Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Rock Star: The originals

Spoilers for the best "Rock Star" episode of the season after this...

Dilana, "Behind Blue Eyes" & "Supersoul": Hard to tell how much of Dilana's recent portrayal is a genuine meltdown and how much is the Burnett editing team needing a villain, but she is not coming off well at all. Crying jags two weeks in a row, followed by her writing a lame-ass song telling the fans to F-off (and that actually contained "Control-Alt-Delete" as a lyric), followed by her singing two sings here about how misunderstood she is and how all this suffering is only going to make her stronger. She's like GOB Bluth in that "Arrested Development" where he goes to work for Stan Sitwell and keeps coming up with variations on the same idea ("I call it 'Swing City'"... "I call it 'Fuck City'"...) Everyone seems to have gotten over the whole Interview-gate except Dilana, and when you couple that with her penchant for writing lyrics that are always way too on the nose (in an earlier webisode-only songwriting clinic, her song topic? why, the experience of being on "Rock Star," of course), and you have somebody who's gone from the runaway winner (when she sang the first Supernova song) to the most obvious potential boot in less than a month.

Whatever her personal issues may be, I really enjoyed her "Behind Blue Eyes" up until she had to, again, make the song all about her and her woe-is-me situation by flipping the gender at the end for the two people who already didn't get the point. She has a great voice and commands the stage and camera; I can't think of anybody else left who could have moshed as well while sitting on a stool. But she no longer has any shot at winning and her exit tomorrow wouldn't stun me in the least.

Magni, "Back in the U.S.S.R." & "When the Time Comes": I think I need a Magni macro at this point: strong voice, interacts well with the band, great energy and passion, throbbing vein, solid but extremely faithful cover, etc. Even Tommy, in his usual numbskull way, noticed this. I think Magni did himself a great disservice by not playing lead guitar on "When the Time Comes." From what we've seen to date, he's far and away the best musician left, the song's strongest attribute is that guitar riff, and Supernova arguably needs a second ax man. Magni's problem at this point is that he's solid in every area but not exceptional in any -- consistent but not creative -- so why not let it rip with the guitar to remind the band and the voters the one area in which he clearly excels over the competition? If Dilana isn't going home, he is, barring some fluke where neither is in the bottom three.

Storm, "Sufragette City" & "Ladylike": Ho. Ly. Crap. That was amazing, and I don't think it's just my gushing Storm fanboy speaking here. First of all, even if Dave's cameo on guitar wasn't a surprise, he and Storm interacted perfectly, and if she really didn't know he was doing it, then she improvised like a champ (loved the "Oh, David!" as he launched into the solo). Throughout the competition, Storm has seemed to sway between performances that were maybe too manic by a third to a half and quiet, solid but uninspiring ballads. Here, she finally put together the vocals and the energy, larger than life but in control of it. Maybe she needs to do an entire show of Bowie covers or something, but that "Sufragette City" was great...

...and so was the PG version of "Ladylike." The song suffers a little with "what" replacing "fuck" (as well as her having to lose the "Hey, motherfucker!" near the end, which you can hear properly here), but the passion made up for the lack of profanity. So glad she got to stick around long enough to sing this song on national TV -- and it, coupled with "Sufragette City," all but guarantee that she'll be on that stage next week. I don't think she's a good match with Supernova, nor do I think she really wants the job, but she's going to get what I'm sure she really wanted out of all of this: a full summer of exposure so she and her band can keep doing what they've been doing, just on a bigger, better-paying scale.

Lukas, "Living on a Prayer" & "Headspin": Lukas is essentially the un-Magni, polarizing where the Iceman is universally-liked (but not necessarily loved), risk-taking where Magni plays it down the middle, probably a pain in the ass on the road and in the studio where Magni's a pro. I don't know that I would want to pay money for a Lukas Rossi album (with or without Supernova), but I understand why the people who love the guy really love him and why the band is so into him.

I may not have been able to decipher all, or even most, of the words to "Headspin" (or "Living on a Prayer," but as a Jersey boy I know those by heart, like it or not), but the man has charisma, he does interesting arrangements (he completely changed the tone of the Bon Jovi song without subverting its meaning), and he's one of the more interesting songwriters (even when I can't make out the lyrics, I appreciate the tunes).

