Did anyone else totally see this coming? As soon as Valentina hit the screen on Empire , I just had a feeling that the Cookie wannabe was not only going to be trouble for Hakeem, but trouble for Lyon Dynasty. Valentina began Wednesday night's episode fighting with her fellow girl group members and generally not playing ball with Cookie or Hakeem. Eventually, it seems Cookie is turning her around, especially after she gives Valentina a reason to blow away anyone who would belittle her talent or aspirations. But just as the girl group is all set to perform for the first time on the radio, Lucious tells Cookie and Hakeem that he acquired a majority of radio stations, including that one, and signed Valentina to Empire behind their backs. Hakeem is obviously betrayed and angry by the move, but I have no doubt that he'll rise above this setback.
As talented as Valentina is, I don't think she'll turn out to be the artist Lucious wants her to be, simply because he won't put any real effort into cultivating that talent or kickstarting her career. He only signed the singer in an effort to get back at Cookie and Hakeem for embarrassing him at his own "Welcome Home" party. In fact, Lucious has already moved on to trying to sign Freda Gatz to Empire, and promising to produce Jamal's album. There's no way Valentina will be happy being completely sidelined for those two other artists — especially when she would've received a ton of personalized attention at Lyon Dynasty.
So what is Hakeem's next step? He's now missing the lead singer in his girl group, and finding someone who can fill Valentina's shoes will be very difficult. And of course, Cookie will have to figure out how to get Lyon Dynasty's music to the public without the use of the radio stations Lucious bought. My guess is that Hakeem will go back into the studio and start producing records on his quest to become a bigger star than his father or his brother. He's got a chip on his shoulder and huge ambitions stemming from hatred and betrayal. With that combination, nothing is going to stop him from becoming the megastar Lyon Dynasty needs.
Still, aside from his own record, I would really like to see Hakeem foster some new talent. He seems to have at least the start of a vision for where this company will go, and he's clearly making Cookie take him more seriously as a producer. I would love to see what other ideas for artists he has. In fact, I actually think it would be smart for him to try and pull a page out of his father's dirty trick book and try to poach Freda Gatz, whom Lucious is clearly determined to sign to Empire. It's time for Lucious to truly get a taste of his own medicine and if Hakeem can take away his greatest potential talent and rise above him as a producer and rapper, that would really show Lucious how much better off Hakeem is without him.
Image: Chuck Hodes/FOX