July 17-19 Review | Rock Star Index | July 31-August 2 Review
Rock Star: Supernova
July 24-26: Just like a young girl should(n't)
Monday, July 24: My useless questions for the day are: how much in royalties is INXS getting for the use of "New Sensation" as the title song for this show? And is J.D. getting a cut of that now?
Ryan and Dana spat some more over Ryan's comment about her not being right for the show. This is about as exciting as watching two declawed cats tap each other on the back.
After a flourish of overamplified guitar playing, Gilby Clarke announces that today's clinic is on songwriting. The contestants will listen to the music of one of Supernova's songs, and then they'll write melody and lyrics. Supernova must be really desperate to get this done - INXS waited until there were only eight people left to do this last year. They also don't offer any big prize to the winner.
This time, we're split into three teams, with the team captains being the people who got encores so far - Dilana, Toby, and Magni.
Dilana picks Lukas for her team because she wants to "keep him close." Ooo, strategy! Other team members include Storm and Ryan. Thanks mostly to Lukas, their team comes up with a chorus almost right away. Then Lukas decides he's helped enough, and he proceeds to walk in and out of the room, going out to the pool to smoke, checking on the other teams, etc. Oh, you're such a bad boy, you are. Then he comes back and keeps screwing up the vocal tracks they're trying to lay down, until Storm finally takes the microphone from him and records it herself.
Toby's team includes Phil, Patrice, and Zayra. They're all love and peace and puppy dogs tails and happy to collaborate without coming up with anything concrete...until Patrice accidentally erases the tracks.
Magni's team has Josh, Jill, and Dana, who was of course the last person picked. Magni insists that he must listen to the music five times before writing anything, while Jill wants to get to work right away because, well, you only have so much time to do this thing. Dana contributes a verse, which everyone but Jill likes. But Magni doesn't like what Jill is contributing, so Jill walks out to work on the song on her own, because she is the "most focused person there," don't ya know. Josh coaxes her back in, and everyone ends up working it out, while Lukas drifts in and out of the room.
The contestants perform their songs in front of Supernova the next day. Dilana's band is up first. "If you could touch a star, would it show who you are?" Sounds like a bad line from an American Idol coronation song, doesn't it? But it's definitely a rock piece, and Tommy Lee has goosebumps and decides, "That's it for me."
Toby's group...well, you have Zayra murmuring in the microphone, and Phil flopping around, and Patrice and Toby sort of bouncing listlessly. Jason sums it up best by calling the group "eccentric, but just quirky enough to be entertaining."
Magni's group has great harmonies - a very "gospel feel," according to Jason. Very pretty, but not really what I'd ever expect to hear from Supernova. The band does tell the contestants that they're not really going in the direction of "bluesy" music, and they promise that later on the contestants will hear music that's more like what the band has in mind.
In the end, everyone is declared the winner, which I suppose is Supernova's way of saying, "There's no way we're going to record any of these crappy songs." Then everyone - Supernova and contestants - piles into the dining room to consume sushi, fruit, and champagne. Gilby starts talking about his daughter playing guitar, just so we can be reminded all over again how old he is. Then everyone is taken to yet another room where they can hear some of the music Supernova has been working on, and of course all the contestants gush over it. Storm calls it "the essence of rock n' roll," which translates to me as "boring crap that wasn't even interesting twenty years ago." But at least now they know what kind of music the band is aiming for.
Time to choose this week's songs. Gilby has left the contestants a note informing them that he will play guitar with whoever picks the Rolling Stones' "Brown Sugar." That ends up being Jill. Ryan wants Live's "I Alone" and convinces Dana to give that up for Nirvana's "About a Girl." We also have Billy Idol's "White Wedding," the Wallflowers' "One Headlight," Blondie's "Call Me," and Drama-Rama's "Anything, Anything." I think Storm is the only person on the planet who has heard of the last song, so she gets it by default. I don't know who ended up with the others, and of course there are five songs I don't know because no one made a helpful list this week. Everyone is way too civil, too, which makes this segment a snoozefest.
Tune in tomorrow...or not.
Tuesday, July 25: Tonight, Brooke is wearing gray over gold foil. I think she's trying to be duller than the contestants. She might have to try a little harder.
Lukas Rossi (sings the Verve's "Bittersweet Symphony"): Lukas, whose excessive eye makeup probably keeps M.A.C. in business single-handedly, gets an A for snarly rock star faces and for cutting this interminable song down to two minutes. He gets a C for holding a guitar for half the song without playing it, and a D for growling/shouting the whole thing. Dave thinks the lighting was great. Tommy says the rock styling is exactly how he'd perform the song. Jason tells him for the third week in a row to open up his throat.
