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Rock Star: Supernova - Week 11 Live Performance SPOILER Report (taped 9/10/06) [11 Sep 2006|08:30am]
THE FINAL LIVE PERFORMANCE SHOW. If you let those words sink in a little, you will be ready for tonight’s look back into the Past – even if that Past was only a week or two ago.

Contributing to the air of nostalgia tonight was a performance you won’t see on the show on Tuesday: Sweet Suzie McNeil made a surprise appearance with the House Band, singing Bohemian Rhapsody, before the taping even started. (She sounded great, by the way.)

Then, at the top of the show, we were treated to the Fan Favorite Encore Performance. And the Fan Fave Rocker was: Ryan Star, who performed Back of Your Car again – and won a Honda in the process. (FYI, Ryan was the very soul of graciousness today, thanking SN profusely for the opportunity, etc., etc. Methinks he knows his parting comments didn’t go over well with some people…)

The retrospective continued with the clip package, which focused on the journeys of the Top Four over the course of the season. And even this week’s performances contained blasts for the not-too-distant past, as each Rocker performed their original song from last week yet again.

Karma Police (Radiohead)
Throw It Away (original)

I wondered at first about Toby doing a low-key song to start, but since most of the other Rockers also varied their sets (Magni excluded), I guess it wasn’t such a bad thing after all. (It shows variety and versatility, yadda yadda yadda.) Toby also had Magni play guitar on TIA - and you gotta see the part where Magni holds the guitar for Toby to play while he kneels below him! Anyway, Dave said Karma Police is his favorite Radiohead song and that Toby “delivered it great”. And we already know how much Dave loves Toby’s original. He thought the two songs made for a “killer set” and compared the whole thing to just “kicking back and watching a great Rock Show.” Tommy told Toby “Nice job, Bro.” Gilby thought Toby got “a little lost in the melody” at the beginning of the Radiohead song, but when he went into his full voice, he sounded “great”. Jason was glad that Magni joined Toby on the song and that everyone was so comfortable at this stage of the competition. As a result, he felt that this was “some of the most energy we’ve had all summer.” He summed it up: “Great job, dude. It was awesome!”

Fix You (Coldplay)
Headspin (original) {acoustic}

I really liked Lukas on Fix You, but honestly didn’t care much for the acoustic version of his original. However, I am prepared to be in the minority, if the tongue bath he received from the judges is any indication. Dave begins by saying how proud he is to be part of a show like this. He thought Lukas did a “great job” – that the Coldplay song was “awesome” and that going acoustic with his original “showed versatility”. He ended by saying that he has wondered all season whether he could listen to Lukas sing for two hours, but now he knows the answer. Not only could he listen to him, he would actually buy a ticket to see him. Tommy once again was rendered speechless by Lukas: “Those 2 performances freaked me out – in a good way” was about all he could say. Gilby was ecstatic: “That was great, man! That was so good!” He thought Lukas sounded “beautiful” on Fix You, that his versatility is “amazing”, and that Lukas is “fearless”. Jason said it was “cool”, and pointed out that it was Lukas’ acoustic version of Headspin that got him into this competition in the first place.

Roxanne (The Police)
Supersoul (original)

We got to see the Reality Webisode before the show again today and part of the Drama was about whether Dilana would ruin Roxanne or not. Well, not only did she NOT ruin it, this may have been one of her most effective performances. She stripped down and re-tooled the song, and then let her voice do the rest. She sounded wonderful – and even when Toby, Lukas, and Magni joined her to sing, she kept everyone’s attention riveted on her. Then, despite using a cane through most of the show, she still managed to rock her original clear to the back of the studio. Dave asked her if she knew how much he loved her? Well, he said, multiply it by 1,000. The Police song was “killer” and the whole thing was “incredible – just incredible.” Tommy thought it was so cool that she had gone up into the audience. “You touched everybody,” he said – though he wished she had a cherry picker to ascend up to the balcony. “You are so beautiful to watch perform,’ he concluded. Gilby said it was “awesome” and “so great”. He noted how her voice was so recognizable, and felt they would be remembering it for a long time. Jason felt it was great, then got a little playful in his response. He thought that, next time, the guys should have matching outfits – and that Lukas could work on the choreography. He ended by saying that because everyone is so good, it is “so flippin’ hard” to figure out who fits best with them.

Hush (Deep Purple)
When the Time Comes(original)

It was certainly a good night for Magni. First, he played guitar for Toby. Then he sang back-up for Dilana. Finally, he rocked the hell outta his closing set. The thing that really stands out when Magni is on stage is just how RIGHT he looks with the House Band. Sure, he may not get the SN gig, but I would love to see these guys tour together! Anyway, Dave (who’s word of the night was killer) said he did a “killer job” and that the Deep Purple song was “really exciting.” Tommy agreed that Hush was “awesome”, but then said he honestly doesn’t remember a thing about Magni’s original (unlike those of the other three). As the audience booed, Tommy challenged us to sing part of it. (Guess he has a point…) Gilby started by telling Magni he’s had a great summer. Tonight, he “loved” the Deep Purple, and thought that Magni sang “great” and performed his original “well”. (He still thinks the original is missing a 7th – whatever that means.) Jason digs Magni’s original, saying it may not be as memorable as some, but that musically it is “very tough.”

One final thing: Brooke announced a little of how the Finale would work. The votes from Tuesday night will result in a Bottom TWO, who will then sing. Supernova will then cut one, leaving a Final Three to compete for the crown.

And, on a personal note: I want to thank everyone who has read and responded to these Spoiler Reports this season. Your appreciation has meant a lot. As you can tell, I love this show – and it has been my pleasure to share this experience with you all.

It’s been fun, hasn’t it? Can I get a HELL, YEAH?
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Rock Star: Supernova - Week 10 Elimination Show TEASER Report [06 Sep 2006|02:20pm]
At one of the Elimination Shows last month, when there were 10 Rockers left, I watched as Brooke made half of them stand for possible inclusion in the Bottom 3. Remaining seated and safe that day were Magni, Dilana, Storm, Lukas, and Toby. I happened to have cast votes for each of them the night before, and they were my picks for the Top 5. But even if they made it that far, I knew a day would come when they would start going home.

Well, today was that day. And, believe me, it was as wrenching as I feared.

Dave certainly spoke for many of us when he said at the top of the show that he doesn’t want to see ANY of them go – but it was not his decision to make.

After Brooke announced that the votes were double what they were last year and that the final results were almost too close to call, we got our video package of last night’s performances and some “Back at the Mansion” footage. Nothing controversial this week – just the Rockers celebrating an awesome show. The Q&A that followed primarily focused on each Rocker’s feelings about premiering their original songs to a worldwide audience.

Next up was another new Supernova song: It’s All Love. It sounded a bit “pop-ier” (i.e. more “radio friendly”) than the songs we’ve heard previously. But I liked it – and the Rocker chosen did a pretty good job on it. And I’m not sayin’ anything more than that. ;)

Next we got the encore. As a special bonus for getting the encore this week, the chosen Rocker also received the keys to a brand new Honda Element. So one of the Rockers got a brand new car and the chance to do their original again – and we got another great performance.

Then it was time for the Bottom 3. Following the usual drill, Brooke asked the Rockers to stand when she called out their name. Toby. Storm. Lukas. Magni. Dilana. That’s right! ALL the Rockers were in the Bottom 3 at one point during the vote last night. But who was safe? And who would be singing?

The songs performed by the Bottom 3 were:

Wish You Were Here, Pink Floyd
I Want You To Want Me, Cheap Trick
Original Song, Rocker (Yes, one Rocker did their original again.)

It was a trio of super performances – and I don’t think it’s giving away too much to say that one of them had half the audience in tears.

When Supernova returned, Gilby gave his usual rundown and sent one Rocker back to safety. Then it was Tommy’s turn. But the dude couldn’t do it! He was too upset to wield the Tommyhawk tonight, so he passed it to Jason, who then delivered the verdict.

Some heart-felt "good-byes" followed. And then there were FOUR....
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Rock Star: Supernova - Week 10 Live Performance SPOILER Report (taped 9/3/06) [04 Sep 2006|12:55pm]
Another FANTASTIC show this week! We got a cover and an original from each Rocker – and, to a great extent, they all delivered.

Behind Blue Eyes (The Who)
Supersoul (original)

As if the past couple weeks haven’t been rough enough, Dilana ran into a couple unexpected problems today. First, she tore her calf muscle during rehearsals, and had to be carried out onto the stage. (She remained seated for a lot of Behind Blue Eyes, but hopped around on one foot during her original.) Then, just as she was beginning her original song, there was a problem with the lights that required her to stop for about 5 minutes. (Fortunately during that down time, she treated us to an impromptu – and awesome! - version of Joplin’s Mercedes Benz.) Dave thought she “sounded great” and that her voice was “beautiful” on Behind Blue Eyes, but said that her original was “not the favorite thing” he’s heard from her. Tommy disagreed, and said he might have to box Dave, as he “dug” her original, as well as loving BBE. Gilby thought the original had a “good groove”, though her lyrics were a bit too literal. He really loved BBE, though, saying that he heard a part of her voice he hadn’t heard before and that it was “incredible”. Jason pronounced that “a strong will and strong effort are crucial in this business. Good on ya!”

Back in the U.S.S.R. (The Beatles)
When the Time Comes (original)

Although I was a little surprised that the Iceman didn’t play the guitar on Back in the U.S.S.R., he sounded terrific on it. And his original sounded good, too – though it did seem to go on a little too long. Dave thought the Beatles song was “killer” and that his original made it a “rockin’ solid set”. Tommy questioned why both performances were “the same”, feeling that Magni should’ve brought something extra to his original. (Magni responded that the performances were the same because he was the one singing them both.) Gilby praised Magni on BITUSSR, saying he was such a “strong singer” that “every time you perform, it’s great.” He also liked the original, saying that Magni got him with the opening riff and that it was a “good, solid performance.” He did say, however, that he got what Tommy was saying about Magni needing to vary his performances. Jason said that the thing that sets Magni apart is his ability to “meld” with the House Band. He also liked the energy Magni brought to both songs and, echoing Gilby, “dug” the guitar riff on his original song.

Suffragette City (David Bowie)
Ladylike (original)

As much as I enjoyed both Dilana and Magni, Storm still managed to kick things up several notches. First, Dave made a surprise guest appearance on Suffragette City. It was the first time he’s performed all season, and Storm was at her sassy, strutting best with him on stage. Then came her original - Ladylike - and the bar was definitely set for the night. Dave started the comments by saying that he has been on stage with many great singers and that his performance with Storm felt “just like that.” Even though he thought the Bowie song was “awesome”, he had even more praise for Ladylike, saying it was his “favorite original” of both seasons of the show and calling it “totally fresh, new, and different.” He summed up his feelings by saying that he wasn’t sure about Supernova’s decision to boot Ryan last week, but that now, after hearing their respective original songs, he thought that SN made the right decision. Tommy said her original song was…. Well, you’ve got to see what Tommy said, because I don’t know how to spell the sound he made. (It was GOOD, though; the TLee equivalent of a squee.) He went on to say that seeing Storm and Dave together got him “fluffed” and that it was “rad”. Gilby spoke of how they’ve been asking Storm for more diversity, and that she really brought it tonight. He said she & Dave were “great” on the Bowie tune, and how her original was the song that got her here (when they heard it in the auditions). All in all, the Bowie song was “great”, and her original was “great”, too. Jason praised her “undeniable energy” and thought her performance was “so cool”.

Livin’ On a Prayer (Bon Jovi)
Headspin (original)

For the first time this season, the studio audience got to see the whole Reality Webisode before the taping began. So I know that Lukas was “peer-pressured” into taking this song. Even though he tried to change it up - by stripping it down to just electric guitar (which he played) and keyboard - it came off as fairly meh to me. (I kept expecting the song to suddenly ROCK OUT – a la Lithium or JD’s Come As You Are last season – but it never did.) His original fared much better in my mind. Dave thought it was a “great set”, that Lukas was always “compelling to watch”. He also liked that Lukas was showing a “more emotional side” than he had earlier in the competition. Then it was Tommy’s turn to speak. First, he doesn’t know what to say, as “that stuff is freakin’ [him] out”. Then, he practically hands the competition to Lukas (yet again!) by saying that he has “always dreamed” of having a singer who looks and sounds like Lukas fronting his band. He also wanted to “Thank God and Thank Fuck” that Lukas rearranged “that Bon Jovi shit”. Gilby called it a “great, great performance” – (obviously, Gilby’s superlative du jour was “great”) – and said that he gets inspired just watching Lukas perform. Jason was really glad to hear that original song again, thought Lukas did a “good job”, and gave special props to the House Band.

Mr. Brightside (The Killers)
Throw It Away (original)

Tommy tried to mitigate his comments to Lukas by saying afterwards that this competition was far from over. If that is indeed true, one of the main reasons may be Mr. Toby Rand. The dude has really been bringing it over the past several weeks - both on stage and off (see the Song Writing Clinic on the latest Reality Webisode). Tonight was no exception. Toby sounded great on Mr. Brightside, but it was his original that lifted him into the stratosphere. It was just a balls out, fuckin’ FUN rock ‘n roll tune – and Toby delivered it, once again, by leaving the stage and traversing half the studio, performing a large chunk of it back at the Supernova Pod. What’s more: The audience picked up on the refrain right away, and began shouting it back at him. A tongue bath from the judges followed. Dave started by exclaiming that “this thing is not over by a long shot!” He went on to say that he has had a problem with Toby’s “gimmicks” before, but that this performance proved him wrong. “Great job!” He also praised Toby’s original as being the most memorable lyrically. Tommy said it was “bad-beepin’-ass” and “very cool”. He also admitted that he had not heard that original before (unlike those of several of the others). Gilby enthused: “That was awesome!” (I guess Gilby knows a superlative other than “great” after all.) He thought Mr. Brightside was “great” - (oops! I spoke too soon) - and that his original was “a blast”. After telling Toby that he puts “the FUN in Rock ‘N Roll”, he echoed Tommy and called it a “bad-ass performance”. Jason went all cosmic in his critique, talking about how Toby harnessed the “togetherness” of the whole thing - the studio, the Mansion, etc. - and how he “embraced” the whole audience through his performance.

