15 Singing Reality Stars
Sheree Whitfield, “Who Gon' Check Me Boo”
At this point, it’s almost a rite of passage for Real Housewives to use their reality-TV fame to launch something, whether it’s a shoe line, a cookbook series, or their music career. Atlanta Housewife Sheree Whitfield gave this a try in 2009 with her clothing line She by Sheree, which was less than an immediate success. But Whitfield is not one to get discouraged easily. Perhaps inspired by her singing co-stars Kim Zolciak and Kandi Burruss, she now has her own single. “Who Gon’ Check Me Boo” is apparently the Real Housewife’s catchphrase and the title of her new song, which features such lyrics as “You ain’t got to like me/but I bet you gon’ respect me” and “Go Google me/tell me who’s gon’ check me boo?” We assume an extremely entertaining music video is on the way, but, for now, you can just enjoy the music.
“Jam (Turn It Up)”—Kim Kardashian of Keeping Up With the Kardashians
Some mysterious buyer is reportedly willing to spend big bucks for Kim Kardashian’s sex tape, according to TMZ; but that may not be necessary after a teaser of her tush-centric music video for “Jam (Turn It Up)” hit the web. The millionaire reality star’s autotuned debut single was released in March, and the video, directed by Hype Williams, is just now making the rounds. In the nearly minute-long clip, Kardashian’s luscious lipstick-painted lips mouth the lyrics “turn me up” many, many times. But mainly, the camera focuses on the newlywed’s infamous derrière as the soaking-wet Kardashian crawls in a tank top and booty shorts. Keep it klassy, Kim!
'The Situation'— Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino of Jersey Shore
Jersey Shore's beloved grenade carrier initially confused viewers with his now-signature nickname—was he himself "The Situation"? Were his abs "The Situation"? Or was "The Situation" that he liked to fester in the Jacuzzi he shared with his gym, tan, and laundry-loving castmates?This week, he complicated the situation, if you will, that much more when he released his first rap single, entitled "The Situation." It sounds like a mashup of the 27-year-old Staten Islander's quotes from the show, combined with fist-pump inducing "woo hoos" and brand-name dropping from Gucci to Dior to … LAX? Though he did have the help of Fatman Scoop, DJ Class, and the Disco Fries in producing the track, somehow DJ Pauly D didn't make the cut. Nevertheless, he did make his musical intentions clear. "I ain't at a bar to get drunk alone," the spoken words admit, "I'm gonna take a hottie home."
'Money Can't Buy You Class'— Countess LuAnn de Lesseps of The Real Housewives of New York
New York's most notorious countess, LuAnn de Lesseps has made the most of her Real Housewives fame this year. Not only did she release a book Class With the Countess: How to Live With Elegance and Flair, but in keeping up on her refined taste, she also released the show-stopping single "Money Can't Buy You Class." The video, which came out Memorial Day weekend, certainly made an impression, largely due to the extreme airbrushing and hair extensions versus the 45-year-old countess's actual musical abilities. If anything, her venture into the musical realm taught us two things about what money can in fact buy you—with the ability to look 20 years younger, many men 20 years younger than you can pretend they're interested in you, and also, plenty of autotune can make your voice sound decent. Lessons (and elegance) learned, my friends.
'Tardy for the Party'—Kim Zolciak of The Real Housewives of Atlanta
Kim Zolciak's singing ability—or lack thereof—was not revelatory for viewers of The Real Housewives of Atlanta. But always persisting, the beloved blonde joined efforts with fellow Housewife Kandi Burruss to produce "Tardy for the Party," the ideal song for America's gay bars and devotees of Bravo's only Southern version of the hit franchise series. After performing the song live in late 2009, viewers became entranced by 31-year-old Zolciak's single, in the so-bad-it's-good sort of way. It shot to the third spot in the Top 200 on the dance genre of iTunes. Although her frenemy NeNe Leakes laughed when Zolciak took the stage to perform the track for the first time on the reunion episode and outright told her, "You can't sing," Leakes later claimed it was her song. Haters and weave pullers to the left.
'Higher'—Heidi Montag of The Hills
Before she became the future plastic cat woman of media, MTV created the monster known as Heidi Montag and once she tasted fame and fortune, she simply could not get enough. After a leaked version of "Body Language" premiered on Ryan Seacrest's radio show 2007, featuring her now-husband and fellow list maker Spencer Pratt, Montag officially released "Higher" in February 2008 to an enormously critical response. Apart from the agonizingly clichéd lyrics (i.e. "Here we go/ Let it flow/ Spread your wings and fly/ You never known till you let it go"), Montag came out with a music video. Expertly produced by Pratt, the painful three-minute shoot featured Lauren Conrad's notorious ex-BFF on the beach in a hot pink bikini, rolling around in the sand, splashing in the waves, and expressively lip-syncing with oven mitt-size hands. Any press was seemingly not good press for Montag's music career—though "Higher" was nowhere to be found on her January 11, 2010, debut album Superficial, the CD sold fewer than 1,000 copies in its first week. Good thing Montag's numerous surgeries have left her without the ability to cry.
