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Rock Star: INXS

 

August 28-31: Stop!  Go!

 

Sunday: [short because we were preparing for work to be done in our apartment]  Suzie, dear, your song selection this week is an interesting choice and you might by some miracle even pull it off.  But you are neither Freddie Mercury nor Constantine Maroulis.  Welcome back to the bottom 3.

 

Tuesday: Here we go.

Ty (sings "You Can't Always Get What You Want"): The Rolling Stones meet gospel via Vegas.  This is typical Ty - polished, well-rehearsed, every note spot on - except this time there is an insufferable gospel choir backing him.  Mike and I are ready to create voodoo dolls of the sound crew and stick pins in them, because when recording a choir, you do NOT give each member an individual microphone.  You set one or two microphones overhead to get the entire sound.  As it is, the choir sounds weak, except for a few obnoxiously strident kids' voices.  Ugh.  INXS loves the song, Mike and I are "meh."

J.D. (sings "Suspicious Minds"): Okay, let me get this straight...a former Elvis impersonator decides to sing this song to bring closure to that aspect of his life.  Um, right.  The last I knew, this was supposed to be an audition, not a therapy session.  It's probably a good performance, but the strings, the choir (what happened to just two people - Ty and Suzie - getting backed by a choir tonight?), the crazy hand motions all make my gag reflexes come into play.  INXS gives some lukewarm praise, leading me to wonder why they even gave this song as an option.  [Actually, according to people who were at the taping, INXS really tore into J.D. for choosing this song, to the extent that the live audience was shocked.  I guess the editors decided they didn't want the band to look bad, so they cut the comments - and J.D.'s defensiveness - wa-a-a-ay back.]

Marty (sings "Wish You Were Here"): Showing his softer side for once, he manages to get through this Pink Floyd song without once shouting.  It's a very good imitation of Floyd, too, if totally lacking in Marty's usual intensity.  I'm getting a little sleepy now.  Next.

Jordis (sings "Imagine"): Zzzzzzzzzzzzz.  Huh?  Oh.  Mike and I hate this song.  IMHO, it's the most boringly overrated and naive song in the history of music.  Jordis does fine on it, although it looks to me as if she's thinking more about playing her guitar than the lyrics of the song.  I'm not sure INXS saw the same performance I did, though, because they think she's really "connecting" with the lyrics, and they're moved to tears.  Get a grip, fellows.  Meanwhile, I'll go back to my nap.

MiG (sings "Live and Let Die"): At last - a real rock performance!  With a bit of chest thrown in!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!  Now, if you can just manage not to push your voice so much so you can stay on pitch a little better, I would be in heaven.  Well, no, forget about the pitch issues...just unbutton that shirt some more.  Mmm... Oh, look - the orchestra is playing!  Too bad we can't hear them.  Another pin in the voodoo doll.  As far as comments go, Kirk gets on MiG's case for singing during the instrumentalists' solos, and Garry responds with an appalled, "Kirk!", as if to say, "How could you possibly criticize our golden boy?"  Hee.  I love you Garry.

Suzie (sings "Bohemian Rhapsody"): This was not quite the train wreck that Jordis's "Dream On" was last week, but it's clearly too ambitious of a song for Suzie's vocals.  It's like having a hot fudge sundae without the fudge.  Or the cherry.  Or the whipped cream. Sweet, but that's not what you wanted, you know?  Especially when you've tasted Constantine's double-decker hot fudge spectacular.  Dave and INXS fall over themselves praising this version, though.  They must really be hard up.  Gawd. I'm almost embarrassed watching them.  Someone get rid of the beer in their dressing rooms, okay?

Overall, this show was a snooze fest.  If I have to rate the singers, here's the order:

1. MiG - the most exciting performance of the night, if a little rough vocally
2. Marty - he proved he can deliver softer vocals.  I wonder, though, if he's compromising himself too much here.
3. Jordis - respectable vocals, boring delivery (and that pretty much sums her up in general, doesn't it?), but at least it wipes last week's fiasco out of my brain
4. Ty - I just can't get into this version, although I fully expect to see it in "Ty's Broadway Revue"
5. Suzie - kudos for making the attempt and not totally butchering the song, but don't perform it again.  Ever.
6. J.D. - Elvis is either dead or with aliens right now, so he can't be INXS's next lead singer

Personally, I'd give the encore tonight to the house band - just leave the singers out of it - but I suspect that either Jordis or Suzie will be given the honor. Whatever. Hurry up and get to next week, huh?