Based on these performances, I find it impossible to guess at a Bottom 3 – let alone who may be going home.

Two final Items of Note:

Brooke announced that the Finale would feature FOUR Rockers - so it looks like there won't be a Double Elimination this week.

The House Band will be opening for Supernova on their tour. (Tommy also invited Dave and The Panic Channel to join them. Dave said he'd “talk to the guys” and get back to him.) I spoke briefly with House Band leader Paul on the way out of the studio about the tour. He didn't know a lot of the specifics, but said that vocals would be handled by himself and rhythm guitarist Jim - as well as several of the Rockers from this season (and maybe one from last season, as well.)
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Rock Star: Supernova - Week 9 Live Performance SPOILER Report (taped 8/27/06) [28 Aug 2006|01:44pm]
WOWohWOWohWOW!!! Now, this is the quality and the caliber of performance I was looking for last week and didn’t find. Because of the AWESOMENESS on display this week, my Inner Grouch only made a brief, token appearance.

Things started out GREAT before the actual taping even began. The incredible House Band treated us to 2 songs: Baba O'Riley, with Jim playing keyboards and singing; and Fire with Paul handling the vocals. Even though you won’t see these performances on TV, I mention them because these guys are just sooo frickin’ good – Jim, especially, has an incredible voice – they deserve the attention. Love them – and love these little pre-show performances!

With the crowd now sufficiently pumped, the real show began. Before we could scale the heights of the live performances to come, however, we first had to dip into the depths. The reality clips at the top of the show focused on yet more fallout from Dilana’s comments last week. If you’ve seen the webisode, then you know about all the drama. If not, prepare yourself for 5 of the most painful (as in "full of pain") minutes of TV you’ve seen in awhile.

An intense Q&A followed. Jason blurts out that this is "Bullshit! She didn’t do anything wrong!" before Dave can even ask the Rockers for their feelings. Storm then comments that this is a TV show about Rock 'N Roll, not a Soap Opera. "Let’s get back to the music!" she implores. Magni poo-poos the "cut-on-the-head" drama, saying that he’s cut himself worse shaving. And Lukas echoes Jason’s comments, saying that showing this stuff to the world is "fuckin’ bullshit”.

Meanwhile, Dave wants to know: how is Dilana doing? Despite the fact that it must have been all kinds of Hell for her to have to watch that video package –- the Rockers were quite obviously surrounding her in support and she spent most of the time clutching Magni’s hand –- she insists that she is strong and that she is going to "rock the shit outta this place." The audience cheers its approval; and, finally, it is time for everybody to MOVE ON.

But what could possibly top all that DRAMA? Well, how about a slew of KICK-ASS performances?

Oh, where have you been the past couple of weeks, Lukas? This was easily the best performance he’s done since Creep. First, he re-arranged the song to better suit his style - and then performed it like a complete madman (and with nary a turned-back). When he was finished, the crowd went berserk and the praises rained down from the SN Pod. Dave said it was "awesome", "original", "new and unique". Tommy said he believed in letting the music do the talking... "and that shit was talking!" He – and the world! – was "captivated". Gilby loved the arrangement of the song and the dynamics Lukas brought to it, dubbing it his best performance to date. And Jason thought it was "dynamite", while also stating that this was the first time that Lukas was really audible in there.

MagniI Alone
I kinda pitied poor Magni having to follow Lukas. But the Iceman did a fantastic job! Although he can’t compete with his stage moves, he makes up for it with his vocal power and range. All that, plus he threw in a trip back to the Supernova Pod for good measure. Dave exclaimed that it was "killer, dude!" and noted that Magni’s performances and intensity have "stepped up" over the course of the season. Tommy thought it was "nice" and "cool", but wished Magni had taken his performance all the way to the back of the house. Still, it was "well done, brother!" Gilby mentioned how Magni was "so solid" week after week, but how tonight he gave them that "extra something" they had been asking him for: "Great job!" And Jason said that Magni had a "really deep well" and that he kept "reaching for it and bringing it up.... Awesome!"

WARNING: Inner Grouch approaching! First, we stood there for about 15 minutes while they rolled out the grand piano for Ryan yet again. Then he sits behind it and starts to perform, emitting these unpleasant, off-key sounds for a couple bars – before jumping up on top of the piano and rockin’ out. He then proceeds to bounce and crawl and slide across it at various points in the song. The Inner Grouch emerges and is pissed that the piano is just a giant prop for Ryan to use – that we waited patiently for them to set it up when he wasn’t really going to play it much at all. Dave, of course, has to praise his Dark Horse, telling him it was "great" despite some "vocally rough moments". Tommy would’ve liked a "heavier version" of the song, but Gilby said he actually preferred Ryan’s voice to the original. (Gilby admitted he doesn’t like Coldplay.) Jason felt that the "piano/vocal thing" is Ryan’s "forte" and that he still seems uncomfortable when he is in front of it - like he doesn’t know what to do with his other hand. Still, Jason liked his energy.

StormBring Me to Life
Storm was a verse into the song, performing it with her usual power and professionalism, when MAGIC happened. A deep, growly male voice was suddenly heard, singing in counterpoint. The 2 voices sounded so incredible together that I immediately got goosebumps – before I even realized that Toby had unexpectedly joined Storm on stage! Although he physically hung in back, letting her have the spotlight, vocally he was dynamite and helped kick the song up to a whole 'nother level. (If neither of these two get this gig, they should seriously consider touring together.) I loved the whole performance; but, whereas Toby got nothing but praise from the judges, Storm came up short in their eyes. Dave started off by asking why she would share the stage at this point in the competition. (Because she loves Toby and he loves the song.) Dave then got in some props for the Tobester, telling him that he was "awesome" and "killer". Tommy said it was "really, really cool", that he loved it, and that "you and Toby were rad." Gilby also thought Toby was "great", and he loved it that Storm had brought him up on stage. However, he didn’t feel that her performance of the song was memorable – unlike Jill’s earlier one. He told her that they were the Top Six that SN had envisioned, and that he "wanted it all" (i.e. voice, performance, energy, etc.) at this point in the competition. Jason thought that Toby was so good that he took a little away from Storm, but praised them for pulling off a "great team effort".

TobyRebel Yell
With the judges’ plaudits still ringing in his ears, it was Toby’s turn to take the stage. It almost seemed like he was competing with himself at that point. Fortunately, the dude did not disappoint. As we’ve seen him do before, Toby added some vocal dynamics to the song, by beginning in a lower register before kicking into high gear. He then rocked out the rest, before pulling a half dozen audience hotties onto the stage with him for a rousing finish. (I personally didn’t get a "gimmick" vibe this week, but YMMV.) Dave began the tongue bath: "That was unbelieveable, dude! Awesome! I bought it, I believed it!" Tommy loved that Toby is inspiring people to get naked ("God bless you!") and said that the performance was "beautiful". Gilby told Toby it was a "great night" for him: that first he helped Storm, and then he took his performance to "a whole new level". Jason completely dug it, saying it was "way, way cool" and that Toby really "blew it out" from the second verse on.

DilanaMother Mother
Dilana started off playing electric guitar, before putting it aside and (as she promised earlier) rockin’ the shit out of the song. This is the Dilana of Lithium and Zombie – the raging, seemingly out-of-control Rock Demon(ess). Love her or hate her, she is like a force of nature on that stage. Dave was on his feet at the end, urging the crowd on to an even bigger ovation. He then says this may be his favorite performance in 2 seasons of Rock Star, and that there was "real rage" in the song. (Dilana admits that it felt good to get a song that allowed her to release her pent-up feelings.) Supernova is also impressed, and both Tommy and Gilby take the opportunity to comment on that other issue. "Say HELLO to the King of Mistakes," Tommy tells her, and encourages her to "stay focused". Gilby says she fell victim to L.S.D – Lead Singer Disease – but that it was great to see her back on stage. "There was not a bad part of that performance," he said. Jason thought she took the guitar off at precisely the right moment, and called the performance "really good", "really powerful" and "fully Dilana-fied".

And, with that, we came to the end of another night of AWESOME performances.

This week will be a true test of each Rocker’s fanbases – as I think only Lukas can be assured of staying out of the Bottom 3. Will Dilana’s troubles effect her votes? Will the slightly negative comments received by both Storm and Ryan contribute to them being in the Bottom 3? (I am assuming, of course, that those comments make it on the air.) Will the recent string of showcase performances by Toby –- last week’s Supernova tune and Plush, tonight’s Rebel Yell and the Storm "duet" -- be enough to lift him out of the B3? Will Magni continue to land in the Bottom 3, despite his consistently fine performances?

For the answer to these, and other burning questions, check back on Wednesday. I think there is gonna be one helluva Elimination Show this week.
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Rock Star: Supernova - Week 8 Elimination Show TEASER Report [23 Aug 2006|01:13pm]
Lots & lots of DRAMA today. Dilana fans, especially, are going to want to don their flame-resistant suits tonight. She gets fairly well raked over the coals – not once, but twice!

The first time is after the “Back at the Mansion” footage at the top of the show. The second time occurred later, when they went into the whole Media Clinic thing. The Q&As after both taped segments went on for quite a while, so I imagine quite a bit will be left on the cutting room floor. But whatever’s left should make for compelling (though not always pleasant) TV.

Sandwiched in between these two clip packages was a new Supernova song - Be Yourself, and Five Other Cliches – with another Rocker fronting the band. The song had a heavy, almost martial beat, and I think the Rocker chosen was an excellent fit.

Here’s a shock: NO ENCORE TODAY! Instead, that time was spent (as I said earlier) dealing with fallout from the Media Clinic.

Finally, we got to the Bottom 3. After Brooke announces the Early Voting Results Bottom 3, another Rocker is asked to join them. The songs performed by the Final Bottom 3 are:

Fire, Jimi Hendrix
Middle of the Road, The Pretenders
Plush, Stone Temple Pilots

I didn’t care for one of the performances, but the other two are MUST SEE. One really made me feel like I was at a rock concert. And the other just ripped the roof off the place! The audience went crazy and the cheering just went on & on. I sure hope it translates to the TV screen.

Supernova deliberated for their by-now-usual 25 minutes or so, before the Hatchett Man sent another Rocker home.
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Rock Star: Supernova - Week 8 Live Performance SPOILER Report (taped 8/20/06) [21 Aug 2006|10:50am]
Okay, I'll admit it upfront: I was feelin' pretty darn grouchy on Sunday, so I wasn't feelin' a lot of love for the Rockers this week. None of them sucked, and they all turned in solid, professional performances. It really was a good show overall. But, if you'll permit me to indulge my Inner Grouch a bit: I expect more at this stage of the competition. We are on the verge of some very tough eliminations ahead, and being "very good" ain't good enough anymore. I want "stellar" and "incandescent" and "awesome" – and I honestly didn't get that this week. So, with that said, on with the show:

PatriceBeautiful Thing (Original Song)
Patrice played the guitar (again) for her original song – a happy little pop ditty that was about as far away from Supernova as I imagine you can get. She was perfectly fine, and perfectly meh to me. Dave congratulated her on her "great" original song, said she sang it well, but reiterated what he previously said to Zayra: that he saw her better as a solo artist. Tommy thought the song was "really cool" but "slightly happy for us" – though he thought they could make it work. Both Gilby and Jason were complimentary, but also had questions about whether the song (and Patrice) were right for SN. My Inner Grouch thinks Patrice will not be around another week.

MagniSmells Like Teen Spirit (Nirvana)
Magni has already shown he has the vocal chops for this type of song. He can belt out the choruses full-blast, yet his voice doesn't deteriorate into mere screaming. My Inner Grouch, however, would like to see a more focused physical performance from him, as he sometimes looks a little directionless. Still, Dave called it "vocally great" and complimented Magni on paying attention to the lyrics. "When a song calls for angst, you give us angst." Gilby has no doubt that Magni will be successful, but is still looking for that "extra thing" from him – especially in regards to pulling the audience in. Jason praised the energy coming off the stage, and admitted that he was one of Magni's "biggest fans". However, in the most head-scratching bit of criticism of the night, Tommy had problems with the fact that Magni didn't play guitar on the song. Apparently in Tommy's mind, this song is so associated with Kurt Cobain playing guitar, that he feels something is wrong if you don't. Magni responded that (a) it's a four chord song that doesn't require anything beyond the 2 guitars already on stage; and (b) he wanted to move around and not be strapped to one place. To which Tommy responded that, just because you're playing guitar doesn't mean your performance has to suffer. You can just "play it, smash it, and move on". (You'll want to remember these comments during the next performance.)

RyanBack of Your Car (Original Song)
Another original song – and another guitar-playin' Rocker. Fortunately (for him), Ryan's song was a lot more Rock than Patrice's had been. Unfortunately (for me), Ryan once again came off as something of a fauxRocker – never more so than when, near the end of the song, he ripped off his guitar and threw it across the stage. Now, maybe he had planned to do that before Tommy mentioned it to Magni – but my Inner Grouch kinda doubts it. It's precisely stuff like this that makes me question his authenticity. "Piano Man" Ryan I can buy; it's "Rocker Dude" Ryan I have trouble with. Dave, however, loved it – saying that it was the most "rockin'" he's seen Ryan be and that he was "very impressed". Tommy "dug it" and said it was the most comfortable he's seen Ryan be. Gilby thought it was his best performance to date, but asked if Ryan could see that song as a SN track. (Ryan admitted that he could.) Jason wanted to know when the song had been composed – (answer: About a year and a half ago) – and encouraged Ryan to keep moving forward.

StormCryin' (Aerosmith)
The reality clips at the top of the show featured Storm and Ryan tussling over doing the Original Song, with Ryan declining Storm's invitation to box for it (heh). Storm eventually gave in and took this song instead - for which my Inner Grouch is grateful (as the thought of Ryan trying to take on Steven Tyler is more than I can bear). And Storm did a fine job on it. I'm liking her more each week, though my IG is still waiting for that one breakout performance that kicks her to the next level and makes me into a true believer. Dave said she was "awesome... a thousand times better than last week." Tommy thought it was "cool". Jason felt the song started out as karaoke, but that Storm made it her own by the end. And Gilby said it was "good", but wants more memorable and extra-special performances at this stage. (Hmmm... I wonder if my Inner Grouch's name is Gilby?)

