March 26, 2009

Pussycat Dolls Booked for Slope Day

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Updated 7:30 p.m.

The Pussycat Dolls will perform at this year’s Slope Day concert, according to a representative who assists in scheduling the group at the William Morris Agency.
The source, who asked to remain anonymous, confirmed to The Sun yesterday that the five-girl troupe will stop in Ithaca on May 1 for Cornell’s annual end-of-the year concert, breaking from their supporting role as openers for Britney Spears’ global tour.
At today’s Student Assembly Meeting, Slope Day Programming Board President Mandy Hjellming ’09 announced that the opening act will be Asher Roth, whose hit song is “I Love College.”
Founded in 1995 as a modern-day burlesque troupe by choreographer Robin Antin, the Pussycat Dolls have undergone several personnel changes during their transition from club act to international pop group. After a residency at The Viper Room in L.A., the group garnered national media attention for their provocative dance act, and signed with Interscope Records. Nicole Scherzinger and Melody Thornton were added to ease the transition from a dance-focused group to a musically oriented one, and the Pussycat Dolls released their first album, PCD, in 2005. [img_assist|nid=36283|title=Pussycat Dolls|desc=|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
With several chart-topping hits such as “Don’t Cha,” “Buttons” and “I Hate This Part,” the group has established itself as a global marketing force. Pussycat Doll-branded products include a reality show, an Estee Lauder cosmetics line and lingerie. In 2006, controversy surrounding the sexual nature of the group’s performances caused Hasbro to cancel their plans for Pussycat Doll-themed toys aimed at young girls.
Hjellming declined to comment yesterday on specific Slope Day performers. She said that SDPB would make a formal announcement at today’s Student Assembly meeting in Willard Straight Hall at 6 p.m.[img_assist|nid=36279|title=Slope Day Headliners Over the Years|desc=|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Other members of the Slope Day Programming Board’s executive board also declined to comment yesterday.
Meanwhile, reactions from Cornell students on Facebook and around campus range from excitement to perplexity to concern.
“I’m excited that the performer my senior year is my favorite of all my four years,” Lexie Sonis ’09 said. “I really like the Pussycat Dolls.”
Other students expressed mixed reactions.
“I don’t think they took into consideration a lot of people’s musical preferences,” Kirsten Bass ’11 said. “I’m sure that the guys will enjoy watching hot girls dance, but I can only imagine the complaining that is to come. Then again, its tough to please everybody.”
Slope Day has previously featured musical acts such as Snoop Dogg, T.I. and the Gym Class Heroes.
Earlier this year, the SDPB said it would be forced to consider less expensive entertainment for Slope Day as Cornell significantly reduced its financial support of the event as part of University-wide budget cuts.
Hjellming told The Sun in January that the Slope Day Programming Board would have to cover an estimated $70,000 for logistical and infrastructural expenses that was previously provided by the University and that SDPB would be seeking other sources of funding.
In February, the Cornell Concert Commission announced that it would give $30,000 of its funds to the Slope Day budget. With that contribution, the SDPB ended up with about $230,000 to spend on all of Slope Day.
Some members of the Cornell community have expressed concerns over the image of Slope Day as a extravagant celebration in the midst of the current economic downturn.
At the open session of the Board of Trustees earlier this month, one trustee voiced her concerns about spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a party for students while the University was cutting resources and laying off staff.
In an interview with The Sun in January, Dean of Students Kent Hubbell ’67 expressed similar concerns.
“Slope Day needs to be done proportionally to the financial circumstance,” he said. “We wouldn’t want it to appear lavish compared to the way people are having to comport themselves right now in this economy.”