Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Rock Star: Impending doom?

First of all, can I give a resounding "Boo!" to the "Rock Star" producers for padding the hell out of what could have been an awesome show. You're down to six contestants. You've squeezed as many as 14 performances into an hour; why not let everybody go twice, once with the Fan's Choice and once with their own (whether an original or something from a list of covers)? I didn't need the biographical clips.

Also, the Fan's Choice gimmick was pretty lame. Every contestant had four choices: three songs they did before, and a Wild Card that another contestant (or, in the case of "Bring Me to Life," two contestants) had done. Of course everybody was going to pick the Wild Card, even if the song wasn't really a good fit for the contestant, simply because it would be new for them. It really feels like the music budget has been drastically lowered from season to season, or am I remembering year one's musical diversity a little too fondly?

Anyway, on to the performance-by-performance breakdown:

Lukas, "Lithium": In the webisode, he complained about not knowing the song and not even liking Nirvana (another lame element of the Fan's Choice, since "Mother, Mother" is something Dilana has done in her stage shows for years, whereas Lukas, Ryan and Storm all got stuck with songs they barely knew), but I think that worked for him in coming up with a very tight new arrangement. He made the verses plaintive rather than frustrated and angry, then brought the energy on the chorus before shifting gears back for the next verse. I don't know if this was Lukas' best performance, but it was up there.

Magni, "I Alone": I'm not sure his vein has ever throbbed this much, and I'm starting to worry; I want the baby to grow up with a father, you know? This was very typical Magni: great energy, great vocals, and 100% faithful to the original version. I like the guy a lot (he and Storm are easily the most appealing personalities left), but I want to see him mix a song up, just once, to show there's some creativity to go with the singing and guitar-playing talent. Also, I don't know what Gilby's talking about in terms of Magni suddenly displaying star quality, as I can think of at least three other performances of his that were at least this good, if not better.

Ryan, "Clocks": I want him gone, not just because I dislike him personally (I love how all of a sudden he's so sensitive about being slagged by Dilana when he was ripping the hell out of Dana and Patrice in the early weeks), but because he feels so practiced and phony. Even as he was kicking out the piano stool and doing his Luke Duke slide across the hood or busting out his Michelle Pfeiffer in "Fabulous Baker Boys" impression (minus the red dress, sadly), I can't shake the feeling that it's all been calculated to within an inch of its life. And I'm sure somebody like Lukas spends just as much time rehearsing every lurch and stagger and lip quiver, and yet it feels natural when he does it most of the time. Plus, Ryan's performance style is so humorless and doesn't feel like a good match for the band.

Storm, "Bring Me to Life": Oh, Stormy, I have a very bad feeling about this. First, where everybody else gets a biographical clip about how swell they are (or, in Dilana's case, about how determined she is to atone for her mistakes), hers is all about her struggles with this song. Second, it's, I think, her fifth ballad in a row at a time when she desperately needed to do something up-tempo and rocking, ala "Anything Anything" or "Surrender." Third, the band's clearly losing interest in her, as evidenced first by the "I Will Survive" pile-on and now Gilby's "I won't remember that tomorrow" slam. Even if she kills it in the bottom three tomorrow (and here's where not having been bottom three the last two weeks -- when she could have kicked ass on a song of her own choice and would have been safe because Zayra and Patrice were still around as cannon fodder -- is going to hurt her), I think they've already made up their minds about her. Which is a shame, both because I thought she sang the hell out of the song even when you factor in the degree of difficulty -- and her voice blended really well with Toby's -- and because I just enjoy watching her, and not just from a lecherous standpoint. I don't care if she wins -- I don't care if any of them win -- but I would have liked to see her make it to that final night. Ah, well. Maybe she'll at least get to sing with the band tomorr -- ah, who am I kidding? Sigh...

Toby, "Rebel Yell": Has he displayed this lower register before and I just missed it? Because he sounded great here with the deeper voice, and was really in command of the stage, even before he pulled a Springsteen and started pulling the paid dancing babes out of the front of the audience. After last week's jam with the band and tonight, I can genuinely see a scenario where he could win this. Given what little we've heard of Supernova, he seems like a better stylistic fit than either Lukas or Dilana, plus he'd be an easier guy to deal with on the road and would help these four middle-aged guys attract a younger female crowd.

