Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Rock Star: Come down here and take it, bitch!

"Rock Star" line of the night, if not the season, goes to Storm for her comeback to Navarro. (Which I understand wasn't even the sauciest thing said during that exchange, since they had a whole back and forth about safewords and ball-gags. Ah, the FCC.) Singer-by-singer breakdown after the jump...

Patrice, "Beautiful Thing": This, I liked -- and a lot more than that T-Rex by way of Poison and Warrant song that Supernova (Featuring Dilana!) performed last Wednesday. Peppy guitar pop is one of my things, and I could imagine this in heavy iPod rotation without difficulty. As Dave said, not sure it's right for whatever the hell it is Tommy and the guys want to do, but the best Patrice has been since "My Iron Lung," if not "Somebody to Love" on opening night.

Magni, "Smells Like Teen Spirit": Tough song to make your own, because it's so indelibly Nirvana in a way that no other Cobain song is. Magni played it straight down the middle, doing a very faithful cover (has he ever really mixed up an arrangement?) and screaming his lungs out in honorable fashion. Not mind-blowing, but solid, and one of those numbers that I imagine played better in the room than at home. Also, why hide the head vein beneath the wool cap on a song where you're going to go this bonko?

Ryan, "Back of Your Car": No. While his ability to move with the guitar
was better, I feel like this guy gives the same. exact. performance. every damn week, and I'm bored with him. Plus, how much of a blatant suck-up was the guitar toss? Way to congratulate him for doing something the guys just suggested five minutes earlier, Dave.

Storm, "Crying": Stormy was in her element on this one, with the dramatics and the high notes and all the gyrations, and yet I kept being reminded of how much better Steven Tyler's voice sounds on this -- and that's coming from someone who always gets sad listening to early Aerosmith and imagining what Tyler would sound like today if he hadn't done so many drugs. Storm has a great voice and nobody else left would have come close to what she did with this, but if you can't match an iconic singer's voice, you should change the song up enough to cover for that.

This is also, like, Storm's fourth ballad in a row, and if she wants to even be included in the discussion with Lukas and Dilana, she needs to get out there and kick some ass on a harder, preferably faster song. That's why I was so frustrated she gave in to Ryan on the original song. (If you want an R-rated preview of what she plans to sing if she ever gets that chance, click here. There's a version with PG lyrics out there somewhere -- "What" in place of the F-word.) Question is, does she even want to win anymore, or does she just want to stick around a long time, then go back to doing her old gigs, only with a higher profile? I have this weird feeling her heart's not in it anymore, but I enjoy watching her and hope she has another "Anything Anything"-esque performance in her.

Dilana, "Every Breath You Take": OMFG, did she really sing her own name repeatedly at
the end? I don't care if the "la la"s in the actual song sound a little like "Dilana," that's like one of those Pizza Hut pizzas where, just in case your cholestorol wasn't already jacked up, they have to shove extra cheese into the crust. That moment was an angioplasty special, and the capper to Dilana's most pedestrian performance by far. (Though it was still a step up from the version she was practicing in the webisode, where her falsetto sounded like a strangled dog.) I still think she has in the inside track on the job, but it's been a while since she really dazzled me performance-wise.

Toby, "Layla": I'm usually pro-rearrangement, and anything to take the song the hell away from the godawful Unplugged version Clapton perpetrated a decade or so ago is alright in my book, but this one just felt off. In general, Toby's been really manic and trying too hard the last few weeks. Plus, with the hoodie on, I kept wondering when he was going to break into "You All, Everybody." (Or am I the only one who thinks he looks a bit like Charlie from "Lost"?)

Lukas, "All These Things That I've Done": Great manic energy and
vocal intensity, if not quality. Maybe he was just out of breath from all the moving around, but his voice wasn't a patch on the original, which is one of my favorite songs of the last five years. Still, I like watching the guy jump around, but I'd like to hear him sing in his "Creep" voice again, and soon.

I think Patrice is going home no matter what. Hard to figure the encore, since nobody was head-and-shoulders dazzling. I'll be stunned if anyone but Lukas gets to play with Supernova.

What did everybody else think?


Lord Floppington said...

We're way opposite on Ryan, but you're right that tossing the guitar was pretty weak. I ended up liking him best, but my other favorites didn't dazzle me this week.

Anonymous said...

You owe me a new keyboard for that "You All, Everybody" crack. I just spit Coke all over mine.

bill said...

Quote from wife: "He looks like the hobbit from Lost."

Man, I hate Ryan. Aside from seeing him play in an Emo piano bar, the only song I think he could do justice would be Mr. Roboto.

Loved the Toby rearrangement, he made that song interesting again. Dilana and Magni, previously my favorites, have really been coasting and Toby's the only one bringing something fresh to the show.

