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Rock Star: Supernova

 

August 14-16: Their hearts keep going boom, boom, boom

 

Monday, August 14: Security apparently wasn't an issue for Supernova's private jet this week, as on Thursday the contestants headed off to Vegas with the band and the promoter for the New Year's Eve concert.  On the way, they all imbibe freely of the alcohol on the plane.

In Vegas, they're whisked to the Hard Rock Cafe in [product placement time!] Honda Ridgelines.  They see the stage where they're going to play, and everyone is astounded.  Then they're taken up to the presidential suite, which has its own little bowling alley.  Storm tries to bowl over Ryan, then she and Zayra start writhing together on the lane.  Don't ask - I don't know.  We then have a party, with plenty of groupie chicks and lots more alcohol.  Jason is watching to see who can hold their own, because whoever fronts Supernova has to "represent the band" at all times - i.e., can't do anything to embarrass the group.  Whereupon Lukas and Toby pass out.

The contestants return to the mansion wasted.  Everyone collapses except for Dilana, who for her birthday fills Lukas's belly button with alcohol and tries to get him to drink it, and then ties Toby's legs together while he tells her, "Your boobs are incredible."  But I guess that eventually she, too, collapses, because Ryan is the first to find the song choices this week.

Supernova leaves a note saying that everyone is going "unplugged" with "stripped down versions" this week.  Choices include "Solsbury Hill" (with Gilby on guitar), "Message in a Bottle," "Cat's in the Cradle," "In the Air Tonight," "I Will Survive" (yes, Gloria Gaynor's hit - stripped down somehow), and...one of the contestants' original songs.  [No, this is not the song from the song-writing clinic last week, thank God.]  Something tells me that this is going to be one boring performance show.

Everyone makes a half-hearted attempt to get "Solsbury Hill," since they were raked over the coals about not fighting for the Gilby Clarke song last week, but it all comes down to Dilana and Toby.  Dilana says she'll let Toby have the song if he runs around the pool naked.  He obliges, and we are treated to his blurred backside as he streaks around the pool.

Meanwhile, Ryan and Zayra fight for the opportunity to sing an original song.  Ryan finally decides to sing "In the Air Tonight" and let Zayra hang herself with her own song.  Zayra seems to know that her days are numbered, and she wants to go out showing who she truly is, so she'll sing a Spanish song.  In rehearsal, this actually doesn't sound too bad, and I'm thinking that maybe, since it's her own song, she'll sound pretty good for once.  Not that she has a chance of winning this thing, but it would be nice if she went out on something strong.

Toby has difficulty with the rhythms of "Solsbury Hill," which, yeah, is more difficult to sing if you don't just relax into it.  Storm has a hard time trying to come up with a stripped-down arrangement of "I Will Survive" and begins to second-guess her choice of this song.  Of course, that means she'll probably do quite well on it.

During the closing credits, the rockers celebrate Dilana's birthday with a cake and Toby smashes some of it into her mouth.  Ho-hum.  At least Toby didn't pull a J.D. and sit on it after his lap around the pool.  Shudder.

 

Tuesday, August 15:  In honor of the string quartet they brought on board for semi-acoustic night, Brooke is wearing a boring, long-sleeved purple dress.  Ugh.  Dave and Tommy, meanwhile, take off their shirts (hey, it's a "stripped down" night, get it?? - ha ha ha), until the censors thankfully make them put the shirts back on.  I really didn't need to see Dave's nipple rings all night.

After a short recap of the reality show, Dave and Jason rip into the rockers for not fighting to perform their original songs.  What happened at the taping but was edited out was the rockers saying, "Hey, we fought for almost two hours, and it came down to Zayra and Ryan. Don't believe everything you see on TV."  Of course, Mark Burnett isn't going to let that make it on air.

Zayra Alvarez (sings her original "Lluvia de Mar"): Wow.  I have no idea what this Spanish song is about, but it's really pretty.  It's too bad that it's really not like anything Supernova would do.  At least she'll go out proving that yes, she can sing.  Dave says it's beautiful, Tommy says it has hints of Massive Attack but isn't sure it's for Supernova, and Gilby says he wants to hear her rock.  (To which I say, "Huh?  This is the stripped down show that you guys asked for!")