DilanaEvery Breath You Take (The Police)
Initially, my Inner Grouch was going to snark on the song selection – she streaked for this? - until Dilana explained to SN that this was her (estranged) mother's favorite song and that she hoped some day her mother would find out she sang it. So the IG loses out – and there's not much else, since Dilana seems to be fairly Grouch-proof. Wait! How about this? She did NOT blow the roof off or give me chills. In fact, I would put this in the bottom half of my favorite Dilana performances – which still puts it above almost everybody else's. (My IG is now satisfied and can move on.) Dave thought she did a "great job". Tommy said she is "universal", that women want to be her and that men want to.... Gilby praised her instincts, saying they are "so good" and that she has "It". Jason agreed with Gilby, and also gave her props for paying attention to the vocal coach, saying she showed them "the beautiful voice you have in there."

TobyLayla (Derek and the Dominos)
It sounded like there was a rough patch at the beginning of this song for Toby. Either he, or the House Band, or the audience – or some combination of all three – were off beat for a couple bars. But things got back on track by the time Toby stripped off his shirt (revealing E V S – slang for "whatEVer' – written across his bare chest) and bolted over to the Rockers Pod. (My Inner Grouch wonders why Toby has turned into "Gimmick Guy." I still love his voice, but miss the energetic simplicity of his earlier performances.) Dave thought it was "entertaining" and told Toby he really "brought it" vocally. Tommy wasn’t sure about the song choice and didn't think it was something SN would do. Of course not, replied Toby, 'cause Layla is Eric Clapton and they are Supernova. (Snap!) Gilby admired the risk Toby took changing a classic; though he didn't care for the arrangement, he thought the actual performance was "amazing". Jason felt that Toby "lost the plot" and some of his "tonality", but he did like his energy.

LukasAll These Things That I’ve Done (The Killers)
Man, I sooo wanted to like Lukas doing this song. But when he kept turning his back on the audience yet again, my Inner Grouch got pissed. (No, it wasn't as bad as Celebrity Skin, but still? What's up with that?) At least Gilby called him on it, asking why he turns his back on us so much? Lukas responded that he just loves the House Band and wants to sing to them, too. (Aww, that's nice, Lukas - but I ain't payin' to see you sing to Tommy Lee when you end up fronting Supernova.) But my peevishness aside, the judges loved it. Dave said he "set the bar" for the night and that it was "unbelievable." Gilby said he did a "great job" (despite the back-turning) and that he really makes songs his own. Jason thought it was Lukas' "most professional" vocal so far, and that he was "almost convinced" that Lukas could handle the volume required for a SN concert. Tommy only had two words for Lukas: "Check please!" (Some of us standing by the Rockers Pod wondered how to take this comment, as it sounded dismissive. But my fellow attendees over by the Supernova Pod insist that Tommy meant it as a compliment.)

Well, there you have it. As for the Bottom 3, your guess is as good as mine (though Patrice seems like a safe bet). Same goes with the encore. I doubt they would give both the Supernova track and the encore to the same person, but ya never know.

One last thing before I go: This was the worst audience yet. Last week's was pretty poor – but since it was a low-key show, I didn't blame them much. But there's no excuse for how dead they were this week. Even being burdened with my IG, I was able to muster more enthusiasm than a lot of the people there. I think too many sponsors are sending too many non-fans to the tapings. We saw the same thing happen last August – and it just sucks the life out of the show.
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Rock Star: Supernova - Week 7 Live Performance SPOILER Report (taped 8/13/06) [14 Aug 2006|11:30am]
Well, here it is: the “Stripped Down” edition of Rock Star: Supernova. And, true to that designation, it wasn’t a night of high-energy, blow-the-roof-off performances. Instead, it was an opportunity for the Rockers to show off their vocals skills – and, for the most part, they succeeded.

Too bad Supernova wasn’t feelin’ a lot of it. Jason made it clear very early on that they preferred it LOUD AND ROCKIN’ – and Tommy was more interested in talking about the Vegas trip than in delivering performance-related comments to the Rockers. (FYI, I'm not even going to bother reporting those.) Only Gilby, along with Dave, approached the evening with the proper mind-set, imo.

So, we ended up with a night of solid, though not particularly stellar, performances. It was acoustic and low-key – there was even a 4-piece string section – so adjust your expectations accordingly. I think the show will play perfectly fine on TV, with close-ups bringing added intimacy to the proceedings. I also didn’t think anyone tanked – although, overall, the guys came off slightly better than the ladies (with the exception of Dilana). Storm fans are going to want to vote extra hard this week, however, as SN did NOT dig her song AT ALL.

The video package at the top of the show re-capped the Rockers’ Vegas Adventure, before moving on to the now-familiar ground of Song Selection. In addition to showing Toby streaking for the opportunity to perform with Gilby, a lot was made of Ryan and Zayra wrestling (figuratively) over the chance to do an Original Song. After the clip, Dave started in on his standard refrain of “I am shocked that you guys…” etc., etc. However, the Rockers responded strongly to Dave, citing the clip’s edited version of reality. Far from only a couple people being interested in doing their Original Song, all of the Rockers initially put their name down for it. “Don’t believe everything you see on TV, Dave,” cautioned Magni, before stating that the actual Song Selection session went on for 2 hours. Anyway, as you probably know, Zayra ended up with the Original Song - and we segued into the main part of the show.

ZayraLluvia De Mar (Original Song)
Dressed in a black bra top and a huge red raspberry parachute dress, Zayra played the guitar while singing in Spanish. I have no idea what she was singing -- but she put a lot of passion into it and sounded very nice. I certainly didn’t notice any flatness or pitch problems, and no one else mentioned any either. Dave said he felt like he was at the Latin Grammy Awards (meaning that as a compliment). He thought she sang good, but couldn't see the fit with Supernova. (Z responded that she wrote the song 5 years ago, but chose it to show what she can do with her voice when she has more than 2 days to rehearse a song.) Tommy thought the song had hints of Massive Attack in it and that it was "well done". Gilby was glad she lasted long enough to do her original song - that it was "beautiful" and that he "dug it." And Jason admitted that he had personally fought to have her in the competition because of her original material and her flamenco vibe. (So she’s not a Mark Burnett plant afterall.) Dave concluded by applauding her cojones in doing an original song – a line that was later re-shot to change the word to guts.

MagniStarman (David Bowie)
I thought Magni did an great job on Starman - except for messing up the lyrics on the first chorus. (I don't know how many people noticed in the studio, but I'm an old Bowie fan from WAY back.) Other than that mishap, I thought he nailed the song. Dave complimented him on not impersonating Bowie, and Tommy said he "rocked it" and sounded “nice”. Gilby said that Magni was "solid" as always – with his only criticism being that Magni missed out on the opportunity to get the crowd singing along on the la-la's. Jason deemed it "elegant" and "graceful" and said that Magni showed them something different than what they were used to seeing from him.

PatriceMessage in a Bottle (The Police)
Patrice was fine – (yeah, I know, faint praise) - especially in the second half when she started changing up her vocals a bit. Dave also applauded her "vocal gymnastics" towards the end of the song, but found her lacking intensity. Tommy said it was "pretty cool, dude (sic)". Gilby thought that Patrice has gotten a raw deal over the past couple weeks, but still would've liked her to do something "more original" with the song. (Patrice responded with all this talk about changing beats and registers, etc., etc., etc. Gilby was, like, whatever - pointing out that most people wouldn't pick up on such subtleties and that he was talking about more significant changes.) I don't recall Jason saying anything to Patrice.

LukasHero (Chad Kroeger)
Lukas, donning a white preacher’s collar, sat in a chair and played acoustic guitar on this song. His vocals were very much in line with his performance of Creep last week - alternating soft & quiet with hard & growly, with a lot of intensity on the choruses. Dave said it was "awesome" and that the song allowed Lukas to show his "vocal dynamics". Tommy liked Lukas’ “preacher vibe” but didn't like that he was sitting down. Gilby said he really enjoys watching Lukas explore different sides of his voice every week and called it a "very good job". Jason, after saying it was "mellow but powerful", gave Lukas another lecture on his voice. He said he heard it close up again and that he really wants Lukas to continue to work on keeping it open. (In response, Lukas said that, in the excitement of performing for the crowd, he sometimes loses focus on that particular aspect of his voice.)

StormI Will Survive (Gloria Gaynor/Cake)
Let me say up front that (a) I am not familiar with Cake’s version of this song; and (b) I thoroughly enjoyed Storm's performance of it. It was certainly the most energetic of the night, and I thought she showed great skill and range on her vocals. But then Dave spoke. He first mentioned how Marty had changed up Hit Me Baby last season and how Dilana had dealt with Cyndi Lauper a few weeks ago, before telling Storm that her performance "didn't work." (Audience boos Dave.) "I hated that." (Louder booing.) Then Tommy chimes in - agreeing with Dave! Gilby then joins the dogpile – admitting that he didn't like it either. He told her that he realized she was constrained by the song choice, but that regardless, she really needed to pretend that she was in their band and make something out of it. Lastly, Jason added his voice to the chorus of disapproval: he thought she could've put her own twist on it and said that he "expected more." (Storm took their criticism with good-humored aplomb, commenting that she “went to Vegas, then woke up the next morning with Gloria Gaynor”.)

TobySolsbury Hill (Peter Gabriel) – with Gilby on acoustic guitar
Toby admitted afterwards that this was the most nervous he's been on stage yet. You sure couldn't tell from his performance, which seemed extremely strong and confident to me. With Gilby sitting on top of the grand piano the whole time – Hey Gilby! No sitting! - there wasn’t much interaction between them. But Toby threw in some bongo-playing near him, just so he could say that he “played” with Gilby. Dave said he sang it "great". Gilby also thought he did a "killer job" and was "awesome". Jason said that the song allowed them to hear a "really cool midrange" from Toby (which Toby said was the favorite part of his voice). I think all the guys made some reference to his stripping to get the song, with Tommy saying that there was now no question about Toby's commitment and that it was nice to see Toby be a “maniac” - just like a Rock Star.

RyanIn the Air Tonight (Phil Collins)
No piano playing tonight, as Ryan just stood center stage and delivered the song. I thought he did a good job – maybe even better than on Losing My Religion. The one slight problem I had with it was that it was very similar to what we saw him do with LMR two weeks ago. It didn’t have that degree of surprise to it, and so lost some of the WOW factor. Dave called it “the best performance of the night” (an opinion he would revise a few minutes later). Tommy didn’t agree with Dave, but still thought it was “well done”. Gilby liked it, saying that Ryan’s voice was strong and cut through the tune. And Jason praised his “great tonality” and said that Ryan made the song, which everyone has heard to death, “something to listen to.”

DilanaCat’s in the Cradle (Harry Chapin)
Honestly, I shuddered when I heard that Cat's in the Cradle was on the song list. But I breathed a sigh of relief when it turned out that Dilana would be doing it. I figured if anyone could juice up that old chestnut, she could. And she did not disappoint. She was able to utilize the changes in volume and tone between verse and chorus to her advantage, and "rocked" the song as much as she could. (Not that that was very much.) Dave started off the critique by telling Ryan that he spoke too soon -- that Dilana's performance was now the best of the evening. He said he got chills, and called it "beautiful" and "incredible". Tommy said he loves everything she does: "Well done, Mama." Gilby thought it was great to see her diversity from Won't Get Fooled Again last week to Cat's in the Cradle this week. He also complimented her on how strong her voice sounded in its lower register, and then how she knocked them out when she went higher. Jason thought she “did great”. He especially liked that she limited her growl, and could tell that she's been listening to her vocal coach.

Wrapping the evening up, Jason told the Rockers that SN really appreciated all they had done, but that next week, they would once again CRUSH IT WITH VOLUME!!!

Bottom 3 prediction:
Probably Patrice and Zayra. But beyond that, your guess is as good as mine – with Storm being the big question mark.

Encore prediction:
Probably Dilana – but all of the guys were fairly strong.
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Rock Star: Supernova - Week 6 Elimination Show TEASER Report [09 Aug 2006|02:02pm]
After a Live Performance Show as good as the one we just had, what do you for an encore? Or, should I say, two encores?

Yes, that’s right: TWO. But I’m getting ahead of myself again....

The usual recap of last night’s performances was followed by some feisty “Back at the Mansion” footage, showing Jill and Storm going at it over the whole Gilby/Song Selection issue. (Watch for a funny shot of Toby in the clip, too.) Dave then questions Storm some more about one of the comments she made, and Storm, for once, is stumped for an answer. Gilby also chimes in, before asking Jill why she didn’t take the song herself. Jill replies that she feels she’s already “had her turn.”

More Q&A follows (Tommy/Ryan and Jason/Josh). In the best exchange, Tommy asks Ryan “Where did all that come from?” After Ryan’s response, however, Tommy admits that there were parts of the performance that reminded him of Will Farrell on SNL, minus the cowbell.

Jason announces that, due to the high quality of the performances last night, the Band has decided on two encores. Each of the chosen Rockers then takes their turn – with one of them changing things up significantly.

On to the Bottom 3.

Once again, there was no announcement of the Early Voting Results Bottom 3 – just the 5 Rockers who hit the B3 at some point in the worldwide vote. And, as has been the case so far this season, the Final Bottom 3 did NOT end up the same as you saw on TV last night. (Props to Brooke for pulling off another great fake-out this week when announcing the results!)

