e. Making the Band but with Missy Elliot instead of P. Diddy and in a bus instead of in a house, but one segment of it was just amazingly classic. The way the elimination works on this show is that there's a challenge, then the judges deliberate and pick two people to "go before Missy," who then chooses one person to "kick off the tour." (Neither of these may actually be quotes, but they're in the spirit of the show, at least.) So in this particular episode, the two people who have to plead their case are a white girl rapper and a white guy rapper. White girl goes to Missy first (and, charmingly, her judging takes place not in a carefully-designed set but at one of the dinky tables in a tour bus--Missy doesn't have time to go to a set, she's got more hits to make!), and says that the judges were wrong to say that she seemed fake, that this is how she's livin' it. Missy says OK, well, why don't you show me what you can do. White girl launches into a verse, at the conclusion of which Missy starts dismissively but very cooly sucking on her lollypop. (Which, yes. I could do like 1500 words just on that, man. We'd get into PJ Harvey, Prince, oh, it would be great. Too bad I'm busy at work.) White girl finishes. Missy says, you were talking about hip-hop. You like hip-hop? White girl says yeah, I love hip-hop, it's my life. Missy says OK. Can you name a Big Daddy Kane album.

White girl freezes. Swear to god she was like half a second away from saying, "Who?" but stopped herself. Kind of stutters something. Missy says, OK, OK, you're young, right? When'd you start listening to hip-hop? White girl says, when I was 13. Missy says, OK. How 'bout an early Jay-Z album? Can you rap me some of that? White girl freezes again. She's got nothing. She's done.

So then white boy goes in, does a verse, but all he'd have to do at this point to survive is not, like, punch Missy in the face. So he's in.

It was fucking fantastic. Certainly the most embarassing thing I've ever seen on TV. OK, admittedly I'm a music nerd, but if Missy Elliot revealed me as a total fraud on national TV, I don't think I'd ever show my face in public again. It was also just generally great. I'm hooked. And I might write some more about it later.

UPDATE: Orbis Quintus has some follow-up comments.