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Good vibes for a 'Pussycat' finalist Granddaughter cheered from afar

Gertrude and Stephen Korka of Kenmore are not typical fans of the Pussycat Dolls, but they're heavily invested in who will become the newest member of that highly successful, all-female pop recording group.

Gertrude, 89, and her husband, Stephen, 92, are regular viewers of the weekly competitive TV reality show "The Pussycat Dolls Presents: The Search for the Next Pussycat Doll." That's because their granddaughter Chelsea is one of three finalists who might be chosen for the job at the conclusion of the show's season finale, which airs at 9 tonight on the CW Network, WNLO Channel 23 in Buffalo.

"We're going to be sitting here with our fingers crossed," Gertrude Korka said Monday. "Of course, we're all tensed up about it."

Chelsea Korka, a former waitress in her hometown of Cooper City, Fla., is also a singer and a dancer who last year won the title of Miss West Broward USA 2007, which leads to the Miss Florida USA 2007 beauty pageant.

In a brief telephone interview with The Buffalo News on Monday, the proud grandparents confided that 20-year-old Chelsea was invited by producers of the TV reality show to compete with hundreds of other young women for the open slot in the Pussycat Dolls current lineup. Hundreds were whittled down to 50, then to 19 who competed on the show. Now it's down to Chelsea and two others.

"She had intentions of going to college, but she thought she would give this a try," said Stephen Korka. "She has a lot going for her."

The Pussycat Dolls are widely known in the pop music world for their live act, complete with sexy dance moves and skimpy costumes, and their platinum-selling pop radio hits "Don't Cha (Wish Your Girlfriend Was Hot Like Me)" and "Buttons."

The show's producers are very strict with the contestants competing to become the newest member of the group, Gertrude Korka insisted.

"But, oh, my, I was surprised how scantily the girls are dressed," she added.

Chelsea's dad, Craig Korka, a Kenmore West High School graduate, is not shocked at all. He runs two strip clubs in Florida.

"The risque part of the Pussycats Dolls doesn't bother me," he said in a phone interview from Florida on Monday.

"I have no problem with my daughter being sensually displayed as a singer, as long as she is being portrayed as a real singer," Korka said.

Chelsea, he said, is the better singer of the three contestants remaining, even if the other two might have a slight edge as agile dancers.

"Even if she doesn't win," her father said, "she'll still be a success."


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