The songs performed by the Bottom 3 were:

Respect, Aretha Franklin
Shooting Star, Bad Company
Enjoy the Silence, Depeche Mode

It was a trio of good, solid performances – making it hard to guess the final outcome. Supernova deliberated for about 25 minutes before returning to their Pod. Gilby, in his usual recounting of each Rockers’ pluses and minuses, even said that "the Band never agrees". But the Hatchet Man still had a job to do. The Tommyhawk fell, and it was sharp tonight.
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Rock Star: Supernova - Week 6 Live Performance SPOILER Report (taped 8/6/06) [07 Aug 2006|02:21pm]
So, I’m on my way out of the studio at the end of Sunday’s Live Performance Taping when I run into Executive Producer Dave Goffin. I say, "AWESOME show, dude!" And he replies, "Thanks! We’re really trying to crank it up."

Are they EVAH! The show was TIGHT, the House Band was HOT, the audience was ROCKIN’ – and the Rockers really BROUGHT IT! But I’m getting ahead of myself....

We started out with some Mansion footage of Magni’s family visit (awwwww...), followed by this week’s Song Selection Drama. The Rockers were informed that Gilby would be playing on Won’t Get Fooled Again – yet no one but Dilana seemed willing to take the song. Well, Mr. Dave Navarro had some choice comments to make about that, saying that he was “stunned” that nobody but Dilana wanted the song and that he found it “insulting”. “If it were up to me,” he said, “Dilana would win this thing right now.” Tommy tried to lighten the mood a bit by mock-threatening the Rockers: “Don’t make us come over there!” But Dave maintained that he was “seriously freaking” about their lack of drive. The groundwork having been laid, it was time for Gilby to take the stage.

DilanaWon’t Get Fooled Again (The Who) – with Gilby on guitar
Another awesome performance by Dilana. Unlike the others who have performed with the SN guys in the past weeks, she looked completely natural and in charge the whole time. There was no bumping & grinding – just some nice, unforced interaction and a great moment when she shared the mic with Gilby. Dave led off the praise, saying that this didn’t look like an audition, it looked like a rock concert. He then commented to the other Rockers: “As if it didn’t suck to follow Dilana before.” Jason said that the moment when the two of them sang together belonged on the Rock Star Killer Moments list. And Gilby was ecstatic: “That was badass! After that, I have no doubt a woman can front this band.”

JillMother Mother (Tracy Bonham)
Pity poor Jill. As Dave said, it sucks to follow Dilana. Though this would turn out to be one of Jill’s better performances – including a climactic jump down into the audience – it suffered in comparison to what came immediately before. The judges all gave her props, however, with Dave saying her vocals were “killer” and Gilby saying that she “sang well and performed well”. Jason complimented her on her energy, but said that she lost part of her voice when doing all the physical stuff. Tommy thought it was the best performance he’s seen from her so far.

RyanPaint It Black (The Rolling Stones)
Who would have thought that Ryan (of all people) would top Zayra in the Most Theatrical Performance category tonight? Man, this was something else! He started back by the Supernova pod, dressed all in black with a feathered mane sticking out of the top of his hooded sweatshirt. After making his way through the crowd to the stage, he threw back the hood to reveal black shadow smeared in a band across his eyes. His performance from that point ranged all over the stage, including another jump off the drum riser. It was completely Over The Top – but I give him props for not aping Mick, either vocally or performance-wise. The judges, mouths hanging open, were besides themselves. Dave: "Wow! Ryan Star just showed us he is a contender." Tommy: "Where is the real Ryan Star and what have you done with him? I'm tripping right now." Gilby: "Over the past couple of weeks, your vocals have been killing it. Now your performance cranked it up." Jason: "It's a side of you we haven't seen before - that's why we're aghast."

StormWe Are the Champions (Queen)
Storm takes on Queen and fortunately does not falter. It is, nevertheless, a somewhat surprising version of the song. It wasn't all in-your-face and anthemic, being more in line with her Changes of last week than her earlier performances. Dave said she did a "great job" and that it was "awesome". Tommy said she sang the hell out of it, but hoped they hadn't "spooked" her, because she's done 2 mellow(ish) songs back-to-back. Gilby stated that Storm and Dilana are the most vocally consistent; he then echoed Tommy's comments and hoped that Storm isn’t "forgetting" who she is. (She insisted that she isn't, but is just exploring different facets of herself.)

ZayraAll the Young Dudes (David Bowie/Mott the Hoople)
Everyone’s favorite space cadet toned it down a bit this week. Though she wore a skintight gold lame catsuit and a black top hat, she delivered the song with little of her Over-The-Top mannerisms. Dave started off by saying that, if this were Rock Star: Planet Pluto, she would win in a landslide. He did appreciate, however, how her performance harkened back to the Glam Era. Gilby was “diggin’ her showmanship”, but called her on being flat for most of the song. (Zayra explained that she can not hear herself through the floor monitors and that, if she had ear monitors, we would never hear another flat note out of her.) Tommy commented on her apparent confidence – before indulging in more sexual banter (by asking if her heels ever got caught in her hoop earrings.) Whereas Jason just wanted to know if she had “wow’d” herself.

JoshInterstate Love Song (Stone Temple Pilots) – with Tommy on drums
In a surprise move, Tommy decided to join Josh on this performance and took his place at Nate’s drum kit. Unfortunately, Josh wasn’t able to take full advantage of the situation, as he was constrained by playing the electric guitar and remained fairly stationary throughout. Vocally it sounded fine – but the whole thing still came off as a missed opportunity. Dave thought he “sang good”, but wondered whether “good” was good enough at this point in the competition. Tommy wished he wasn’t playing the guitar, as it “freezes up [his] funk”. Gilby had high praise for Josh, however, saying that this was the song he has been waiting to hear from him. Meanwhile Jason told the rest of the Rockers to be on their toes – that surprises like Tommy (or all of them) deciding to play with them were bound to happen.

MagniThe Dolphin’s Cry (Live)
Following Josh on electric, we got Magni on acoustic guitar – playing solo, however, unaccompanied by the House Band. And he sounded terrific! I'm not familiar with the original, but I loved his version. It was a great vocal performance, with range, power, and a whole lot of intensity. The judges all sang his praises. Dave congratulated Magni on being the first to go completely solo. Tommy said, “That was killer, bro!” Jason called it “powerful” and “beautiful”. And Gilby said it was so good that next week, all the Rockers were going to have to “strip it down”.

PatriceInstant Karma (John Lennon)
Patrice once again strapped on an electric guitar – giving us the third guitar-based performance in a row. She was unable to muster Magni’s intensity, however, and so her performance seemed, like Josh’s, to be limited by the guitar. At least she moved the mic stand out onto the catwalk at one point – which garnered her a lot of kudos from the judges. Both Dave & Gilby also commented on how the song choice was perfectly suited to her voice.

LukasCreep (Radiohead)
Like Tommy, can I just say “Hell YEAH!” Lukas Rossi is back! He pulled it all together and was just incredible tonight. His voice, his stage moves, his arrangement – everything was spot on. Dave and Supernova all gave him a Standing O. Dave asked, "Where has that guy been hiding? Unbelievable!" Tommy said he "got goosebumps". Gilby told Lukas that he caught him off-guard, that it was a "great, great surprise" and that he applauded him for it. And Jason said it was the first time that Lukas "used his gift" by opening up his voice properly. He went on to call it "beautiful" and "incredible".

TobyBurning Down the House (Talking Heads)
Toby faced the dual challenge of following Lukas and wrapping up the show. Thankfully, he did a great job – kicking all kinds of ass and delivering a super high-energy performance. Two-thirds of the way through, Zayra suddenly appeared on stage and handed Toby an Aussie-flag-draped megaphone. Toby proceeded to sing a verse through it, before blasting out a siren at the end of the song. The audience Ate. It. Up. So much so that Dave was roundly booed when he dissed the megaphone, saying it was cliché. Fortunately, none of the SN guys minded (that I could hear). Tommy said he would've liked the first verse to be in a lower register, but really liked what Toby did with the rest of the song. Gilby agreed, loving the "fresh version" of the song, and feeling it was Toby's best performance in several weeks. Jason said he "made it come alive" and praised Toby’s "up energy".

Well, there you have it! A Bottom 3 is kinda tough to call, but will probably be culled from the usual suspects: Zayra, Jill, Patrice, and Josh. But there is no doubt in my mind that Lukas will be getting the encore this week.
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Rock Star: Supernova - Week 5 Live Performance SPOILER Report (taped 7/30/06) [31 Jul 2006|08:58am]
WOW. Another GREAT show – possibly the best one yet! There’s lots of ground to cover, so I won’t waste any time.

PatriceHigher Ground (Stevie Wonder) – with Tommy on drums
What a way to start off the show: Mr. Tommy Lee on drums! If you don’t already know, he is just an AMAZING performer – wild, ferocious, and absolutely riveting to watch. So pity poor Patrice. Even with her hair done up in a faux Mohawk, I barely noticed her. Dave, after saying that she did a great job with the vocal, addressed this crucial issue by mentioning to all the Rockers that he thought that 8 of them will literally disappear in front of “this guy". Gilby and Jason, however, were much more complimentary, with Jason calling it a "brave & righteous move" and praising her for "commanding the stage even with that maniac behind you."

JoshSanteria (Sublime)
Josh decided to “do his own thing” with this reggae tune – he even threw in some beat box – and he sounded great. He was definitely in his element, and got a lot of praise from SN. Dave thought it was a smart move to pick this song instead of Higher Ground, as he felt Josh would’ve been “swallowed up” by it. Tommy loved the way he sang, and Jason applauded Josh’s “musicality”. But Gilby, after admitting that he would buy a CD of Josh, said he wouldn’t buy a Supernova CD with Josh singing on it. He just doesn’t see him in their band.

DilanaCan’t Get Enough (Bad Company)
Not only did Dilana wipe out memories of the first two performers tonight, she cast her shadow over many that followed. Once again, she was absolutely ASTONISHING. She complained in the video clip that she never gets negative comments or constructive criticism from the judges. But, with performances like this one, what is there to criticize?

Taking her cue from their comments to her last week, she left the stage and moved through the crowd back to the Supernova Pod. After performing half the song there, she was transported back to the stage - (FYI, the dude carrying her is her boyfriend Steve) - where she finished in a blaze of rock glory. The reaction from the crowd was PHENOMENAL - one of the biggest ovations of the season so far. Dave, acknowledging the crowd's thunderous cheers, first says, "You've got a lot of fans." Then he turns to the other Rockers: "It's got to suck to be you guys." He tells her she took an old classic rock song and "KILLED IT! Fuckin’ AWESOME!" Tommy said it was "tight". But since Dilana was bemoaning the lack of criticism, he had some for her: He said she should've dragged her leather outfit behind a motorcycle for a couple days before putting it on. (She admitted that she'd only bought it the day before.) Gilby echoed Dave's comments about her taking an old, bluesy rock song and "knocking it out of the park." He also commented how SN keep trying to envision the Rockers performing in front of them, and how Dilana did just that. Jason loved how she played to the crowd, and said she "took everybody into your world."

TobyPennyroyal Tea (Nirvana)
I wasn’t familiar with this Nirvana song, but I thought Toby sounded really strong on it. But then, I just love the sound of his voice. I had to agree with Dave, however, that it felt anti-climactic coming after Dilana - especially since the Tobester also went down into the audience. (Toby had an intelligent reply, saying that Dilana’s choice to do that in her performance did not change the reasons he wanted to do it in his. Or words to that effect.) Tommy thanked Toby for listening to their input and changing it up every week. Gilby liked his whole, dark “vibe”, but said there wasn’t a lot of melody in the song and really wants him to knock it out of the park next week. Jason was impressed by a “professional quality” they hadn’t seen before in Toby.

Zayra867-5309/Jenny (Tommy Tutone)
There are really no words to describe Zayra's performance this week. I can’t say it was a trainwreck, because I’m sure they don’t use that antiquated mode of transportation on her planet. First of all, she looked like a demented Wonder Woman, complete with shiny gold gloves and a sheer black cape. Though I’ve frequently enjoyed her other-worldly performances – she strikes me more as a “performance artist” than a “singer” anyway – this one didn’t do it for me. Plus, I didn’t like the punk’d out arrangement of the song. Side note: During her performance, I looked around the crowd. I was one of the only people clapping along and trying to show any enthusiasm. (I am such a dutiful little concert bunny!) But the rest of the audience was DEAD - most likely from shock.

When she was done, Dave asked for a minute "to process what I just saw." They actually went to a commercial break before the judges weighed in with their comments. Dave mentioned the controversy surrounding Phil’s elimination last week, but said that Zayra at least changes it up from week to week. Tommy said she reminded him of Dale Bozzio from Missing Persons. Though Gilby found her performance “compelling”, he said her vocals were off. But all Jason could say was “Wow.”

MagniClocks (Coldplay)
No sunglasses this week, and Magni sang in a higher register than we are used to hearing from him. I thought he sounded pretty good – and will probably sound even better on TV than in the studio. (He had some trouble singing directly into the mic at times, and so his voice got somewhat lost in the Live mix.) Dave said he was “absolutely great” and did a “fantastic job”. Tommy agreed it was an “excellent performance”. Gilby said that Magni can always be counted on to bring an emotional performance, but now wants him to do "something special" (i.e. flashier). Jason had the highest praise, saying that Magni is “pure talent through & through” and that, for him, he sets the bar for the whole competition. (Hmmm...)

JillDon’t You (Forget About Me) (Simple Minds)
TRAINWRECK. Jill was really dreadful and came in for the harshest criticism of the night. Dave started off by saying it was “really not that good” and compared it to that moment at a concert where everyone gets up and goes for another beer. (Ouch!) Tommy questioned her on raising the key, saying it was the lower register that made the song sexy to begin with. However, after he said she sang it well, Dave turned to him: “Really? You thought she sang it well?” Gilby agreed with Dave, saying she oversang it and that it was “uncomfortable to listen to.” Jason babbled on about making sure your “translation” of the song does justice to it – or some such thing. Bottom line? Bottom 3, easily.

RyanLosing My Religion (R.E.M.)
Ryan accompanied himself on the grand piano (with only Paul of the House Band on keyboards.) And he just belted the hell outta the song! Maybe a bit too much for some tastes, but there's no denying his vocal chops on this one. Dave said it was "truly phenomenal" and "beautiful". Tommy talked about a track he wrote for SN on the piano and that he could totally hear Ryan's voice on the track. Gilby liked that Ryan was so dark and moody, and loved the performance. And Jason said it was his best yet, saying that Ryan showed them a power that they had never seen from him before.

