Rock Star Index | July 12-13 Review


Rock Star: INXS


July 11: IMBC*


* I Must Be Crazy


I told myself I wasn't going to get caught up in another music talent show.  I was only going to watch one episode of Rock Star: INXS because I liked INXS before Michael Hutchence decided to check out of life.  Generally, though, I thought the concept of using a TV talent show to find your next lead singer fell under the category of Very Bad Ideas.  I mean, holding worldwide auditions is fine, but televising the whole process - and allowing people to vote - just seemed distasteful at best, desperate at worst. Still, I thought I'd give it a try.


The thing is...I kind of liked it.


Here's why:


1) No recaps of lousy auditions.  We're introduced to the fifteen finalists at the outset, more or less evenly distributed between men and women, and they all range in talent from decent to very good.  I couldn't really find anyone to snark over (see exceptions below).


2) Feedback is given that's honest but not brutal.  There is no Simon Cowell in INXS, thank God.  There's also no incomprehensible Paula or boring Randy (although Dave Navarro, a guitarist with Red Hot Chili Peppers, is supposed to be acting as a liaison between the band and the contestants, and he comes close to being useless as a commentator, and the lovely but vapid Brooke Burke is about as dull a host as you can get).


3) These contestants know how to rock.  They make Bo and Constantine look like rank amateurs.  They're also a lot more mature than most of the Idol kids - the youngest contestant here is 22.


4) Someone obviously paid some good money to get the rights to decent, edgy songs for these contestants to sing.  You will not hear "Heroes" or "Smells Like Teen Spirit" on American Idol...which, considering the caliber of singers on A.I., is probably a good thing.


5) Unlike A.I., the sound people working on this show know what they're doing.  The backing band never drowned out the singers.


6) The TV audience can vote, but the ultimate decision is up to INXS.


As if to emphasize point #6, tonight the contestants had to perform one song in front of INXS and a packed club, and INXS made the decision on their own of who to boot first.  No voting.  The bottom three ended up being:


J.D. or T.J. or [insert your favorite initials here, because I can't remember] - who gave a totally manic rendition of "American Woman" where he grabbed a female audience member's head and looked as if he was going to yank it off


Suzie - who has a strong voice but forgot the words to "Remedy"


Dana - who unwisely moaned through "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" and then let out a thirty-second screech that would have put Constantine to shame.  She was told goodbye.


Mike and I liked the guy who sang "Heroes" (INXS wasn't impressed because he was singing just to the women) and the black guy with a mohawk who sang "Cult of Personality" (the band loved him).  Among the women, the one who stood out to us was the tattooed redhead who sang "Burning Down the House" (the band liked that she was her own person).


As I understand it, from now on, the show's format will be as follows:


Monday nights - we see the contestants interact at their "rock star mansion"
Tuesday nights - the contestants perform, the audience votes
Wednesday nights - INXS makes the decision on who to cut


Since these shows all come on rather late for us (the Tuesday performance show is at 10 PM our time), we'll be recording the shows and I'll probably do a recap near the end of the week.  Lucky you.  But hey, I couldn't go through a whole summer without doing some sort of TV show review, could I?


Don't answer that.


Review 2005 by Patricia Lowhorn.  For comments, e-mail


Rock Star Index | July 12-13 Review