Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Rock Star: The view from the bleachers

Since I got to attend the taping of tonight's "Rock Star" performance show on Sunday night, I thought it would be interesting to write up the show as it played from the theater and let you guys compare it to how it played on TV. (Of course, I also won't have time to watch the show tonight, so it's an easy way out.) These are the performances in order, sometimes with comments on the song, or on what the judges said that may or may not have made final cut (again, I'd be stunned if all but one or two of Newsted's comments made final cut) or on other things that probably didn't make it to air.

After the jump, in order...

Patrice, "Helter Skelter": I was a little too floored by the power of the House Band to pay close attention to Patrice, but what I noticed of the vocals were very good. Dave complained that he thought her stage presence was too cutesy, but it didn't look like it to me. Before she went on, they showed a lot of footage of her and Jill fighting over the right to sing this, and when they took a break to re-dress the set, the two of them hugged. (Then again, at the mansion concert, while almost all the other contestants -- save Lukas -- were hanging out and having fun, Patrice was sitting quietly in a corner, only getting up to sing on a couple of tunes. Maybe she doesn't really fit in with the group, I don't know.)

Josh, "Come As You Are": Josh is who he is, and try as he might to seem hardcore, he's a guy who can't resist smiling even on a Kurt Cobain song. I'm assuming Dave's "These guys are going to be playing at Wembley, not a coffee house" line made final cut, while Tommy's "I wanna see you break shit" didn't.

Storm, "Just What I Needed": Okay, if I didn't see the whole selling her sexuality thing in the premiere, I sure as hell do now. Not only was she being way too friendly with the microphone stand, but there was this long exchange with Tommy afterwards where he asked her to wear more revealing clothes so he could see all of her tattoos; she smiled coyly and said, "T0mmy, six letters.... Google." (Plus, as I mention in my article, she spent one commercial break showing everyone how she could place each leg behind her head.) There was also a good back and forth between Storm and Dave about her not being so self-conscious about the faces she makes (she deliberately didn't practice in front of a mirror this time.) She's shameless, but I still like her a lot as a performer.

Lukas, "Let's Spend the Night Together": They showed a clip at the top of the show of him complaining that he couldn't sing a song with "doo da doo doo doo da da doo doo" in it. Well, he rearranged all the "doo"s right the hell out. Honestly, though, I couldn't hear him at all over the band, so I just admired his ability to do that whole Jagger-esque strut/stagger around the stage. He's probably not much of a singer, but the jerk is fun to watch.

Jill, "All Right Now": She rips through it, though as with some of her previous songs, it is so very, very faithful to the original (even though the lead singer of Free was a guy) that I have no idea if she's a real singer or just a karaoke champ.

Ryan, "Fortunate Son": Ryan's a classic example of the House Band making somebody seem better than they probably are. From the back of the theater, he's moving around more and seems to be really feeling the music, but whenever I looked up at the monitors, he was so damn lifeless. The band spent a long, long time offering him advice. Dave suggested his voice sounded more like a beer commercial, and said, "I want to see you get the fuck up in their faces." Gilby asked him to flash a smile in a bit that went on forever.

Phil, "White Rabbit": Jason's big moment, and again I'm guessing it's going to be cut to shreds. There's a really big build-up to him taking the stage, with him slowly tossing off his jacket, then high-fiving his way through the crowd, etc., etc. And after Phil finished, they talked a lot about how Jason was shadowing him to see if they could bring him out of his shell. Don't know what, if any of all that survived, but the bass-playing alone is pretty kick-ass. Just straight-up doom. And he did liven up Phil; this was another one where I really couldn't hear a lot of the vocals, but he stopped his whole Sominex stumbling, and that was good. (And when he sang "Wonderwall" at the mansion party, I heard that he has a good voice. Who knows? Maybe he's this year's Marty, and he zooms past the others.)

Dana, "It's My Life": Great voice, one hundred percent wrong for this show and this band. I can't imagine virtually anything the judges said making it onto the show. At one point, they diss Bon Jovi (not exactly a way to get people to license their songs to you); at another, Dave tells her, "If you were on a singing contest that was a little further right on the dial, Taylor Hicks would be your janitor." (Then again, maybe that one did make it.)