LukasCelebrity Skin (Hole)
Not a great night for Lukas, who delivered a surprisingly sub-par performance. He really seemed uncomfortable during the song, and kept pacing out and back on the stage. As Gilby pointed out, he sang half the song with his back to the audience. (I suspect the backstage cameras will help the home audience get more out of it than the studio audience did.) Dave thought it was his weakest performance so far, but that he’d built up credit over the past weeks. Tommy said he was surprised at the song choice, to which Lukas replied that he thought it was the most like what he sees Supernova doing. Jason asked how things were going with the vocal coach. Lukas said he’s enjoying working with her, but admitted that he didn’t like the softer part of his voice. Jason encouraged him to continue, as he is still “reaching” to hear him.

StormChanges (David Bowie)
Storm decided to soften things up a little and did a very nice job with Changes. It still looked like she went a little “wild-eyed” at moments, but all-in-all, this was her most controlled performance yet. Dave actually deemed it her best, saying she showed her vulnerability and “sang a great song amazingly well”. Tommy shouted “God Bless David Bowie!” and told her she was “excellent”. Gilby agreed with Dave that it was her best performance to date, and Jason called it “captivating”, saying he would trade her "over-dramatic" performances for this type any day.

DanaBaba O’Riley (The Who)
I hate doin’ the whole “comparison with last year” thing, but I have to mention how incredible Jordis’ performance of this was back then. There was just no way in hell that Dana could touch it. She’s still working the “Rocker Chick” look; but, if you thought you’ve seen elements of Dilana rubbing off on Dana, this week she reminded me more of Storm (eye movements, etc.) Overall, she was just meh. The guys were kind, but didn’t really say a whole lot. Dave said she sang it “really well”, Gilby said something about her “consistency”, and Jason said he really enjoyed watching her enjoy herself. Tommy, after questioning her on why she chose the song, was impressed with her recounting of the opening chords and opined “There’s hope.”

Predicted Bottom 3:
? (Probably either Dana or Josh)

Encore prediction:
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Rock Star: Supernova - Week 4 Live Performance SPOILER Report (taped 7/23/06) [24 Jul 2006|09:30am]
First off, I would like to say - because it CANNOT be said enough - that the House Band is AMAZING. They treated us again to an impromptu performance (of Rebel Yell) before the taping began. No offense to Warm-Up Guy Cory, but who needs him when you can have the House Band fire up the crowd?

Anyway, this week’s Live Performance Show asked the question: How many Rock Star Wannabes can play the guitar? Answer: Too many. Lukas, Dana, and Magni all decided that this was the week to stand (or sit) there, with a guitar rooting them to the spot. Although none of them sucked, they all got called on it to a degree by Supernova.

A lot of negative comments - or “constructive criticism” - tonight. (Dave, in particular, seemed to be in a pissy mood.) Time and again we heard “Great voice, BUT...” with the general theme being: How would that performance/performer look in front of this band? Quite a few were found wanting.

LukasBittersweet Symphony (The Verve)
His black-&-white look was striking, and I thought his voice sounded clearer than it has. But, like SN, I question his decision to play the electric guitar (especially since he didn’t start until halfway through the song). It hampered his stage presence, and added nothing to his performance. Nevertheless, Dave said it was "Brilliant" but thought he could've done more vocally with the song by switching up tonality. Tommy said it was a "nice job" and Gilby "dug it". Jason, however, brought up the “constricted” voice issue again, saying that he didn't hear many notes in the song and that he still wanted Lukas to open up his throat when he sang.

ZayraCall Me (Blondie)
I think her time is finally up. First of all, she looked liked The Majorette From Outer Space in a blue spangled jumpsuit thingy. I thought this song would be a natural for her, but, even though she gave her by-now-standard Over-The-Top performance, her vocals really seemed to suffer. Dave came right out and said that she should get started on a solo career right now. Gilby thought she was great last week with R.E.M., but that she lost him this week. Tommy said it was just kooky enough that he loved it – and that the last time he saw an outfit like hers, he woke up with bite marks.

DanaAbout a Girl (Nirvana)
Despite the thrashing Josh got last week for his acoustic performance of Come As You Are, Dana decided to do the same thing with another Nirvana song. The surprise was that she wasn't half bad. By staying seated and strumming, she couldn't make all the lame “Rocker Chick” moves that annoy me so much. Her voice sounded good – and she even managed to (almost) look the part. As Dave pointed out: she’s finally looking “damaged” enough for this gig. Tommy thought she “sang the hell outta it”, but also told her that you will never see a barstool on any stage he’s on. Gilby was shocked at how far she’s come since Week One, but still feels she has a ways to go. And Jason said it was his favorite performance of hers yet. He particularly complimented her on the “controlled gravel” of her voice (maybe sending another message in Lukas’ direction?)

PatriceRemedy (The Black Crowes)
From the comments made, Remedy was apparently one of the Audition Song Choices - and SN have heard it hundreds of times already. Now that Patrice is done with it, they may never want to hear it again. It was a completely lackluster performance, and she got roundly criticized by one & all. Dave kicked things off by telling her that he wasn’t seeing anything different from her and that he was getting bored. Patrice got a bit feisty in her defense, but Dave was in no mood. “Do you really want to get into this?” he challenged. SN all agreed with Dave, saying she was playing it too safe and that, in Gilby’s words, “This is your warning.”

TobyWhite Wedding (Billy Idol)
Well, y'all know I love Toby and feel he got unjustly criticized last week. So it was nice to hear some praise again this week. Dave said he definitely upped his performance, though he warned him to be careful of "The Thunder From Down Under" (i.e. Aussie male stripper moves). Gilby thought he started off a bit weak, but that he really kicked it into high gear as the song progressed. Tommy was like “Wow, pretty cool”. The highest praise, however, came from Jason, who deemed it Toby’s best performance yet and nominated him for the "Most Improved Player" (because he really listens to SN and takes their advice to heart.)

MagniHeroes (David Bowie)
No shades on Magni this week – just another frickin’ guitar! His voice sounded great, but I felt he didn’t really sell the song as strongly as he could have. SN basically agreed. Tommy questioned why Magni would "strap himself to a guitar" when the song is about being a hero for a day. Though Magni defended his decision, Gilby agreed with Tommy, calling it the "wrong way to do the song." Jason echoed the comments he made to Toby last week, by saying that he didn’t feel that Magni was singing to the whole audience. Magni responded that he was singing to a girl on the other side of the TV screen (or words to that effect).

RyanI Alone (Live)
I'm not a fan of the song. (Didn't like Marty's version last year either, so don't ask me to compare.) But I liked Ryan’s performance and SN gave him major props. Dave thought he did a "great job" and praised his energy and intensity. Tommy said it was the perfect song for his voice. And both Gilby and Jason made comments along the lines that Ryan showed them something with this performance they hadn't seen before. (Jason admitted that, prior to this performance, he thought Ryan would make a great recording artist, but not a performer.)

JillBrown Sugar (The Rolling Stones)
Gilby joined Jill on stage for this number and was easily the best thing about it. I thought Jill gave one of the weakest performances of the night – her voice sounded off to me and she just seemed to flail around on stage. I’d put her in my own personal Bottom 3. Maybe the other guys gave her a pass because Gilby was playing with her (they ended up talking more about him than her). Her harshest criticism came from, of all people, Gilby himself. He didn't like when she grinded up against him - saying it was "predictable" and “uncomfortable”. He also chastised her for throwing the mic stand and hitting him with it. When Jill said she didn't know he was standing there, Gilby was like "That's my point." He really seemed kinda pissed at her whole interaction with him.

PhilOne Headlight (The Wallflowers)
“Plant-It-And-Crush-It” Phil from last week is gone, and “Bobble-Head” Phil is back. And Tommy seems to be the only one digging it, finding it sexy & cool – while still wondering whether an audience will be able to handle watching that for an hour and a half. Dave missed last week's intensity and wants him to "stand stronger", Gilby didn't really have anything to say, and Jason is worried that Phil's "wobble" is so instilled that nothing can be done about it. Prognosis for Phil: Negative.

DilanaTime After Time (Cyndi Lauper)
OMG, I don't know what to say. There is just no way in hell the TV screen can convey what Dilana does live. She sang with only Jim (of the House Band) playing acoustic guitar; and, though she started off seated (shades of Dana earlier), she soon stood and moved around a little bit. Nevertheless, it remained a low-key, non-showy performance –yet she had the whole frickin' audience in the palm of her hand! When I watch her, I feel like I am really watching an artist at work. The usual tongue-bath from the judges followed, but I cannot fault them in this case. Dave said it best: She gives him chills every week. I’m right there with you, Dave!

JoshNo Rain (Blind Melon)
Poor Josh. Dude tried to rock it out again this week – but just looked so damned uncomfortable doing it. Dave felt it was a step back to where he started, and the other guys wondered whether Josh could bridge the gap between his soul-inflected style and Supernova’s sound. But, even though “Mr. Soul Man” (as Tommy calls him) restated his hope to bring some soul flavor to SN, I half expected him to pull an Osten [Survivor reference] and throw in the towel right then and there. His heart just doesn’t seem to be in it.

StormAnything Anything (Dramarama)
Storm, in what was probably her best overall performance, ended the show with a bang by diving into the crowd. No one denies her vocal chops or the "turbo-charged" energy she brings, though there are still reservations about whether she is right for the band. In contrast to the comments made to several of the others, Dave wants to see less intensity and more “vulnerability” from her. Tommy said she "fuckin' ROCKED!" – before the banter between him and her moved into X-rated territory with a whole lot of talk of “ball-lickin’.”

Predicted Bottom 3
(Though an appearance here by either Jill or Patrice would not surprise me)

Predicted Encore
(Because Dilana and Toby have already gotten one, Ryan is not quite there yet, and I doubt Supernova wants to showcase Lukas in an atypical performance.)
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Rock Star: Supernova - Week 3 Elimination Show TEASER Report (taped 6/30/06) [19 Jul 2006|12:33pm]
Just got back from a very, very surprising Elimination Show.

We started off with the usual recap of the performances, leading in to footage of the Rockers back at the Mansion. Toby, for one, is bummed he didn’t perform better, and Dana turns to Dilana for advice on what she can do to improve. In the footage, Ryan makes some negative comments about Dana’s performance, which Dave follows up on in the Q&A. Ryan, to his credit, doesn’t back-pedal or tone down his remarks – and Dana responds in kind. There's a bit of “he said, she said” going on – and I don’t know how much will make it on the air -- but whatever does should make for some feisty TV viewing.

Encore time – and the first surprise of the show. Not that it was "undeserved". This person was, indeed, one of the best performers the other night. I just think that most people are expecting it to go to someone else. However, as will become painfully clear later, Supernova are going to do things their own way.

Great job on the encore, btw. (The Chosen Rocker, in fact, had to perform the encore twice. There must have been technical difficulties, as there was nothing wrong with the performance either time.)

On to the Bottom 3:

As per usual, Brooke announced the Early Voting Results Bottom 3: Jenny, Ryan, and Dana. BUT, 2 other Rockers hit the Bottom 3 in the course of the voting. And, as happened in Week 1, the Final Bottom 3 did not end up exactly the same as the Early Results one.

The songs performed by the Bottom 3 were:

Vasoline, Stone Temple Pilots
High Road Easy, Sass Jordan
Heart-Shaped Box, Nirvana

Supernova retired to deliberate for about 25 minutes. I’d venture to say that almost everyone – including the Rockers themselves – thought they knew what was going to happen. But when the hatchet finally fell, it chopped a different target.
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Rock Star: Supernova - Week 3 Live Performance SPOILER Report (taped 7/16/06) [17 Jul 2006|01:30pm]
Okay, folks! Here’s my full report of the Live Performance Taping. Sorry ‘bout the length, but there was a lot of ground to cover.

It was another AWESOME show! The Rockers are really starting to BRING IT.

There was no Butch Walker or other Guest Judge this week. Although the agency that handles the ticketing for Rock Star had indicated on their website that the Guest Judge would be JD, he – like Slash before him – was not there.

With so many Rockers in the competition, there’s still no time for a Q&A. But we did get to see a little of the “reality” footage at the top of the show tonight – depicting some of the battles that went on over song selection this week (especially between Patrice and Jill.) Tommy said he loves a good cat fight, and was glad to see that the Rockers were starting to take the whole thing more seriously.

PatriceHelter Skelter (The Beatles)
Great way to kick off the show. Patrice fought for this song – and delivered her best performance to date, imo. Dave said her voice sounded “killer”, but found the performance to be a little “cutesy”. Tommy thought it was rockin’ and gave her a “horns up”. Gilby said she sang great and that he really dug it, while Jason noted that her stage experience really showed through. (P.S. There was lots of love on display between Patrice and Jill in the Rockers Pod after, so any hard feelings over the song selection must be gone.)

JoshCome As You Are (Nirvana)
When I heard that Josh chose Nirvana, I didn’t get it. Then, seeing how badly he wanted the song in the “reality” clip gave me hope that maybe he would bring something special to it. Alas, my initial qualms turned out to be right. Josh did a completely acoustic version of the song – and it just was all kinds of wrong, as it highlighted the apparently vast stylistic difference between himself and Supernova. Dave thought Josh sounded “terrific”, but also wanted him to bring something heavier next time, saying that SN would be playing Wembley (!) and not coffee houses. Comments from the rest basically followed suit, with Tommy cutting to the heart of the matter by saying that he wants to see Josh “break shit.”

StormJust What I Needed (The Cars)
A good performance, but nothing we haven’t already seen from her. Storm definitely toned down most of her overly-dramatic tics and flourishes – enough so that Dave thought there was a “night & day difference” between last week and this. Gilby, however, didn’t seem so sure. He said Storm is a “hard one” [to critique] because the thing that makes her so uniquely herself is also the thing that makes him question whether she is right for SN. And yet he’d hate to see her change herself. Tommy, after initially deferring to make a comment, finally offered up that he wanted to see more of her (wink, wink). To which Storm responded, “I have 6 letters for you: Google.”

