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Rock Star: Supernova

 

August 7-9: He's a creep, he's a weirdo

 

Monday, August 7:  Wow, they manage to fill twenty minutes or so with next to nothing this week.

After toasting Dana, the contestants wonder why Patrice was in the bottom three.  No one comes up with the obvious reason: she's boring.  Before the discussion can get too serious, the boys start a food fight.

Gilby shows up and leads everyone to the song selection room, where they are all presented with their own electric guitars, courtesy of Gibson.  He then plays the music for the song Supernova wants them to write a melody and lyrics for.  They're told they have twenty-four hours to complete the assignment.

All you need to remember about this exercise is: 1) unlike everyone else, Ryan takes all night to write his song; 2) Lukas likes to make a nuisance of himself; and 3) Lukas's song blows everyone else's out of the water, according to Supernova.  Lukas himself thinks that the song is "dirty and sexy, like myself."  Why, hello, J.D. Lukas also gets the award for the profoundest quote of the episode: "Songs you overthink tend to be overthought."

What did Supernova think of the other contestants' songs?  Ryan's voice "cuts through the music very well" (yes, that's seriously what they thought).  Storm "did something melodic."  Jill is "an amazing singer who overdoes everything."  Toby "lyrically [flows] with the tune."  Dilana's lyrics were "cornball" and "unmemorable" (and I'm afraid I have to agree, from what I heard - just ugh).  The others' songs must not be very exciting, because we don't get to see/hear them perform.  And I was so looking forward to what Zayra would come up with.

So Lukas pulls to the head of the pack.

Later, Magni's wife and kid show up.  Awwwwww.

Song selections this week include "All the Young Dudes," "Creep," "Instant Karma," and "Won't Get Fooled Again" by the Who, with Gilby on guitar.  Even though Gilby lectured them at the elimination show that everyone should have been fighting to perform with a member of Supernova last week, only one person wants to sing with Gilby - Dilana.  And she doesn't even know the song.  So, uh, you all want to be a part of this band, but you don't want to perform with any of them?  Whatever.  Dilana may not be much of a songwriter, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to enjoy this performance.

Talking to Lukas privately, Dilana tells him that she won't bump and grind Gilby, but she'll probably head butt him.  She's so tiny - can she even reach his forehead?  She further convinces Lukas to try "Creep" to show a softer, more open side to his voice.  This smacks of strategy, but it's a strategy that may backfire, because when he practices later, he sounds pretty good, in his "rawr, rawr, rawr" way.  [Note: To hear what Lukas can really sound like, go to youtube.com and search for "Lukas Rossi."  He sounds much better in these pre-Rock Star clips. I wish he'd bring more of that to this competition.]

Over the closing credits, we see the guys playing basketball against the members of the house band.  The house band beats their butts.  Heh.

 

Tuesday, August 8:  

Tonight's theme is black. Everyone except Dilana, Tommy, and a couple of house band members is wearing it. Get over yourselves already.

We have a few minutes of meaningless recaps of the mansion episode, although we do learn that what Zayra wears on stage is for herself. No kidding. Lukas promises to show a "different side" to himself. The contestants pretty much admit that they were all scared to sing with Gilby on guitar this week, because they recognize that if they screw it up, then they'll be in danger. Dave is like, "What the hell?" He rightly lights into everyone but Dilana for being wimps because, you know, the winner is supposed to sing with Supernova. If it were his choice (and mine), Dilana would win the show by default, because she's the only one who wanted to sing the song with Gilby. On that note, we begin the show with:

Dilana (sings the Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again" with Gilby Clarke on guitar): Once again, this is not my favorite song of hers, mostly because it's not really designed to pull me in. But she's a professional, and she knows when to spotlight Gilby and when to pull the camera and the audience back to herself without resorting to theatrics (unlike most of the contestants tonight). You will watch her. In fact, the lowest point of the song for me wasn't about her at all - she shared the microphone with Gilby once, and he proved he can't sing. Ugh. But overall, a great show opener. Dave says it was more like a rock show than an audition, and he tells the other contestants that it's gotta suck following that. Gilby says that Dilana is a star, and after that performance he has no doubt that a woman could front their band. Jason says that the performance can be added to the Rock Star: Supernova "killer moments" list. Mm. I don't know if I'd go that far, but it was very good.

