Questionable Things We Ignored In The Cheetah Girls Movies

Rewind the clock back to the 2000s, when one of the hottest Disney Channel Original Movies (DCOMs) was 2003's "The Cheetah Girls." The film centered on a teenage group of girls who form a singing group called The Cheetah Girls. Galleria (Raven-Symoné), Chanel (Adrienne Houghton), Aqua (Kiely Williams), and Dorinda (Sabrina Bryan) could sing, dance, and rock some fierce cheetah prints, and brought us catchy tunes like "Cinderella," "Cheetah Sisters," and "Together We Can."

"The Cheetah Girls" spawned a franchise that won't soon be forgotten. That first film was followed by a sequel, 2006's "The Cheetah Girls 2," and the third installment, "The Cheetah Girls: One World," was released in 2008. If you were a teen or tween in the 2000s — or had kids in the family who were that age — there's a good chance you've seen at least one of these iconic films. As beloved as the "Cheetah Girls" films remain, though, there's some pretty questionable stuff in the trilogy that has us scratching our heads over a decade later. How many of these moments did you miss in the "Cheetah Girls" movies?

Shouldn't all the parents have to sign paperwork before The Cheetah Girls can record a demo?

When The Cheetah Girls land a meeting with record producer Jackal Johnson, Galleria's mom insists on accompanying them. While Galleria isn't happy about this, it makes sense — the girls are high school freshmen, after all, so they're probably only around 13 to 15 years old. Galleria's mom insists on looking over the contract Jackal has drawn up, but what no one mentions is that The Cheetah Girls are too young to enter a legal agreement on their own. Galleria's mom isn't just being nosy and overprotective in looking over the contract — ultimately, she's going to have to sign off on it if Galleria is going to record a demo with Jackal.

What's odd is that no one makes any mention of the fact that it's not only Galleria's mom who would have to sign off — the other girls' parents would also have to be kept in the loop. Somehow, though, plans are made to rehearse and record the demo in the span of just a few days, which the girls all agree to without even speaking to their parents. Their next meeting with Jackal is sans parents, and it doesn't seem like anything is signed. It doesn't take a legal expert to know that there's no way this would fly in the real world.

How is everyone just conveniently wearing their Cheetah Girls outfits the day of the talent show?

The climax of the first "Cheetah Girls" movie comes when Galleria's dog, Toto, falls down a hole, prompting a televised rescue attempt. It's also the day of the school talent show, in which the Cheetah Girls are no longer competing after their disagreement over whether to sign Jackal Johnson's recording contract. None of the girls are even speaking to Galleria, but when they see Toto on TV, they all drop what they're doing to rush to help him.

It's a touching moment, especially when they break out into song to keep the adorable Bichon Frise calm. They also happen to be wearing matching outfits — cheetah clothes and headbands in different colors. It seems kind of odd that they'd all choose to wear their Cheetah Girls outfits on the same day, especially because by this point, The Cheetah Girls have effectively broken up, but hey — at least they look cute when they end up performing a number together after Toto is saved.

It's pretty unfair that The Cheetah Girls won the talent show

Listen, we're glad that The Cheetah Girls reunite by the end of the first film, but the fact that they won the school talent competition is wildly unfair. Sure, they gave a great performance, but let's not forget that they dropped out of the competition. Considering that they're at a magnet school for the performing arts, competition is probably steep, and there were almost certainly plenty of other acts that were just as deserving of the trophy who didn't drop out of the contest.

The Cheetah Girls didn't even formally re-enter the contest — they just spontaneously started singing in the middle of the street, where the viewers of the talent competition had gathered after Toto's rescue sparked a power outage in the area. Their performance might have been one of their best, but the fact that they were awarded the top prize — unanimously, to boot — is simply ludicrous.

The fact that they won is even more galling when you remember what the first prize is — time in a recording studio. That studio time should have gone to someone who was properly signed up for the contest, and The Cheetah Girls should have been told to try their luck again next year.