Toby, "Mr. Brightside" & "Throw It Away": On the other hand, you have Toby as sort of the perfect blending of Lukas and Magni: nice guy who won't overshadow the band but does have a certain spark, creative without being so adventurous as to alienate a lot of fans, etc. I thought his voice sounded a little too high and thin on "Mr. Brightside," and the attempt to get the crowd to sing along didn't really work. At first, I thought it was just a case of the studio audience not being properly mic'ed (ditto Storm trying to involve the crowd with the second "Ladylike" chorus, or Magni on "Satisfaction" way back in the premiere), but then you could very clearly hear them on the "oh oh oh oh oh oh" during "Throw It Away." (And stop being so impressed by how quickly the audience picked that up, Navarro: it's six "oh"s in a row, repeated frequently.) Even though he apparently wrote it a while ago (you can hear the original version on his band's MySpace), that song sure as hell sounds like it would fit in on a Supernova album, for good or for ill.

What it comes down to, I think, is the difference between a frontman (or woman) and a lead singer. When Storm and Lukas perform, it's in a very Storm and Lukas way; when Toby does it, I could see him singing for any number of bands, including this one.

What did everybody else think?


Anonymous said...

Did you catch the comment about House Band opening for Supernova on their big tour? With a rotating bunch of singers drawn (presumably) from our boys'n'girls? I may have to pay money to see this. House Band will blow Supernova the livin' shit off stage every night.

I loved Dilana's "Blue Eyes," thought her phrasing was delicate & spot on. Too bad about her injury. I could see her itching to rip the stage when House Band thundered in like the Titantic sailing into harbor (if the Titanic could sail with a gazelle's grace).

I also liked "Supersoul." While I see your point about her lyrics, lyrics are only one of many parts of a good song; often not the most important part. I thought it was a great song.

Lukas absolutely sucked. I thought he pretentious & boring, as was his song.

The rest did their thing. Magni solid & profession and uninspired, Toby a good-time Charlie who will win & give the band exactly what they think they want, and the aptly-named Storm a mighty force of nature way too good to be backed up by a bunch of losers like Supernova. It was fun watching horndog Tommy go apoplectic when called upon to make a printable comment.

Anonymous said...

I almost completely agree with you, Alan,

Anonymous said...

...Whoops, that was me hitting enter too soon. I almost completely agree, except I thought Lukas's "Livin' On A Prayer" was weak in comparison to the Bon Jovi live acoustic version, which does the same thing to the tone of the song without being as screechy and jarring.

Anonymous said...

Storm ROCKED the HOUSE! I really hope she doesn't win (at this point I'm fairly certain it's going to be Toby); she's much too good for SN. I don't think there's any way she didn't rehearse with Dave, but I still enjoyed the illusion of spontaneity. And "What the [What]" kicked ass. Based on last night's performances, I think Dilana should go home (she has just imploded over the last couple of weeks), but I can see them sending Magni home so they have 2 men and 2 women in the final 4 (we are talking about a Mark Burnett show here). Thanks for your comments, Alan. Always a pleasure to read what you have to say.

Anonymous said...

Hey There..
Dilana - It seemed like she went easy on the makeup lst night, especially around the eyes. I think she's a mess right now. Like she could shatter into a million pieces any minute. She was good, but not great. She's a little too odd for me. I keep waitng for her to make a pentagram on stage and cast spells on everyone. She should have went last week after she sang/butchered Psycho Killer.

Magni - Back in the USSR sounded like a kareoke (sp) version of it.Nothing special. The original was boring.

Storm - She really rocked it. I always look forward to her performance. I hope she makes it through again. BTW, every woman that I know that watches this show HATES her with a passion. She's so animated. Great original song. Better than Dilana's, that's for sure.

Lukas - I can't take the mumbling anymore. I also cannot see him fronting this band. Square peg. He and Dilana should be a part of the Conan O'Brien "if they mated" skit. What a kid that would be...

Toby - They told him he "put the fun in Rock N' Roll"? What a lame criticism that was.He was solid last night. Nice original.I think he moved up last night.

I keep wondering what it would have been like to have Van Halen instead of these 3 clowns as the band. To have the house band now open for them on the tour makes me think that tickets aren't selling well yet. Forget the Las Vegas sellout, anybody sells out on New Years Eve.Even the Sepinwall Seven would sell out!

