Rock Star: INXS 8/16/05 Recap – Elvish Pianists and Lethal Spears
Welcome back to Rock Star: INXS! It seems like only yesterday that we embarked on our journey to find INXS a new lead singer, yet we’re already whittled down to an octet. Brooke Burke greets us, looking lovely tonight, and gives us a brief recap of what happened at the mansion this week. J.D. managed to make the headlines during the songwriting clinic by abandoning his team out of frustration, and since the challenge was all about teamwork, they automatically lost. However, J.D. got to perform for Dave and Andrew Farriss the song that he, himself, had written, and the judging duo thought it musically thrashed the other two songs. Discord! Jealousy! Scandal most foul!
Your Song Wears Combat Boots
Before we can even get to the performances, the judges and contestants hash about the events in the mansion, and Marty and J.D. get into a short war of words. Marty believes that J.D.’s song was a bit too similar to INXS’ “The Strangest Party,” and he’s not here to re-write INXS songs. J.D. counters by essentially saying that he’s here to present J.D. Fortune in the best way possible, and that doesn’t allow for him to associate himself with a piece of *bleeeep* song. Awwww yeah. It’s on now. Thankfully, we get to the performances before this turns into full-out brawl, marketed as Rock Star: The Contender.
Better Than Your Typical Coffee-House
It seems that they took Kirk’s suggestion to have an all-acoustic week to heart, as all electric guitars have been kicked out in favor of their wooden counterparts, Paul has what looks like a seven-foot grand piano, and they’re joined by the rockin’-est string quartet ever! Is there a really high bar set for the rockishness of string quartets, though? Let’s hope the cellist doesn’t have a coronary with these kids’ crazy noise they’re calling “music.” On the plus side, this is all a much more logical idea than Mariah Carey, Unplugged.
Jordis, singing Dylan’s immortal “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” kicks off the show. As I’m sure you all remember, this song was responsible for the elimination of Zuul . . . er . . . Dana in the very first episode. Fresh off the disaster that was “Layla,” Jordis is visibly much more nervous during this performance, though her voice sounds as sweet as ever. She adds several vocal runs and embellishments to put a twist on the familiar melody, and this could be either fresh or distracting, depending on your own taste. Overall, it’s a nice rebound, and I think Jordis is back on her feet. Now, if only get rid of that ubiquitous smile that’s plastered on her face no matter what she’s singing. . . .
Dave is obviously a fan, since he says it is “an honor to be on the same planet” as Jordis and “witness a star being born.” Navarro is waxing poetic on us, folks. Jon agrees, saying that surely heaven heard Jordis, and it felt as though he was in heaven while listening.
Jessica follows with Natalie Imbruglia’s “Torn” and feels that she really identifies with the song’s more forlorn lyrics after being in the bottom three for three consecutive weeks. First off, perhaps in honor of the acoustic week, Jessica is more clothed than ever, and I have to say her voice is sounding much better as well. Could there be a correlation? Jessica also tries smiling at some members of the audience rather than scowling at them, but she still needs some practice with this one—the attempt is a little frightening.
Dave says that the musically stripped-down atmosphere really suits her voice. For those of you taking notes at home, you see that, despite popular belief, “stripped down” has multiple connotations. Tim enjoyed the performance, as well, revealing that while they had some initial concerns about how she would treat their “mate” Natalie’s song, he thinks this is her best performance yet.
New Tricks All Around
Now it’s Ty’s turn onstage, and he will be performing Rod Stewart’s classic, “Maggie May.” Taking a cue from Marty’s solo guitar performance, Ty has chosen to show us his virtuosity on another instrument . . . the tambourine! Hey! Mr. Tambourine man, play a Rod Stewart song for me. Ty, clad in some obscenely plaid pants and sporting a queue instead of the Mohawk, is greatly assisted by a rollicking arrangement from the house band and puts on a great performance. He has a great, sloppy, gravelly quality to his voice, yet the melody is incredibly clean and every note is right on pitch. That may be a living paradox, but it just proves that the man can sing. I hope next week he shows us his chops on the triangle.
Dave is at a loss for words, save one. “Unbelievable!” Garry agrees, loving the Motown feel that Ty gave the song. Tim, too, thought it was brilliant, but wonders about Ty’s sticking his tongue out three times during the course of the song. What’s with that? Ty laughs, “Watch this—this is the best one!” and then opens his mouth to reveal . . . a furled, folded horror! I don’t want to describe it too vividly, lest you read it and die. I care about my readers’ welfare, and I don’t want to be held financially responsible, either.
In sharp contrast, Suzie is looking lovely tonight, and she will be performing Sam Cooke’s soul classic, “Bring it on Home to Me.” She didn’t know this song when she received it, but she certainly looks confident as she hits the stage. With Paul’s piano-playing prominently featured, the performance is great, and Suzie sounds as fantastic as ever, even though she inexplicably giggles at the end of the piece. She also seems to have resolved any style issues she was having at the beginning of the season, as she’s sporting quite the sultry look and “roaring ‘20s” hairstyle tonight.
