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The studio lights flashed on as an energetic bundle of guitar riffs echoed through the room. A fairly short woman with shoulder-length red hair walked onto the stage, holding a microphone. The woman, Paramore frontwoman Hayley Williams, was dressed in a white t-shirt, tracksuit bottoms and black and white Converse sneakers. “Hi and welcome to Top of the Slops, a new game show where famous faces from the music business compete in a series of gooey games to win cash for charity. I’m Hayley Williams and I’m hosting for the first ever episode and guiding us through the show will be our lovely commentator Jonathan Pearce. Hi Johnathan!” she said into a black microphone she was holding, which had been built to keep various liquids out of the electronics.
“Hello Hayley. Lined up tonight is a battle between four maidens of metal and four princess of pop. And out they come now!” he eagerly announced from his booth away from the action. Eight women went onto the stage to an abridged version of the guitar theme tune from earlier. To Hayley’s right (and the audience’s left) were four women dressed in matching red t-shirts, black shorts and black trainers. “On the red team this week are four heavy metal frontwomen: Lacuna Coil singer Cristina Scabbia, Arch Enemy vocalist Angela Gossow, Epica singer Simone Simons and In This Moment frontwoman Maria Brink,” Jonathan said as the camera panned across them. “And the blue team representing pop are Taylor Swift, Ke$ha, Jessie J and Nicola Roberts.” As their team colour implied, they were wearing blue t-shirts with white shorts and trainers. They were all stood to Hayley’s left.
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“Those are our teams. Red team, how are you feeling about the upcoming proceedings?” Hayley asked, extending her arm so one of the team could talk into the mic.
Angela Gossow was first to answer, deciding to play up her rebellious, tough girl persona. “We’re ready to get out there and kick some ass for our four causes!” she screamed into the mic.
“And the idea of getting messy doesn’t faze you at all?” Hayley asked.
Simone giggled sheepishly. “It sounds kinda fun, actually. I’m sure we’ll all have fun.”
Hayley then turned everyone’s attention to the pop team. “And how are the blues feeling about the goo?”
Ke$ha immediately took the opportunity to respond to Angela’s claims about kicking ass. “There’s no way we’re losing, Hayley. Those metalheads are gonna go home dripping with slime after we school them. Oh and by the way, screaming into the mic doesn’t make good music, reds,” she said, sticking her tongue out at the opponents. Nobody was quite sure of what to make of Ke$ha’s outburst, but Cristina spoke up.
“Not every metal singer screams. I don’t and Simone doesn’t,” Cristina corrected Ke$ha.
Maria nodded in agreement. “Plus we don’t need auto-tune to sound good.”
Hayley sighed. “Let’s not get personal, ladies. This is all for fun and charity, after all. Looks like you’re all eager to prove yourselves though, so let me explain how this show works. Now obviously there are four of you on each team, but only three of you will be needed to play each game. You will therefore need to choose one person to sit out of each game. This doesn’t mean that whoever sits out is safe from the gunge though – there’s also a dunk tank filled with colder gunge and if their team scores lower than the opponent, the member of that team who sits out will get dunked. If both teams score the same, both people who sit out will get dunked. Everyone get it?” All eight players nodded. “Cool. Now let’s get on with the first game.”
The wall at the back of the stage opened up to reveal a giant jukebox. In front of it was a dunk tank filled with thick, chocolate milkshake with two chairs at the top, right next to each other. One was red and the other blue. To the sides were six 5m inflatable runways (three on each side) which each led to a tank full of thinner, slightly warmer milkshake with some kind of discs floating in them. Hayley walked over to one of the runways. “This first game is called Credits for Teams. Each player has to run along here and reach into this vat of strawberry milkshake,” she explained as she ran along the middle runway on the left and pulled out a disc. “They then have to take one of these coins out of the slime and take it back. The return trip will be aided by bungee cords. Once they get the coin back, they put it into this slot and depending on what’s written on the coin, get 10 or 20 points. However, some coins don’t give any points and some take 10 points from your score, so rushing to get the most coins won’t necessarily work. You have two minutes to score as highly as possible. So, let’s come to the blue team first. Who do you think should sit and watch this one?”
Jessie stepped forwards. “I’ll volunteer for this one, Hayley. I’m not a very good sprinter,” she claimed.
Hayley then looked to the red team. “And who’s going to risk getting dunked for the red team?”
Cristina raised her hand. “I am. If I’m gonna get dunked, I want it to be done as soon as possible.”
“Alright. Jessie and Cristina take your shoes off and take your places on the dunking chairs. The rest of you get harnessed up and ready to play Credits for Teams.”
A brief transition later and everyone was in position to play the game. On the red team, a rather calm Maria was on the outside lane and furthest from the dunk tank. To her left was Simone who was looking a little nervous, but still eager to play. Angela was on the inside lane and was doing a few stretching exercises before the game began. Over on the blue team Taylor, who was taking some deep breaths, was on the far right and away from the dunk tank. In the middle was Nicola, who waved to the camera as it passed. Ke$ha was in the lane next to the dunk tank and jogging on the spot to warm up. The now barefoot Cristina and Jessie sat poised above the large vat of chocolate milkshake. Jessie was pretty relaxed and looking forward to watch the others play the game. Cristina was more apprehensive and a little bit curious as to what she had potentially let herself in for, so she dipped her feet into the milkshake. She shivered a little as, unlike what had been put in the disc vats, it was almost icy cold and very thick.
