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Rock Star: Supernova

 

September 4-6: Oh oh oh oh oh oh!

 

Monday, September 4: Even though Dilana is beating herself up for screwing up the lyrics to "Psycho Killer," with Ryan gone, suddenly the house lightens up.  After toasting him, the rockers start a food fight and then jump into the pool.  Unsurprisingly, Storm is half-naked and Lukas has to fuss with his makeup afterwards.  Oh, you kids, you!

Everyone is given the next Supernova track to listen to, which is all heavy metal-sounding and ugly.  But we really didn't expect any better, did we?  They all scurry to their corners to come up with lyrics and a melody.  The next day, they pile into [ding! Product placement!] Honda Ridgelines and go to  [ding! Product placement!] Gibson to work on their songs with Gilby.

Storm has entitled her song "Maniac Nightlife."  Gilby says that she's a pleasure to work with and extremely professional, and that she knows how to have fun but get the job done.  Storm thinks the entire process was laid back and easy.  So far, so good.

Magni has a hard time with English, and Gilby doesn't think his lyrics are particularly exciting.  He further thinks it's horrible that he has to come up with the title of "Camouflage" for Magni.  Oh, horrors!  He actually has to collaborate!

Lukas's song is (I think) called "Animal."  Gilby thinks the melody is excellent and is glad that Lukas didn't take a generic route, but he's irritated that the boy only came in with one verse and a chorus.  He also believes that Lukas thinks that this is his gig to lose, so he's coasting a bit.  Hmm.  Methinks that Gilby isn't too enamored of the leprechaun.

Toby's song is...well, I'm not sure that we were ever given a title.  But it actually sounds pretty interesting.  Gilby thinks Toby brought a "fresh new approach" that had "the energy we need," and that his contribution was the most complete of anyone's.  Unlike Lukas, who apparently listens song by song, Toby has listened to all of Supernova's work and therefore "gets it."  I think he has a serious shot at winning this thing.  Poor man.

Dilana's song is called "Metamorphosis Lizard Skin," and it's all about her experiences lately because she just Will.  Not.  Move.  On.  The song basically disses all the people who have been talking about her on the Internet.  Well, there's a great way to get your fans back!  Gilby admits that her lyrics are the best he's heard from her so far but are still too clichéd, and he thinks she doesn't really have a big imagination.  Later, Dilana admits that she didn't realize when she signed on for this thing that songwriting was going to be so important - she thought she was just auditioning to be a lead singer.  Honestly, at this point, I wouldn't be surprised if she's the next to go, because Gilby seems a little disgusted with her after this clinic.

At song selection, the rockers are told that they will each do a mini-set, singing one cover song, then bantering with the audience, then singing one of their own originals.  Cover songs include the Beatles' "Back in the U.S.S.R.," Bon Jovi's "Livin' On a Prayer," the Killers' "Mr. Brightside," the Who's "Behind Blue Eyes," and [as reported by taping attendees], David Bowie's "Suffragette City."  Lukas and Dilana fight a little over the Who song, but Magni psyches out Lukas and challenges him to do the Bon Jovi song instead.  Gee, I can't wait to hear him mumble his way through that one.

At rehearsals, we find out that, for her original, Storm is doing an expletive-laden song called "Ladylike," where she promises to be herself for once.  "I'm Storm Large," she declares, "and I'm a freak."  Dilana admits that she doesn't really know "Behind Blue Eyes" that well - she was just attracted to the lyrics because they relate to her recent troubles [my eyes are going to roll out of my head now] - and she's changing it up in a way that seems a little risky.  Yeah, honey, I'm thinking you're next to go.

As closing credits roll, the rockers pretend to jump rope.  This is not exciting, but I thought you'd like to know.


Tuesday, September 5: [Events that happened at the taping that were edited out in the final broadcast are in brackets.]

Brooke is wearing a tattered, black & white striped dress.  Obviously, she's been trying to claw her way out of the prison of this show.

After watching an edited version of the reality episode [the studio audience saw the entire episode], Dilana is carried out on stage by a burly guy, while Brooke explains that the singer tore her calf during rehearsal.  Ouch.

Dilana (sings the Who's "Behind Blue Eyes" and her original "Supersoul"): She may not have known the Who song, but she acquits herself well, with some nuances to her voice that haven't been evident in earlier performances.  She then basically says her farewell to the fans by saying that if she's not right for Supernova, she'll still be singing.  [What happened at some point between her songs was that they started having problems with the lighting, and they had to shut off the cameras while they took care of that, so the momentum from her first song was somewhat lost - until she broke into a rendition of a Janis Joplin song that whipped people up again.]  Her original song is...okay.  She's back to being passionate, but it's straight rock with no real subtlety, and I've already forgotten the tune before it's over.  She's a trooper for hopping around on one leg, though.  Dave applauds her for singing through her injury but says her original isn't one of his favorites.  Tommy says that he's going to beat up Dave because he thought the original was "banging."  Gilby chastises her for having lyrics that are too literal and tells her to use her imagination some more.  Yes, like "Hey hey hey ho ho ho" is very imaginative.  Shut up, dipwad.  Jason-Yoda pretty much says goodbye by telling Dilana that strong will and effort are important in life, Grasshopper.  I'm thinking that on Wednesday night, we ought to have a rocked-up rendition of Daniel Powter's "Bad Day" play as Dilana is shown the door.