Dilana, "Mother, Mother": This was the best I'd heard Dilana in weeks (and it oughta be, given how well she knows the song), but WTF with Navarro's comment that it was the best performance of the two seasons? Hell, it probably wasn't even the best of the night (I'd give that honor to either Lukas or Toby). Still, the angry song fit her like a glove and allowed her to display a more powerful, less raw side of her voice on the verses. And, of course, it neatly concluded the whole Fall and Rise of Dilana storyline that the producers have been working so hard the last two weeks.

What did everybody else think?


Adam said...

Just blogged it back at ALOTT5MA. I've got Toby rising, Lukas and Dilana fading a bit, and I agree that Ryan's just way too schematic about it to merit surviving.

I don't see how Lukas fits this band -- I feel like they're looking for more testosterone than what he's got.

Anonymous said...

I just want to ditto your thoughts on the performances and performers. Thank you for seeing through Ryan. :)

Anonymous said...

I'll predict its down to Storm or Ryan getting the boot tonight, and because the producers probably don't want it down to just 1 girl left, the boys will kick Ryan off and Storm "will survive"

Tami P said...

I agree with all of your comments, and I too think Storm is on her way out. She's a great performer, but I really have never seen her as possible for this band anyway, but I am sad to see her, and her fantastic attitude go.

Anonymous said...

Dude. I, too, am thankful to find someone who sees through Ryan. Sure, he's getting better than he was, but still. I feel like he's filming a video, not singing a song. And I can't believe that nobody notices (well, a lot of people don't) that, unless he's behind a guitar or piano, the guy just looks lost. Like, he doesn't know what to do with himself onstage.

Who do I think should be in the bottom three? Storm, Ryan, Toby, with Toby going home. He's doing better, but still, I think he's waiting for Rockstar: Sugar Ray.

Who do I think will be in the bottom three? Storm, Magni, Toby. For some reason, people seem to buy Ryan's shtick. I don't. Even when he does well, it's still just a one song performance. He could never keep that energy up for an entire concert.

Anonymous said...

I think that Toby is looking more and more like the right fit for Supernova. Ryan looks very awkward on stage, as if every move is unnaturally choreographed.

Storm and Ryan were not helped by the songs they ended up with, while Toby, Dilana and Magni were given songs that suited each of their strengths. Lukas managed to take a song that wasn't good for him and make it his own, even if it wasn't a great arrangement.

Adam said...

There is no way Toby is going home, after the last two weeks. He has developed real command on stage, and you can tell they want that.

I really think it's going to be Ryan leaving, though I will not be shocked if it's Lukas, the suave troll. Or Magni, oddly -- it's one of those "we can't ignore the fact that you've been in the bottom three a lot" deals.

Alan Sepinwall said...

If last week is anything to go on, whoever gets to sing with the band has a free pass for the night, and I have this weird feeling that it's Magni's turn.

I can see the whole gender thing, and if Ryan is in the bottom three that gives them an out to save Storm, but if he's not, I can't see them booting any of the others in favor of her -- unless she so thoroughly blows their minds with her survival song that they're forced to rethink whatever the planned boot order is.

Philip said...

I put up my recap of the show and the webisode last night. These are my responses to what you said:
- I don't think last year's "musical diversity" was any better than this year. I know there are actually newer songs this year. I do hate some of the crap they make them sing. I hate the fan selection. Why can't we choose from 3 songs no one sang yet and one that someone else sang?
- I didn't know about Dilana singing Mother Mother in her usual stage show. That's just unfair. The producers shouldn't have thrown up softballs for the rockers. That just sucks.
- I'm ready for Lukas to get the F off this show. I'm honestly tired of having to listen to him gargle his way through the songs. It's just too cliched these days. It seems like people scream or gargle too damn much. I'm 26 and I feel that way. You can still kick ass and sing the notes.
You can check out my recap at Life In and Around Memphis

Anonymous said...

