By Brad Lopez
By Tom Murphy
By Noah Hubbell
By Inkoo Kang
By Dave Herrerra
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Melody Thorton's brain moves a mile a minute -- but this particular Pussycat Doll doesn't always seem to know where it's going. Consider this verbal ejaculation:
"But I think...BLUBLUBLUBLUBLU BLUH! Excuse me! I'm sorry. Hahaha! I'm losing my train of thought because I'm, like, looking at the mirror at something. I'm like, 'Where did that come from on my face?' No, I'm joking. Hahaha!"
Random? Damn straight -- and typical, too. During this interview, Thorton frequently tosses onomatopoetry into unsuspecting sentences, including "AAAH!," "BWAAAH!" and "be-LIEEEEVING!" (she sings this last one, sounding like Patti LaBelle on nitrous). She's equally prone to adolescent squeals and the sort of undisguised excitability she exhibits when talking about Dolls fanaticism in England, where group members Nicole Scherzinger, Ashley Roberts, Kimberly Wyatt, Jessica Sutta, Carmit Bachar and Thorton have cured a severe case of Spice Girls withdrawal. "We feel more like celebrities there," she says. "Like, 'WHOA! I'm famous!'"
The Pussycat Dolls are doing nearly as well in the States thanks to the success of singles from their initial disc, PCD. The horny "Beep" is on the current Billboard Top 40, but the sextet's signature ditty remains "Don't Cha," an exceedingly guilty pleasure whose key line is, "Don't cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me?" Loads of males would answer that question with a resounding "Yes!"
Stardom struck hard and fast for Thorton. As of three years ago, this Phoenix native's biggest moment was singing the national anthem at an Arizona Diamondbacks game. Then she passed an audition for the Dolls, which began life as a burlesque troupe (although Thorton prefers the amorphous adjective "cabaret-inspired"). Comic Sacha Baron Cohen parodied this proud heritage when he introduced the Dolls at last November's MTV Europe Awards with this: "Please prepare yourself for masturbation, because next are international singing prostitutes Pussycat Dolls." Thorton concedes that the remark was "kind of hurtful, but we still went on, and we put on a helluva performance. That was the first time we used pyro, and to this day, I'm like, 'Pyro! WOOO-HOOO!'"
She's just as revved up about a line of Pussycat fashion dolls that Hasbro will release later this year. "They came over and matched our hair color and did this whole, like, 3-D scan of our heads, and they did a really good job," she enthuses. "I mean, I'm in love with my doll! Hahaha! Yeah, I'm like, 'I think she's HOT!' No, I'm joking! But actually, I told them I wanted her to look like -- do you remember the Chipmunks? I told them I wanted her to look sort of like Brittany, Alvin's girlfriend. And she does!"
To those parents who don't see the Dolls as positive role models for their impressionable tots, Thorton's got a ready rejoinder: "I think we're fantastic role models. Why not? We sing and dance, and we're not in any way raunchy or too much of anything. I think we're just enough! And all we're really doing is promoting, you know, female empowerment!"
They're also promoting brainpower -- in a manner of speaking.