Jill Gioia (sings Tracy Bonham's "Mother, Mother"): It's tough to follow Dilana, especially since you're one of the weaker contestants, anyway, but Jill actually gives her best performance to date, without a lot of her trademark screeching. Perhaps I'm just amazed that she didn't resort to any stripper moves this time. The black eyeshadow has to go, though. When people use it like that, they always look like someone's beat them up. Dave says Jill reminds him of Carmella Soprano, and he's afraid he'll be whacked if he says something bad about her. Tommy declares it's Jill's best performance yet, and Jason has to throw water on the whole thing by saying that the power of Jill's voice was lost when she moved around. He will be saying weird stuff like this all night. [Overheard by a taping attendee who sat near the sound guys: "He is so stoned tonight."]

Ryan Star (sings the Rolling Stones' "Paint It Black"): Um. Okay. He starts off singing by Supernova, wearing a black feathered hoodie, and walks up to the stage, pulls back the hoodie and reveals...black paint all across his eyes, like a mask. Is he auditioning for Rock Star: Superhero? Vocally, his interpretation of the song works (unlike, say, butterflies-and-puppies MiG singing this last year), but he's a little too shouty for my taste, and, really, he shouldn't have to resort to props and makeup to get the point across. Dave says that Ryan has just shown them that he's a contender. Supernova generally likes him, although Tommy is "tripping." When Gilby asks Ryan, "What happened?", Tommy replies, "He got laid after his last performance." Ryan grins. He wishes.

Storm Large (sings Queen's "We Are the Champions"): This would have come off a lot better for me if she'd stopped pushing her voice so much. Her pitch suffered big-time. But Dave and Supernova love her, although Tommy wants her to go bananas again, to which she responds, "Oh, I'll spank the crap out of you for sure." I'm trying not to think about that too much.

Zayra Alvarez (sings David Bowie/Matt the Hoople's "All the Young Dudes"): The gold lamé body suit and top hat would have been fun if everyone else wasn't already trying to outdo her in the theatrics department. Magni helps out on guitar, which I thought was cool, although a bit weird (this is a contest, folks - quit helping each other so much). I actually like the arrangement of this song, and I think I "get" her act. But she has pitch problems, too (although not, IMO, as bad as Storm), and it's not theatrical enough of a performance to outdo anyone else's tonight. Dave says that she would win Rock Star: Planet Pluto. Gilby digs her showmanship, but calls her out for being flat, and I call "Foul!" because Storm was worse in this regard. [And what got edited out was Zayra having a long argument about the fact that the rockers aren't allowed to wear ear monitors, when in a normal situation they'd be able to. This might account for a lot of the oversinging I'm hearing tonight.] Tommy praises her confidence, while Jason asks, "Did you wow yourself?" So what's she supposed to say to that - no? Sheesh.

Josh Logan (sings Stone Temple Pilots' "Interstate Love Song" with Tommy Lee on drums): Tommy makes a surprise announcement that he's going to join Josh on stage. To his credit, Josh more or less takes it in stride. The problem, though, is that Josh has decided to play guitar tonight, so he can't interact with Tommy too much, and I really am tired of him not opening his mouth much when he sings. It's a fine rendition of the song, but kind of forgettable. Dave says it was good, but "good" might not be good enough at this stage in the competition. Tommy says it was fun, but Josh playing the guitar "freezes up your funk." Gilby claims that this is what he's waited to hear from Josh (huh?), while Jason warns the other rockers that they should expect one or all three of the members of Supernova to pull surprises like this in the future.

