Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Rock Star: Death before disco?

"Stripped-down" night of "Rock Star" wasn't as much fun as last season's (which gave us Jordis' "Knocking on Heaven's Door" and Marty's "Baby One More Time," among other highlights), but there was some interesting stuff going on, including my first near-violent disagreement with the judges. In order after the jump...

Zayra, "Lluvia De Mar": Best performance she's given this season, and they should send her home for it. And no, those two clauses aren't contradictory. Listening to her sound so much more confident and melodious doing a Spanish ballad should erase any doubt that she's all wrong for this band. With Josh gone, she's the squarest peg left.

Magni, "Starman": Every time I see that vein on the right side of his head throb, I keep worrying that he's going to wind up in the ER -- especially when it goes that berserk even on a relatively mellow song like this. He's a much better pure singer than I had realized in the early weeks, but, like Tommy with Storm after the previous two episodes, I really want to see him go bananas, and soon. Can he be as interesting on a song that's faster, or angrier, or more upbeat, or anything that sounds closer to the kind of music these guys want to do?

Patrice, "Message in a Bottle": For the first two thirds, this was the best I'd heard her sound since "My Iron Lung," but she ran into some trouble at the end (ironically, the part that the judges liked the best), and the smiling was once again all wrong for the lyrics. While I think Zayra should go home tomorrow, I think Patrice will. She has obvious talent, but she's plateaued, and the audience doesn't seem into her.

Lukas, "Hero": And he's dressed as an androgynous priest why, exactly? Not as powerful as "Creep" or as energetic as some of his incoherent early numbers, but I'm starting to like the stupid little hobbit. After Dilana, he seems most sure of who he is and how to play to the crowd.

Storm, "I Will Survive": I call seven levels of bullshit on this. First, what the hell is this song doing on the show at all, let alone on the acoustic night? Storm or someone else could have ripped the daylights out of this one on a regular evening, but whoever got the song this week was starting out with both arms tied behind their backs. (And, yeah, Marty had to sing Britney Spears on this night last year, but the acoustic format was an ideal change of pace for that, whereas Gloria Gaynor was already singing a ballad.) Second, given the limitations, I thought Storm did a great job on this, finding the ugly, raw emotion at the center of the song and making it sound like something that, if not exactly right for what Supernova wants to be, at least something that would belong at an arena rock show. For me, this was at least the second-best of the night, and she had a much higher degree of difficulty than the potential top dog. I'm so irked with Dave and the guys for dumping on this that I actually went over to MSN and voted a few times, and I never do that for any of these shows.

Toby, "Solsbury Hill": Is it me, or did Toby make as bad a hash of the lyrics as Lukas did on "Celebrity Skin"? It felt like he was mixing and matching lines from different verses and at times introducing entirely new words (and not intentionally, the way Storm did on "IWS"). And while the singing was some of Toby's best for the first minute or so, once he made the move over to the bongos he got very screechy. Plus, this isn't really the week to fight for the chance to play with one of the guys, since this set-up is so unlike what the band is generally going to do.

Ryan, "In the Air Tonight": No piano and Neo coat aside, this felt like a carbon copy of his "Losing My Religion" from a few weeks back. Like Patrice, I think he's as good as he's going to be on this show; the only difference is that he started off so poorly that he's giving the band this false belief that he's only going to get better and better. Bored now, except for the string quartet, who sounded killer on this.

Dilana, "Cat's in the Cradle": Probably the best of the night, though her version was much more faithful to the original than what Storm did. Also, she took the song in an angrier direction than I think it probably should go, even though it fits her style. But she has such incredible stage presence that, unless she gets too cocky and starts coasting, everybody else is playing for second.

What did everybody else think?


Anonymous said...

Dilana is by far the best one. And even though they've been making a big deal out of whether or not a woman can front this band, she's the only one who seems like she'd actually fit with the group.

Either way, does anyone see this band lasting? I give them 18 months TOPS.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to hear I wasn't the only one who liked Storm's "I Will Survive" while I think Ryan and Dilana gave better performances that night, Storm gave me chills the way Ryan's previous "Losing My Religion" performance did.