Completely agree that, if Storm is in the bottom three sans Ryan, she's going home. Although I completely disagree, it is clear Gilby, Tommy, and Jason are not that into her as they were earlier in the season. Sad. She had a great performance last night on a song that is not her forte, with a range I didn't know she had, and did it without the screeching like Jill did. Yes, Jill's performance was remembered ... for how screech-y it was. Ugh.

However, even if Ryan is in the bottom three, he has, inexplicably, grown on the three rockers (as well as Navarro). He should have been gone weeks ago, as he is as bad a fit as Patrice is. Sigh.

Magni and Toby are safe. Jason loves Magni (for reasons I cannot fathom except, perhaps, he sees how he is the sole grownup left of the men that fits the bad). Toby keeps going up in the estimations (at least by the comments broadcasted).

However, one darkhorse bootee possibility is Lukas. He was in the bottom at the end of the show last night. Although very unlikely, the Glam Hobbit could go if he butchers his savior song by choice or performance.

Thus, though I hope Ryan goes, I think Storm is a high likelihood.

Anonymous said...

News from Iceland about Magni: http://www.icelandreview.com/icelandreview/daily_news/?cat_id=16539&ew_0_a_id=228240

Anonymous said...

I more or less agree with your assessments, Alan, except on Lukas. He Vegas-ified Nirvana! YUCK! That arrangement was a travesty and I hope the MGH goes home tonight.

And I've been saying Ryan's a big old poser since the beginning. About time everyone caught up with me ;-)

I hate that Storm got stuck with that song and I hate it worse that she might get booted before Ryan and Lukas. Neither of those two jerks should outlast Storm. Stupid Supernova!

What happened in the first few minutes of the show? I turned over to it a little late and missed some Dilana drama, it seems. Thanks!

tabloidbaby said...

Storm's gone. Yes. She's a cabaret chanteuse who does not belong, a female version of the Dan Band, making a mockery of rock n roll.

More important: what the heck has happened to Dilana and Lukas?

I don't understand the midget's meltdown over the past two weeks. it has to be scripted to add drama to her slam dunk. Totally inappropriate and would make the band have second thoughts about taking her on the road.

I've believed less in Lukas since seeing a pictyure of him with his band on myspace. in real life, he has an entirely different look-- shaved sk8er boi head and happy, like the kid who married Avril Lavigne. And did you you know he sings on McDonalds commercials? Here we thought he'd risen from a Parisian sewer-- and he's a phony baloney!

Most surprising is Toby's rise. He's like an accountant who gelled his hair and stepped up to the karaoke stage. He's terrible. Yet he may be the dark horse, because as our 10 year old pointed out, no way is Tommy Lee drumming for a frontman who looks like Adam Sandler.

dark tyler said...

What the hell was this clown Ryan doing, crawling over the piano? Sigh. And the guys actually for for his act? Sigh again.

I've gotten the impression over the last few weeks that it's actually David Navarro who is a Dilana fanboy more than others. Am I wrong? He is always more enthusiastic about her performances (even the mediocre ones) than any of the group members. I didn't follow the show last year, but I imagine that he has no say in who the winner will be, so I wouldn't call it for Dilana just yet. Newsted showed once more tonight just how much he likes Lukas.

And now for a question. How are the eliminations going to be for these final shows? If I understand this correctly, there is tonight's elimination (5 remain), then next week's (4 remain) and then it's the final. Correct? With 4 people in the game, how exactly is this going to play out? Will the 3 Supernova guys pick the winner out of FOUR singers? They sound like one (or two) too many.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Last year, they went into the final week with three singers (J.D., Marty and Mig), and they cut Mig quite a bit before the other two (quite possibly the night before, but I don't think so).

Navarro has said they'll have a final four going into that last week, which is cool since Dilana and Lukas would seem to have strangleholds on two of those spots and it'll lead to more variety up till the end.

dark tyler said...

Okay, thanks! Assuming Storm bites the dust tonight (sadly) one can only guess which two between Magni, Ryan and Toby will these bozos send to the final. My guess would be that Magni leaves next week, especially if he lands into the bottom three tonight. I mean, four straight weeks in the bottom three? I don't think the Supernova guys are gonna like that, now matter how much they like Magni.


*here's to Ryan getting off the show tonight*