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Wilson Phillips: Still Holding On
Pedigreed '90s pop sirens ride movie cameo and reality TV show into new prominence

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"They don't want it to have a sheen over it. There's no reason for that." Carnie says her hubby actually refused to let them cut too many takes when tracking harmonies, to preserve that frisson of musical tension that makes intertwined vocal lines so exciting. "We'd want to do things over again, and he'd say, 'No, that's the point. It's not matching perfectly. It has to rub together like that. It feels more real.'"
 
Non-musical moments of friction are reserved for "Wilson Phillips: Still Holding On," airing Sundays on TV Guide Network. This isn't exactly uncharted territory for two-thirds of the trio: Chynna competed in Season 13 of "Dancing With the Stars," while Carnie appeared on "Celebrity Wife Swap." But starring in their own show takes the pressure to another level.
 
"We had to contemplate [making the show] very seriously," says Chynna. "We took our time, because we wanted to make sure that we weren't going to regret it. We knew that once you jump off that cliff, there's no turning back. And there have been moments where we've said, 'Oh my goodness, what have we gotten ourselves into?' Because there's always an unexpected twist or turn; they throw things at you that you weren't expecting, to keep you off guard."
 
In the premiere episode, the drama hinges on Carnie's ongoing attempts to keep her weight down, and the very real possibility of canceling a big concert. In one exchange, a disagreement about finding the correct key for a song momentarily disrupts rehearsal. The barbed quips between members deliver the laughs, but what's impressive is how quickly the three women settle their differences. "There's no time to bicker nowadays," says Chynna. "We've got nine kids between the three of us. We're all married. We've got careers. We're great friends, but we're also business partners, and that's a delicate, fine line that can easily be trampled on. You have to be very careful about how you say things." 
 
Of course, they threw all that vaunted care and consideration out the window when approached about Kristen Wiig's hilarious hit movie "Bridesmaids." "We didn't even see the script," Wendy discloses. "We were asked to do a cameo, heard that Judd Apatow was one of the producers, and that was good enough for us. We went in, filmed for six hours, sang our song and left." It was a leap of faith, but they were willing to risk possibly mockery at the hands of the filmmakers. "If you can't have a sense of humor about yourself, you shouldn't be in this business," adds Chynna.
 
That awareness also explains why, even after 22 years in the business, the band members have accepted inevitably being compared to their parents -- even when they aren't singing their songs. "We can't change the fact of where we come from," says Carnie. And that's OK. "Our parents weren't just these little groups that had one or two hits. They're part of music history, and that's something we're proud of."

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