Wednesday: INXS starts off the show by saying that their hearts go out to all those in New Orleans and that they've made a donation to the Red Cross.  The audience is encouraged to do likewise.  Well done, boys.

 

Tonight, Suzie gets the encore (gag!), and she's asked to pick one other contestant to be her opening act (do you get the feeling they've just crowned their new lead singer?).  She picks Marty. His performance of "Wish You Were Here" seems much more emotional than last night, and at one point I swear he's going to find a way to incorporate his trademark screeching.  But no, he holds it back, which makes it that much more intense.  The result is that he brings INXS to tears.  [*sniff*]  Good job, Marty.

 

Suzie's "Bohemian Rhapsody" is also better than what she sang the previous night, which is kind of like saying she put a cherry on the vanilla ice cream and still failed to bring the hot fudge.  It's still not Constantine-worthy, but I'm not ready to pound my head into the coffee table over it.  But asking the audience to "come on, sing it with me" on the last line of the song is so cute I nearly go into insulin shock.

 

We now have a protracted slam session on J.D.  Apparently, the poor baby was so upset that everyone was starting to gang up on him for his lack of preparation for the recording session, as well as INXS's slam of his performance last night, that he had to take it out on Suzie back at the mansion.  Sniff, sniff, whine, whine, "I don't think you're my friend anymore."  I haven't heard crap like that since grade school.  Even though he and Suzie apparently later "made up," all the contestants have pretty much had it with him, and I'm thinking that if he's in the bottom three, INXS will really need to boot him.  The drama shtick is getting old.

 

We learn that only MiG and Suzie were never in the bottom three last night.  Suzie pretends to be relieved, while MiG is stunned.  So J.D., Ty, Marty, and Jordis are left.  Marty is eventually told that he's safe and that his votes outnumbered those of the other bottom three contestants combined.  This does not mean that he received more votes than MiG or Suzie.  I just wanted to clarify that, because Brooke failed to do so.

 

J.D. sings "This Time" and is warned by Kirk to "Make it good."  He proceeds to make it bad, with a quavering voice and pitch problems on extended notes.  He's all choked up with emotion at the appropriateness of the words ("This time will be the last time that we will fight like this"), and he sings to the other contestants, who half-heartedly encourage him.  Ugh.  Go away.

 

Ty is given "The One Thing," and I think it's okay - until he messes up the words to the chorus, which is something that INXS cannot forgive.  He further compounds his error by glossing over the flub-up when he's confronted with it.  When asked what he can contribute to the band, he says he can bring "soul."  News flash: INXS is not a soul group.  Way to go down in flames, baby.

 

Jordis sings a very bland "Listen Like Thieves," thus proving that she's not in a league to sing INXS's material.  When asked what she can contribute to the band, she says her youth, which means she's moldable (as opposed to moldy, I guess).  I'm thinking this is not a good answer.

 

After the commercial break, Tim channels Simon Cowell.  He informs the bottom three that they were all underwhelming, and the surviving two had better figure out what they did wrong and fix it or they'll be next to go.  Yikes.  He then tells Ty that since this is his third time in the bottom three, he's out.  Mike and I feel sorry for Ty at this point - we both thought J.D. gave the worst overall performance of the three, and we're sick of Elvis Jr.'s immaturity - but then Ty totally erases our sympathy by basically blaming his lack of votes on racism.  Oh, brother.  No, Ty, it had nothing to do with the fact that your "Stop Go" song sucked, that you have an ego the size of California, that you like to micromanage everyone, that your performances lately have smacked way too much of Vegas, and that INXS's musical style is in no way suited to your own.  No, the entire world failed to vote for you because you're black.  Give me a break.

 

Grrrr.

 

Okay, I'm better now.  Another week come and gone.  Thank goodness.  Now if we could just get rid of J.D., I would be very, very happy.  Please, boys?  For me?

 

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

 

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