LukasLet’s Spend the Night Together (The Rolling Stones)
I definitely need to take a second look at this one. If most of you are like the judges, you are gonna LOVE this. It really was pretty good, and I can’t fault Lukas’ voice or the arrangement. Although Lukas is one of my favorites, I found some of his “Jagger-esque” movements so distracting that they prevented me from getting into his performance. But Lukas doesn’t need my approval, as he got it in spades from the judges. Dave tried to fake him out a bit at the start by saying that Lukas was “arrogant – [pause] - and absolutely awesome!” Tommy, yet again making their possible ultimate selection of Lukas seem like a foregone conclusion, said that Lukas was “raising the bar” and that he wanted a seat at it. Gilby and Jason were also highly complimentary, especially praising him for “making the song his own.” Like I said, I really need to take a second look…

JillAll Right Now (Free)
Though not quite up to her performance of Bring Me to Life at last week’s Elimination Show, this was Jill’s best showing on the Live Performance Show. Tommy said that he was “definitely all right now.” (How long did it take you to come up with that one, T?) Although Gilby thought she over-sang in parts, Jason paid her the highest compliment, saying that this was the first time he could really imagine seeing Supernova playing behind her.

RyanFortunate Son (Creedence Clearwater Revival)
This was the first performance of Ryan’s that I personally liked. Without employing all the stage moves seemingly copied from Rock ‘n Roll for Dummies, he stood there and sung it straight with a lot of passion. So - wouldn’t you know it? - Supernova was less than enthused. Dave questioned Ryan’s performance skills, Gilby thought he looked uncomfortable, and Jason told him he needed to find where to direct his energy. Tommy, once again the very model of brevity, asked if Ryan had duct tape on his shoes. Ryan made the lame excuse that, being used to playing for an hour & a half, he needed some time to warm up and gauge the audience reaction. SN wasn’t buying it, however, noting that they may have to play a one song gig at an awards show, for example, and could not afford to spend that time “warming up.”

PhilWhite Rabbit (Jefferson Airplane)
Phil got a Surprise Guest Appearance, when Jason announced he would be playing bass on the song. Phil handled it with aplomb, but I think it threw him just a little and the very beginning of the song sounded rough. Then, picking up steam, Phil went to the back of the stage to interact with Jason – and ended up getting head-banged (and a split lip) in the process. To his credit, Phil responded by amping up his performance even more and really tore into the final section. He got a huge response from the crowd, and the guys loved it, praising him for his intensity and cranking it up a notch. Jason, for his part, was so hyped-up from his brief stint on stage, it took him several minutes to settle down enough to be able sit.

DanaIt’s My Life (Bon Jovi)
This one is almost too painful to write about, so I’ll just let the judges do the talking. Dave: Felt like his parents had dragged him to Vegas to see “some rock thing.” Tommy: Thinks she’s “damn hot” and can sing; but the whole thing was like a “Celine Dion extravaganza.” Jason: Complimented her again on the power of her voice, but wondered if her “hardest” would ever be hard enough for their band. Gilby: “Why would you pick that song, Matt?” (Ouch!) “I don’t believe you could ever be in our band.” (Double Ouch!) After the harshest round of criticism to date, Dave tried to lighten things a bit by telling her, “If you were on that other singing program, Taylor Hicks would be your janitor.” Small consolation, Dave. Based on these comments, I’d say the first time Dana hits the Bottom 3, she’s history.

TobyRunaway Train (Soul Asylum)
A perfect fit for Toby’s voice, and I personally loved it. But the Tob-ster ended up getting some fairly negative criticism from the judges. Dave said that the song felt like it was about 20 minutes long. Tommy said he wants to be scared by a singer – like Lukas does - and that Toby isn’t scaring him. Toby, for his part, explained that he wanted to show his versatility by singing an emotional song after he rocked out last week, and that he didn’t think he needed to be jumping around all the time. He also promised to deliver a Rocker next week. Gilby said that he got what Toby was trying to do, and felt that Toby had earned the right to do it. (Thank you, Gilby!) Lastly, Jason criticized Toby for playing too close-in and not projecting his performance to the back of the house. That comment seemed to get to Toby the most, as he ended up apologizing to the audience. Hey, Toby; no apology necessary.

MagniPlush (Stone Temple Pilots)
Last week, Magni probably earned the “Most Improved” title. There was no back-sliding from him this week. He delivered yet another strong performance – probably his best to date. Dave, in fact, said as much; and Gilby acknowledged that, after a somewhat weak start, Magni has been “killing it.” Jason thought it sounded great, and that it highlighted Magni’s “prowess”. Props were also given for his choice of a more contemporary song. Tommy only had one word for it: “Magni-ficent.”

ZayraEverybody Hurts (R.E.M.)
As tempting as it would be to use that song title against her, the fact is that she really didn’t hurt anyone – least of all herself. Though I thought she sounded a little off in the beginning, she gained strength throughout and managed an impressive finish. Dave came right out and admitted that he thought Supernova had made a big mistake by keeping her last week. Now, however, he found her “phenomenal” and “captivating” and said that “I stand corrected’ Gilby owned up that he had wanted Zayra to go last week, but admitted that he was now glad she hadn’t and that he thought her performance was “really risky” and “awesome”. Tommy said it was her best yet – “cool” & “yummy” – and Jason thought she was “classy” and loved the way her voice matched the House Band’s crescendo.

JennyDrive (Incubus)
After 3 weeks, I’ve realized that Jenny is not for me. I really haven’t cared for anything she’s done so far, and this was no different. She played the acoustic guitar (well), and sang (ok), but it just amounted to so much meh. The judges seem to be having their own qualms about her. Dave felt that she’s making safer & safer song choices, and Jason wondered if her soft voice will work with their hard music. I didn’t catch all of Tommy’s comment (something about jumping in a new pair of boots?), but Gilby again had the most pointed comment to make -- saying that it was a step in the wrong direction, and that Jenny’s performance was “Lilith Fair” and not “Ozzfest”.

DilanaZombie (The Cranberries)
On a night featuring some truly fine performances, leave it to Dilana to come out and show them all how it’s really done. It may have been her most well-rounded performance yet, incorporating qualities and elements we’ve seen from her in the past 2 weeks and serving them up anew. The audience went crazy, Dave got chills, Gilby told her to enjoy her moment, and Jason said that she set the bar for everybody - male or female. (Tommy merely said: “Dilana, I wanna”.) After that performance - and the praise deservedly heaped on her - it’s hard to see SN giving the encore to anybody else.

So, there you have it! Overall, this was the strongest night of performances we’ve seen so far. The judges’ comments seemed a bit inconsistent from one Rocker to another, however. Even when I agreed with them, I couldn’t always see why one Rocker got called on something, while another slid by. For example: The “Celine Dion” comment given to Dana could also have been justifiably applied to Zayra, who - with her hair down and wearing a sparkly silver gown - looked more like a Vegas chanteuse than a rock star. It may not matter in the long run to the viewing audience, however, as 90% of the comments end up on the cutting room floor.
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Rock Star: Supernova - Week 2 Live Performance SPOILER Report (taped 7/9/06) [11 Jul 2006|01:11pm]
So, here it is: Week Two. Matt is no longer with us, Brooke is looking stunning in an orange gown, and I am stationed in my favorite spot – smack dab in front of the Rockers Pod. (Turns out I was standing next to Dilana’s boyfriend, who seemed like a really cool dude. Very appreciative and supportive of all the Rockers, not just his g.f.)

Anyway, for all you lovers of the House Band (and isn’t that everyone?): We were treated to an impromptu performance of Zeppelin’s Rock And Roll before the taping began. Rafael sounded HOT on the guitar, and Paul does a mean Robert Plant. TPTB could make a House Band number a regular part of every taping, as far as I’m concerned. What a great way to get the crowd pumped up! Now, on to the show:

MagniMy Generation (The Who)
Magni obviously paid attention to last week’s criticism and started off the show with a fairly strong performance. Dave complimented him on getting rid of most of the “Vegas”-like stuff, Gilby gave him props for listening to them, and Jason thought it was “awesome”. Tommy said it was “ho hum” and that he liked the “ho” but it needed more “hum” (or something like that). NOTE: Tommy was pretty obviously feeling no pain this evening, so most of his comments were either in outer space or in the gutter. Even then, they were usually spot on. I will, however, be curious to see what makes it on air.

Jenny GaltTainted Love (Soft Cell)
Last week I could barely remember her. That’s not the case tonight - but I can’t say that’s necessarily an improvement. I just did not care for this performance at all. To begin with, her voice does nothing for me. What’s more, this was one of those arrangements where the song suddenly turns into Full-Throttle Rock about 2/3rds of the way through. Too bad the first part is so meh. But I’m in the minority once again, as the band seemed to love it. Dave even invoked the spectre of the recently-departed by saying that Matt should’ve done something similar with the Duran Duran song. Personally, I would’ve preferred hearing Matt’s Planet Earth again....

Jill GiolaViolet (Hole)
Wearing a white wedding dress and carrying a bunch of roses, Jill screamed and spazzed her way through the song. Dave criticized her for aping Courtney Love, saying that he found watching her performance “uncomfortable”. To which Jill responded that she had never seen C Love (but Dave didn’t seem to buy it). Gilby, on the other hand, dug the performance, but felt there was a lot of screaming – not singing – going on. Jill, on the defensive, said that she choose the song because it was “out of [her] box” and that she wanted to show the “dirty, filthy” side of herself. Jason liked her energy, but Tommy Lee only seemed interested in whether she was wearing panties or not.

Zayra AlvarezYou Really Got Me (The Kinks)
This was an improvement over her performance last week (no weird flamenco or cape dresses), but, bless her eccentric little heart, in no way, shape or form was it right for Supernova. Dave commented that she is bizarre enough to have a good career. Jason is still in love and gave her a big Thumbs Up. Tommy thought she was sexy and confused, to which Zayra responded that all the singers are confused because they don’t know what SN wants. “We are showing you a buffet [to chose from]”, she said. But things got really fun when Gilby asked her, straight up, whether she had ever heard one of their respective albums? No, Zayra responded, as she was in diapers when they were popular.... Buh-bye, Zayra.

Chris PiersonTake Me Out (Franz Ferdinand)
I had no major problems with Chris’ performance tonight. Was it great? No. Was it decent? Yes. Is it right for our band Supernova? Doubtful. Though later on in the show, Gilby would profess that Every Single Rocker still had a chance at this gig, I took that comment with a whole boatload of salt. I am sure that Chris’ days are numbered. It’s only a question of how long he can delay the inevitable. Dave questioned his “authenticity”, saying that he doesn’t feel that Chris has really been himself on stage yet. Jason agreed with Dave. Tommy liked it, but also told Chris to go easy on the vibrato.

DilanaRing of Fire (Johnny Cash)
I was expecting a “rocked out” version. Instead, Dilana played it very low-key, with an almost Middle Eastern sound to it. Props to her for changing it up – and also for not “rocking it out” in the final third, as some might have done. It was a beautifully controlled and beautifully sustained performance. Not only is she good, she is smart as well (for choosing something that was so different from last week). Dave and SN were, once again, beside themselves: “Incredible” “Amazing” “Unique” “Mesmerizing”. They get no quarrel from me.

Josh LoganWith Arms Wide Open (Creed)
He’s interesting and I really kinda like him. But I honestly didn’t dig his version of this. I’m gonna have to agree with Dave on this one: Josh may be an amazing vocalist, but this was just an average performance. Gilby, however, thought he did a great job on a song Gilby had never heard before (!), while Jason told him to watch the “Stevie Wonder” ad-libbing stuff. Tommy thought it was “funky”.

Phil RitchieIf You Could Only See (Tonic)
This song was one of my favorite performances from Brandon last season (despite his weird-ass fall to the floor), and Phil did an okay job with it. However, coming after his two previous mediocre performances, it probably won’t be good enough to keep him out of the Bottom 3. Dave and the SN guys claim to love his voice, but still have problems with his performance skills, interaction with the House Band, etc. Tommy, questioning Phil about his song choice, admits that he loves Tonic, especially with Gin in it. (Badda-boom!)

Storm LargeSurrender (Cheap Trick)
Storm treads water this week. She wasn’t bad, but I was a little disappointed that her performance was so reminiscent of last week’s Pinball Wizard. It had a “been there, done that” feel to it. Dave also wasn’t crazy about it, and he criticized her for being a little “too Broadway”. (It reminded him of CATS.) Gilby, however, liked the overly-dramatic part that Dave didn’t; whereas Jason found her energy “infectious” but her voice a little flat. Tommy thought it was “good”.

Patrice PikeHeart-Shaped Box (Nirvana)
Yet another in a string of disappointing performances from the women tonight. As loathe as I am to make comparisons to last year, I still have to say that Jordis did this song 100 times better than Patrice. It sounded to me like she was flat at the start, and her whole performance was lackluster. I think her playing the guitar was a mistake, as it kept her rooted to the spot and limited her interaction and effectiveness. At least it did to me, but what the hell do I know? Dave and SN liked it for the most part, saying it was “well done” and noting that she seemed “comfortable” with the guitar (though Tommy thought she should wear it slung lower).

Lukas RossiDon’t Panic (Coldplay)
Like Dilana, Lukas also had the good sense to change it up this week. Though not as radical a change-up as hers, it was still enough to show that Lukas is the real deal. Dave rhapsodized about how Lukas had a foot in all these different genre doors, while Gilby spoke of how Lukas had “something special” that he hoped wouldn’t change too much in pursuit of this gig. Jason was concerned about the “constricted” vocals Lukas sometimes produces – because of the damage it might do to Lukas in the long run. All Tommy had to say was “Let’s get on a tour bus”. (Gee, do ya think Lukas might be considered one of the front runners at this point?)

