05/07/2001 at 01:00 AM EDT
Leave it to David Foster to transform five unknowns into a pop group. That's what the Grammy-winning producer-songwriter (Celine Dion, Madonna
) did on the hit reality-TV show Popstars. The band—Ana Maria Lombo, 22, Maile Misajon, 24, Nicole Scherzinger, 22, Ivette Sosa, 24, and Rosanna Tavarez, 24—called Eden's Crush, have an album due this month and a Top 10 hit ("Get Over Yourself"). "It's slightly formula," admits Foster, 51, "but the days of the Monkees are over."
What were you looking for?
Harmony. All five sing well, but they're not all lead singers. Many girls got weeded out because they couldn't stay in harmony.
How did you select them?
I was right here on my Lifecycle and I just turned the TV around so [that when I played their audition videotapes] I wouldn't see the girls, just hear them sing.
How does the group get along?
They get along, but there's tension. It's like an arranged marriage. Each girl had her own aspirations.
Did you learn anything from all this to pass on to your kids?
Rejection is the biggest part of the business. Like me: I'm trying to write a song for [the upcoming film] Pearl Harbor. The chances are about 5 percent I'll get it.