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Danity Kane does what the script says

It glitters and fulfills its pop star duties. Day26 makes for a fine opening act.

June 11, 2008|Mikael Wood | Special to The Times

"I wanna see what you're working with," the ladies of Danity Kane sang Monday at the Wiltern during the final stop of the Making the Band 4 Tour. That line more or less encapsulates the philosophy that defines "Making the Band," the honestly titled MTV reality series from whence Danity Kane sprang: Lorded over by rapper, producer and Bad Boy Records impresario Sean "Diddy" Combs, "Making the Band" follows Combs on his warts-and-all journey to assemble a pop act from scratch and force it on the world. The show wants to convince us of Diddy's skill as a showbiz alchemist; we want to find out how resistant common metals are to change.

Danity Kane, whose road to stardom was paved in "Making the Band's" third season, has fared the best of any of the series' groups so far. (If you don't remember Da Band, from Season 2, you're not alone.)

The quintet offers up glittery, precision-geared soul songs about unfaithful men and the importance of a regular night out; both of Danity Kane's albums, including March's "Welcome to the Dollhouse," have debuted atop the national album chart.

At the Wiltern -- where the group was introduced by Diddy himself, who wondered aloud if there were any future stars in the audience -- Danity Kane performed a tidy 45-minute set that emphasized the members' elaborate hairdos as much as their singing voices.

That was fine: Part of what's appealing about these five women is their obvious glee in playing the juicy role of pop star, particularly when it comes to donning the outfits the job requires. The highlight was "Show Stopper," from the group's 2006 debut, which Dawn Richard dedicated to "all the haters" -- a species she seems thrilled to have finally encountered.

Monday's show also included brief sets by other acts from Diddy's star factory: Cheri Dennis, Donnie Klang and the five-man R&B outfit Day26, which served as the most recent subject of "Making the Band." None matched Danity Kane's sparkle, but with creamy harmonies and lightweight choreography, the guys in Day26 called up fond memories of pre-Backstreet Boys bands, such as New Edition.

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