Alexis Pelekanos, a 21-year-old who graduated from Franklin Regional High School in 2004, will be among the young women singing and dancing in The CW reality competition, "The Pussycat Dolls Present: Girlicious" (9 p.m. Monday, WPCW). This is a sequel to last year's "Pussycat Dolls" series. In this edition, a new group made up of three women who demonstrate "vocal skills, dance ability and superstar charisma" will be formed.
Pelekanos, the daughter of Dr. Michael and Susan Pelekanos of Murrysville, isn't featured prominently in the first "Girlicious" episode, but she does compete in one number near the end of the hour. Dressed in a gold bikini top and white short-shorts, she sings "Tainted Love" with two other contestants.
Reality show contestants are often kept away from the press before their shows premiere, but The CW allowed Alexis to answer a few questions via e-mail:
Question: Were you involved in music or dance programs there?
AP: I was involved in musicals during middle school and chamber choir for the last three years of high school. Most of my music/dance programs took place outside of high school. I took private voice lessons at Carnegie Mellon University for several years, and danced competitively with Rogers Dance Studio.
Q: What did you do after high school? Did you go to college, and, if so, where and what did you study?
AP: I'm currently a senior at the University of Southern California. I've been there for four years and intend to get a BA in psychology this spring. I also have a minor in Natural Science, which has definitely prepared me for graduate school. I have been accepted to dental school, and plan to begin this coming fall. I hope to eventually become an orthodontist or cosmetic dentist.
Q: When did you leave Pittsburgh?
AP: I left Pittsburgh four years ago when I got into USC, with intentions to pursue both of my careers in medicine and music.
Q: Can you ever imagine returning to live in Pittsburgh?
AP: Pittsburgh is a great city. Pittsburgh is a national leader in technology, higher education and especially medicine. I love my family, friends and the people in general in Pittsburgh. My roots are in Pittsburgh and there is definitely something to be said for Pittsburgh values. However, going far away for college has opened my eyes to new places and new opportunities. I've grown to love Los Angeles, and I definitely wouldn't mind staying here! With music as a factor, L.A. definitely has the edge.
Q: What did you do in L.A. before "Girlicious"?
AP: I studied! I was pre-Dental at USC, and the curriculum was very demanding, but I've done plenty of other things too. I recorded my first 5 song EP. You can hear pieces of my album here. I've continued taking voice and piano lessons, and have performed at a few venues in both L.A. and Pittsburgh. Of course I've enjoyed college and my friends too!
Q: Do your parents have any concerns with you being on this show, wearing skimpy clothes on TV and how you may be edited?
AP: My parents do and so do I! I was more concerned at first because I thought it was going to be identical to the first season. But, the Pussycat Dolls are a burlesque group, and Girlicious is not, so it made my parents feel much better. Don't get me wrong, the Pussycat Dolls are amazingly beautiful and talented, but I personally have a different performance style than they do. As for how they edited me, I have no idea! I think we're all very anxious and nervous for that one! At the end of the day, the people who are close to me know the real me, and most importantly, I know the real me, and that's all that matters.
Q: In your mind, what makes a young woman "Girlicious"? How does that differ from delicious?
AP: A girlicious girl is confident and comfortable in her own skin. Truthfully, being "girlicious" to me isn't all about wearing pink and looking sexy. It's more about being proud of your own personality, and being able to incorporate it appropriately into your music and performance. That's girlicious.
As for how it differs from delicious ... apple pie and chocolate cake are delicious.
Q: Do you think you're a better singer or dancer?
AP: I honestly would say I'm more of a singer, but at times it's a toss up. I wouldn't consider myself to have a pop voice, so some of the song choices on the show were difficult for me to sing, yet fun to dance too. I can definitely say that my classical training in dance definitely helped me on the show.
Q: You claimed Martina McBride as your inspiration. Do you worry that she's too tame for someone who's aspiring to be part of a Pussycat Dolls group?
AP: This season, they weren't adding another girl into the Pussycat Dolls, so I think the vibe was a bit different. I'm not sure if [producers] Robin [Antin] or Ron [Fair] really knew exactly what they were looking at in the very beginning, so I'm sure they were open to anything. I wouldn't have made it onto the show if my inspiration was that off the wall. And even so, there's absolutely nothing wrong with being "too tame" in my eyes. If you consider someone like Martina McBride who is classy, sexy, confident, beautiful, talented successful, and most importantly, morally straight, "too tame," then everyone should want to be "too tame!"
Q: Have you ever applied to be on other reality shows? What made you apply for this one?
AP: No. This is the first reality tv show that I've auditioned for. I auditioned for this one because I could incorporate my passions of singing and dancing together. I have to say it was a great experience, and I had a blast! Thank you, Robin! I made some really good friends and met some people that I will never forget.