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TLC backstage at the 2013 American Music Awards

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The 2013 American Music Awards took place on Nov. 24 at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live in Los Angeles. TLC's surviving members Tionnne "T-Boz" Watkins and Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas performed "Waterfalls" at the awards show with special guest Lil Mama filling in for the late Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, who died in a car accident in 2002. Lil Mama portrayed Lopes in the 2013 TV-movie "CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story." Here is what TLC said backstage in the American Music Awards press room:

How did you get Lil Mama comfortable enough to fill in for Left Eye?

Chilli: How did we get her comfortable? We worked her! We practiced!

T-Boz: We’ll put you to work! Don’t hold back. If you mess up, we’ll let you know. You look “stank,” we’ll straighten you out.

Chilli: Yep, yep. That’s right. That’s what happens.

Was there any truth to the rumor that there would be a Left Eye hologram as part of the performance?

T-Boz: In the month of Neveruary, OK?

Chilli: There’s always been [that] rumor. It’s something that we’ve thought about many, many, many years ago.

T-Boz: Before 2Pac.

Chilli: Actually, TMZ started that rumor. See, they don’t always tell the truth.

T-Boz: Emotionally, honestly, we can’t deal with her [Left Eye] standing there [as a hologram]. That’s just way too much right now.

Lil Mama, what was the pressure like to perform with TLC?

Lil Mama: Well, you know, I was there, but I wasn’t there, but I was there. It was a surreal moment for me, in the moment. Rehearsals and things like that, it’s definitely an iconic group, because they look up to the greats, like Michael Jackson, who rehearsed everything into the ground. We do eight-hour rehearsals. If you mess up, they bring it the music back, like, “OK, we’ve got to start this over. Lil Mama messed up.”

Chilli: And we call ourselves out too.

Lil Mama: Yeah, they call themselves out too.

Chilli: Yeah, like, “I messed up. Take it back. Take it back.”

Lil Mama: And it’s always out of love. So the pressure wasn’t as thick as it would be if there was no chemistry. The chemistry’s there, and I had a great time.

What’s your response to your former manager Perri “Pebbles” Reid saying that the TV-movie “CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story” had a lot of lies about her?

Chilli: Well, first of all, we’re very happy about the biopic. It is a dream come true. T and I have been involved from the script to the casting to being on the set. It was our truth. We’re just happy about the success mainly and that people were able to see all that and see all the things that we went through, you know what I mean?

T-Boz: And I just want to add it’s been a blessed year because [we have] the No. 1 movie [on cable TV], No. 1 single with J. Cole (“Crooked Smile”), the No. 1 R&B album with “TLC 20.” None of the other stuff matters.

For more info: American Music Awards website


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