Zayra Alvarez (sings Blondie's "Call Me"): Hmm. A blue metallic cat suit with strategic holes in it and a performance taken straight from an original Star Trek episode. You know, the one with the green slave girl? Dave tells Zayra that she's not right for Supernova and should just start her own solo career now. Gilby says she lost him, while Tommy claims that the last time he saw an outfit like that, he woke up with bite and boot marks all over him. Ummmm...let's not go there.
Dana Andrews (sings Nirvana's "About a Girl"): It's all acoustic, but wow! What a difference! Her hair's not all dolled up, she's got some growl to her voice, and she actually looks mean instead of cute. Dave says that she now looks damaged enough to be a rock singer. Jason says it's his favorite performance of hers yet. Gilby declares that she's not the same person as week 1, whereupon Dana says she chugged a beer before she came on stage. Snicker.
Patrice Pike (sings the Black Crowes' "Remedy"): Ho-hum. Vocally okay, but she more or less just stands there or strolls around on stage. Dave calls her on it, and she asks him whether he always walks around on stage. In a Cowell-esque moment, he tells her no, but then again he has a job and isn't auditioning for a band. Slam dunk, sister. Gilby echoes this by telling her Supernova needs someone who is unpredictable on stage. Meaning, of course, that she isn't.
Toby Rand (sings Billy Idol's "White Wedding"): The song starts off a little low for his voice, and he struggles with it a bit, but when he gets to the chorus he's fine. The most exciting thing about his overall performance, though, was watching the girl in the audience nearly drag her tongue on the floor for him. If we could match his voice with Lukas's stage presence, we'd have a winner. (Hmm...what can I do with Photoshop this morning?) Gilby was concerned about his voice being "pitchy" (thank you, Randy Jackson) during the opening, but says he came through. Jason, who can't think of much else to say tonight, says it was Toby's best performance so far.
Magni (sings David Bowie's "Heroes"): I don't particularly like this song, and Magni sings it straightforward while standing in place the whole time with his guitar. He and Patrice can go to the snoozefest box now. Tommy chides him for being strapped to the guitar. Jason tells him he needs to sing to everyone in the audience, whereupon Magni goes into a tedious argument about how he was singing to just one person, and he'll sing to everyone else next week, and, unlike some contestants, he doesn't need to wear blue metallic stuff to get noticed. Did he take Jill's bitch pills, or what? Gilby just tells him it's not the right way to sing the song, and they're done, thank goodness.
Ryan Star (sings Live's "I Alone"): In the second shock of the night, Ryan really gets into this song, to the point of practically bouncing off the drum set. He still doesn't smile (at least, not until he's finished), but this time the intensity at least gives out some energy instead of sucking it all in like a black hole. Kudos all around from Dave and Supernova, with Jason telling him to show them more of that type of performance.
Jill Gioia (sings the Rolling Stones' "Brown Sugar," with Gilby Clarke joining on guitar): Her voice is fine, but it's really weird to hear a woman sing, "Brown sugar, how come you taste so good? Brown sugar, just like a young girl should?" And she's grinding against Gilby with every "yeah, yeah, yeah" to the point where I just want to smack her. Gilby feels the same way, too - he tells her afterwards that she doesn't have to do that, because it's cheap, weak, and predictable. Of course, Dave has to point out that if it was his band, they'd be grinding for hours on end. I would rather not picture that, thanks very much.
Phil Ritchie (sings the Wallflowers' "One Headlight"): If Ric Ocasek was a bobble head, this is what you'd get. Please get off the stage. Supernova doesn't get it at all. No one should.
Dilana (sings Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time"): It's a very cool arrangement, where she's accompanied by a solo guitar. I'm not really captivated by the performance until about halfway through, when, as usual, her passion sucks me right in. It's not the type of song Supernova would ever do, but she's shown her rock cred enough that it doesn't matter at this point in the competition. And, indeed, in the eyes of the band she can do no wrong. Dave is calling her "Sweet Dilana" now, Tommy calls her enchanting, and Jason gives props to the guitarist, who is indeed awesome. And I'm happy to see how Dilana always acknowledges and thanks whoever is accompanying her in each show. The other contestants could take a lesson in gratitude from her.