Especially for her not having known the song, Dave declares, “what you did with that song was unbelievable!” Garry thinks that the acoustic setting brought out the best elements of her voice, and Tim thought her performance was fantastic.
The Moment We’ve All Been Waiting For
On Monday, Marty received his song that he was to perform this week, and it was a revelation that rocked the rock stars’ worlds. Bubblegum was entering the fray. Egads! There was panic, screaming, human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together—mass hysteria. Now, he’s up with Britney Spears’ “Hit Me Baby One More Time.” I can’t believe it, but Marty has somehow turned the song listenable. He’s given the lyrics (which I had tried to never pay any attention to) a darker edge and his typical psychotic delivery, and I have to say that I really like it! Great falsetto call-and-response work by Jim in the house band, too. The crowd goes absolutely berserk as Marty finishes the piece—truly a great accomplishment. Be he an angel?
Dave says that the performance made him uncomfortable, because he really dug it. Marty laughs, responding that if you sing that song on the south side of Chicago, you’ll get beaten up. Kirk grins that the performance was truly “outside the box,” or, as Dave corrects him, outside the whole venue.
How can one follow such a miraculous act? I’m not sure, but Deanna is going to try with Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” She says in confessional that the song will be difficult for her, as it’s very smooth with lots of lengthy phrases and held-out notes, and she’s sure that’s the reason INXS assigned the song to her. Will she live up to the challenge? I wasn’t sure what to expect, but Deanna sounds a lot better than she seems to give herself credit for. Her voice is velvety, removing all the belting and rough edges that she usually relies upon. Unfortunately, it’s also a bit breathy, which holds her back from being out-of-this-world. I suspect with some practice, she could really become an exquisitely sensitive vocalist.
Dave, as usual, is reduced to a bubbling, quivering mass by her performance, or at least by her top that’s cut down to there. “There’s not a man on earth you couldn’t make love you,” he gushes. Tim asks if Deanna was uncomfortable with the song, and she admits that she was and didn’t feel she did the song justice. Tim disagrees, insisting that she did a good job. Kirk thought the performance was great and was happy to see Deanna enter a new zone.
He Didn’t Even Need the Talking Guitar!
Our penultimate performer, J.D., takes to the stage with a fedora and a swagger. His piece is The Rolling Stones’ “As Tears Go By,” and he’s determined to follow INXS’ advice and let J.D. come through in this performance. In other words, he’s not going to “perform,” per se, he’s just going to sing it sincerely. Now, I must be missing something since several ladies in the audience are swooning, but if this is the “real” J.D., he can go back to his theatrics as far as I’m concerned. He sounds raspy and off-key most of the song, and uses some odd grimaces and flailing arm gestures to apparently convey great emotion. Whatever floats your boat.
Dave thinks the performance was good, but Garry didn’t think it was his finest moment. There are lots of boos from the audience . . . no accounting for taste these days. *Manny shakes cane at audience* Jon considered the performance “a little rough,” but Tim thought it was genuine. See? J.D. brings division wherever he goes. *Fangirlies in audience boo Manny*
Finally, it’s time for MiG’s performance, and he will be closing out the evening with Peter Frampton’s “Baby I Love Your Way.” Now, it takes a lot of courage to perform a song by this guy, but MiG is going off the deep end and performing without the band, accompanied only by his own piano-playing and the string quartet. As it turns out, this is the performance we were really waiting for. MiG’s vocals are so gorgeous and heartfelt, he’s beyond good. He’s verging on downright embarrassing, actually . . . I shouldn’t be enjoying another guy singing Peter Frampton this much. As a plus, not only are MiG’s vocals pristine, but his piano-playing sounds very accomplished, as well.
“MiG,” says Dave, “Usually when I listen to you guys perform, I think about what comments I’m going to make. But during your performance, all I could think about was how much I love my wife. Thank you.” Andrew says he’s been playing piano since he was nine, and was very impressed with his fellow keyboardist’s ability. “I’m proud to be Australian right now,” he adds. Garry agrees that MiG’s performance was amazing, while the audience goes wild, and even J.D. gives a standing ovation.
Well, it seems that MiG accomplished his mission to make us weep this week, and I’d be very surprised if he doesn’t receive the encore performance tomorrow. With that, our special acoustic show comes to a close, but not before we, once again, receive the early results from the voters . . . the bottom three is currently Jessica, Deanna, and Ty. Will the bottom three change? Will Marty make bubblegum pop a routine thing? Did Ty’s bendy tongue send everyone across the world into mild anxiety attacks? Find out on the next Rock Star!
Trivia: From tonight’s show, can you properly identify these three? Mr. Tambourine Man, The Piano Man, and the Flimflam Man. Let me know your answers at Mantenna@fansofrealitytv.com!