R&B Divas Season 1 Episode 8 Season Finale: Nicci, Faith, Keke, Syleena and Monifah do Essence Music Festival, Terez talks civil rights, Nicci does her normal Smarty Pants Attitude, Keke throw a real diva fit, and Faith is dignifed as normal.

This show was about the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans, Nicci Gilbert hogging the camera and everyone accusing Keke of being a drama queen...well normally we will say DIVA but we are not allowed since diva is supposed to be positive. But Keke was in real DIVA mode. I'm just writing about what came to mind. A lot of it seems scripted and staged drama especially the women complaining about their voices.

STOP PRESS

Just heard it was the season finale hmmm... it was bit of an anticlimax because there was nothing really stood out about being resolved. I guess that was why Nicci kept saying her singing passion issues were resolved and Terez sort of agreed to move to ALT. Well nothing was really resolved and I thought the end was supposed to be the recording of the charity album not a journey to singing at  the Essence Music Festival. Anyway I digress.....

The girls arrive in New Orleans.

Faith Evans, Nicci Gilbert, Monifah and Keke Wyatt are in New Orleans for the festival doing what they no best - not singing but eating and boozing on cocktails.



Nothing really happens about from them gushing about how great this will be. I might be making this up but there wasn't really anything important in this scene just them behaving like gluttons and draining down booze.

Someone makes a comment about the amount of alchol in a drinks and at this point I feel this is going to be a very long show about nothing.

Rehearsals with all three

Nicci, Faith, Monifah, Syleena and Keke all come to the rehearse their songs for the big night. All girls are doing tribute songs and  Syleena whines on and on about singing At Last by Etta James - her reason is that it's being fifteen years of trying to get on the Essence Music Festival and now she has arrived.


Keke is doing Whitney Houston's I want to Dance with somebody. Okay even before the Keke Wyatt drama starts I think why is she doing a dance uptempo song when all the others are doing ballads or slow numbers, sorry I forget about Monifah but that's what really Monifah is unless she steps up - forgetable. Also why do all the women come in on Keke's number at the end.  I'm not really feeling this but whatever.


Monifah does her number - it's okay but a bit off key, Faith and Nicci do their song and then so does Syleena. Syleena is the best but as you know singers never really give 100% in rehearsals - they save the best for stage.


Anyway it's Keke's turn and she is not feeling it probably for the same reasons I mentioned. It's very hard to make a dance uptempo song your own. Anyway Keke throws a diva fit saying she can't hear herself and complains about everyone's song choice.
 

 They all deny it but whatever I know what she means - it's like there is no high points in the song for her to show off - or do her runs because it's such a tightly packed beat and tempo. Monifah has the same problem with her Last Dance.




It all turns into a drama and Faith says they all knew about the songs before coming to New Orleans so she doesn't see why Keke is fussing. It's hard to explain but it's probably Keke's nerves and the song's tempo gives Keke little room to make it her own. It will just Keke singing Whitney's song rather than Keke singing I Wanna Dance with Somebody. Anyway we learn Keke needs to stick with the song - probably licenses and clearance issues.

Terez and Monifah

Nothing much apart from Terez doing her gay civil rights bit. Monifah wants to move to Atlanta but Terez is not feeling it -  she says It's still the dirty South. It may be upwardly mobile but politically there is still some Jim Crow going on. it's not the called the dirty south for nothing.  Ouch! Okay I think we know where Terez stands.


Monifah is talks about moving to Atlanta for her career - what about Terez's career? Or is Terez playing the homemaker part. We are never told what exactly Terez does- does she live off Monifah? It isn't easy to relocate if you have built up a career somewhere.  Anyway Terez comes out with another civil rights speech - she does not want to live or contribute to anything that does not promote equality  - does she mean minorities in general or  gay people or black gay people? I'm not sure.

Monifah is like Terez takes things too seriously and she wants to live her life and not worry about all that stuff. Well Monifah that stuff is why people can vote, use the same rest room as others and Obama is president today but hey maybe if Monifah was singing back in the fifties and using the back entrance she might think differently. I'm not hard but maybe she should respect her partner's political views and not dismiss them on TV. Not a good look. So is this relationship just one prolonged booty call? On a serious note it seems as if politics is serious business to Terez who looks like a feminist.



At some point Terez suddenly switches and totally agrees with Monifah. Okay, I must be missing something - maybe a producer told Terez to keep in light (all this stuff is for the show) and probably the audience are not interested in Jim Crow or equality and it's bad enough there is no ratchet behaviour.

Terez does a turn around and agrees to try out Atlanta to test the social climate, the schools (is that baby thing still on the agenda?) and the properties.

Syleena and family.