Josh Logan (sings Blind Melon's "No Rain"): He keeps saying he's going to bring the rock, and he keeps bringing boring crap like this. They could have at least brought someone out in a bumble bee outfit to dance around in the background. Granted, he's finally learned to open his mouth when he sings, but he is just as wrong for this band as Zayra. Dave thinks he's taken a step back. Tommy and Gilby get into a discussion with Josh about his "soul" roots, and Josh admits that he's pushing that side of him back to bring out his rock side more (uh, and when are you doing this, exactly?), and he wishes that Supernova was more open to soul music. Nope. Ain't gonna happen. You'll probably be the next one booted, if Zayra doesn't beat you to it.
Storm Large (sings Dramarama's "Anything, Anything"): In my third and final big shock of the night, this is the first performance of Storm's that I've really liked. Lots of energy, the edge to her voice is just right, and she manages to work the stage without humping the microphone stand. She even dives into the audience at the end. Dare I say it? I liked her better than Dilana tonight. Dave says there's nothing sexier than seeing a hot chick diving into an audience. Tommy says the dive was in perfect form, while Jason simply calls her awesome. I'm thinking she'll get the encore this week.
My top performers:
1) Storm - overall best performance
2) Dilana - not her best of the competition, but she's still the most professional and consistent of the group, and she sucked me in
3) Dana/Ryan - They get the "most improved" award.
My bottom dwellers:
1) Zayra - absolutely not right for this band
2) Josh - not right, either, but at least he dresses better
3) Phil/Jill - because smarm should not bounce like Jell-o, and Jill's moves shouldn't even be seen in a bedroom.
In the first few minutes of voting, Josh, Jill, and Zayra were in the bottom three, which is no surprise. Can we go ahead and eliminate at least two people tonight? Please?
Wednesday, July 26: Long brown spaghetti strap top and tight jeans? Brooke's outfits are steadily getting more boring. Just like some of these singers.
We spend about twenty minutes listening to useless banter between Supernova and the contestants ("Was that your first stage dive?" "No, but I can make it look like it was." Oh, how cheeky!) and watching the "drama" back at the mansion, where Dana is told by several people that she's just not a rocker chick. About five minutes is wasted on Jill, who thinks that Gilby isn't used to playing with women on stage and defends her choice to hump him last night by asking, "Aren't women allowed to be sexy on stage, too?" Gilby reminds her that he once played for Heart, and Ann Wilson never had to resort to humping anyone. Show him something he hasn't seen before, he says. Jill shoots back that everything's been done in rock n' roll already, which is met by a resounding "NO! Wrong answer!" from the band. Argh! This girl has absolutely no clue.
The encore, predictably, goes to Storm (although people who attended the taping said that Supernova took twenty minutes to decide this). It's every bit as energetic as the night before, although thankfully she collapses on stage at the end instead of diving into the crowd. I was afraid we'd have a wardrobe malfunction with that loose halter top if she did the stage dive again, and I don't think CBS could afford another fine.
The bottom three turns out to be a bit different from last night: Patrice, Zayra, and Phil. Okay. I can live with that. (As if I had a choice.)
Patrice sings Radiohead's "My Iron Lung" and...pulls a complete Dana-esque turnaround. She takes over the stage, she works the crowd, she shows an intensity she's never exhibited before. When she stalks over to the other contestants and practically shares tongues with Lucas, I am horrifyingly spellbound. My. God. Where has she been hiding these past four weeks? The band gives her a standing ovation at the end, and I'm still reeling.
Zayra sings K's Choice's "I'm Not an Addict." I suppose this is a pretty song, accompanied as it is by a single electric guitar, but Zayra's voice just grates on my everlasting nerves like my cat, who has recently decided that bare walls are a good scratching post. Please make her go home. Please.
But then along comes Phil, who sings Failure's "Smoking Umbrellas," which sounds like a song you'd listen to in some grimy punk club after a snoot full of coke and ten beers. Er...not that I've had any experience with that, mind you. It's just got to be one of the most horrid-sounding things I've heard coming out of anyone's mouth. Melody? What melody? The fact that it's probably supposed to sound like that doesn't make it any easier to bear. Ugh.
But this is not why Phil is ultimately sent home tonight. In fact, the band thinks that this was his best performance so far. They simply question his commitment to Supernova. What the home audience didn't hear was the background behind this belief: in a recent interview, Phil said that he didn't care about Supernova, and the only reason he was on the show was to get more exposure for him and his own band. Way to shoot yourself in the foot, dude.
So goodbye to Phil. Now we just have to put up with Zayra and about six other worthless singers for another week. Ah, well. As long as Dilana's there, I can put up with it.
Review © 2006 by Patricia Lowhorn. For comments, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
July 17-19 Review | Rock Star Index | July 31-August 2 Review