In the end, TLC’s Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas did not really get what she wanted in terms of love from two seasons of her VH1 reality show “What Chilli Wants.”
But she did get a paycheck and more public exposure than she’s gotten in years. During the second season, relationships expert Tionna Smalls expanded Chilli’s pool of men beyond Atlanta by going to New York, Miami and Las Vegas. She ultimately found three men Chilli found intriguing. All were charming and attractive. She dallied with Raphael Matos, an Indy driver but found him a bit too young at age 28. Scott, her next guy, was a bit too much of a playboy and not ready to get as serious as Chilli. The third, a Swedish model Lasse Larsen, intrigued her as well but she said today that their relationship has moved slowly given the fact he lives in New York.
“I’m glad I had this season,” Chilli said, of the recently concluded eight-episode second season shot last fall. “I met a lot of nice people. I’m sure most women would have more patience than me.” She and Lasse, she said, are still in the “getting to know” phase.
The show is no shoo in for a third season after ratings dropped almost 30 percent from season one, averaging around 920,000 viewers. (Oddly, a “sneak” preview of the show at noon the same day sometimes drew more viewers than the prime-time airing.) VH1, which hasn’t had a genuinely big hit in quite a long time, even had the temerity to air the finale during the Oscars.
Chilli said if she were to work more with VH1, the concept would have to be tweaked in some way. She did appreciate the way the show was done. “They really allowed me to be me,” she said.
Did Chill learn anything per se from the reality series? She is still seeking a long-term relationship. She’d like another child. Now she is likely to go at it again without a coach or cameras. “I’m not a desperate person or insecure to the point I have to have a man to validate who I am. I don’t know. I’m in the same place,” she said.
Chilli, whose music career has been more dormant lately than anything, is planning a 20th anniversary tour this summer for TLC with her cohort Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins. She hopes to nab an Atlanta date. (The pair has not performed together in Atlanta since Lisa Lopes died in 2002.) She is also dabbling in acting, playing herself on an upcoming VH1 dramedy called “Single Ladies,” which is being shot in Atlanta right now and set to debut this summer.
By Rodney Ho, email@example.com, AJCRadioTV blog