Philip said...

Storm always rocks.

Anonymous said...

I agree that Storm wasn't nearly as bad as the judges made her out to be. I liked the way she opened the song and also had the same thought that she didn't stand a chance just because of what the song IS - a disco song. Not even Cake's version could be totally un-Disco.

Patrice's smiliness really on my nerves last night and I hope she goes home.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with the judges that Storm was horrible. The arrangement was all wrong and her vocals were bizarre (though not as weird as the vocal affectations Patrice was using, ugh). BTW, I know Storm threw in a few "asses" to make the song more "rock," but did she really sing, "I should have changed the fuckin' locks"? Because that's what my friend and I heard.

I wouldn't mind if they do another double elim tonight and get rid of Zayra and Patrice, although they should get rid of Toby for the cringe-worthy way he shouted out "Boom boom boom!" That was bloody awful and he deserves to have Peter Gabriel sit on him.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't stand the lyric mutilation on Solsbury Hill. I thought they would've called him on being too hungover to remember which verse is which, but no!

Perhaps the guys in the band have never actually listened to Solsbury Hill. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Lord Floppington said...

Thank you, Dez. Yes, it's a disco song, but the mark of a true star would be to take even a crap song like this one and make it work. I see that as a major test of ability for anyone who wants to be truly great.

Lots of people can sound totally awesome on the song that is perfect for their style, personality, and voice, and be crap singers on anything else. At least Storm is not like this.

She really put herself high up all these weeks. She was good enough to get by with simply doing her Storm thing that she does. Giving her a sucky song was an important test, and Storm failed. The fact that she made it all look so easy so far made it doubly disappointing.

And I think she said "freaking lock."

And what was up with Dilana and that "cat's in the cradle and the silver moon?" Sure, anyone can miss a word once in a great while, but "silver moon" instead of "silver spoon?" A meteor crashing down through the roof of my house would be less noticeable. I mean, come on! A ninety year old farmer in backwoods China sitting on a rice paddy with no electricity knows that line! The good news for her is that she kept on going as if nothing had happened without losing her cool.

Anonymous said...

I obviously heard something different from the judges in Toby's song, which I thought was awful. He did nothing with the song. Nothing.

Dilana should just be given the keys to the kingdom now and we can save ourselves a few more hours of TV viewing.

BTW, has Marty Casey released a full three minute version of "Trees" yet? I need that one. . .

bill said...

The new "Marty Casey and the Lovehammers" has a full version of Trees. Not as good as his live Rockstar versions.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Bill. I just listened to a clip from the song at Amazon and think I agree with you. "Trees" sounds weird and lethargic. I like the nice upbeat version from TV. ::sigh::

Anonymous said...

Anyone interested in Marty and the boys should check out "The Tunnel", alternately titled "Final Tunnel". Pretty rockin' song.

Personally, I think Zayra was one of the best. She had a totally unique style, and was a more compelling performer than most people I've ever seen. She could really get into a song, and she could ALWAYS hold your attention.

And in regards to the stupid little hobbit, I rather like him. Go figure. I love his voice and he really knows how to use it. His performances are captivating as far as I'm concerned. I think he has more versatility than Dilanaa as well. To me she just seems to use the same loud rocker voice every week, although so far she's been doing pretty good with that! Dilana's an incredible performer, I love her performances. I just don't like the way she forces herself upon the band.

Anonymous said...

I think Patrice is intentionally laying low because she wants to keep her integrity for her solo carreer as she has no intention of fronting Supernova.

I agree she really has the bonafides. She's just not a fit for this and knows it.

Anonymous said...

How does Dilana "force" herself on the band?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Well, there was the bit in this week's webisode where she approached Tommy in Vegas and said that he should just shut down the contest right now because she's obviously the only choice.

Not saying she was wrong to do it -- boldness is a required trait for a rock star -- but she's not being subtle in letting the band know her opinion.

Anonymous said...

I think they've all expressed a similar opinion at one time or another, except maybe for Phil (hee hee hee), so Dilana doing it doesn't bother me.

One of these days I will remember to watch the darn webisodes!