Syleena and her family discuss fifteen years of Essence Festival rejections and how she has finally arrived. She fails to note it wasn't because of her but Faith Evan's contacts that got  her the gig.


Syleena makes fun of her sister asking about calories and hopes that she will be invited again. However she wasn't really invited in the first place.


Itwas Faith Evans who told them about the gig. Anyway she goes on about singing At Last again.
 
In the studio

I think it is fake and scripted part. Nicci gets Faith, Keke, Syleena and Monifah in the studio for a surprise.



Apparently she had written a song though she reminds us she has lost her passion for music. I roll my eyes - really? We all know Nicci is the executive producer (as well as Faith) so it's pretty much her show. Anyway she wants the girls to try the song which recognise as the theme tune for the show.

At this point on cue all girls start to moan about the conditions of their voices which still drinking booze.

Nicci is like they have all had too much greasy food and cocktails so it affects their voices. I don't really care because for all I know they may be pretending about singing badly.

And if they know they have big show why mess up their voices. Also it rings up true because if Syleena has being waiting 15 years for this opportunity I really doubt she'll be messing around. Come to think of it Keke as well. So maybe a bird whispered in their ears to create tension and drama for the audience they should complain about their voices. But come on these girls are pros and Essence Festival is not something to mess up.

Keke and family

The Wyatt family - that is Keke, baby, Micheal and Keke's brother are in a food joint and Keke is talking about doing the Essence Festival. She whines about the song choice and just about everything.



Micheal keeps it real. He tells her this is the Essence Festival. I mean every Tamar and Vince dedicated a whole episode to doing this Festival and Tamar didn't even sing!


t is a huge event the R&B calender. So Micheal is like if they were booked up after this she will be like super booked.


 He seems super happy about this opportunity - counting the money in his head since technically he's her manager.


Anyway as if one of the camera crew reminds Keke she needs to talk about her hoarse voice - she starts to whine about that too. At this point both Micheal and Keke's brother just look confused.

Sound check at the Essence Music Festival

Nicci waddles in wearing hots pants and starts to complain about the way the stage is set up. Yes, Madam Important goes into what Faith calls politely Nicci-director-mode but normal folk just call rude. Nicci is like this is set up for group.



Someone shouts that Nicci should leave the set alone because it's for the Queen, the Goddess of Soul - Miss Athera Franklin. Ops, that put Miss Nicci Smarty Pants in her place and Nicci keeps her trap shut and doesn't say much after that.

They start to do a sound check and the complaining goes on. Keke says she can't hear herself sing.


 Even Faith complains about the attitude of all the staff because they are all rushed off. We are lectured to by Monifah who tells us how important a sound check is to an artist. But the reality is no one really cares how either Nicci, Faith, Monifah or Keke will sound on the night because they had much bigger stars coming.


I thought they were treated like second class citizens but Faith Evans went one further to say she felt like a third class citizen. Ouch! Did you hear Faith say she might get Notorious? Was that a reference to behaviour or Biggie Smalls? Also did anyone notice that Nicci was silent throughout the complaining of the sound check?

Show time

Sisterhood or no sisterhood at show time I thought the singing really got competitive and it seemed the girls were trying to outdo each other.



Monifah sings Donna Summer tribute song 'Last Dance'

First up is Monifah. It's always difficult to start a set because you either kill the song - like do it very well and spoil it for everyone else or just do an okay performance. Well Monifah to me was okay - it was a Donna Summer tribute song 'Last Dance'.


At this point of writing I can't even remember her performance nor do I care. What I did think was why was she dressed in that sliver outfit with a hood. Like couldn't they find anything more suitable? She looked like she was caught in fashion time trap. It showed off her nice legs but she could have really lost the hood.

As generous as ever Monifah introduced Nicci who probably insisted on having her full name Nicci Gilbert Daniels. I bet Daniels must be long suffering husband.

Nicci kills it and owns the stage




As soon as Nicci steps on stage her competitiveness comes out and when all that fakeness about having singing passion issues stops. Nicci goes and kills it. She does not hold back in the song - she really goes for it with all the complicated notes.



I'm like isn't this the chick who didn't want to sing? No sir, Nicci is a very competitive singer so basically in my view it's probably why I can't remember Monifah performance. And I bet if Monifah knew Nicci was going to sing like that she probably would have turned it up a bit more. You can imagine Nicci fighting over all the vocals in Brownstone or dictating the way it should be sung. Don't her no passion for singing fool you.


Anyway as Nicci gets carries away showing off her vocal talent she forgets to introduce Syleena. Ouch, again. This isn't really good and I'm not sure why Nicci did this. Everyone knows this a huge night for Syleena because it's her first time to ever performance at the festival. It's a big deal to her.


