NEW YORK (Billboard) - With their 2005 debut album, the Pussycat Dolls showed they can deliver a successful album.
"PCD" (Interscope ) has sold 2.9 million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and spawned such chart-topping hits as "Don't Cha" and "Buttons" featuring Snoop Dogg.
But when lead singer Nicole Scherzinger tried to go solo last fall, the response couldn't have been more different. Four singles fizzled on the charts and on radio, and her album, "Her Name Is Nicole," was shelved indefinitely.
So for now, the focus is back on the Pussycat Dolls, who return September 23 with "Doll Domination." Lead single "When I Grow Up" reached No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 just four weeks after entering the chart.
"I think we had an advantage with our first album being so successful. We knew songs like 'Don't Cha,' 'Buttons' and 'Stickwitu' helped to set the bar for us and steered us in the direction, because before that we didn't even know what the sound for the PCD was going to be," Scherzinger says.
In addition to the Missy Elliott-assisted "Whatcha Think About That," tracks include the Snoop-featuring "Bottle Pop," the R. Kelly duet "Out This Club," the Tina Turner-inspired "In Person" and "Happily Never After," on which Scherzinger narrates the story of a woman who walks out on a dead-end relationship.
With "Doll Domination" already off to a strong start, the question remains: Why did Scherzinger's solo bid meet with such resistance, even with contributions from stars like will.i.am and Timbaland?
According to Scherzinger, the problem was the similarities in PCD's sound and the one she was trying to make her own. "I put my solo album on hold because, one, I'm a ridiculous perfectionist; two, the timing wasn't right; and three, we have so much success with the Dolls, I've got to come with something completely different and unique for me as a solo artist," she says.
Geffen chairman and "Doll Domination" executive producer Ron Fair is confident that the right moment for Scherzinger will come soon. "It was an issue of timing, but we're coming back to it when the time is right and it's going to work. In the meantime, we're going to focus on PCD," he says.
To help ease fans into anticipated future solo moves from Dolls members Melody Thornton, Ashley Roberts, Kimberly Wyatt and Jessica Sutta, they all have her own songs on the European version of "Doll Domination." "When we perform live, we each get an opportunity to sing our own songs," Scherzinger says.
Scherzinger is confident that "Her Name Is Nicole" will be out early next year and has already collaborated with artists like Sting and Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody in hopes of authoritatively striking out on her own.
"I realized a lot of the songs sounded like PCD songs and that they shouldn't be on my album," she says. "But all that will come in time, full steam, next year. And when I do, there will be room for both of them to coexist because they'll be two completely separate entities."