Magni (sings Live's "The Dolphin's Cry"): Awww...Magni's baby is in the audience wearing these huge headphones to muffle the noise. That kid is cute. Oh...the performance. He accompanies himself solely on guitar, and after a somewhat rough start, he just pulls me in. The song comes across as very heartfelt, and he accomplishes this without theatrics and without hiding behind the music or his instrument. Tonight, he and Dilana are the only two who seem genuine to me. Thank you. Dave applauds him for the being the first singer to do without the house band entirely, and Gilby says he's inspired everybody. [What was edited out: Gilby telling the contestants that everyone will have to do a "stripped-down" version of their songs next week. I don't know whether the fact that this statement was edited out means that he's changed his mind, or the producers just want to "surprise" us down the road.]

Patrice Pike (sings John Lennon's "Instant Karma"): This is a good song for her, and she has one of the more pleasant voices to listen to, although the vocal decay after almost every phrase grates after a while. Just stay completely on the original pitch for a few lines, huh? And she's mostly just standing there, behind her guitar, which makes her kind of forgettable. Again. Dave and Supernova have nothing bad - or memorable - to say about her performance.

Lukas Rossi (sings Radiohead's "Creep"): Lukas has generated a lot of buzz on the Internet, and people who went to the taping of this show were praising his performance of this song up and down as if he was the Second Coming. All I can say is...it must have sounded a hell of a lot better live. I just didn't like it that much. Yes, he brought out his softer voice. Yes, there were moments of "hey, he really took control of the stage there." But vocally, it was just a mess, with almost as much pitch issues as Storm, and for most of the performance he just seemed like a poser doing all the "right" moves without really feeling it. Marty did this ten times better last year. Sorry, Lukas fans. I remain unconverted. Of course, maybe it would help if Lukas didn't remind me of Marlon Brando playing a hobbit with a skunk on his head. Dave and Supernova give him a standing ovation and then all but bow at his feet. Please. Someone must have beamed the real band up to Zayra's planet.

Toby Rand (sings the Talking Heads' "Burning Down the House"): This isn't a singer's song, so Toby's mostly-shouted performance doesn't really bother me. In fact, I like his stage presence. But Zayra dressed all in black bringing him an Aussie flag-draped megaphone was...strange, and when he later tossed the flag into the crowd I wondered if that was somehow dishonoring to the flag, or if Aussies just don't care about that sort of thing. The fact that I was even concerned about that at all tells me that the performance was only okay. Dave says that Toby had him until the megaphone, which he'd seen a million times (yeah, like when J.D. pulled it out singing "Pretty Vegas" a million times last year - give me a break, Dave). He says that Toby doesn't need props like that. Supernova, though, doesn't mind the megaphone, and they generally praise the performance.

The preliminary voting showed that Jill, Zayra, and Patrice were in the bottom three. One bad performance, and two performances that basically were overshadowed by the people who preceded them (in this case, Dilana and Magni). That would not be my bottom three, though.

Since we're at the top 10, I'll start ranking everyone:

1) Magni - A heartfelt, passionate performance that didn't rely on noise or theatrics to pull me in
2) Dilana - She's a professional. Now I want to see her pick something that will really grab my attention and shake me.
3) Jill - She gave her best performance so far, and she didn't have to resort to her usual antics
4) Toby - Good performance, but I want to hear him sing next week
5) Patrice - I generally liked the vocals. I could do with a lot more action on stage.
6) Ryan - He understands the song, but I was never much of a Rocky Horror fan
7) Josh - Decent, but boring
8) Storm - Liked the arrangement, but her vocals suffered in her attempt to be bombastic
9) Lukas - His voice leaves me cold, and I just don't get the love. Which means he will probably win this thing.
10) Zayra - I understand what she's trying to do, but it's not working anymore, and she's the worst fit for this band. She needs to go. Now.

 

Wednesday, August 9Brooke is wearing dark blue denim.  Everyone else except Dilana is back in black.  I'm expecting AC/DC to make an appearance.  That would at least liven things up some.

