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.
Lukas – Bittersweet 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.
Zayra – Call 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.
Dana – About 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 her guitar, 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?)
Patrice – Remedy (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.”
Toby – White 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.)
Magni – Heroes (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).
Ryan – I 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.)
Jill – Brown 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.
Phil – One 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.
Dilana – Time 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!
Josh – No 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.
Storm – Anything 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 "f***in' ROCKED!" – before the banter between him and her moved into X-rated territory.
Predicted Bottom 3
(Though an appearance here by either Jill or Patrice would not surprise me)
(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.)
Finally, to Blues Songstres and Boop2. It was great meeting you both!