TLC’s Chilli is Faking It

TLC singer Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas is returning to reality TV.

As a judge for truTV’s competition series, Fake Off, the singer-actress-dancer judges teams on “the art of faking it.”

“It’s an illusion,” says Chilli. “With these groups, their fake has to be so good that we’re all like, ‘Oh my God, it looks so real!’ It’s unbelievable how they’re able to tell a story.”

Through the use of dance, acrobatics, illusion, video mapping, black light, shadow puppetry and more, the contestants create performance art. Each week, teams are challenged to create an original act that reflects the chosen theme and impresses the judges–Chilli, Glee alum Harry Shum Jr. and visual and concept designer, Michael Curry–and the audience.

“I wanted to be part of something that was new and fresh for TV,” Chilli shares. “I’m so excited to be a part of Fake Off because there’s so much talent out there most people don’t even know about.”

But don’t expect her to be a Simon Cowell-type judge.

“I’m not a hard-ass judge, but it just depends,” she says. “If I see an act that did not take this particular theme seriously, I think it’s going to be hard if they don’t put their best effort out there. I’m never mean, but I can go in a little hard because there are so many other talented people who want be in that place so you shouldn’t take anything for granted.”

Throughout the competition, Chilli advises the teams to “keep their eyes on the prize.”

“But at the same time, every time you get on stage and perform it can be your next breaks,” she suggests. “You’re either the winner that week or someone watching can call the network and say, ‘who’s that group? We want to book them for our next event!'”

And she would know. In 2005, Chilli and Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins went in search of the next TLC member in the reality series R U The Girl. Five years later, the singer and dancer took a chance at love on What Chilli Wants.

“I don’t regret doing my show,” she reveals. “That was cool for me at that time. At the end of the day, I hope to inspire women to have high standards.”

The singer is also celebrating one year since the release of the group’s biopic: CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story, available on DVD now.

“I’m happy. I have a list of goals and that was in the top five,” she shares. “I always wanted a movie to happen, so it happened and it was a success. I’m actually working on some other projects, I can’t talk about right now that are still developing. But I like the TV world, I like producing, it’s a lot of fun.”

As for the future of TLC, fans can expect a big announcement from the group next week on Good Morning America.

“I’m really excited about that. We have separate projects, too,” Chilli says. “We also love comedy. We’re about to do a skit with Key & Peele. I’m so in love with those fools, they are crazy.”

Fake Off premieres Monday, October 27 at 10 pm. ET on truTV.

(Photo Credit: Annette Brown/truTV)