A Supreme Replacement
In 1967, Gordy told Mary and Diana that he was searching for a singer to replace Flo. Cindy Birdsong, a member of Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles, had often been told that she looked a lot like Florence Ballard. Gordy was considering Birdsong to be the next Supreme.
In the spring, Flo showed up for a performance so drunk that she had to be sent home. Diana and Mary performed the show by themselves. Flo continued to make appearances with the Supremes, but on April 29, Cindy Birdsong made her first public appearance as Flo's stand-in. In May, Flo made her last television appearance on The Tonight Show. In July, she appeared tipsy at a performance in Las Vegas. After a backstage argument with Gordy, Florence Ballard was no longer a Supreme.
The following night, Cindy Birdsong stepped into the Las Vegas show and replaced Flo for good. Strangely, audiences didn't seem to mind the change. Since Birdsong actually did look like Flo, many people didn't realize the switch had beenmade until it was announced to the public.Birdsong was also a good performer. She learned the routines and harmonies quickly, and Mary and Diana were both comfortable with her. Diana Ross and the Supremes charged ahead as though nothing had happened.
In January of 1968, Diana, Mary, and Cindy appeared as nuns in an episode of Tarzan, the television series starring Ron Ely. They flew to Mexico to film the episode!