tonight on "nightline," paradise lost. an american woman goes missing on a vacation to aruba. in a chilling echo of that island's dark past. but this time the case is clouded by her secret life, a web of lies, and a man she met online. we go inside the mystery. pop star boot camp. what do these chart toppers all have in common? they're all shaped by one man who runs a camp where he turns young talent into recording gold. ♪ and tough love. two of the president's biggest backers are now on tour to draw attention to what they say are his mistakes. we'll tell you why.
>> announcer: from the global resources of abc news, with terry moran, cynthia mcfadden, and bill weir in new york city, this is "nightline," august 10th, 2011. good evening, all. i'm bill weir. an american woman missing in aruba. might sound like a headline from six years ago, back when alabama student natalee holloway disappeared on that caribbean island and was never s sn again. but now a second woman has vanished there, and this time the case is complicated by the fact that those closest to her, including her live-in boyfriend back home in maryland, didn't even know she was taking the trip. here's abc's matt gutman. >> reporter: even before her disappearance became the latest mystery to blemish aruba's coast, robyn gardner's life was already shrouded in secrets and lies. the 35-year-old dental assistant left her home in maryland on sunday, july 31st. she told her live-in boyfriend, richard forrester, she need aid vacation. >> she told me she was going to
orlando with her family on a short vacation tuesday to thursday to go to their timeshare. >> reporter: it was the first of a tangle of lies she told forester. he was stunned to learn on monday morning that robyn wasn't in florida at all but in aruba. >> she e-mailed me on monday morning, saying family surprised me, we're in aruba. it just seemed too random, too spontataous. so i was questioning her about it through e-mail. at 2:05 in the morning on tuesday on my facebook wall she wrotot "this sucks." anani didn't know what it meant. >> reporter: as it turns out, robyn wasn't with her family at all but with this man, 50-year-old gary giordano. giordano apparently met gardner online. they'd been dating and exchanging texts for a few weeks. and secretly, the two arranged to travel to aruba together. giordano later told police the two went snorkeling off of aruba's baby beach tuesday evening and that robyn was swept
out to sea by the current. no one has seen her since. that whole story of the swimming and snorkeling doesn't add up for richard forester. >> i don't believe for a second that she was in the water. i don't believe for one second she went into the ocean. she would be too concerned about getting her hair messedd up. she would be too concerned about getting her makeup messed up. at 6:00 at night she's probably had a couple of cocktails. she'd rather be sitting by the pool. >> reporter:giordano assisted aruban authorities in a search of the beach. his sight was so suspicious that three days later authorities detained gary giordano at the airport as he tried to leaea aruba. they now consider him a suspect in robyn's disappearance. but giordano's attorney, michael lopez, insists his client has done everything police have asked. >> the last day of his stay here in aruba we specifically asked justice if he -- if they needed for him to stay a little bit
longer. they didn't answer it. and at the airport they detained him as a suspect for murder. >> reporter: plus, says lopez, there's no proof and no motive. >> the current outside is very harsh. it will take you away in minutes if you don't watch out. and i think that's what happened. >> reporter: there may be no body and no evidence, but there is an ominous backstororhere. one of gardner's closest friends, christina jones, knew about robyn's secret relationship and had her concerns. >> you can kind of get a vibe from someone if they have someone good or not great in their life, and i just didn't get that vibe. >> he was, let's say, quite physically aggressive. >> reporter: this woman who said she recently dated him claims to have bumped into him just days before he left. >> like yanked my arm really hard, and it was like really scary. >> reporter: at least three women he met on match.com tell "nightline" he was threatening. two women, including an ex-wife, have filed for restraining orders against him.
and now several women have even e-mailed forester, claiming to have seen flashes of giordano's darker side. >> i love you -- >> reporter: forester, whose relationship with gardner apparently unraveled the last few weeks, is working with the natalee holloway resource center, which assists families of missing persons. there are a number of similarities in these cases. both women vanished on this beach, baby beach, so-called for its supposed calm, shallow waters. both disappeared without a trace. and both stayed here at aruba's plush renaissance hotel. and there's one more similarity. >> and we've got to rely on aruban police to find another blond beauty? that's discouraging. >> reporter: authorities have called off the active search for gardner, but the investigation into this disappearance seems to be just beginning. for "nightline" i'm matt gutman in aruba. and just ahead here on "nightline," they are the few,
the proud, the brave enough to sing falsetto and smolder. see the sacrifice of pop star boot camp when we come back. ♪ ♪ i ain't ever going to stop this crying ♪ ♪ ) man: between making the "rent and somebody constantly ownloading musicals ontitun. woman: i love musicals. man: ...it was getting tight around here. so to save money, i got us a roommate... man: ...who just happens to be into musicals. roommate: i am the very model of a modern major-general, i've information vegetable, animal, and mineral, i know the kings of england... anncr: there's an easier way to save. anncr: get online. go to geico.com. get a quote. 15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance. [ female announcer ] everybody loves that cushiony feeling. uh oh. i gotta go. [ female announcer ] and with charmin ultra soft, you can get that same cushiony feeling you love
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before he brought sexy back -- ♪ i'm bringing sexy back ♪ >> reporter: or she did it again. ♪ i did it again >> reporter: justin timberlake, britney spears and the jonas brothers had dreams of making it big. >> he was a little man. >> reporter: johnny wright turned scraggly teens into platinum-plated megastars. how many bands have you managed over the years? >> back street boys, britney spears. boys to men. >> reporter: they haven't had a hit. every day, he weeds through aspires young stars. >> how to she sounds like every britney spears girl out there. i'm interested h this sound.