After the break, Brooke announces that the House Band will open for Supernova on their tour, thus verifying that despite their sold-out New Year's Eve show in Las Vegas, Supernova will be incapable of bringing in crowds on their own at any other time.  [Edited out, presumably because it's not official yet: Dave announced that his band, The Panic Channel, may join the tour as well.]  Right now, I'm grateful that the tour isn't coming particularly near us, because I would be sorely tempted to buy tickets just to see the House Band - which is no doubt what they intended with this announcement.

Magni (sings the Beatles' "Back in the U.S.S.R." and his original "When the Time Comes"): Eh.  He sings these well enough (his original had to be translated from Icelandic), but he gives the same old laid-back, meandering-up-and-down-the-stage performance for both songs.  The original is basically an alternative scream-fest that, once again, is totally forgettable.  This, of course, explains why Dave thinks Magni is "molten hot."  Tommy and Gilby wish that he had changed up the second performance more, and when Tommy asks him why both performances were the same, Magni says (tongue-in-cheek), "Because both performances were by me," which comes across as a better slam on screen than what I just wrote.

Storm Large (sings David Bowie's "Suffragette City" and her original "Ladylike"): Dave surprises her [yes, this was genuinely a surprise and not rehearsed] by playing guitar on the first song, and for some reason I am amused that, even with flats on, she's taller than he is.  The song rocks, and the two of them have a good time on stage.  As for her original...there are actually two versions of this, a PG version (which is what CBS made her sing, hence the "what the what" substitution for "what the f***") and an R version with all the f***s in place.  I've heard it online here, and to me it sounds better as a recording and should have been the best original of the night.  The problem here is that all of the original songs have been cut a little, so some of the softer sections were taken out or trimmed down.  So while it was quite energetic and the studio audience loved it and Supernova practically wet themselves tongue-bathing her afterwards, it didn't come across as good as I thought it should have.  I'm buying the single, though, which is the first time I've felt like doing so this year.  Dave says that playing with Storm gave him the same feeling he had when he's played with other great lead singers and that this is his favorite original of both seasons.  Tommy and Gilby can do little but make unintelligible, post-orgasmic groans.  I guess Jason was just looking on wisely.

Lukas Rossi (sings Bon Jovi's "Livin' On a Prayer" and his original "Headspin"): I like the soft, stripped-back (one electric guitar and keyboard) arrangement of the first song, but I'm glad I already knew the words, because the boy mumbled through them with this hyper-fast vibrato that just made my skin crawl.  I kept waiting for him to break out into a more exciting rock version at the end, but he just let the thing die.  Ugh.  His original is much better, and I'm pleasantly surprised to see him show some genuine emotion instead of sticking his tongue out and treating his performance as a bit of a joke.  Once again, his original can be found online (click here and scroll down to "Rise Electric" - the name of his last band), and - shock! - you can actually understand the lyrics in the recording.  Like Storm, the recorded version is more dynamically interesting and shows Lukas's vocal range a bit more.  But Lukas's performance is a bit more compelling than hers, probably because it's the type of song he can really relate to, since it's about his difficult relationship with his mother.  Dave claims that Lukas has now shown his "powerful self." Tommy dug it, and Gilby says he's inspired.  [Edited out: Tommy saying that he had dreams as a kid of playing in a band with someone like Lukas as a lead singer.  Everyone in Supernova immediately backtracks and says over and over that the contest's not decided yet.  Right.]

Toby Rand (sings the Killers' "Mr. Brightside" and his original "Throw It Away"): The first song is pretty much a straight karaoke version and nothing special.  His original song is silly, energetic, and a crowd-pleaser because of its frickin' hook ("oh oh oh oh oh oh") that will not leave your head and Toby running around in the audience and whipping everyone into a frenzy.  This is exactly the sort of thing I expect from Supernova, based on the songs we've already heard from them.  [In fact, edited out was Tommy saying, "I can definitely see Supernova performing that song."]  Tommy likes it so much that he squeezes Toby's butt when the man gets close to the Supernova pod.  Er...go find some groupies, Tommy.  Dave says that the song is "instantaneously memorable," while Tommy says, "That was bad beeping ass" - which, given his earlier action, makes me wonder whether he's talking about the song or Toby.  Gilby claims that every time Toby performs he puts the fun in rock 'n' roll, and Wise Jason believes it's "magical" that Toby embraces the audience the way he does.  (To hear a studio recording of the song, go here.  Unlike Lukas's and Storm's originals, I think it translates better as a live song.)

My ranking:

1) Toby - Yeah, he's generic.  But his original song and performance style seem tailor-made for Supernova, and based on tonight's performances, I think he's the best fit.
2) Storm - I felt she had the best cover version of the night, her original was pretty good, and she gave her all for both songs (unlike Toby and Lukas, who seemed to more or less throw away their first songs).
3) Lukas - He finally seemed genuine on his original, and I liked the arrangement of the first song.  I just wish someone else had sung it.
4) Dilana - Her original wasn't terrific, but she showed variety between the two songs and even off her feet she's more visually exciting than...
5) Magni - The singing was okay, but the performance was just too bland to remember.