After the last performance show, Jill and Storm got into a cat fight about not going for the song with Gilby, with Jill basically calling Storm a coward even though she didn't fight for the song herself.  Storm says she didn't need the song because Gilby knows how well she'd do with him.  Cut back to tonight, where Dave asks Storm how Gilby would know that, and Storm basically stumbles through a non-answer.  Gilby reminds her and the others that it's a matter of finding out who has the right chemistry performing with the band, and Storm promises she wouldn't hump him (like Jill, presumably) - she'd break his back.  Oh, brother.

Ryan is happy that he made Tommy Lee uncomfortable with his "Paint It Black" rendition.  I'm thinking this should not make anyone happy.  Gilby then says that whoever makes it through tonight's cut will be hopping on a private jet with Supernova to check out the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, where Supernova will perform on New Year's Eve.  Ooh, aah.

Jason announces that there are two encores tonight.  The first is Lukas with "Creep."  The verse is performed marginally better than last night, probably because he's a little more relaxed.  But then he starts the chorus, and...I still don't get the love.  Maybe it would help if he'd take his vocal chords to an auto shop and have a technician fix that wobbly vibrato.  And, frankly, I'd rather see those lace gloves on Dilana.

The second encore is Magni's "The Dolphins Cry," and Supernova requests that he make it an electric version.  So he sings with the full house band and it's not nearly as exciting as the night before when it was just him and his acoustic guitar.  Much screaming ensues, and I start to get a Chris Daughtry vibe.  In the context of this show (as opposed to American Idol), that's not a compliment.

Brooke announces that Jill, Josh, Zayra, Ryan, and Patrice all spent time in the bottom three last night.  After telling Zayra that she's safe (safe??? again???), we eventually find out that the bottom three are Jill, Josh, and Ryan.  Patrice has a look on her face that says, "I am so hosed next week."

Jill sings Aretha Franklin's "Respect," and...I have absolutely no respect for this "rocked out" arrangement or the return of Jill the screecher.  Goodbye.

Even though Josh was told that he shouldn't be strapped to a guitar, he chooses to do so again for Bad Company's "Shooting Star," and then he just stands there and bobbleheads his way through the song.  I wanted to stick my hands through the screen and hold his head still.  Mike suggested that we move the TV back and forth to compensate.

Ryan sings Depeche Mode's "Enjoy the Silence," and I'm wishing I could, because he's "modernized" the piece (i.e., tried to make it more rock, like Jill did), and he ends up just shouting and screaming all over the place.  When his voice fades out at one point, I almost clap my hands.  I'm thinking that the house band is dying a little inside up there.  But it's a marginally better tune than those of the other two cellar-dwellers - and the crowd loves it so much that they nearly drag him off the stage (or maybe they just wanted him to stop?) - so I'm thinking he's safe.  And, indeed, he is, as Gilby announces after Supernova has deliberated.

As for Josh and Jill - they're both eliminated, even though apparently the band disagreed about it.  [When the show was taped, they deliberated for around 25 minutes.]  Josh is declared just not right for the band, and Jill has been in the bottom three for three times, so "we think the voters are trying to tell us something," according to Gilby.  Really??

So now we're down to eight.  We could probably do with another double elimination of Patrice and Zayra next week, with Ryan after that.  I think it's a safe bet that Magni, Toby, Storm, Dilana, and Lukas will be in the top 5 and will probably be eliminated in roughly that order.  I'm just assuming that Lukas will win this gig.  For whatever reason, people love the leprechaun.  Oh, well. It'll be one less CD I'm tempted to buy.

Oh, and notice that no mention was made on the TV shows this week about the songwriting clinic.  Even Supernova realizes that everyone's original melodies/lyrics sucked.  Heh.

 

Review © 2006 by Patricia Lowhorn.  For comments, e-mail tricia@lowhorn.org.

 

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