Getting Caught Up On Rock Star: Supernova
Band Photo: Rock Star Supernova (?)
Following the success of last season’s Rock Star: INXS, CBS has raised the stakes for this summer’s rock band tryout show, giving contestants the opportunity to front the likes of Gilby Clarke, Jason Newsted, and Tommy Lee in the supergroup Supernova. Beginning with what audiences were told were fifteen of the world’s best unsigned vocalists, Supernova, with the help of a worldwide audience, have cut the field of rocker hopefuls down to eight, including the surprising cut of two contestants on the Wednesday show.
While there’s no doubting the success and overwhelming gossip factor that this season’s Rock Star has achieved, metalheads worldwide have been left scratching their heads, wondering how some former heavyweights of the industry—we are talking Guns n’ Roses, Mötley Crüe, and Metallica—have been reduced to complementing a bunch of karaoke-quality singers following mediocre vocal performances. This week was no exception, with some grade-A butcher jobs of songs like Stone Temple Pilot’s “Interstate Love Song” and John Lennon’s “Instant Karma.” It’s of little solace that the song selection for the show has been less metal than an episode of T.R.L. on MTV, but this is a network television show. Still, is it too much to ask for more hard riffs and less phoniness?
With a narrowed-down assemblage of rockers, however, the overall quality of singing has undoubtedly been raised, and a group of clear contenders is beginning to emerge. First, there is Storm, who demonstrated her ability to handle difficult vocals with her engaging version of Queen’s “We Are the Champions.” Though she can sometimes seem a little overdramatic, Storm won heavy praises from Supernova for her classy vocals. Later in the Tuesday show, Magni, the Icelander, won over the band with a stellar solo acoustic version of Live’s “When the Dolphins Cry.” Magni seems to be coming into his own and in recent shows has demonstrated the charisma and vocals needed to front a major rock act. Lukas, the most rock star-ready of the bunch, delivered a vocally dynamic version of Radiohead’s “Creep,” earning the praise of his one major critic, Jason Newsted. Finally, there is Dilana, the wild-haired, raspy-voiced rocker who has earned nothing but complements all season long, from fans and the band alike. Dilana chose to sing while Clarke manned the guitar for a version of The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” Dilana’s onstage presence has been outstanding, but her raspy voice can get old fast. It is questionable whether her voice can be enjoyed for any prolonged period of time.
If a winner emerges from the other candidates, it would count as a shocker. Toby, perhaps, stands a chance. His high-octane version of Talking Heads’ “Burning Down the House” rocked, even if the vocals weren’t overwhelming. Ryan, who was impressive on last weeks shows with his piano version of R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion,” ended up in the bottom three after a weird makeup-accompanied version of “Paint it Black.” He saved himself on Wednesday’s show with “Enjoy the Silence,” which is the type of rock song featured far too fleetingly on the show. The other two contestants, Patrice and Zayra, have virtually no chance, nor talent, and will be on the chopping block quickly.
Once the lesser talent has been removed from the show, Rock Star: Supernova should prove to be quite an entertaining competition. Still, the music and overall tone of the show are so melodramatic that one keeps waiting for Newsted to say “what the hell is going on here?” Here’s hoping that the final four will be forced to perform “Disposable Heroes” for the final competion...
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