Of course, the first few minutes of voting showed that the world disagreed with me on all but the top slot, as the early rankings were Toby, Lukas, Magni, Storm, and Dilana.  Eh.  What do I know?  Conventional wisdom would say that this is Dilana's week to go, but every time I think I know who is going, Supernova throws me for a loop, so I wouldn't be surprised to see Magni (who is a rather boring performer) or Storm (who would be better off as a solo act) get the hatchet instead.

 

Wednesday, September 6Tonight Brooke decides to wear a short black skirt and a black top that makes it quite clear that she's pregnant.  Dave congratulates her on her pregnancy and feels the need to ask on national TV what sex the baby is.  Upon finding out that the baby is a girl, Dave and the Supernova guys start lusting after it.  Move on.  Please move on.

Lukas says that empty beer bottles and ash trays are the only audience that has ever appreciated him.  Toby tells us that the secret to winning this competition is not to think too much because, really, Supernova isn't worth the effort.

Magni sings this week's Supernova song, "It's All Love."  It's got a more pop-oriented flavor than previous efforts, and with the right singer it might even find its way onto a handful of desperate radio stations.  Unfortunately, Magni's voice doesn't quite suit it, and he has to practically scream in Gilby's face to get the guitarist to look at him...although that may just be because Gilby's too busy figuring out how to play his instrument.  I'll admit that the songs are getting better as the weeks go by, although that's about like saying that I would rather have a root canal than a tooth extraction.

Gilby announces that, because Supernova sucks, and addition of the House Band plus a few rejected rockers isn't exactly tearing up ticket sales, either, Dave's band, The Panic Channel, will be joining them on tour.  Brooke announces, "Wow! This tour is getting better and better all the time!"  Like, wow, The Panic Channel has fans and you don't!

We're shown video of each of the rockers driving [ding! Product placement!] Honda Element SCs to the studio and walking the red carpet.  Then we're informed that the rocker who gets the encore tonight will win one of those vehicles.  Not surprisingly, Toby is given the encore.  The crowd goes wild, he goes wild with "Throw It Away," and he wisely stays far enough away so Tommy can't tweak his butt again.  He also made me tear up by dedicating the song to Steve Irwin.  Aww.  Good on ya, mate.

It turns out that all the rockers ended up in the bottom three at some point.  Oh, the drama!  The ultimate bottom three are Storm, Dilana, and...Lukas!  Wow. Iceland loves it some Magni, don't it?

Storm sings Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here," which she dedicates to her mother (my understanding is that her mother had been institutionalized for most of Storm's life and died suddenly last year).  Even though I know why this song was written, it's never really moved me, and I preferred Marty's version last year to this rendition.  However, Storm makes herself and Dave and practically every member of Supernova cry.  Sheesh, this is heavy.

Dilana tries to lighten things up by singing a punkified version of Cheap Trick's "I Want You To Want Me" because, you know, she's desperate to regain her fans.  It's a very sloppy rendition that could have done with a bit more rehearsal so she wouldn't keep getting ahead of the tempo.  And while I understand that her calf injury limits her range of motions, that pogo-stick jumping up and down induced more giggles than admiration on my part.  But she thinks she's back, and Supernova really, really love that song and give her a big, fat standing ovation afterwards.

Lukas decides to sing his original "Headspin" again, presumably because he can't get enough of screaming to his mother that she's driving him crazy.  I would have preferred it if he'd sung something else, even a different original, so I could be assured that he's not just taking over Ryan's angst mantle, but whatever.  It's as intense as the night before, but, really now, we all get the point already.

After the [25-minute] deliberation, Lukas is told that since this is his first time in the bottom three, he's safe.  Tommy is so upset at who is being let go that he has Jason do the actual chopping tonight, and Jason, after assuring Dilana and Storm that the band recognizes them as serious talent and sisters in rock (read: "but obviously Supernova isn't going to pick a female lead singer"), tells Storm that she's next to go.  Storm is far more gracious than Ryan last week, and Dave immediately offers himself and Supernova as her backing band.  Heh.  See, Ryan?  You thought you were better than Supernova.  Storm really is.  Nyah.

So next week is the final week.  Last year at this time, they'd narrowed the field to three finalists, and INXS didn't bother with any more voting because they had to pick who was right for them (J.D.) and not just who was most popular with the voters (Marty).  This year, we've got four finalists, and Supernova is wimping out and letting the audience vote once more.  I'm unclear as to how exactly this will work.  Will the person with the most votes win?  Will they find out who is the bottom three and then make them sing again before narrowing it down to the three they want to choose from?  In either case, Dilana's toast, so I'm not sure why they felt the need to subject us to one more week of her "It's all about me" drama.  I'm pretty sure that it will come down to Lukas and Toby, and it will all depend on how much of a budget they have for makeup.

 

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

 

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