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: Teenage Wasteland, 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 “Bullsh--! 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 “f--in’ bullsh--”.
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 sh-- 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?
Lukas – Lithium
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 [stuff] 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.
Magni – I 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!”
Ryan – Clocks
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.
Storm – Bring 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”.
Toby – Rebel 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.
Dilana – Mother Mother
Dilana started off playing electric guitar, before putting it aside and (as she promised earlier) rockin’ the sh-- 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 affect 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.