I don't really feel Nicci's apology but maybe subcousiously Nicci didn't want to end her performance by calling someone else's name - fair enough. Anyway Syleena is unhappy and I think this may have affected her nerves. It's also what she said - she expected Nicci to behave like this so there are some underlying tensions in the group of women.


Syleena At Last - Etta James Tribute

Syleena does At Last and because Nicci had upped the singing stakes she does match Nicci vocally. She gave a great performance however it was still an old jazz number and it's really something to close a show with.

Also sometimes it's good to take a risk with a more modern song. I'm not casting any shade and Syleena did a great job on At Last, also it was a very sentimental song with meaning to her.


 At last she was at the Essence Festival but in the end it was just an old Etta James number. Basically a jazz standard which most singers can sing.

Faith Evans.

Not much to say about Faith only she matched Syleena and Nicci. However I don't remember what she sang.

Faith has great contacts in the music industry and she also appears a nice and positive person - I think it's real and genuine and not was edited by the show.




Keke does her thing



Keke came out and sang her own tribute and really did her own thing not to be outdone by any of the other women.




 She did a great job and got everyone dancing on the floor. Then the girls came out and closed the show with her.



Celebration Dinner and Keke feels left out

All four women minus Micheal have a celebration meal and out of the blue Nicci Gilbert tells us that her passion for singing is back.



Well blow me down with a feather. Is she for real? I think the whole 'lost passion for singing' issue was fake and phony. Nicci brought the house down and basking in glory till the point she forgets Syleena's name. Also Nicci is executive producer of this show I don't think she ever lost her passion however it's easy to see this show was a vehicle to showcase her new clothing brand Curvato which she mention again - just for you viewers as in that was what she was wearing on the Essence Festival stage.


They all jabber about boring stuff when Syleena is desperate for a comeback suggests why not they all go for a tour. This is when things become confusing. Nicci starts to complain about her brand and not wanting to be in a girl band.

 Keke feels left out and tells the girls this. Instead of them to acknowledged that they discussed it behind her back they just start to say she is negative.

Instead of picking on Keke why didn't Syleena bring up the way Nicci behaved on the night not introducing her. It's time like this Syleena looks like she is sucking up and brown nosing Nicci because she owns the show. 

 Keke is says this is why she doesn't like women because they do this. I understand where Keke is coming from. It seems because she is probably the youngest she might be left out of all the behind the scenes chatter. Also maybe she was last person invited on the show - we don't know how many singers were approached and declined to do this show. I think some just want to see how successful the show will be before they jump on the bandwagon.


So in Basketball Wives terms the inner circle is Nicci, Monifah, Syleena and Faith. Faith doesn't do much probably only there for her industry connection (getting the Essence Festival gig/spot). Nicci Gilbert probably doesn't have those contacts because she in a girl band that latest all but a minute. Be real everyone knows who Faith Evans is - even if just because of the whole Notorious B.I.G and Tupac drama - then factor in lil Kim complications.

 Monifah just hangs out and Syleena is so desperate to make it that she will do anything. Keke doesn't really care so sometimes she follows the so-called script and other times she does her. As Keke says - she knows she can sing.



Nicci goes all bible saying something about God and devil. I'm like is Nicci kidding me? All Keke is saying is that they left her out of all this tour business. And to be honest Keke has young children so touring will be difficult.

Anyway it comes let pick and bully Keke time. Monifah is like why does Keke play victim all the time and is like a drama queen. Excuse me, is Monifah for real?


Then Nicci crosses the line by saying all this 'leaving out' business is in Keke's mind however in the confessional one of them said (not sure who) they hadn't told Keke about the proposed tour. Anyway then Syleena adds her own two cent and I forget what she says.

The Nicci starts jabbering on about her brand and being in a group. Monifah goes on about them being a package not group.  At this point I tune out because I don't really care about whether they tour or not. And Keke seems to think the same as me so she walks out.

Nicci tells them she doesn't want to damage her brand because of Keke's behaviour. Anyway Syleena goes out to get Keke.


She gives Keke a pep talk and brings her back into the group. Smart ass Nicci not learning her lesson asks Keke what's on her agenda. Keke looks at her and says to kill herself. If Nicci asks a stupid question she'll get a silly answer.

Nicci not one to take a hint asks Keke what next. Keke says 'Get buried.' Now that shuts Nicci the heifer up.

To lighten the tension Faith comes in the confessional saying 'We will always be sisters' BS. Anyway to end the evening on a good note Faith gives a toast but Keke doesn't play along with it because she isn't getting that so called sisterhood feeling because when it comes to her turn to toast she is 'get my life together... in a bag'. Keke has a strange dry sense of humour - does she mean body bag?


And there it ends. Everyone happy and Keke just looking depressed and miserable. 





  

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