i'm curious about the other one. ♪ got no money, baby >> all right. if you put a beat on this -- does this work now? >> reporter: the singers behind those voices want to come here, trophies and memories line the walls of the multimillion dollar compound in the florida suburbs. ♪ always in the limelight keep your mind right have it in your eye sight ♪ >> yeah, that's going to be hot. >> what we call the compound was just for that. to make them feel at home. they can jump on a jet ski, fish, hop in the pool. they can bowl. >> reporter: for the pop star wan thna >> reporter: for the pop star wan thnbes that get here, it's tough. up and comers spend weeks, even months here. >> they have to do the workouts.
vocal lessons. the rehearsal. then studio time. itit kind of like being in school. >> reporter: the new kids in school are y-6. six aspire stars picked from contestants. >> people uploaded videos f fm the bath rooms, garages. we whittled it to the top ten. they met me in l.a. i put my team together. we cut it down the what the band is now. that's the star quality i have to have in my band. you step up. you're the first member. >> thank you so much. you don't know how happy i am. i juju realized my dream. >> reporter: the new band has quickly learned that auditioning was the easy part. routine.u don't know the do something. excite me. >> come on. >> it's a good thing i'm not putting together a dance band.
>> reporter: the hard work, they say, started when they got to the compound. >> we're on some cutting edge stuff. >> reporter: the program, sing? >> take it to the streets. >> reporter: dance. >> right, left, right. >> reporter: exercise. and repeat. this boot camp here, is it all fun or a lot of work? >> it's a lot of work. >> i'm distracting you? ♪ i want to be on the spot >> he had us do three minutes of crazy exercises and then he was like, now sing. ♪ the way she's been ♪ not to be like him no >> reporter: wright tells all his disciples, preparation is key. also at boot camp, the band 89. they say they're not going to ploe their chance. >> one shot. until he says, hey, we're on the
next flight out, that's when we know we're 100% ready. >> reporter: because wright has witnessed more than his own share of flameouts. he signed aaron carter. >> at so yea10 years old, he so million records in a week. >> reporter: stardom set carter up for failure. >> fame is like a drug. when you get it, it's such a big high. you try to do everything you can to get it back. >> reporter: he was arrested for possession. >> he came to me. >> reporter: he did. and he said, i need help. >> he said, i need help. the one way to do that was to say to him, before we go on this journey, you need to get professional help. he agreed. >> reporter: wright said he made sure that carter entered rehab. now he's wary of talented kids whose only goal is to bathe in the spotlight. how many kids come up to you and
say, i want to be famous? >> a lot. if they say that, i have to time for you. group, if you want to be in this because you want to take a craft and a gift god gave you and present it to the world, that's fine. if your only motivation is to be rich and famous i don't have time for that. ♪ i've known it all of my life >> reporter: this is not a fame factory? >> it can be. it's about taking talented dreams come true.g make their >> reporter: for "nightline," i'm juju chang in florida. [ clears throat ] hop to, gang. it's showtime./ uh, do you know this guy? i'm not gonna cry, am i? only if you don't believe in the power of friendship. really? you guys are good. [ male announcer ] your favorite movies right when you want them.
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will be a aaa country. >> reporter: in thth wake of th last week's deal, thehe plungin stock market. his critics have called him weak. irrelevant. two friends have added thehe voice. tavis smiley and dr. cornell west. who did 65 appearances for then senator obama. >> enough with the speeches. now it's time to focus on jobs. now, we're going to focus on jobs. >> reporter: today, they do not sound so friendly. they say t ty have a message to the president from america's urnds class. >> they want to know that he's going to fight for them. >> reporter: their poverty tour pulled into the president's backyard today with a stop at d.c.'s central kitchen. here, formerly unemployed locals learn culinary skills. the goal of the tour is to
highlight rampant unemployment and income inequality. and their view that the president is not doing enough. what is the white house view of this criticism? >> the president is focused on every american who is suffering. during these turbulent economic times. >> i know what the president is up against. i think too often he compromises. too often he capitulates. i think the republicans know that. i think they laugh when he's not around. >> he's got martin luther king's bust in the oval office. he weeps when he cease working people suffering and no focus. >> reporter: there are riots in the uk that have a lot to do with disaffected youth. do you see it happening here? >> in a word, yes. 1% of the people owning and controlling more wealth than 90% of americans, that's
unsustainable. that math won't hold up long term. there is a bubbling. >> if you don't treat poor and working people with dignity now, chickens will come home to roost later. it will be about revenge and hatred and we'll all go under. >> reporter: with detractors suggesting that smiley and west have a personal beef with the president or are just being sese-promotional. >> when my wives a progressive friends make the same critiques. it's courageous. they're holding the president accountable. somehow, when we do it, we're getting questions about whether we're obama haters. >> reporter: they insist the focus is not on the president, but on the poor. >> your mind is sharp. your soul is in tact. what is your story, my brother? >> me and my father got evicted up in maryland.
>> reporter: they hit the streets of washington august, last night. >> that's when it s srted to go downhillll >> yeah. and it's been a struggle ever since. >> reporter: day say giving voice to americans falling further behind motivates them. it's their focus on president obama that brings them attention. they say they're trying to push their old friend, the president, to greatness. >> what is your plan? where are you going to draw a line in the sand? and let's fight. >> gotta fight. that's our legacy. >> reporter: the president's defenders say he has enough fighgh on his hands without having to fight with friends. this is jake tapper, for "nightline," in washington. >> seems even the love is tough for mr. obama today. that's our report for tonight. we hope you'll check in. our friends from "good morning america" wilbe