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Rock Star: INXS

 

August 21-24: Welcome to Camp INXS

 

Sunday: Last week at the mansion, it was all about J.D.  This week, it's all about Suzie.  How about we make it all about the singing for once?  Oh, I'm sorry, that would mean no DRAMA.

 

The day after the elimination show, everyone is very friendly and giggly and supportive of one another.  Jordis even chuckles with J.D., leading me to think that Jessica was the real one sucking the energy out of everyone.  Suzie, however, gets so depressed about being in the bottom three again that she gets drunk and starts dancing on the table.  This is nowhere near as entertaining as the producers think it is, because even drunk she still acts like the girl next door, you know?  Now MiG and his bare chest dancing on the table, that I'd like to see.  Anyway, just as I'm about to doze off, Dave Navarro comes in to announce the next Rock Star clinic.  Well, no, not really a clinic, because no one is given any direction or lessons.  This time, they're all supposed to write their own songs and be prepared to perform them on Tuesday's show.  Much excitement and panicking results, as some contestants (J.D., Marty, MiG) are clearly going to do better at this assignment than others (Deanna, Jordis).  Ty thinks that writing a song will be just like getting wet and naked, which is when he's at his best.  I now have to scrub my brain with Clorox to get that vision out of my head.

 

In the midst of this "excitement," MiG, as last week's encore performer, gets a visit from his wife.  They look so good together, you just want to go "Awwwww" and pinch their cute little elvish cheeks.

 

The producers would like you to think that in the middle of preparing their songs, J.D. and Suzie performed live with several INXS members for a local radio station.  The truth is, they did that radio appearance the week prior to this, and it was done after the Sunday taping of the performance show.  So they weren't in the middle of anything.  This past week, MiG and Jordis were the ones to do a radio show.  So we're completely off here. But that's okay, because "reality TV" apparently doesn't mean "what really happened." [*rolls eyes*]

 

Now comes the "psych out" part of the show.  The contestants discover that only two people will perform their original songs - the rest will perform classics like "Start Me Up" and "Dream On."  So they have to decide among themselves who will do the original songs.  Suzie suggests that they draw names out of a hat.  Deanna and MiG win.  Suzie is upset about this because she thinks the only way she's going to stay in this competition is to perform her original song, she's really scared about being in the bottom three again, she really wants to show INXS what she can do, boo hoo hoo.  She gives her sob story to MiG and Deanna, asking one of them to switch with her.  Ideally, Deanna should have switched with Suzie, since Suzie wants this so much and Deanna had been reluctant to do her original song (which was co-written by Ty, co-writer of last week's "Stop/Go" craptacular).  Deanna, however, decides to stick with her own song.  This puts pressure on MiG, who has a history of giving up his song for someone else.  But he's already been warned by INXS to stick up for himself, and Marty reminds him of this fact, and Mike and I are yelling, "Don't give in!" to the screen, so he decides not to capitulate.  Meanwhile, J.D. helps Suzie to see that her song is not going to be better than "Start Me Up," which is what she's now supposed to sing this week.  In fact, J.D. acts almost human during this episode.  Maybe he's reading his "human being" tattoos.

 

When Deanna and MiG go over their songs with a couple of the guys from the house band, the results are unimpressive.  Deanna's song is deemed too "safe."  Ty comes in to take over her rehearsal, and he thinks he's the best writer, arranger, and producer on the planet and that the band is going to be SO impressed because, after all, it's all about him.  Ugh.  MiG is more or less told that his song sucks.  This doesn't matter, though, because does anyone believe for one minute that MiG is going to end up in the bottom three this week?

 

Sigh.  This is just too much drama for me.  I think I'll grab some orange juice and dance on the coffee table from the sugar high.

 

Tuesday: Welcome, Moms and Dads, to Camp INXS's weekly talent show!  This week, we have some special awards to give out.  So sit back and enjoy your kids' performances.  They're so cute, aren't they?

 

Suzie ("Start Me Up"): Most Improved and Happiest Camper Awards.  Suzie wins this duo of awards with her rockin' rendition of a Rolling Stones classic.  Sure, it's not her best performance to date (that would be last week), and she only kicked it up in the second half of the song, but walking over to her fellow campers and getting them to sing the final chorus with her, then falling into the audience with such a bright smile on her face, makes you just want to run up and hug her, doesn't it?

 

J.D. ("Cold As Ice"): Best Elvis Impersonation Award.  From the posturing onstage to the "Thank you, thank very much" he gave to INXS, J.D. proves that any song can be livened up by adding a bit of the King's crotch to it.  Oh, nice vocals, too.

 

Deanna ("My Truth" - original): Biggest Risk Taker Award. Earlier this week, our blues-rocker was quite reluctant to sing an original piece.  She could have easily switched with Suzie and let Suzie do her own original song instead.  She decided to stick with her own song, even though you can't understand half of the words, remember any of the tune later on, or get that vision of her in her underwear out of your head.  It takes guts to perform a tune that will likely land you in the bottom three, no matter how good the overall performance is.

 

Ty ("Proud Mary"): Most Likely to Succeed in Musical Theater Award.  This homage to Ike & Tina Turner's version of the song is sooo professional.  It's choreographed nicely, sung with all the energy of a Broadway show, and even brings in the three remaining female campers (Suzie, Deanna, and Jordis) for backup vocals!  It's really a shame that INXS will never perform anything like this, isn't it?

