When vocalist Kelly Rowland let it slip recently that Destiny's Child's present tour would be the group's last, it was the farewell some observers had been expecting since they first heard the R&B trio. Formed in Houston when its members were just nine years old, the act that became Destiny's Child took off after Mathew Knowles, the father of singer Beyoncé Knowles, stepped in as manager. Despite three straight Top 5 albums and a string of huge hits -- including "Bills, Bills, Bills," "Bootylicious," and "Survivor"-- the elder Knowles seemed intent on turning Destiny's Child into a vehicle to catapult his daughter to solo stardom.
That wasn't ensured until 2003, when she took the pop and soul charts by storm with her debut, Dangerously in Love. But Beyoncé's imminent split with Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams does seem like Destiny Fulfilled. (At least the breakup sounds far more amicable than the way original members LaTavia Roberson and LeToya Luckett bowed out in 1999, in a hail of lawsuits.) Also on the bill this Friday will be R&B upstarts Mario, Tyra, and Amerie, whose breakout hit, "1 Thing," happens to be a carbon copy of Beyoncé's "Crazy in Love," the single that finally made her an independent woman.