Hi, I know that so many of us are curious about reading articles from around the world about INXS and the contestants. But sometimes I can't access the links. Other times, the story's not available after a certain time. Maybe we can all start posting the articles we see here so everyone can read it at his or her leisure?
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
The Halifax Herald Limited
A J.D. win could spawn INXS visit
By TIM ARSENAULT
AN INXS concert date in Nova Scotia is a distinct possibility if J.D. Fortune has any say in it.
"Oh, yeah, man. You've got it, brother. That would be absolutely amazing," Fortune enthused during a phone interview Tuesday from Los Angeles.
Fortune, an Oakville, Ont. resident who is originally from Salt Springs, Pictou Co., may get to exert some influence over the veteran Australian hitmakers if he emerges as the winner of Rock Star: INXS, the CBS summer reality series from Mark Burnett, the producer of Survivor and The Apprentice.
Fortune is among the final four vocalists fighting to front the band and was scheduled to perform his original song Pretty Vegas as well as Money by Pink Floyd on Tuesday night's performance show. The finalists will be revealed tonight starting at 10 p.m. on CBS and at 12:06 a.m. on Global.
The finale of Rock Star: INXS airs Tuesday at 11 p.m. on CBS and at 12:06 a.m. on Global.
The series started in July with 15 candidates selected by the band from auditions held around the world last winter. Fortune was selected after trying out in Toronto.
INXS has effectively rejuvenated its career through the series. Although not necessarily a broad ratings success, the series has managed to attract a slice of the 18 to 49 demographic pie which, presumably, owns copies of INXS hit albums like Kick and X.
The band has been without a prominent frontman since the death of the charismatic Michael Hutchence in 1997. INXS had worked for three years with Australian singer Jon Stevens but did not release any recordings. Stevens left to pursue a solo career in 2003.
But the winner of the reality show ostensibly gets to front a band that's making its way back to the top. A new CD, fittingly titled Switch, is to be released Nov. 29 and it will feature the band's new singer.
Or could that be singers? Fortune said that the vocalists have started to wonder if INXS could select more than one winner.
"We've actually kind of toyed with that idea and thought, 'Wouldn't it be cool if they had three singers singing their whole set?' One would come out and do a half an hour, then another half an hour and then another half an hour. That way there would never be any sort of living up to the light that Michael Hutchence was in that band and just have fun with it.
"But you know what? I think it's going to end up being just one singer. It's not like Idol where its sort of a manufactured star based on the show. The winner of this will be able to sit and co-write with INXS and Bono and Scott Weiland from Velvet Revolver, who are all fans of INXS."
To that end, Fortune has gone about pursing the prize with a singular zeal. The editing of the reality portions of the series have often painted the 32-year-old as something of a villain executing a strategy to win at all costs.
"I guess I just had a lot of focus on what I wanted to do and how I wanted to get there and I didn't want to make any friends other than the band. But in the last few weeks, you've been with people for two months and they start to rub off on you and stuff that used to annoy you about them you actually start to find quite endearing. So I guess the strategy ended up backfiring but, on the other hand, I ended up learning a lot from it and that's ultimately what brought me to this level because I don't think INXS would ever have anyone in their band that would be coming in with guns-a-blazing all the time," he said.
"I've been fighting since Feb. 4 of this year. That's when I auditioned. This is the final week, man. This is it. I'm really I guess ecstatic wouldn't even begin to describe how ecstatic I am about just making it this far and sharing the stage with such other wonderful artists like Marty (Casey), Suzie (McNeil) and Mig (Ayesa)."
All of the players have had to get used to the insular world of reality TV. Their access to the outside world is limited to such an extent that they don't really have a good idea of how they're coming across on the show. Show business types who have managed to slip business cards to the singers have seen them confiscated by the show's staff.
"It's sort of a need to know basis and it seems like we never need to know so we don't get very much information," Fortune said.
The sense of unreality is only enhanced by staying in the obligatory reality show mansion surrounded by multiple camera and sound crews.
"Well, it's kind of like there's a whirlwind happening around you. It's the hurry up and wait thing. We've got to be on standby for pretty much everything all day long all week. Then the whirlwind picks you up and you're busy, busy, busy and then it sets you back down and you're kind of just standing there watching it work around you," said Fortune.
"When we're eating dinner there's like 60 people with cameras and mics and stuff like that filming that. After about the third week, though, you don't see the cameras, you get used to the routine and you start to adapt to it."
(The desire to keep the talent in a bubble is stressed by one of the show's representatives before this interview starts, to which Fortune advised, "You can ask whatever you want to, brother.")
By early afternoon Tuesday in Nova Scotia, Fortune was getting ready to start his day in California.
"I got up about an hour ago and I'm just having a cup of coffee and a smoke and getting ready to go into rehearsals in about an hour."
The Tuesday night performance shows of the series are taped on Sunday, he said, but Wednesday's elimination show is taped earlier that day.
"It's really quite impressive, their system. We finish shooting that show and two hours later it's on the air. It's unbelievable, with all the edits and everything in it."
Win or lose, Fortune knows he has landed on the radar of millions of music fans who had never heard of the former Elvis Presley impersonator.
"I'm still focused on winning this. I think I can safely say that I still want this more badly than anybody on the show. That's why I'm here. If you start faltering from that it probably comes across on camera and it probably comes across to INXS. When they go to deliberate their decisions I'm sure they've taken all that into consideration and, lucky for me, it's honest I really, really want to be in this band and I've never faltered from that.
"It's crossed my mind in the last week, especially when I was in the bottom three, that if I'm going home today I'm going to try and find myself in a position where I'm still able to create music for a living ."
Fortune said the unique nature of the show, which has allowed weekly participation by viewers who can vote on a website for their favourite performers, is as fresh as INXS's catchy and melodic dance rock.
"One of the things that has made me an INXS fan since I was 11 years old was that they are trend setters," he said.
"There's never been anything like this show. There's American Idol, yeah, but this is new for everybody involved. For them, this is another way to pioneer something."
And if going on a long world tour with savvy musicians 10 or 12 years older sounds like a daunting proposition, Fortune isn't fazed by the idea and would embrace their experience.
"I think the common ground would be that they've been there. At one point they were the biggest band on the planet. So it's not like going to Singapore with a band that you started on Queen Street and they're really wide eyed."
Fortune hopes to tilt the odds in his favour by having his mother (Sandy Fortune), sister (Sarah-Jane Smith) and two cousins (Matthew and Adam Fortune) who he grew up with all in the audience for the last shows.
As for that prospective Nova Scotia concert, Fortune wouldn't mind inviting a former school friend and fellow Pictou County success story to share in the fun.
"We'll get George Canyon up there, too."
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