Declining Jackal Johnson's offer was a bit premature

Jackal Jackson is sleazy to the max. He's less concerned with developing young talent than he is with selling records, and that's made all too clear when he wants The Cheetah Girls to sing bubblegum pop songs while wearing animal heads. We can't blame the fierce girl group for turning down the offer, as they want to sing their own songs, but when Jackal later realizes his mistake and tries to fix it, they just tell him off before hanging up the phone.

This seems pretty premature. Sure, Jackal isn't exactly a dream mentor or record exec, but the recording industry is tough to break into, and he could have helped them get their foot in the door. The fact that they don't even listen to his second offer is just childish. While it was no doubt satisfying for them to turn him down, they didn't even bother to hear him out. He could have been ready to negotiate on their terms, especially after seeing how audiences reacted to their talent show performance. It could have been the big break they had been waiting for.

Even if they didn't like the first offer, they could have negotiated when he called again. It seems pretty clear that Jackal was finally willing to preserve the integrity of the group. By not hearing him out, they missed a BIG opportunity.

Why hasn't Aqua graduated already?

Aqua is the unsung genius of The Cheetah Girls. In the first film, she casually mentions that she's taking a class at New York University — not too shabby, considering she's just a high school freshman. A couple of years later, she's taking a biology class at Columbia. Considering just how smart Aqua is, we've kind of got to wonder what she's still doing in high school when she's obviously got the smarts to graduate early. Is she really that committed to The Cheetah Girls? Or is she staying in high school longer than she really needs to because she wants to have a normal high school experience? That is, as normal as things can get when you're taking college classes and being part of a rising girl group.

One thing is for sure: If things don't work out with The Cheetah Girls, Aqua definitely has plenty of backup options as far as careers go. And, while she may not have graduated from high school early, with all the college credits she's racked up by the time she gets that diploma, she'll probably be able to graduate from college ahead of schedule.

Aqua's Texas accent just disappears

As established in the first Cheetah Girls movie, Aqua is a Southern girl through and through. Originally hailing from the great state of Texas, when the first movie opens, she's been living in NYC for several months but still hasn't mastered the art of riding the subway. She speaks with a Southern drawl that, by the second film, has completely disappeared.

Sure, this major linguistic shift could be explained by Aqua simply losing her accent after living in the Big Apple for a while, but you'd think that someone would at least comment on it. Aqua's lack of an accent can probably be chalked up to actress Kiely Williams not having a Southern accent in real life, but it's weird that someone didn't throw a line into the script about her drawl fading away. Instead, it seems that viewers were simply expected to not notice that it had disappeared in "The Cheetah Girls 2."

Whatever happened to Derek?

In the first Cheetah Girls movie, Derek and Galleria have a rivalry that begins to blossom into a romance. While he spends the first part of the movie teasing Galleria, the two bond after The Cheetah Girls break up and he offers up some words of encouragement. He even plays guitar for The Cheetah Girls during their impromptu talent show performance, and he and Galleria kiss after the number is done.

While we certainly wouldn't expect their high school romance to last forever, it's a bit weird that he's not even mentioned in the second film. Yes, "The Cheetah Girls 2" takes place a couple of years after the events of the first film, and Derek was older than Galleria so he's probably graduated by now, but you'd think there'd be some reference to him if only to explain why he's not in the movie. Still, there's no mention of him going off to college or of him and Galleria breaking up. Instead, we just see Galleria falling for a new guy, Angel, in Barcelona. Derek definitely deserved a better sendoff.

How did Dorinda get a passport so fast?

The Cheetah Girls are kind of impulsive, but that's part of their charm. While their spur-of-the-moment decisions might not play out as well in the real world, in the realm of Disney Channel Original Movies, things tend to magically work out. Take, for example, their last-minute decision to enter a singing competition in Barcelona, auditioning on the phone mere days before the festival starts.

They get in, of course, because again, this is a Disney movie. They even get their moms to sign off on them traveling to Spain, where they stay with Chanel's mother's boyfriend. Dorinda — the least well-off of the otherwise wealthy group — is able to afford a plane ticket because Galleria's dad offers up frequent flyer miles, but that doesn't explain how she's able to conjure up a passport in a manner of days. It's established in the films that Dorinda doesn't have much money and, as one of several children in a foster home, it's unlikely that she's had the opportunity for international travel before, so we're betting that she didn't already have a passport. U.S. passports take several weeks to process and, while you can apply for an expedited passport, those are typically reserved for emergencies and require an appointment. It's unlikely that Dorinda would have been able to get a passport in just a few days, but hey, that's Disney magic for you.