Ryan StarJumpin’ Jack Flash (The Rolling Stones)
Ryan has now provided the Rock Star "WhatTheFuck?" Moment for the second time in two weeks! I just don’t get this guy. Everything about him screams “poseur” to me. I may not like some of the other Rockers – but he’s the only one who I simply Do. Not. Buy. I thought his rendition of JJF was a complete joke – including the cliché move down into the audience. I still can’t believe the praise he got. At least Dave admitted that the beginning of the song almost put him to sleep (though he liked the rest of it). But, really, only Tommy had a discouraging word to say, as he proclaimed it “a little PG for me”.

Dana AndrewsBorn to Be Wild (Steppenwolf)
You know how, when you are growing up, you’re told that if you can’t say something nice about somebody...? Well then, I guess I have nothing to say about Dana.


You have got to be kidding me, right? Dana singing Born to Be Wild??? Is this a sign of the Last Days or what? It was all so cutesy and coy, with Dana trying to act all "sexy" and "wild". I personally thought this performance would have been an embarrassment on Idol. Granted, she’s got an incredibly strong voice. But everything else about her is Just So Wrong that I don’t care how much fishnet she is wearing. (Maybe I should listen to her with my eyes closed, as Jason said he has to do with Phil.) I was flabbergasted she got the kudos she did. At least Tommy Lee, seeing clearly through whatever haze he was in, only had 4 words to say about it: “Born to Be Mild”.

Toby RandSomebody Told Me (The Killers)
Now, this is more like it! This is the kind of performance I come to see. I had liked Toby’s version of Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door last week and pegged him as one to watch. This week, he did not disappoint. Toby just frickin’ killed on this song! Great growly vocals: turbo-charged, high octane and just drippin’ with testosterone. He garnered probably the biggest crowd reaction of the night; the cheering just went on & on. There was some minor criticism from SN about his need to work the stage better, but only after they admitted that his voice sounded great and acknowledged that the audience adored it. Toby, in turn, said he hoped the band would consider him as an opening act while they were touring with Lukas.

The show ended with a few fairly long, off-camera statements from both Dave and Gilby. Dave wanted to remind everyone how, at this time last season, all the signs pointed to Jordis. Then they shifted to MiG, and then Marty. But JD ended up winning. So none of the Rockers should think that anyone has this thing in the bag. Dave also said the band was very interested in the goings-on in the Mansion and in how the Rockers interacted with one another. (Contrast this with statements by INXS last year that what mattered to them was what went on on the stage and not in the house.) Gilby ended with the comment I reported before about how any of them could still win this thing.

Well, there you have it. Since the show ran extremely long again (slightly over 2 hours), I expect 95% of all comments will end up on the cutting room floor. The Supernova guys talk ten times more than INXS ever did and are providing some real feedback to the Rockers – even if you don’t end up seeing most of it.

Encore prediction:
Obviously, I think it should be between my three faves: Dilana, Toby, and Lukas. All three have turned in very strong performances these first two weeks. Because of the crowd’s reaction tonight, however, I’m going to give the edge to Toby – unless Tommy’s burgeoning Lukas Love wins out.
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Rock Star: Supernova - Week 1 Live Performance SPOILER Report (taped 6/30/06) [03 Jul 2006|04:48am]
I was at the first Live Performance taping of Rock Star: Supernova on Friday night, June 30. If you don’t want to know who sang what or to read my early impressions of the performances, TURN BACK NOW!

For everyone else, come on in and make yourselves comfortable! I think we’ve got a rockin’ season ahead of us!

I must say that it felt kinda strange to be back in the studio: The Mayan set was the same, the House Band was the same (YAY!), and Brooke and Dave were still there. But there were these Other Guys sitting where Our Band INXS used to be. And there were a whole bunch of brand new faces over in the Rockers Pod. (It was also strange to see so many of them there. There haven't been that many bodies in the Pod in a looong time.)

Y’all should also know that, before going to the show, I hadn’t done any homework. I intentionally avoided listening to any tracks or finding out any stuff about the contestants (aside from reading those lame-ass bios at MSN). And, even though a short video package was shown before each of them performed, I couldn’t hear much – because the crowd kept cheering through most of them. So I still don’t know a lot about the contestants. Maybe that’s for the best, as it kept me focussed on the music and not on any other crap.

Anyway, back to the taping: It was just after 6:00pm. The audience had been primed, the Rockers were in their Pod, Dave & the guys from Supernova (along with Butch Walker) were seated, introductions were out of the way, and it was time for the performances to begin.

Storm Large - Pinball Wizard
Great voice, tremendous stage presence, and a personality that is larger-than-life (no pun intended). I thought she gave a terrific performance, and Dave called it “super dope.” Tommy, however, wondered why she picked that song and asked her to pick something more current the next time. Bottom line: After Dilana (see below), she’s probably the woman with the best shot. Though she comes on pretty strong, that may be what is necessary to hang with these guys.

Ryan StarIris
What would a taping of Rock Star be like without at least one “WhatTheFuck?” moment? You know, when it seems like everyone is hearing and seeing something different than you are? I got my first one in the case of Ryan Star. I wasn’t feeling his version of Iris at all. It didn’t jell, and I felt like he was trying way too hard. So you can imagine my surprise when Dave and Supernova were laudatory in their comments. Bottom line: WhatTheFuck? Am I missing something here??

Toby RandKnockin’ On Heaven’s Door
Toby went acoustic with this, delivered an incredibly intense performance, and got props from every one of the judges. Though not my favorite song, I infinitely preferred his version to the 2 we heard last year. Personally I love the sound of his voice (a nice, growl-y baritone) and can’t wait for him to really rock out. Bottom line: Expect him to be around for a good long time.

Patrice PikeSomebody to Love
Another song recycled from last season. Heather did a pretty good job with it then, and Patrice did likewise this time around. I thought she started off kinda weak – her voice seemed to get lost in the mix – but she pulled it together fairly quickly and finished strong. Dave thought she “seriously killed that”. Bottom line: Middle of the pack right now, but may have some surprises in store.

A perfect example of how song selection can hurt you. There’s only so much you can do with this song: it’s repetitive, doesn’t have a lot of range, and will forever be owned by Jagger. I think Magni may have something to show us that he didn’t here; then again, maybe not. SN was lukewarm -- and the dreaded “Too Vegas” accusation reared its ugly head for the first time. Bottom line: Not a good sign when the band is questioning whether you are right for them in the first week. He’s going to have to really bring it next time if he wants to last.

Zayra AlvarezBring Me to Life
I just didn’t get Zayra. Not her look, not her voice, and not her “flamenco”-style. But YMMV. She met with divided opinions from the judges, too. Dave thought she bordered on “Shakira Land”, but Jason proposed marriage to her on the spot. So go figure.... Bottom line: May be too much of an acquired taste and not broad enough in her appeal to go very far.

Jenny GaltHow You Remind Me
This is someone I’m going to pay more attention to on the broadcast because, frankly, I’m coming up with a big blank right now. In my mind, I can see her on stage playing her guitar - but I’m not hearing her or remembering much of anything else. (On the plus side, that must mean she didn’t suck, as I surely would've remembered if that were the case.) The band gave her props on her “look”; and others I’ve talked to have said positive things about her. Bottom line: **Spoiler error** Please check back later.

Josh LoganShe Talks to Angels
This one is tough, because I can see what people like in him – but he doesn’t do anything for me. At least, not yet. His voice is very distinctive, and you’ll either love it or it’ll leave you cold. I’m in the cold zone right now, but that could change with a bit more familiarity. Once again, SN was appreciative, while admitting they weren’t sure if his vibe would fit with them. He was a huge favorite with a lot of the crowd, however, so he shouldn’t be in any danger. Bottom line: I’m going to take a “Wait & See” on this one.

Matt HofferYellow
A good, solid middle-of-the-pack performance. Nothing to really write home about, but perfectly fine for what it was. Matt seems like a nice kid and his talk about “following your dreams” was obviously sincere. But if his dream is to front SN, he might want to come up with a more realistic goal, 'cause, right now? I can’t picture that happening. Bottom line: He’ll probably be around for a little while, so he’ll have a few more chances to show us if he’s got what it takes.

Marty blew the roof off last year with this song, and Dilana followed suit. Was she better than Marty? I didn’t think so, but I also accept that I may find myself in the minority with that opinion. But it really shouldn’t matter who was “better” because the essential fact is: Dilana. Blew. The. Roof. OFF. Dave and Jason gave her a Standing O, with Dave proclaiming: “That was INSANE!!!” And Tommy dabbed his eyes as if crying tears of joy. Bottom line: Not just Finalist material, but one of the few who look like they truly belong with this band.

Dana AndrewsI’m the Only One
She’s got a strong voice, but her performance was rote and lacked any kind of edge. As Dave said, it would have been very well suited to “that other singing competition.” Most of the band were kind, if not terribly enthusiastic. Bottom line: She’s awfully young and awfully cute, and I can’t see her fronting Supernova in a million years. I think she’ll be an early boot.

Phil RitchieCult of Personality
Another weird one to assess. His performance didn’t really register with me, but I remember the guys going on & on about how he had this whole Depeche Mode thing happenin’. I couldn’t help thinking that giving Phil props for having a DM vibe was not exactly a ringing endorsement for him to be the front man for Supernova. It was like they were saying “You’re good at what you do, but what you do is not right for us.” They seem to like him; but also seem to have made their minds up already. Bottom Line: He’s a goner; the only question is When?

Jill GiolaPiece of My Heart
Her whole performance, outfit (lots of boobage & spangles) and manner came off as too manufactured to me. If there was anyone from this group who could have been labeled as “Too Vegas”, it was Jill. Maybe because, as she admitted, she’s done this song a gazillion times before, it had a by-the-numbers feel to it. SN lauded her voice, but also felt she needed to do something she was less familiar with. Bottom line: Though she was showing a lot on top, expect her to be in the bottom half.

Chris PiersonRoxanne
What would a taping of Rock Star be like without at least one trainwreck? Chris tried to do a JD and change the arrangement, but it just came out a mess. (It honestly took me half the song to figure out what in Hell he was singing!) Chris explained that he wanted to make the song sound more contemporary, but the band pointed out that he reduced it down to about 3 notes. Bottom line: If he makes it past this week (and I hope he does), he’s really going to have to make up for some lost ground.

Lukas RossiRebel Yell
Looking at his MSN bio, I didn’t think I’d care much for Lukas. But that was before he came out and blew everyone the fuck away with one of the best fucking performances of the evening!! Dave could only re-use the same comment he made to Dilana: “That was INSANE!!!” Tommy appeared thunderstruck, and Jason gave him a Standing O, before holding up Lukas as an example of how to be "real" to the other Rockers. Lesson learned by me: Don’t judge a book by its cover. Bottom line: A few more performances of this caliber and we’ll be seeing him in the Finals.

So there you have it. A few real standouts, a couple who I think are cannon fodder, and a solid middle ground with some real potential. As we’ve seen before, some of those lagging at the start can gain momentum (see Suzie McNeil), while frontrunners can falter and fall (cough*Jordis*cough). The only thing I can be certain of at the moment is that we are all in for One Helluva Summer!
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R.I.P. - The Original Rockstar Thread at TWoP [03 Apr 2006|12:12pm]
It is with a heavy heart that I report the apparent extinction of the Original Rockstar:INXS thread over at TWoP (Television Without Pity).

Although it was unceremoniously shut down at the beginning of last September, all 881 pages of it remained in the archives there. I used to go back to it from time to time -- to research, re-read & remember -- and I know it was there a couple weeks ago. But now, it is nowhere to be found.


All the wit & the humor.
All the passion & the snark.
All the battles & the creativity.
All the shout-outs & the spoilers.

There is no record of any of it now (except for the pieces that a few of us have saved).

The Powers That Be at TWoP may have hated us – they certainly never understood us – but I still can’t believe they would be so callous (and ignorant!) as to wipe out that thread. Somehow they manage to save every thread for every piece-of-shit show going back several years, yet they DELETE ours???


This saddens and sickens me beyond words.
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Gibson Amphitheatre Concert - L.A. (1/27/06) [28 Jan 2006|02:02am]

If you've read my House of Blues write-up (below), then you already know that I'm rather fond of Our Band and their current concert tour. And, rather than repeat myself, I will leave it to others to give full accounts of this evening's show.

But I will go on the record and say that, imo, the Gibson Amphitheatre concert tonight will be the one to beat for the rest of the tour. And I don't know if they can do it - 'cause I don't think it can be topped.


I could throw out adjective upon adjective trying to capture this evening. Amazing. Astonishing. Awesome. Blistering. Ecstatic. Hot. Incredible. Mind-blowing. Rapturous. Rockin'. Sensational. Soul-stirring. Tremendous. And so on and so on. And I still couldn't do it justice.

I've been to 4 shows since the HOB: 2 in Lincoln City, and 1 each in Pala and Highland. By now, I thought I knew what to expect from Our Band and Our Boy. Well, they proved me wrong tonight, because I sure as hell didn't expect this.

And the best part? As Our Band stood there together at the end of the show, you could see it in their faces: They knew that they had knocked this one out of the fuckin' park. And I couldn't be happier for each & every one of them -- but most especially for JD.

Props to you, my man! You done your fans proud.
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House of Blues Private Concert (1/15/06) [17 Jan 2006|06:46am]

How can I begin to do this event justice? It’s a daunting task. But I guess I can begin by stating that this will be a FULL report on the INXS Private Concert at the Sunset Strip House of Blues on Sunday, January 15. In other words: If you don’t want things “spoiled”, then you’ve come to the wrong place. 'Cause I’m gonna tell it like it is (or, at least, like it was for me). So, with that disclaimer outta the way, let's get this party started.

I’d spent most of the day Sunday in a state of cautious optimism coupled with low-key anxiety about attending the show. I was trusting that everything would go OK, but still a little worried that something somewhere would go awry. It was in that frame of mind that I arrived at the House of Blues with my cohort/partner-in-crime: the incandescent Jellyfish. We were going to have dinner at the HOB restaurant, The Porch, in order to take advantage of their “Pass the Line” system (i.e. you can jump ahead of the regular line by eating there.) Anyway, as we sat at our table – with a window view down into the HOB concert area – we were unexpectedly treated to the sight of Our Band doing a sound check on stage. They ran through about a half dozen songs - Suicide Blonde, Afterglow, etc. And, even though the sound was muffled where we sat, the reality of the situation finally hit home. Pinch me! This was actually happening.