I'm looking forward to the finale.

tabloidbaby said...
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tabloidbaby said...
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tabloidbaby said...

Alan is Tabloid Baby’s favorite TV critic, but we disagree about Storm Large.

Once again, she was annoyingly in our face from the beginning, posing and throwing her yuppie gang signs, and we knew she was going to do a Bowie song because she dressed in her Thin White Duke getup. Sufrragette City was all house band and Navarro. Storm’s vocals were lost and again betrayed her cabaret stylings.

HOWEVER… her solo song was the best song in the two seasons of Rock Star. She was excellent. She redeemed herself. She rocked. Alan, you’re seeing something here (though you know too much about her), but there’s no way Supernova would use her as a frontperson. Tommy Lee has no respect for her at all. His overt lusting and obvious desire to bed her is insulting and uncomfortable viewing.

Then again, maybe she could always star in the sequel to his Honeymoon video.

Magni’s Back in the USSR was one of the worst covers ever. English is his second language and it shows too well here.

Poor Dilana, a joke. We love the cutaways to her disappointed and glum looks every time one of the others does well, and we enjoyed her Dawn of The Dead zombie dance with the bum leg, but she’s over. She’s a nutter. Who’d want to be on the road with her?

Our boy Lukas was just plain boring, and deserves the bottom three with Dilana and Magni. Though we think he will win in the end. Because under that skunk hair and goth makeup, he’s just a showman.

Will Toby wind up pulling it off? Ten-year-old Sam left the room during Mr. Brightside, and that’s one of his favorite songs. Still karaoke, but he plays the crowd.

One question; What are they feeding these guys in the Rock Star mansion? Magni and Storm especially seem to be porking up considerably.

(Funny, the real-life Rock Star Supernova is being played out on the road with Tommy Lee and Motley Crue,, who opened a tour last night . Fifty-something journeyman bassplayer David Hull is playing with tourmates Aerosmith, filling in for cancer-stricken Tom Hamilton.)

Anonymous said...

TomV-Piscataway, I had to come back and comment again because I am the (formerly) anonymous poster above who thought Storm "Rocked the House" and I am a straight woman. And I know a lot of other women who also think she's great. Her appeal is NOT just that she's gorgeous -- she's got a fantastic voice and she's fun to watch. I don't think she should win (see above -- she's too good for them), but I have loved watching her this summer and I think I would buy a Storm and the Balls CD.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I didn't mean to stereotype any of you women out there. My comment was purely based on my experience. I'm glad there are women that dig Storm. I think she can really rock out!And she is always interesting...

Philip said...

Alan - thanks for putting up your thoughts. I went through a full recap of the show and the webisode over on Life In & Around Memphis.

I really think Dilana has tanked. She started self imploding a few weeks ago.

Storm has refocused so she can make it to the end. I hope she doesn't win because I don't want her stuck with Supernova. In their old bands these guys were good, but I don't have much interest in their new stuff.

Toby has taken the lead by far. I hope he wins, goes on one tour with these guys and then heads on a world tour with his own band (thanks for the link to his myspace page).

Lukas needs to take the f*cking marbles out of his mouth and stop gargling when he sings. I really think he was the kid everyone picked on in high school. (on the webisode, he got cake in his face and then immediately to change and put on more makeup)

My choice for the bottom three tonight:
Magni (he's good, but that was a mediocre performance)
Lukas (please God, please!)

Cinemania said...

Is the winner of this contest really going to be "stuck with Supernova" for all that long? Isn't this like a six month experiment, the publicity from which could help launch whoever wins onto bigger and better things?

I really don't see how winning the competition would be bad for any of the remaining five contestant's careers, short or long term.

Anonymous said...

The lyrics of "Supersoul" didn't bother me at all because I was more interested in Dilana's performance, but really, with those lame-ass songs of theirs, what right do the Supernova guys have to make fun of Dilana's lyrics?

I liked Storm's original song, but thought she was awful on the Bowie tune. Her vocals do not match that song at all. Toby's original song was catchy, if not particularly inspired, but at least it was better than the junk Magni and Lukas offered. Bleargh.