Figuring out what the judges are looking for seems to be the hardest task that the contestants on the CW's The Pussycat Dolls Present: Search for the Next Doll (Tuesdays at 9 pm/ET) have to face. Brittany was ousted for being too sexy, and last Tuesday (and then again on Wednesday and Sunday) Jaime Benjamin was dismissed for not standing out enough. TVGuide.com caught up with the 21-year-old to find out more about her dolled-up 'do, her shoe crisis and her "Heartbreaker" of an ouster.
TVGuide.com: I'm kind of surprised that you were the one who went home this week.
Jamie Benjamin: I think a lot of people were. That's so sweet.
TVGuide.com: I didn't think that you really did anything wrong.
Jaime: Yeah, me either. But they were like, "You just didn't stick out." I don't know what else I could have done to stick out.
TVGuide.com: Isn't the point of this competition to show how well you can work in a group?
Jaime: Exactly. I don't understand. Whatever, it is what it is. I had a great time, and I am thankful for what I got.
TVGuide.com: Maybe you needed to be more confrontational.
Jaime: But that's not me. I'm such the least dramatic person on the show. I'm very normal, easygoing and silly.
TVGuide.com: What did you think of the song choices this week? Your group drew Pat Benatar's "Heartbreaker," which isn't really typical Pussycat Dolls fare.
Jaime: I feel like they were trying to aim it at Sisely a bit because she does have that rocker vibe, but she had a lot on her plate last week. I don't know why they chose it. It was really fun to do, though. It was really playful, but it was so different from the other group [who performed En Vogue's "Free Your Mind"], I think it was really hard to compare the groups. They had a more diva song, and the diva song is always going to win. We were just rocking out.
TVGuide.com: Plus, it must have been hard to show off your dance moves since you were stuck on those little boxes for most of the song.
Jaime: Did you see how big my heels were? They were like 6 inches! I almost fell off the box. They didn't show it, but it was so scary. Me and Melissa R. were worried we were going to fall off, and they said, "We don't want to hear it. The Pussycat Dolls do it, so we don't want to hear it." OK....
TVGuide.com: Sisely complained a lot about not having enough practice time. Do you feel that way, too, or was that just part of the game?
Jaime: It is part of the game. We practiced so much, and had no time to rest. That makeover was the biggest rest that we had. But we never got to really relax, because you were always rehearsing. If you put all the rehearsing together, we maybe got five hours to work on one song. We needed more practice time, but we had no time.
TVGuide.com: What did you think of your makeover and pretty, brighter blonde hair?
Jaime: I love it. I'm keeping it up still. I've always had long blonde hair since I was a little girl, but I hadn't had my hair done in a while. I came on the show not really expecting to make it that far, so I thought, "I'm just going to do it. I'm not going to do my hair, I'm not going to bring cute clothes.... " I didn't expect to make it, but I did, and I got a makeover. I was so happy. They gave me extensions — that lasted for like three months — and then, well, they ripped out my hair....
TVGuide.com: You really came out of your shell during the dancing-in-the-little-box challenge a couple of weeks ago. What was that like for you?
Jaime: That was so great. Everyone was so shocked that I was the first one to volunteer, but in real life, that is me. I will be the first one on stage. I'm not usually the shy one and confidence never really gets in the way. I think confidence got in the way this time because it was a TV show. I loved going in the box, it was so great and fun and we were just being silly.
TVGuide.com: All the costumes you wore while performing, was that stuff you brought, or was it from wardrobe?
Jaime: Wardrobe did that. It was all PCD stuff.
TVGuide.com: Did you get to keep any of the clothes?
Jaime: No, I didn't. They gave me some makeup. But I wouldn't wear those clothes out to a club. I'm not that much of a scandalous dresser. It is fun sometimes... on stage.
TVGuide.com: Why did you want to do this show? Did you like the group?
Jaime: Yeah, I liked them. Every time I saw them on TV, I was like, "I can do that." I dreamt about the audition two days before I even heard about it. I was supposed to audition for American Idol this year. My friends were working on the show and told me to come by and get a number, but I had a feeling I didn't want to do American Idol. Then I had that dream, showing the hotel room where we auditioned in New York. I dreamt the entire hotel, and I thought, "Crap, maybe I should have auditioned for American Idol." Then I was at dance class one night and they talked about auditioning for the Pussycat Dolls. So I went, and look where I am.
TVGuide.com: Sounds like it was meant to be.
Jaime: Yeah. When I got accepted and they flew the 50 girls out to L.A., I found a ladybug on the floor in my carpet and then later a Chinese fortune in the same spot.
TVGuide.com: A sign.
Jaime: Definitely. I dream a lot, and sometimes they do come true.
TVGuide.com: Do you consider yourself more of a singer or a dancer?
Jaime: I grew up as a dancer and a singer, so that was a tough question for me to answer on the show. But watching it back, I think I'm more of a singer. I grew up as a ballet dancer; I switched to hip-hop a couple of years ago. But I didn't do hip-hop as much as ballet, so when I watch myself I'm so critical. I think my voice stands out more than my dancing.
TVGuide.com: Well, I think anyone who can keep up with [PCD cochoreographer] Mikey [Minden] is at least a decent dancer.
Jaime: Yeah, he's a tough one — he hated me at first — but he kept us on our toes. They didn't show all of the times he was yelling at me, and he yelled at me a lot. But he's so young, he's only 21, which is so crazy.
TVGuide.com: You seemed to get along with everyone. Was that really the case?
Jaime: Yes! I have made the best friends out of this experience. I was with Melissa R. and Sisely on Tuesday night. We watched the show together, because I'm in L.A. right now. Melissa R., we just bonded, I talk to her almost every day now. I got along with Asia really well... just everybody. I don't have anything bad to say.
TVGuide.com: What's next for you?
Jaime: Starting this weekend, I'm recording an album at Sony. It will be live music and a funky vibe, something I can stand on a stage and sing. It's not going to be all Pussycat Doll'd up.
TVGuide.com: So last week's recording-studio challenge was basically a warm-up for you?
Jaime: Yeah. And we're actually filming everything, in case they want to do a spin-off show or something.
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