Because of our “Pass the Line” privileges, we were amongst the first dozen or so people let into the concert area and promptly made our way to an elevated section on the right-hand side. (Yeah, we coulda been right in front of the stage. But I personally thought the stage was too high and that I’d be spending most of the show looking up JD’s nose.) Within minutes of getting in, we were treated to a 40-minute set by Porcelain, a 5-member Aussie band fronted by a female singer named Lo. (You can check out their homepage at http://www.myspace.com/ozporcelain.) Not expecting much from an opening act, they turned out to be surprisingly good. A nice little appetizer before the main course.

At 9:25PM, the curtains parted to reveal Our Band:INXS posed on the stage, with JD standing tall front & center. He was a vision in black: sunglasses, shirt, laced-up pants - and a jacket with enough buckles hanging from it to do an asylum inmate proud. The first chords of Suicide Blonde rang out – and the show was on!

Now, there had been reports from a private show last Friday that JD had cut the set short by a couple songs because his voice was feeling a bit ragged. I had been a little concerned about this – until I heard him tear into Suicide Blonde. There was no evidence of raspiness or strain at all. He sang the whole song positioned at the mic stand, rockin’ it back & forth. And, though he started with the sunglasses on, he ended up pitching them over his shoulder about 3/4ths of the way through the song.

The mic came off its stand for New Sensation, and JD was in prime form – pacing, and pogo-ing, and prowling about the stage. (The dude’s also come up with some new moves and mic gyrations.) Man, do I love hearing him sing this song! You can tell how much it resonates with him: “Are you ready for a new sensation?” Without any self-consciousness, he just embraces it and sings it with such joy.

While JD celebrated being a New Sensation, I focused in on the other members of INXS and noticed that they had somehow managed to reverse the aging process. They all exuded so much energy -- but there was more to it than that. Jon looked a good 10 years younger. Even more amazingly, Garry Gary was now about JD’s age. I kid you not! The infusion of fresh blood in the form of Mr. Fortune has obviously done wonders for Our Band.

Anyway, once NS was done, JD's buckle jacket came off (revealing a long-sleeve black T). It was now time for a little banter from the man. “How are you guys doin’ tonight?” The crowd roars. “Excellent! I’m so happy to see you all here. Excellent, excellent, excellent. You know, I heard there were a few... I sense... Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!” The crowd yells back, “Oye, Oye, Oye!” “Okay, it’s true,” laughs JD.

Up next was the first song off Switch, Devil’s Party. As INXS charged into the song, it was immediately apparent that the album version was a pussycat compared to this raging beast. Wow, was it HOT! Best. Damn. Vocal. Yet. “Dreams of yours, dreams of mine” just filled the room and soared through the frickin’ roof! Any concerns I had had going in about the state of JD's voice were now officially put to rest.

We're only 3 songs in and I'm already thinking: Could this show possibly get any better???

More banter from JD, again directed at the Aussies. He talked about how it was 100,000 degrees in Sydney a couple weeks ago, and then asked if anyone had been there at New Year’s. “Wasn’t it great to be fuckin’ hung-over that day? 110 degrees in the shade.” He then introduces the next song by saying that some of us may have heard it, and to sing along if we do. Turns out it’s Mystify, with JD at his finger-snappin’ best.

This segued into Disappear, which sounded completely wonderful in concert. It was also, frankly, the song that had the strongest echoes of MH to me – especially on the choruses. That’s not intended as a criticism; merely an observation. I love the song, and loved this performance, and (comparisons be damned!) am really glad they included it in the set.

With the strange introduction that “this next song is notorious for breast flashing” (huh?), we were presented with By My Side. Now, BMS was one of my favorite JD performances on Rockstar, and this version didn’t quite measure up, imo. Not that there was anything particularly wrong with it (aside from the missing falsetto at the end). It just seemed a bit lackluster, especially compared with everything that had gone before. (Looking back on it now, I still think it was the weakest performance of the evening.)

Any qualms I may have had were put to rest with the next song. "The second release off Switch" per JD: Afterglow. As was the case with Devil's Party earlier, the song sounds immeasureably better LIVE. It just seemed to have more weight & depth than it does on the album, and it built to a truly goosebump-inducing crescendo. Mesmerizing stuff!

After Afterglow, JD peeled off his long-sleeve shirt, claiming that it’s 9,000 degrees on the stage. “But,” he says, “I didn’t want to be ‘That Guy’. You know, the guy who takes off his shirt right in the middle of a song.” (Gee, I wonder who he could be referring to???)

Having stripped down to a black short-sleeved T, it was time to bring on the S-E-X with T-T-Taste It. Yes, Ladies (& Gents): We got crotch grabs and bare belly rubs and pelvic thrusts at the mic stand, along with some good ol’ JD falsetto. Kirk also got into the spirit of things by lying on his back during his sax solo. It’s no wonder JD took off the long-sleeve shirt before launching into this song. If it was 9,000 degrees up there before, it was probably 19,000 degrees after. I’m surprised half the audience didn’t faint dead away. INXS might want to consider swapping Taste It with Afterglow in the setlist – 'cause there seemed to be a whole lot of “glowing” going on after this song was finished.

As if Taste It wasn’t hot enough, they went right into what was, for me, one of the highlights of the show: Original Sin. And, though I may not have said a great deal about Our Band so far, I really must shout out to them here. They were absolutely COOKIN’ on this number. “Hot” isn’t a strong enough word. “Blazing”, “galvanic” and “incendiary” are far better. The crowd responded appropriately by spontaneously combusting once it was over. All kidding aside: the audience reaction was HUGE - probably the loudest of the night so far. (Though it would be topped only a few songs later.)

I'm beginning to think that Garry Gary is looking younger now than he did at the start of the show....

Two more songs from Switch followed: Hungry and Never Let You Go. I know I’m repeating myself by pointing out (yet again) how much better the Switch tracks sound LIVE. I mention it because this is more than just the usual degree of "LIVE Better-ness”. They sound exponentially “Better”. Never Let You Go, in particular, had more chunka-chunka punch than on the album, and JD was able to indulge in a little mic-pointing audience participation. (He also caused Kirk to crack up a couple times before his sax solo, by getting right up into his face.)

A guy standing next to me turns and asks, “Who is this guy?” I tell him, “His name is JD Fortune” and he responds, “You’re kidding.” “No,” I say, “that really is his name.” “Well,” my neighbor says, “he’s really good.” Ah, another convert....

Next up was the Need duo: What You Need and Need You Tonight. During WYN, JD – sitting on the edge of the stage – reached out, grabbed a shot from a passing cocktail waitress and downed it. I guess it was what he needed. The song was obviously what the crowd needed, as it received the Biggest. Ovation Yet. It was during NYT that I picked up on the intensity of Tim’s performance. He was really into it, seeming to lose himself in the music while having a grand time bopping out at the edge of the stage.

Well, folks, it’s time to head off to Pretty Vegas. Now, I know they’ve performed this about a thousand times in the past couple months and can undoubtedly do it in their sleep. But they showed no signs of being burnt out. Instead, the guitars were blazing and the drums were pounding and JD was singing with all the passion he could muster. PV is a marvelous LIVE song – it practically compels the audience to join in - and Our Boys know how to take full advantage of it. After playfully goosing Kirk, JD (flanked by security) even made a quick foray down into the audience (during the "The party's over and the road is long" part). There was no megaphone, but I really didn't miss it. (I bet JD didn't, either.)

Not letting up, Our Band went from the next song, Kick, right into Devil Inside. Re-read my comments about Original Sin above -- and then amplify them! Awesome, AWESOME performance. They just blew the roof off the HOB, and JD sang it with a ferocity appropriate to one of his favorite INXS songs. Halfway through, I knew instinctively that DI was the “last” song. After all, what else can you do after such a performance except an encore? And so, at 10:40PM, it was 'over'.

“Australia! Los Angeles! Thank you! We hope you had a fuckin’ great time,” shouts JD. And the crowd screams back its affirmation.

It only took a couple minutes for Our Band to return for an encore. (I love bands that don’t milk the applause by taking forever to return.) As they walked back out, someone in the crowd threw a yellow cap with the logo AFL (for the Australian Football League) up on the stage. JD picked it up and put it on for a moment – sideways, of course.

The Encore began with The Stairs. Beautiful. Simply beautiful. Hearing the power and the range and the conviction in JD’s voice only proved once again – as if we needed any more evidence – just how roit he is for Our Band.

And then, almost as if to give shape to my thoughts, a very special moment occurred (for us long-term JD fans, at least.) Addressing the primarily Aussie crowd, he said: “I don’t know how many of you know the situation of how this [indicating himself & the Band] all happened. For those of you who do... Dreams come true. Thank You.” I got choked up when I heard that. What a simple & beautiful acknowledgement of Rockstar, his fans, and everything that had led to this point.

“This next one I like to call the Rite of Passage. I hope you enjoy it.” And with that, Our Band launched into Never Tear Us Apart. THUD! I don’t think you could ask for a better vocal performance than the one JD did here. Ranging from his lower register up into falsetto, he delivered all the passion that the song demands. And the audience was totally into it. Even my neighbor (the guy who didn’t know who JD was) was singing along at the top of his lungs. It was yet another high point in a night full of them.

INXS wrapped things up with a typically energetic performance of Don’t Change (of course). JD did a cute little bit of business as he sang “Message received loud & clear” -- but who am I to spoil it for you?

And then it really was over. Cheers and clapping and Our Band standing on stage, acknowledging the crowd and absolutely beaming with happiness.

19 songs. 90 minutes.

This is the party? This is the show?

Hell yeah, baby!

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House of Blues Private Concert Setlist [16 Jan 2006|09:55am]
Full report coming soon! Here's the setlist:

Suicide Blonde
New Sensation
Devil’s Party
By My Side
Taste It
Original Sin
Never Let You Go
What You Need
Need You Tonight
Pretty Vegas
Devil Inside

The Stairs
Never Tear Us Apart
Don’t Change
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CD Signing @ Hollywood & Highland (12/1/05) [02 Dec 2005|04:28pm]
When I first heard that INXS would be doing a CD signing at the Virgin Megastore (site of last October's rained-out concert), I was uncertain about going. Real Life has been intruding a bit too much lately – especially since I had arthroscopic surgery on my right knee at the end of October. (Although I can hobble around now, standing in line for an extended period of time is NOT a particularly good thing for me to be doing.) But when several of my Taping Buds decided to come in to town for the event, I readily decided to attend. Even if it meant only a few seconds with Our Band, I was sure it would be worth the time & effort to hang with my Buds.

Was it EVAH!

First off, it was great to see people that I hadn’t seen for several months - and to get to know others even better. It brought back such nice memories of the tapings and the whole crazy Rockstar experience. (And I am amazed that, even at this late date, perfect strangers are still coming up to me and asking, "Are you LAXguy?")

The only Fly in the Pre-signing Ointment was the Security Detail. Though not as bad as the NY contingent, they are still a bunch of doofuses who can’t see anything beyond their narrow little function. Case in point: When I first arrived, a well-intentioned Sony liaison, noting the difficulty I had walking, led me a half block to a different entrance to wait for the signing to begin. Once we got there, however, a female Security officer insisted that NO WAY and NO HOW was she gonna let me remain there – thereby forcing me to hobble all the way back from whence I came, while the Sony guy apologized profusely. Another example: Rather than take the chance that I might *gasp* ask INXS to sign their book, the Security Dolts took it away from me, telling me that I could pick it up again once I was through the line.

Despite these petty annoyances, I eventually approached the signing table.

First up was Andrew, who was (somewhat surprisingly) quite the Chatty Cathy. I said, "Good to see you again, Andrew" and he responded "Did you go to the show?" I told him that I had been there every week – and then decided to out myself to him. "Did you ever hear about LAXguy? Producer Dave used to mention me at practically every show." Andrew said, "Oh yeah. Dave Navarro, too." I laughed and said "Yeah." I told him then that I had brought the book along to be signed, but that Security had confiscated it from me. He told me that I should’ve taken the cover off and the Band would’ve all just signed the cover. "Too late now," I said. After another minute or two of chit-chat and pleasantries, I moved on to Jon.

Feeling that I had spent an awful lot of time with Andrew, I tried to up my pace. So I basically just repeated my greeting and handshake with Jon, before moving on to Kirk. Well, as I discovered at the After-Party last October, it’s almost impossible to get by Kirk with just a friendly "Hello." He always seems to be in the most upbeat mood – chucklin’ and grinnin’ from ear to ear. I don’t even remember a lot of what we said. It was just a nice back & forth: "How are ya doin’, Kirk?" "Good, mate." "You guys are really being run ragged, aren’t you?" "Yeah, but we love it." Etc., etc. I think I could easily hang out with Kirk and be entertained for hours on end just listening to him talk. His mood is so infectious.

Once again feeling like I was exceeding some undefined time limit, I moved on to Timmy and Garry, exchanging a few words of greeting with each of them while they signed the CD liner.

And then I came to JD.

I guess he was momentarily distracted when I got to him, because he didn’t even look up at first. He just took my CD insert from Garry and signed his name. But as he passed it back across the table towards me, he looked up and stopped dead in his tracks. "Hey man!" He grinned and threw out his hand to shake. "Glad you could make it!" "Oh JD," I blithely replied. "You know I wouldn’t miss this for the world." He pulled the CD insert back and began to write more while we chatted a bit. (Just general stuff like how he was doing, etc.) When he finished writing and gave it back to me, he clasped my hand again. I thanked him and said "See you in January!" before walking away.

I was beaming from our interaction - and I was glad that he had done more than just sign his name once he recognized me. But I waited until I was well away from the table before reading what he had written.

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to Rock
Your Friend
J – xo

What can I say? The guy can touch you, even with just a few strokes of his pen....

Our signing now over, a bunch of us went out to dinner – to eat and drink, and to share our experiences and bask in the afterglow. It was yet another GREAT memory to add to this year's bountiful harvest of them. Thanks, guys!
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