Toby, "Runaway Train": Weird arrangement, low energy level, easily his weakest to date. In the comments, Tommy says that they want Toby to try to scare them like Lukas does, to which Toby replied, "I wanted to prove to you guys that I'm not just a dick who runs up and down." Newsted delivers another insightful but unexcerptable monologue about playing to the guy in the third tier of the stadium.

Magni, "Plush": I was preoccupied with something else during this one, but after watching Magni seem like a genuinely cool, low-key guy at the mansion, I may have to reassess him next week.

Zarya, "Everybody Hurts": She's crazy and annoying and should have gone home after the stunt last week, but that was one hell of a climax.

Jenny, "Drive": It's hard to reconcile the magnetic woman who I saw rock the mansion on "Smells Like Teen Spirit" with this mouse who a few hours earlier coasted through this Incubus song. Maybe the pressure's too much for her. Both Tommy and Dave came onto her during the comments.

Dilana, "Zombie": Just give her the prize already. Only way she doesn't win is if the guys in Supernova don't want to be overshadowed by their singer, because she is just awesome. A real original. (When they cut to the judges, Dave's first comment was, "Ohhhh, shit!!!" There's a long exchange that ain't getting anywhere near the broadcast where Dilana talks about the vocal coach helping teach her to sing in a head voice like Dolores from The Cranberries, and how proud she was to pull it off in rehearsal before deciding to go in a completely different direction for the final performance, which prompted a round of "Fuck Dolores!" cries from the judges.

Best of the night: Dilana, by a mile.
Bottom three: If we're basing it solely on this night, then some combo of Toby, Ryan, Jenny or Dana.

So how did my experience in the studio track with yours at home?


Adam said...

For broadcast, the Tommy Lee line to Storm was cut down to "I want to see more of you . . ." leading to the Google response.

On Newsted, they basically showed him saying "I'm going to do this," then running through the crowd and immediately on stage. It did kick ass on tv.

The Taylor Hicks line and Bon Jovi disses did not make the cut.

To me, it's Dilana, Storn or Lukas for the win, and everyone else is cannon fodder.

Eric said...

So has anyone actually been able to find any particularly revealing pictures of Storm via Google?

Eric said...

OK. found 'em

Alan Sepinwall said...

And apparently, more exist than that. Storm told me at the mansion that she has posed for an entire book of nude photos.

Coolest Storm-related link, though, has nothing to do with her looks. Go to the MySpace page for her band, Storm and the Balls, and listen to "Abba Gadda Davida." They're a live mash-up band, and this is an Abba medley set to Iron Butterfly music. Bizarre and cool.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Forgot to ask: did they leave in the mention of Newsted chipping two of Phil's teeth when they collided?

Anonymous said...

I don't recall hearing the part about Jason chipping Phil's teeth.

Oh, and if anyone needs to complain about editing, it's Jason because the way they are editing his comments, he makes Lars Ulrich look like Einstein! They're making it seem like Dave is the cool dude, Gilby is the smart one, Tommy is the buddy, and Jason is the dorky stoner everyone mostly ignores.

Alan Sepinwall said...

One last thing. If all they showed Tommy saying was "I want to see more of you...," then it makes Storm look much worse, IMO. Live, he was just slobbering over her, and going on and on about his desire to see her naked, so the Google line seemed like a strong, appropriate retort that showed she could survive going on the road with three aging horndogs who want to sleep with her.

The way you're describing it, Adam, makes her seem like someone who wants to sleep with the guys as much as they want her. And I'm not saying she isn't a shameless flirt, but there are degrees of that.

Anonymous said...

The editing of Tommy & Storm's exchange did make her look like a shameless flirt. It was rather icky because she winked when she made the Google comment, so it seemed like she was horndogging after the guys instead of the other way around.

Lukas did sound very good last night, but he's too much of a tool for me to root for him. I'm rooting for Dilana for the win.

Anonymous said...

Josh's version of Come as you Are sounded like Kermit the Frog doing a Kurt Cobain impersonation.

Thanks for the unedited versions of the comments, Alan. Loved Dave's comment about Dana being able to kill the competition "down the dial". I think the same thing every time I hear her sing (or every time I hear Taylor murder that song on that awful Ford commercial).

I agree with the general consenus on Lukas & Dilana. I really look forward to Patrice's performances too. Can't wait for the Final 7 or 8, once Zayra, Ryan, and the other deadweight are gone...

Anonymous said...

Okay, for you pervs out there, here's a link with a lot of the Storm pics that were talked about...