Magni (sings David Bowie's "Starman"): The song isn't exactly the most exciting of Bowie tunes, but I really like Magni's voice on it - very soothing.  The white suit and black shirt are a nice touch, too, even if a bit on the Vegas side (guess he must have picked it up while there).  Supernova generally likes it, although Gilby says that Magni could have led the audience in singing the "la la la" part.  Magni says that in "the Old Country" they wouldn't have needed the prompting, and Gilby basically says we're just dumb Americans who need someone to lead us.

Patrice Pike (sings The Police's "Message in a Bottle"): Sigh.  Once again, she's pretty much just standing there for most of the song.  The song is too low for her, and her pitch is all over the place.  Shut up.  Dave says that her intensity is lacking, while Gilby wanted her to change the arrangement some more.  [Edited out: A long conversation in which Patrice claims to have made numerous minor changes here and there that Gilby points out the average listener wouldn't have noticed and/or cared about.]

Lukas Rossi (sings Chad Kroeger's "Hero"): Shock!  I actually like this.  He mostly avoids growling or shouting, he has an almost seductive quality to his tone in the softer sections, and he adds some dynamic range that is completely missing from the original.  And for once I understand all the words!  My criticisms are that he needs to open up his mouth some more, not stay seated with his guitar for the whole song, and ditch the massive facial contortions, which looked more comic than dramatic (although I imagine that if I were watching him live, that wouldn't bother me as much).  Dave loves him.  Tommy says he hates it when performers sit down like that.  Gilby thinks Lukas's falsetto was incredible.  Jason plays father figure and tells Lukas that he's not going to let him get away with closing off his throat again.  Thanks, Dad.

Storm Large (sings Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive"): Well, she did the best she could with it, I guess, and I think her vocals are solid.  The arrangement?  Not so much.  Kind of a blah attempt to be creepy.  And, uh, adding the words "ass" and "frick" (obviously a substitute for another profanity) to the lyrics does not make a song rock.  Dave and Supernova hate it, and the audience boos them, but Storm takes the criticism well and says, "That's okay, I like spanking."  Oh, you naughty girl, you.

Toby Rand (sings Peter Gabriel's "Solsbury Hill" with Gilby Clarke): So after Tommy says he hates it when performers sit, Gilby proceeds to sit on the piano to play this song.  He then proceeds to prove that he's not much of a guitarist.  Oh...this is supposed to be about Toby.  Meh.  He messed up the rhythm a few times - and was saved by the awesome house band - and his pitch suffered here and there.  Plus this song has such a limited range that unless you're A) Peter Gabriel or B) able to do something to change it up, it gets boring really quickly.  I am also not impressed that Toby finally gave up on his vocals at the end and pulled out the congos.  It's the second week in a row that he's had to resort to a prop to make himself memorable.  Ppphht.  But Dave and Supernova think he's fine, and Tommy says that Toby running around naked for the song proves his commitment to the band.  Okay.

Ryan Star (sings Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight"): I'm not tremendously overwhelmed by Ryan's vocals - they're fine, but when the song gets louder, he starts borderline-shouting again - but his intensity is good, and I really like this arrangement.  Hey, if it can make me listen to one of the most played-out, boring songs in the world, then kudos to him.  And I love seeing Nate (the drummer) go at it like that.  Woo hoo!  Dave declares it the best performance of the night, Gilby "digs" the extra effort Ryan is putting in to his songs, and Jason applauds him for continually "changing it up" every week.

Dilana (sings Harry Chapin's "Cat's in the Cradle"): Hmm.  I'm of two minds here.  On the one hand, I think this is possibly the best overall performance of the night, and I like the way she rocks the chorus.  Sort of a wake-up after all the slow songs.  Frankly, I'd rather watch her in a two-hour concert than any of the other contestants.  On the other hand, her singing is getting sloppy.  She struggles a little on the low verses, and this is such a well-known song that if you screw up even a few words here and there, people will notice - and I noticed.  So I don't exactly get goosebumps.  But Dave and Supernova obviously did.  Dave tells Ryan he spoke too soon, and this was the best performance of the night.  He still has chills.  Jason says that Dilana's "modern feel" worked.  Gilby tells her that her low register was still strong and warns her not to let up from week to week.  I think, "Exactly."  She can't just assume that the gig is hers and not give it her all each week - because Lukas and now Ryan are racing close behind.

