And then there were five. Fans of the hit Carlos King-produced reality series BET Presents The Encore were wondering how a supergroup of nine talented female acts from various popular girl groups would work and as it turns out, it doesn’t.
Early on, there were signs that all may not make it to the end. The ladies were tasked with recording an EP and putting together a final live performance within a 30-day period. From the start, Kiely Williams, formerly of 3LW and Disney’s The Cheetah Girls, made it known that she would not be participating in the lineup as a group member. Instead, she wanted to be the creative director.
In the end, the only remaining “members” were Shamari DeVoe of Blaque, Fallon and Felisha King of Cherish, Pamela Long of Total, and Williams. Williams begrudgingly agreed to perform with the group for the finale showcase. They appropriately named themselves Bluprint for setting the standard for what girl groups can be. But her future with the group remains unclear. She only agreed to join after Nivea, LeMisha and Irish Grinstead of 702 and Aubrey O’Day of Danity Kane all quit. Pamela Long even had reservations due to her Christian values and restrictions on lyrics and wardrobe, but she still is featured on the EP.
🚨🔥🚨🔥 BLUPRINT is out NOW! Head to @applemusic to download our new EP featuring original music from #BETPresentsTheEncore : “Birds Eye View”, “Go Don’t Leave”, “Only God Knows”, “Say Something”, “Skeletons”, “Talkin’” ‼️❗️Tune in to @bet for the finale episode at 10/9C 💋🎤🎶 pic.twitter.com/mi8WLmbqta— Shamari DeVoe (@ShamariDeVoe) August 11, 2021
When speaking with Shadow and Act for a follow-up interview on why she remained hesitant despite the group needing her at the final hour, Williams stood strong in her stance. She notes her past traumatic experiences being in two separate girl groups as her motivating factor.
“These women are ridiculously talented and they would have been fine without me...desperately needed is a lot [to label it as],” she said, as Fallon King rolled her eyes in disagreement. “I am honored that they felt like I could fill a hole and that I could step in and help out.”
Another issue in the house throughout the experiment was many of the ladies feeling that the “Cherish twins” were difficult to work with. The Grinstead sisters left within 24 hours of Nivea quitting, hinting that it was due to the ongoing tension with the King sisters.
The King sisters don’t deny that they can be a bit abrasive; however, much of the writing and the producing of the tracks for the EP were their brainchild. They took the lead on things and it wasn’t always well received by their group members or viewers. But by the end of episode 9, fans of the show applauded the King sisters for becoming better team players with the rest of the group.
“There was a lot of growth the entire season, it just wasn’t seen and wasn’t shown,” Fallon insists. “It was crunch time and there’s certain things that you couldn’t sit back and argue about anymore. The girls having left, it caused a lot of us to have to do a lot more work.”
With so many of their housemates leaving, DeVoe admits that it came off as selfish with some of the acts, notably O’Day. She says O’Day acted as a “wolf in sheep’s clothing,” adding: “It was something that she never really wanted. She put on a really huge front like she wanted the group to work out.”
Despite the drama, DeVoe says girl groups can work.
The finale episode airs on Wednesday on BET at 10 p.m. EST.
Check out the full interview with the King sisters, Williams, and DeVoe below.