Is anyone really interested in hearing a Supernova album or expecting them to last much past the New Year's Eve show?

Me, I'm listening to my Patrice downloads and waiting for her new CD.

Kristen said...

"You All, Everybody" -- hee!

I disagree completely about Ryan -- his was by far the best song and performance of the night. And truth be told, I'm more of a pop fan than a rocker, but this was good.

Dilana is quickly becoming the Jordis of this season: the frontrunner who blows her own lead and ends up out way before her time. That's not the ending I would wish on anyone -- I still feel badly for Jordis.

Anonymous said...

I have to disagree about Dilana. I thought she gave a powerful performance, all the more so because it was so understated. Her line readings led me deep into the lyrics in a way the original version never could.

I'm reminded of the film Hitchcock shot in 3-D (forget the title). Everyone else used 3-D to get in the viewer's face, have stuff jump out of the screen, etc. Hitch decided if he was going to do this, it would be in service to his story. His 3-D effects never came forward past the screen boundary. Instead he went for depth, going *in* away from the viewer. You don't notice when watching, but it added a subtle richness to the story.

That's how I felt about Dilana choosing to avoid both the kind of hysterical overkill of "Layla" and histrionics in general. She has proven she can blow the walls off the building if called upon to do so, but she uses this engine sparingly, and always in service to the lyric.

I was confused about why she sang "Dilana, Dilana, Dilana," but her explanation about it being her estranged mom's favorite song cleared it up. She wasn't talking to us.

Remember how hard she fought for the song. I've gotten the impression (without seeing any webisodes) that she pretty much hangs back during song selection & takes whatever's left over after the wrangling.

Now if only she could stop with that tongue thing she does. Weirds me out.

Steve B

Alan Sepinwall said...

Steve, I'm not opposed to subtle. Dilana's "Time After Time" was one of her best performances. But the unique qualities in Dilana's voice were gone for this, and it just felt like a competent piano bar (albeit not Bill's Emo piano bar) rendition.

As for Ryan, just ignore the on-stage calisthenics, close your eyes and listen. It's the same vocal he's been giving since at least "Losing My Religion." Guy's starting to remind me of Chris Daughtry from Idol: he does one thing really well, but only that one thing.

bill said...

As just about everyone and everything with last night's show annoyed me, I was probably overly grumpy. However (he said transitionally), when Dilana said "I hope my mom hears about this..." I don't think I was wrong to yell "Well, then, pick up the phone and call her, you idiot!" I like Dilana, but that was just stupid.

Philip said...

I just got my recap up. I'll read yours and comment.

tabloidbaby said...

In every city across America there a dozen great David Lee Roth-Bret Michaels-Axl Rose type rock n roll singers who'd love to front a Tommy Lee style band.

And we get a David Blaine emo singer like Ryan? A lesbian folk rocker like Patrice? A cabaret poseur like Storm? A Charlie Brown popster like Toby? A Melissa Etheridge midget like Dilana?

Who casts this show? There are 15 better contestants on one ad page in the LA Weekly!

Anyway, Patrice will probably go, but Star should be stuffed in a cannon and shot back to San Francisco. She's terrible. She should be playing Grizabella in Cats.

The clearcut winner will be little skunk boy, Sal Mineo. Er, Lukas

Chip Chandler said...

Wow, tabloidbaby, harsh much? Maybe I'm wrong, but didn't they end up casting the show before they even had the band nailed down? Not the best system, certainly, but you can't blame the singers if they're not exactly a perfect fit for Supernova -- though I'd argue that three or four of those who are left (Dilana, Storm, Magni and Lukas) are pretty close to what the band needs.

Anonymous said...

The singers must sound completely different in person, because I just got nothing but a yawn out of Dilana's performance and Lukas sounded like he had marbles in his mouth. The band still loved those two, somehow.

Patrice will be, sadly, gone. But I think she's accompished her goal of playing her own song-- so she's as done with Supernova as they are with her. At least Navarro got that one right.

Mediocre overall, just as Supernova themselves will be post-show.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Chip, you're right that the contestants were cast in advance of the band, which is one of the two reasons they seem to fit so many different niches. (The other being that watching eight or nine Axl Rose impersonators in a row would get damn boring.)

Anonymous said...

Patrice is not a lesbian; she's bisexual.

I think if the House Band could smack someone in the face with a guitar, they'd have a hard time picking between Lukas and Ryan. When Lukas came up to preen in the reflection of that one guy's guitar, I could have sworn the guitarist backed up, and I guess they were all really annoyed with Ryan during rehearsals.

I thought Dilana did a great job with that song.

I can hardly wait to see Toby do a commercial for diapers now!