 

MiG ("Do or Die" - original): Best Attempt to Be a Man Award.  This Aussie has given up his first choice of song almost every week he's been here, and this week he decided he was going to hold his ground and not switch with Suzie.  Good on ya, mate!  His original tune brings him back to his rock side, so you might be able to ignore the cringe-inducing lyrics about holding on to castles in the sky.  Any other contestant might get kicked out on their butt for that, but not our MiG, because he's such a sweetheart and we're all still reeling from that "Baby, I Love Your Way" swooner last week, aren't we?

 

Marty ("I Alone"): Most Consistent Award.  Week after week, Marty has shown us his angry young man persona in a series of intense performances that usually include some measure of shouting and/or shrieking.  This song is no exception.  In fact, the only new thing he brings to the table is bare feet with black nail polish.  Wow.  We proudly applaud his desire to be "who he is," even if who he is would be better suited for Rock Star: Nirvana.

 

Jordis ("Dream On"): The American Idol Worst Auditionee Award.  Congratulations to Jordis for picking a song that brought out all of her vocal limitations!  Tackling this Aerosmith tune was clearly too ambitious for this young woman, whose voice was too pretty, whose pitch was all over the place, and who didn't have the emotional connection to compensate.  She even tried to include the song's trademark screeching at the end and utterly wrecked the piece, causing Dave Navarro to put on Paula Abdul's "I-want-to-be-nice-but-that-was-horrendous" look that she wears in A.I. auditions.  All this while waving a scarf la Steve Tyler.  That's classic reality TV.  Way to go, Jordis!

 

Our judge for the evening, Ms. Lowhorn, had a very difficult time determining a ranking for the week.  However, she's managed to come up with the following, including her own comments:

 

1. Suzie - not her best performance, but I can see her singing with INXS, and damn it, I want her to get the encore for once!
2. Ty - probably the best performance of the night, but really not INXS.
3. Deanna - a very good performance of a forgettable tune, and may I say it's unfair to have only two people perform original tunes that were composed in 12 hours and absolutely will not compete against these other classic songs?
4. J.D. - I've seen Foreigner perform this live before.  Compared to Lou Gramm, this rendition is merely passable.
5. MiG - I like to see my boy rockin', but oh, MiG, I miss your chest.  It would have made me forget those sappy lyrics.
6. Marty - Next week, try something that proves you can sing INXS, huh?
7. Jordis - Steve Tyler called.  He wants his clothes back.

 

It looks like the early results showed Deanna, Ty, and Jordis in the bottom three. Ms. Lowhorn seems to think that either Ty or Jordis will be switched out with Suzie or J.D., based on online fan bases.  But you never know, right?  That's what makes Camp INXS so fun!

 

Be sure to stop by tomorrow for our "You're Not Roit" Award, when one of you lucky parents will get to take your kid home.  Until then, rock on!

 

Wednesday: What was good about last night's elimination show: Suzie was told that she was the only contestant to stay out of the bottom three during the course of voting, and she finally got the encore.  Hooray!

 

What was bad about last night's elimination show: Everything else.

 

Note to CBS: An hour-long elimination show is only necessary if you're going to have more music.  If all you're going to do is draw out the tension by having useless blather about what the contestants thought about their performances, why they think they deserve the encore, how they agree or disagree with INXS, yada, yada, yada, then it's NOT good television.

 

Note to INXS: I have now lost a little respect for you.  Tuesday night you basically told Marty you weren't sure if his sound was right for your band.  Wednesday night you tell him you were just "testing" him to see what he'd do.  What the...?  Playing mind games with him that ticked him off and helped to send him to the bottom three?  And were you just "testing" Brandon when you told him the same thing two weeks ago?  Oh, and news flash: Marty is also playing safe.  He's singing the same type of music over and over.  Ty has been singing in safe African American styles for several weeks now.  So to get on Deanna's case about playing it safe is kind of stupid, don't you think?  Not that I didn't think it was her time to go - I figured she'd be eliminated tonight - but get your act together, boys.  Start judging consistently.  I would be royally pissed if I were Deanna right now.

 

So...Ty, Deanna, and Marty ended up in the bottom three.  This totally shatters Ty's illusion that he's the greatest singer/songwriter on the planet, and I expect him to break down in tears back at the mansion.  After basically saying that the voting audience doesn't know what they're talking about, he sings "What You Need," and it sounds all shouty and not very exciting at all.  Deanna sings "Elegantly Wasted" and doesn't sound bad except for the chorus, where she goes flat on the extended notes (but she mentioned before the song that she needed to hear more monitor, so I'm betting monitor issues affected everyone's performance).  Marty sings "Don't Change," and I hate it.  He's all crazy-intense and the pitch is all over the place and I'm thinking, "It's one thing to say that you want to update INXS's sound, Marty.  It's another to sing in such a way as to make it look like you're trying to erase Michael Hutchence's memory."  But the band loves him - probably because they respect that he's only going to "meet them halfway" if he gets selected (whatever) - so he gets sent back to the others first.  Then Deanna is told she's not roit, etc., and she bursts into tears and makes everyone else in the room except J.D. cry.

 

Grrr.

 

Review 2005 by Patricia Lowhorn.  For comments, e-mail tricia@lowhorn.org.

 

August 14-17 Review | Rock Star Index | August 28-31 Review