The Real Housewives: Which Ones Can Sing?
The Real Housewives of Orange County, New York, Atlanta and New Jersey DELIVER the ratings week/over/week, and with the soon-to-air Washington D.C. and Beverly Hills installments, your RICH BITCH reality TV domination doesn't show any signs of stopping. Of course, Bravo owes the majority of it's success with this popular franchise to the stars themselves (and of course editing), the 'housewives.' Each season has it's own drama and THAT'S what viewers come to expect, but what do the ladies get out of it? Have you looked at the New York Times Best Seller List or Amazon.com WHENEVER one of the housewives releases a book? These ladies are DEFINITELY working their new-found fame for their own betterment...AND for the betterment of others. Virtually all of the housewives are active with various charities, throwing benefits and attending balls. I'm just saying that, with all of that drama, the ladies DESERVE to get something out of it.
Who could have guessed at just HOW MANY of the housewives have harbored secret desires to sing professionally? More than I might have expected and likely more to come. Watch me break down each of the housewives' singles released to date. I'll be evaluating them based on four factors: MUSIC & LYRICS, VOCAL ABILITY, ALBUM ARTWORK and the overall FUN FACTOR of the song. We'll be covering Jo De La Rosa and Gretchen Rossi from the OC, LuAnn de Lesseps from New York City, Atlanta's Kim Zolciak and Kandi Burruss and New Jersey's own Danielle Staub. From OLDEST to NEWEST...here we go!
Jo De La Rosa appeared on the first two seasons of the ORIGINAL Real Housewives series, the Real Housewives of Orange County. De La Rosa released her debut album, Unscripted August 19th 2008 on Immergent Records. I was late jumping on board the Housewives bandwagon so I missed the first few seasons so I'm not sure if De La Rosa's singing career played any part early on but her first single "U Can't Control Me" was released 2 years AFTER De La Rosa had left the program to record her debut album. De La Rosa has cameoed in both season 3 and season 4, the latter asking current cast member Gretchen Rossi to make an appearance in her first music video. What about the song? Thankfully Jo has a whole album to redeem herself the song is a bit of a dud. While the chorus is FULL of attitude the song just falls flat. I don't know if it's the production or the songwriting that fails here but it just sounds like another sub-par angry-girl anthem. In listening to some of her album tracks, you can tell that De La Rosa can sing, although she doesn't exhibit much range. She definitely does better with the up-tempo pop/dance numbers. Check out the Jason Nevins remixes of her debut single if you haven't heard them yet. They are definitely a vast improvement upon the original. According to her MySpace, she parted ways with her label and is working on new material. I'd recommend something dancey and club-friendly.
Kim Zolciak is my favorite Atlanta Housewife. She's sexy, sassy and she knows what she wants. In the first season, Zolciak dabbled in music, even meeting with record producer Dallas Austin. She was also basically told by a voice coach that she had a lot of work to do. THIS of course was back when Kim wanted to record a country album. THANK God for newest housewife (and former member of R&B girl group Xscape) Kandi Burruss because WHO KNOWS what would have become of Zolciak's debut without her magic touch.
"Tardy For The Party," Zolciak's first single is fun, campy dance/pop at it's best. Lyrically, the song is lacking but what are we expecting here? It's called "Tardy For The Party." I wasn't thinking it would be deep. Musically, it's nothing complex but considering what Kandi was given at the beginning? Pretty much all she was given was a TITLE. Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Kandi worked her magic and turned this potential disaster into a surprise hit. The song was released without a label in September 2009 but was then re-released through Ferosh Records in February 2010, remixed for the clubs by superstar DJ Tracy Young. The song peaked on the U.S. iTunes chart at #20 and at #3 on the U.S. iTunes dance chart. Zolciak is reportedly working on a dance album. Can't wait!
Tardy for the Party by Fool_4_Music
Gretchen Rossi joined the OC Housewives in Season 4 becoming the youngest member of the cast at 32. During her first season on the show we were introduced to Rossi's fiancee, Jeff Beitzel who was battling Leukemia until his death in September of 2008. There was never any mention (that I remember) of Rossi's interest OR ability to sing BUT when she released her debut single, a ballad called "Nothing Without You," I was pleasantly surprised. While the song is nothing ground breaking, the fact that Rossi really CAN sing is worth mentioning. The harmonies are beautiful and knowing that she's singing about Beitzel makes it all the more poignant. Definitely a very nice surprise. A portion of the proceeds earned will go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) in memory of Beitzel.
Nothing Without You by Fool_4_Music
Fly Above by Fool_4_Music
As far as surprises go, finding out that Danielle Staub from the Real Housewives of New Jersey could sing was a BIG ONE. Staub unveiled the single a couple of weeks ago on Watch What Happens Live, Bravo's post-housewives gab-fest with host Andy Cohen, singing live with New York-based singer/songwriter Lori Michaels. Staub put on quite the performance...getting 'real close' to her duet partner...the lasting effects of which can be seen in the album artwork where Staub appears to be breaking Michaels' neck. Vocally, Staub isn't bad. Now based on how quiet and breathy Staub is singing the song, I'm guessing she doesn't have much power or range. I don't think, for instance, if she were to belt the song out that it would sound great...but her vocal style works for this sort of a lovey-dovey pop duet. Michaels also does well at matching Staub's style...although to be honest I'm not sure who's matching who because I wasn't familiar with Michaels prior to hearing this duet. Who knows...maybe Staub was copying Michaels. Regardless...the song was surprisingly listenable. Staub has spoken out before in favor of gay rights so pairing up with an openly gay artist like Michaels seems like the next logical step. As if that wasn't a big enough show of support, releasing the song with remixes by Giuseppe D. and the legendary Tony Moran also earn her props. Also available to download is the "tortured lullaby" version which is the over-dramatic rendition Staub performed live on Bravo. Personally, I find the Giuseppe D. Pop Version (below) to be much less 'torturous' but that might just be me. Now, Staub mentioned that her daughter Christine was releasing a single as well. It will be interesting to see what musical direction she goes in? Hopefully something more age appropriate.
Real Close (Giuseppe D. Pop Version) by Fool_4_Music