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The young and young at heart love the SPG crew



Published: Sat, October 28, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



The SPG are no longer a secret, despite the name of the show.

By SAMANTHA CRITCHELL

ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Slumber Party Girls are typical teens. They're five giggling shopaholics who are addicted to music, movies and each other. They giggle and gab constantly.

The only difference is, these girls don't do their gossiping from the comfort of pink cheetah-print bedrooms or at the food court of the local mall. They do it from a national stage: a regular Saturday morning gig on CBS.

In September, they took over a three-hour block of programming that's aimed at tweens. They have their own show called "Dance Revolution," based on the popular video game. Then they host the "KOL Secret Slumber Party," introducing cartoons such as "Sabrina" and "Trollz" and the live-action "Cake" between their banter.

The SPG, as the cool kids like to be known, also are releasing their first album this month.

The group -- and all their multichannel promotion -- was manufactured by music industry veteran Ron Fair of Geffen Records, who also shepherded the careers of the Black Eyed Peas and the Pussycat Dolls.

Manufactured for TV

Fair says he and Andy Heyward of DIC Entertainment had been kicking around the idea of launching a tween band when a hole came up in CBS' schedule. The group was always envisioned as all girls, who could successfully mix the Spice Girls, the Power Rangers and the Monkees, Fair says. "They also had to be able to capture the audience of the Black Eyed Peas, Beyonce and Christina Aguilera -- mainstream pop. They also could not be talking down to kids in Barney's voice. They had to be hip for tweens."

Tweens were the target, according to Fair, because they embrace their favorites on their iPod, on their bed sheets and in their toy chest. After all, they've grown up on Barbie and the Bratz, he says.

So, you can expect to see the SPG -- Mallory Low, Cassie Scerbo, Karla Deras, Carolina 'Lina' Carattini and Caroline Scott -- in a TV movie next year, featured on Mattel dolls and even, possibly, a sitcom.

The fivesome beat out 1,000 other girls at open auditions. Mallory, Cassie, Karla, Lina and Caroline say they would've chosen each other anyway -- they had swapped cell phone numbers even before they knew they were finalists. They also claim no cattiness.

Playful jabs

At least during the 30 minutes spent on the phone (clearly a medium they're comfortable with), there was no ill will. Sure, there was occasionally teasing -- about Caroline being The Brain, for example -- but no harsh words.

"I think it's really cool that I have found these other girls. I can learn a lot from them. ... We're like sisters," says 17-year-old Mallory, who, as the oldest band member, fills the role of ringleader.

Mallory describes herself as the "street, urban one," a little like Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas. "I'm LA born and bred. I'm still in the house I grew up in. I want to stay here in California because that is where the party is!"

Parties, boys, shoes certainly are on the SPGs' minds, but so are their careers.

Lina, 16, says she's sorry she had to miss homecoming and that she gets a bit homesick when she thinks of her friends back in Portage, Ind., but she says she feels blessed to be able to dance and sing with her new best buds. "I'm happy to make the sacrifice."

Lina's other passion is fashion. She says her look is "sassy but classy" a la Jennifer Lopez.

Karla acknowledges spending much more money on clothes now that she has such a high-profile job, but her "look" -- a little more vintage-inspired and unique than the others, she says -- hasn't changed from her pre-SPG days.

Caroline, who hails from Memphis, Tenn., is a little funkier, emulating the style of Gwen Stefani, who's a role model. Caroline appeared as a dancer in Stefani's "Hollaback Girl" video.

Cassie's wardrobe, however, is almost entirely pink. "I'm the girlie girl. I have the Juicy [Couture] Sidekick with pink rhinestones," says Cassie, of Dix Hills, N.Y.

On the Net: www.secretslumberparty.com/slumber-party-girls

Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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