'PopoZão'—Kevin Federline of Britney & Kevin: Chaotic
As if there weren't enough speculation about backup dancer Kevin Federline's intentions in marrying pop star Britney Spears, sometime between his relatively quickie wedding, the premiere of his reality-television show Britney & Kevin: Chaotic and first son with Spears, Federline spent some time in the studio in 2005. He released is first single "Y'all Ain't Ready" later that year, notoriously referring to the evil paparazzi as "pavarottis." Despite public mockery and critical panning, however, Federline gave his rap career a second go with "PopoZão," released on New Year's Day 2006. With a title that means "big butt" in slang in Brazil, the only thing to really give him credit for is the bilingual factor. But when you have to explicitly say, "In Portuguese, it means 'bring your ass,'" the point is slightly lost. Though Federline did have the sense to scrap both his freshman and sophomore singles from his debut album, Playing With Fire, released in the fall of 2006, was not much better. It received an F from Entertainment Weekly, and a single generous star from Slant magazine, which called the album, "just as disposable and dumb as you'd expect."
'Stars Are Blind'—Paris Hilton of The Simple Life
When the socialite living the good life realized the entertainment world was her oyster—and that a sex tape can make a career—she certainly seized the opportunity. After Paris Hilton made a name for herself in night vision with Rick Salomon, she went on to star in the reality-TV show The Simple Life, pen her autobiography, and appear in the horror film House of Wax. But one of her most successful (if measuring in hilariousness) feats was her stint as a recording artist. She founded her own label, Heiress Records, and released her self-titled debut album aptly titled Paris. Her first single, "Stars Are Blind," made it on to Top 10 charts in 17 countries from Chile to Slovakia and even received some positive remarks from critics. Though the album tanked sales-wise, Hilton has allegedly been working on a followup release for the past three years. She told KIIS FM last year that her latest venture is "very personal," adding, "I wrote every song on the record." The heiress also confirmed some songs on the TBD album, including the post-prison track "Jailhouse Baby." Because when a judge hands you a DUI prison sentence, make a pop song!
'That Song in My Head'—Julianne Hough of Dancing With the Stars
Jennifer Lopez should watch her voluptuous ass because Dancing With the Stars' Julianne Hough is looking to be the country's next triple threat. The professional ballroom dancer won the reality-TV series two times—once with Olympic skater Apolo Anton Ohno and another with Indianapolis 500 champion Hélio Castroneves. But those titles were not enough for 20-year-old Hough, who used her DWTS fame to cross over into the music realm. Competing with fellow blondes dominating this specific genre, Hough released her debut country single "Will You Dance With Me" and later received a record deal. Partnering up with a producer who worked with country legend Reba McEntire, Hough put out her debut self-titled album and accompanying song, "That Song in My Head." Both the record and the song were commercial successes and in 2009, the songstress won the Country Music Award for Top New Female Vocalist and the Top New Artist prize as well. She'll release the lead single off her second studio album, titled "Is That So Wrong," next week and is also scheduled to star in the Footloose reboot. Hough may actually be the most successful reality-TV personality to make her way from the small screen to the big stage, despite being one of the youngest.
'I Love U'—Tila Tequila of A Shot at Love With Tila Tequila
Holding a prestigious title like "the most popular person on MySpace" is bound to go to one's head—and that's precisely what it did for Tila Tequila, the infamously bisexual media personality who went on to star in MTV's reality dating show A Shot at Love With Tila Tequila. But what this TV star really wanted to do, apparently, was sing. Black Eyed Peas' frontman will.i.a.m signed Tequila to his record label, but decided to independently release her debut single "I Love U" on iTunes when the first season of her show premiered. The lyrics weren't exactly as sweet as the title would indicate (i.e. "So don't think I'm crazy when I tell you this/ But if you ever hurt me/ I'll f------ kill you"). Later that year, Tequila put out her followup record "Stripper Friends" and though it failed to chart, she was not deterred. This year, she released the subtle "I F----- the DJ" for mature audiences only. "I have my own original sound," she told Entertainment Weekly of her singing career. "Because I had released music a long time ago, before I was famous. I had "F--- Ya Man," which is a classic." Yes, Ms. Tequila—it's right alongside "Like a Rolling Stone."
'About Us'—Brooke Hogan of Hogan Knows Best
The Hulk's baby girl had her eye on something in particular when she signed on with her family to star in VH1's reality-television show Hogan Knows Best. Blond bombshell Brooke Hogan was just a teenager, but she also wanted to be in the spotlight like her professional wrestler father—only for her vocal chops, not her ability to chop another man. Years before the show premiered in 2005, Hogan got a record deal and released her first song, "Everything to Me," in July 2004. It did appear on the Hot 100 for a few weeks, but quickly dropped off the chart and her album was never released. But when Hogan Knows Best brought her into the spotlight, she worked with producer Scott Storch, signed with SoBe Entertainment, and got a bling-tastic set of grills to record her first single, "About Us." The song and its album, Undiscovered, sat comfortably on the Billboard 2000 and earned Hogan a Teen Choice Award. Her followup album in 2009, however, was not met with the same relatively warm reception. Not for lack of effort, but now 22-year-old Hogan's music career has since dwindled and not even gold-plated teeth could seemingly save her now.