My ranking for the night:

1) Dilana/Ryan - Best overall performance by one, and best arrangement by the other.
3) Lukas - Surprise! I liked the leprechaun's vocals tonight!
4) Magni - Not a very dynamic performer, but I could listen to a CD if he sang like that.
5) Storm - Sucky arrangement, but the vocals were solid.
6) Zayra - Very pretty song. Just not right for Supernova.
7) Toby - Just. Boring.
8) Patrice - Boring and bad.

Amazingly, the preliminary bottom three is the same as my bottom three.  Whether they stay that way remains to be seen.  But I would say that Patrice and Zayra are in the most danger this week.  We'll find out Wednesday.

 

Wednesday, August 16Tonight, Brooke is going for a Pirates of the Caribbean-inspired look, with a skull & crossbones bandana on her head and a black T-shirt with the word "Rock Star" scrawled in silver across her chest. Jack Sparrow would probably cock an eyebrow at this.

We learn that after the performance show, Storm ultimately didn't think she did that badly on her song, while Lukas predicts she'll be in the bottom three. Back in the studio, Dave asks Storm about the situation, and she says she did the best with the time and material she had, and she gave it "a thousand percent." Dave mentions a version of "I Will Survive" by Cake that was performed with a sense of irony, which he didn't get from her version. He also says that she's the only rocker who can take the type of criticism she got last night.

Toby says he will run down Melrose Avenue naked to get the next opportunity to perform with a member of Supernova. Please, no.

Now we find out that, earlier this week, Supernova rehearsed one of their songs with all the contestants, and they told the rockers that from now on, one rocker will sing one song with Supernova live on elimination night. Who will it be this week? Dilana. And we are told over...and over...and over again that this does NOT mean that they have picked a winner yet. But the look on all the other contestants' faces is: "She's won. Why the hell should I even bother anymore?"

I don't know what the name of this song is, but it uses the exact same backing music that the contestants had to write lyrics for a couple of weeks ago (minus the "woo hoos"). These new lyrics are pretty much forgettable, but Dilana and Supernova do look like they belong together on stage. But...uh...the dancing girls from Club Forty Deuce? Ugh. Totally unnecessary if your song is any good. Oh, wait - it's not. Never mind.

After the performance, Gilby once again reassures everyone that this does not mean that they've chosen a winner. Yeah, right. Then we move on to an encore by...Ryan, who does a slightly more plugged-in version of "In the Air Tonight" (go Sasha on bass!). It's even better than before as a result. Cool.

We're now told that a total of five people hit the bottom three at some point last night: Zayra, Patrice, Toby, Magni, and Storm. Toby and Storm are safe.

Zayra sings "Razorblade" by Blue October, which Supernova has never heard of. The performance is...weird. And strangely compelling. Like watching a car wreck where you can't tear your eyes away and then seeing everyone walk out of the vehicle unscathed. I'm kind of speechless afterwards.

Patrice performs "Celebrity Skin" by Hole and manages to move! And belt it out! And walk out into the audience, up through the rockers, and end up by Supernova! She totally erases the memory of Lukas's crappy performance of this song a few weeks back. Once again, I wonder, "Where is this woman during regular performance nights?"

Magni sings "Creep" by Radiohead. I didn't particularly like Lukas's version of this song, but Lukas's vocals were a little more interesting. However, Magni's performance is more moving. I'm finally seeing some intensity here. But...he thinks this is his generation's anthem? That's kind of creepy. (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

After their [in reality, 20-minute] deliberation, Zayra is sent home. Everyone's in tears. I'm glad that she was at least able to do her original song last night, so we could see that yes, the crazy girl could really sing after all.

Brooke announces that next week's show will be an hour later than usual (10 P.M. EST - this is due to some JC Penney concert being shown beforehand) and that viewers can now vote online or by text for the songs they want to hear their favorite rockers perform in an upcoming show. Earlier, she also announced that the finale would be on September 13, which means that either they'll have to have yet another double elimination, or they'll be having a final four instead of a final three. Whoopie.

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

 

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