Why hasn't Marisol gone pro?

When The Cheetah Girls get to Barcelona, they find that competition at the music festival is quite intense. One of the most intimidating contestants they're up against is Marisol, a gifted pop singer who has competed in the festival for years and is described as the "homegrown favorite." While she hasn't yet won the competition, everyone seems to think that this year is her year, and she's already quite beloved as a singer in Barcelona.

Considering her substantial fan base, we have to wonder why Marisol hasn't turned pro yet. It's established that only amateurs can enter the competition, and accepting money for a single performance is enough to get someone disqualified. It seems a bit weird that Marisol would enter the competition year after year in the hopes of winning when she's clearly got the talent and support to establish a professional career. She could easily be performing at parties and clubs and getting paid to do it, instead of hingeing her hopes on one competition. If anything, it looks like that competition is hindering Marisol's career.

Why isn't Vikram played by an Indian actor?

"The Cheetah Girls: One World" takes viewers to India and, while the change of scenery is nice, the film has been criticized for how the nation is depicted. In the words of The Juggernaut, the film "used India as a mere exotic backdrop." That's not the only problematic aspect of the film, though. We've also got to criticize one major casting choice, as the character of Vik — real name Vikram — is played by Michael Steger, an actor who is not of Indian or even South Asian descent. Per TV Guide, Steger is of European and Ecuadorian ancestry.

Hollywood has long had a representation problem that has slowly improved over the years. In recent years, there has been more criticism of people of color being played by white actors, but such casting is still a real issue, as noted by HuffPost. While Steger is talented, his casting is still pretty problematic. It's too bad that they couldn't have cast someone of Indian descent, especially considering the severe lack of Asian American representation in Hollywood.

Galleria going to Cambridge seems out of character

While the third Cheetah Girls movie, "The Cheetah Girls: One World," is just as delightful as the first two installments, it's noticeably missing Galleria, played by Raven-Symoné. Her absence is explained by the other girls, who reveal that Galleria — who never paid much attention to academics — is somehow prepping to attend Cambridge (a school known for being difficult to get into) and must take summer classes owing to her poor study habits.

As far as explanations go, this one is pretty weak. Galleria was committed to The Cheetah Girls and made it clear that she'd happily prioritize her music over her schoolwork. It makes no sense that she'd move across the ocean to attend a British university — it's far more likely that she would have chosen a school closer to home so that she could continue to perform with her group.

Of course, there was no chance of Galleria being in the third film, as Raven-Symoné wanted out of the franchise. "I felt excluded," she said years later on an Instagram Live (via Vulture) of the "cliquish" vibe on the set of the films. Still, the writers could have sent Galleria to a school that made more sense for her character, like Columbia or NYU, both of which are located in New York. The summer school excuse would still have worked — she could hardly have flown to India if she were taking classes.

Flying all the way to India without a proper contract is pretty foolish

Things seem to be going well for The Cheetah Girls the summer after they graduate from high school. They still don't have a recording contract, but they've just been hired to star in a Bollywood film. They don't let pesky things like contracts and salary agreements get in the way of accepting the offer; instead, they fly off to India just days after being offered the gig.

After arriving, though, they find out that there's only enough room in the budget for one of them to play the part, and they must compete with each other for the role. The Cheetah Girls are understandably dismayed, but hey, a free trip to India is a free trip to India, so they all decide to do their best to snag the part, promising to remain BFFs no matter what. Of course, the competition is rough on them, and their friendship is tested. By the end of the movie, they decide that the person who truly deserves the part is the film's choreographer, Gita.

While the opportunity to travel is nothing to sneeze at, all of the girls had major summer plans lined up that they gave up for a chance to star in a movie that they ended up not starring in. Let this be a lesson to always get job offers in writing.