'I'm A Celebrity'—Spencer Pratt of The Hills
Perhaps the most hated man on reality television, the notorious flesh-colored beard sporter Spencer Pratt gave America more fodder to mock him when he attempted to change his moniker—as a rapper. Besides spitting a couple rhymes on his wife Heidi Montag's track "Body Language," Pratt reemerged in 2009 (along with Dry Shampoogate) when the couple appeared on NBC's I'm a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here. The villainous former Princes of Malibu star released a track, shamelessly titled "I'm a Celebrity," in honor of his latest TV stint. With lyrics such as "Baby I get paid/I don't volunteer" and "My Rolex looks like some president shit/ I've got a president wrist," eyes certainly continued to roll over Pratt's efforts. And sadly, will continue to do so when he releases his next rap track. On Monday on Twitter, he announced "I am NOW rapping by my new name "THE HATED" look for my first single HATED… my album will have the REAL on : KIM Kardashian, LC aka BIG BEEF, BRODY, JERSEY SHORES, Seacrest, Al roker, john hamm, joel mchale, Adevillo." Look out multiple shores of the Garden State—the world's most self-aware rapper (who formerly referred to himself as "Great White") is ready to bite.
'All the Way Around'—Ali Lohan of Living Lohan
With stage mom Dina, media hound Michael, and ever-present tabloid cover girl Lindsay paving the way, it seems nearly impossible that 16-year-old younger Lohan daughter, Ali, wouldn't find her calling outside of the entertainment industry. After spending her toddler years as a Ford model and making an appearance in a straight-to-DVD film based on work by children's horror author R.L. Stine, Lohan decided to pursue music. In 2006, she released a Christmas album entitled Lohan Holiday (with lyrics like "Come on a journey to this Lohan holiday"), that didn't exactly elicit thoughts of jolly bearded men and presents under the tree. Nevertheless, the then-13-year-old was not thwarted from finding her calling through song and in 2008, cameras followed her attempt to break into show business on E!'s Living Lohan. The song she recorded at The Palms in Las Vegas with Maloof Music, "All the Way Around," did reach the No. 75 spot on Hot Digital Songs and spent some time on the iTunes chart above her sister's single "Bossy." Yet, lil' Lohan's album itself has remained unreleased, but she continues to appear alongside Lindsay in many a paparazzi lens.
'Ace of Spades'—Lisa D'Amato of America's Next Top Model
Those who viewed the glory days of Tyra Banks' reality-TV show, America's Next Top Model, would have a difficult time forgetting Cycle 5's Lisa D'Amato—the self-proclaimed "wino" who talked to foliage that she named Cousin It and urinated in a diaper on the set. Though no one could have guessed what would next be on tap for such an eccentric character such as D'Amato, it certainly wasn't a singing career. Nevertheless, in 2007, two years after her eyebrow-raising stint on Top Model, she reemerged with her first hip-hop inspired single, "Ace of Spades." The video, complete with sequined bikini tops, backseat limo soirees, fedoras, and dollar sign chains, featured D'Amato dancing around to lyrics such as, "People call me a clown 'cause I turn frowns upside down." And soon thereafter, she released other tracks produced by her then-boyfriend Cisco Adler, including the creatively titled, "My Name Is Lisa." She has continued to put out music on iTunes, but while D'Amato clearly didn't make it as a pop chart-topping sensation, she was able to extend her 15 minutes of fame one last time on VH1's Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew in early 2006. Well, at least the album effort did prepare her for one thing. "My name is Lisa"… "and I'm an alcoholic."
'Lonely Swedish (The Bum Bum Song)'—Tom Green of The Tom Green Show
Though Tom Green was a struggling, barely known standup comedian working the Canadian circuit in the early 1990s, he also had a short-lived career as a rapper under the alias "MC Bones" as part of Organize Rhyme. Nearly a decade later, Green, then the host of his self-titled MTV show, released a spoken-word track entitled "Lonely Swedish (The Bum Bum Song)." In the incredibly literal music video, which sat comfortably at the No. 1 spot on Total Request Live, Green places his derriere on a rail, a man, a step, cheese, ship, dog, cat, phone, ship, and inexplicably, "the Swedish." Though he quickly pulled the video from the MTV music video countdown show, claiming, "it's not fair to 98 Degrees," he later admitted in his 2004 autobiography Hollywood Causes Cancer that the network pressured him to do so to maintain the show's image. Whether or not MTV pulled the plug on Green's music career is up for debate—we may never know how many more references to backsides he could've made into chart-topping hits.