Hayley stood at the front of the stage and counted into the game. “Let’s start the game in 3, 2, 1… Go!”
The game got underway and all six players ran out of the starting blocks. Angela was first to reach the disc vat and dipped her hands in, grabbing the first token she could before the elastic dragged her back. Taylor didn’t do that and, as Johnathan was quick to comment on, “got dragged away on her backside!”. As she slid along the runway, she was pelted with yellow banana shake which covered her legs. Ke$ha had been showered with raspberry as she ran to grab a token, which she wiped off her face and onto her shorts, coating them in sticky violet. The metal team were getting just as messy as Simone had been pelted with lime milkshake, the bright green contrasting vividly with her long red hair.
After much running back and forth, many milkshake showers and loading discs into the slots, the results were in. The six players were released from the bungee and went to join Hayley who was standing in front of the dunk tank. Jessie and Cristina watched on nervously.
Angela had roughly been turned into a pink, strawberry-flavoured mess with creamy shake dripping from her arms and running down her uncovered legs. Simone’s once-beautiful flame red hair was now matted with lime milkshake, creating a sticky mess of tangles. Maria’s tattoos were hidden under the strawberry shake she’d been putting her hands in, but she’d mostly managed to avoid the caramel shake that had been dumped on her, only getting some on her face and chest. By far she was the luckiest one.
Over on the blue team, Taylor had been covered almost completely covered with banana milkshake, following a few tumbles. One of them had resulted in her losing her left shoe; for the sake of keeping what little balance she had on the milkshake she had also removed her right shoe and was now completely barefoot. Ke$ha had also taken more than her fair share of violet raspberry shake, but she didn’t seem to care about how it was splattered almost randomly across her front. Nicola was splattered with vanilla milkshake, which had mercifully for her mostly stayed away from her t-shirt. At a distance it didn’t look like she’d taken much at all, but the trickle of shake down her face, legs and arms soon showed that, after Taylor, she’d taken more milkshake than anyone else in the game. So far anyway. Hayley hadn’t announced the scores yet, after all.
“Since this is our first dunk of the evening… actually no. Since this is our first dunk ever, the producers decided that we should make it just a bit more special. So, rather than immediately dunking the losing team’s volunteer, we’re going to announce the scores first.” Hayley looked to the blue team. “A very conservative effort from the blue team. You didn’t collect as many tokens as the red team but the value is just as important as the amount. You scored 70 points.” Ke$ha, Taylor and Nicola looked at each other somewhat glumly.
“As for the red team… Well, that was aggressive. Did it pay off, though? I can tell you that…” Cristina was beginning to feel even more anxious, her toes curling underneath the chocolate shake. “It…” Simone and Maria looked at each other with bated breath. “Did…” Angela crossed her fingers and hoped that Hayley was going to stop there. Unfortunately for Angela (and moreso for Cristina), she didn’t. “Not! Sorry reds, you only scored 60. A close game but sadly, a loss is a loss. Dunk Cristina!”
Cristina clenched her fists and cringed as she was dropped forwards into the chocolate shake. She didn’t scream – the fact her head went under the surface prevented that. She soon arose, completely covered in cold, brown milkshake and somewhat resembling some kind of swamp creature. A large nozzle was aimed at her from above which dispensed lashings of whipped cream over her head. Jessie looked on and laughed while the others just watched with astonishment. This was only the first game and any of them could have been next to face a dunking – probably a much harsher one. Once she’d adjusted to the cold, the funny side finally made itself clear to Cristina and she bore a smile as a bunch of hundreds-and-thousands fell on her dairy-coated body. She then turned to Jessie and flicked some of the cream at her, peppering the otherwise clean pop diva. “It’s only fair, Jess,” she grinned. Jessie didn’t have a smart comeback, choosing instead to kick some of the milkshake at Cristina.
While that was going on, Hayley was taking some time to interview the players. “So red team, that was too close, huh?”
Maria nodded. “It’s only 10 points. It’s not gonna be hard to make that back.”
“I feel kinda bad for Cristina, too,” Angela frowned. “That chocolate shake was just made for Jessie but we obviously messed up and put the wrong tokens into the machine. It’s our faults, really.”
Hayley nodded. “So you’re taking responsibility for it. That’s cool. Now, blue team… Taylor, you’re totally covered! You okay, girl?”
Taylor let out a slight grin. “Yeah, it’s not so bad. I kinda panicked when I lost my shoe though. Having to run through that stuff in bare feet was icky but I think compared to Cristina, I got off lightly.”
“Not as lightly as Maria,” Nicola joked, before running over to Maria and wiping some of the vanilla shake on her body. “That’s much better!”
Maria glared at Nicola for the little stunt she pulled. After Ke$ha’s outburst earlier and this little stunt, the metal team were going to have their work cut out if they were to knock the popstars down a few pegs. But then, she made a very key point earlier: ten points was barely anything.
“Well, the rivalry between rock and pop is getting tenser by the minute. Join us in part two to see just what we’ve got in store for the teams next. Don’t miss it!” Hayley said into a camera as they cut to a break.