Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Rock Star: INXS

I will say this about the judging format: of the six remaining contestants there is not one who clearly deserves to go home. Some are better than others, but there is no Anthony Fedorov, Josh Gracin or John Stevens among them.

The new format was a big question mark for me; do we really need to have a horn section, a string section and a choir? Remember back to the early seasons of American Idol when it was a kid singing on stage with a canned music track? Now it's a way over-produced monstrosity and Rock Star: INXS is on its way there, too.

I hope that next year, they go back to having a singer and the house band. Don't clutter up the performances with all the extra crap.

In the intro, Dave called out Jackass for not bothering to learn the song. He said that he went into the studio wanting direction from the band, which may have been fine if they didn't have him on tape sleeping while everyone else was practising. Of course, then the band inexplicibly covered for him and said he was doing a good job despite the obvious frustration they had with him. Why, oh why, is INXS making excuses for Jackass?

Ty, "You Can't Always Get What You Want"
I thought Ty was very subdued. He wasn't bad, but not great either. I don't understand why he got the choir, though. Ty is in an increasingly precariously position. He has not separated himself from the rest of the pack, and I don't think he's found a group of hardcore voters who will keep him around.

Jackass, "Suspicous Minds"
Have I mentioned hom much I can't stand this guy. His performance was actually pretty good. He's got good command of the stage and aside from not bothering to learn the song, this week was mostly drama-free. He is starting to remind me more and more of Constantine with his posing and preening and all the eye-boinking he does, not only with the camera, but also with the girls in the audience.

Marty, "Wish You Were Here"
Again, Marty went with the minimalist approach and it paid off. While he didn't really bring anything new to the song, he sounded good. I hope he learns from this week that when he's not busy screaming and being angry, he could make a good singer for our band, INXS.

Jordis, "Imagine"
Am I the only person on this planet who doesn't like this song? Is it okay to say that? While I'm confessing my sins, let me also say that I've never seen Dirty Dancing or Titanic and that The Who is overrated. Having said that, Jordis was on, which she sorely needed after last week. She had the best song to take advantage of the format last night, with the horns and strings. Jordis has probably the best voice of the folks left, and she got to show it off with this song.

MiG, "Live and Let Die"
I knew MiG gave up a show to be on Rock Star: INXS, but I didn't know it was "We Will Rock You". I think he really wanted "Bohemian Rhapsody", but I think now he's glad he gave it up. MiG was very good, still very theatrical (and I mean that in a good way), but without all of the super-theatrics that come with Bohemian Rhapsody. It was a good move for him and he delivered.

Suzie, "Bohemian Rhapsody"
This is possibly the hardest song in all of rock n' roll. Not only does it take a big voice, but there are three very different parts that require a great deal of range, exceptional vocal control and exquisite timing. Suzie showed that she has the big voice necesary for a Queen song, something Jackass failed to do when he picked "We Are the Champions" a few weeks ago. She stumbled a couple of times during in the operatic parts of the song, but overall, it was very good. I was disappointed that the song was cut short due to time constraints (not Suzie's fault), but Suzie averted what could have been a giant rolling head going by and delivered, and delivered big. I was shaky on her before, but she took advantage of a risky song choice and my opinion of her is rising. I still don't think she has a chance to win, but she's solidified her position at the top of the second tier of contestants.

At the end of the show, I was not surprised to see that Jackass, Ty and Marty had the fewest votes among the contestants. I would not look for that to change too much. What I would like to know is that if JD is in the bottom 3, will the band get rid of him? Or will they get rid of Ty, who has been in the bottom 3 several times over the past weeks?

Half of the contestants are going to be in the bottom 3, so being there is not an automatic kiss of death, but it the remaining contestants need to step things up and quick.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Crash and burn

When Jackass was in the studio singing the INXS song he never bothered to learn (because he's their biggest fan!), you know the others were watching him self-destruct and absolutely loving it. I certainly did.

Do you think the producers are trying to turn the audience against Jackass? Sure he's good for ratings, but do you really think INXS wants him as their lead singer.

Consider that week after week he has shown that he's not a team player. Then again this week, as the other contestants are sitting around listening to Deanna's song, Jackass is no where to be found. He is either too aloof to hang out with the others, or he has alienated them so badly that none of them want him around. He is the musical equivalent of Terrell Owens, the locker-room cancer.

Then after Dave gives everyone the music to INXS's new song, five of the contestants are sitting around trying to learn the song together and one of them is not only absent, but the missing contestant is either passed out or sleeping. Guess who wasn't there.

All that makes Jackass's self-destruction in front of the INXS all the more pleasurable.

CBS has dug deep into their checkbooks to get absolutely top-rate songs for this week. I only hope that the contestants live up to the songs (and that Jackass spontaneously combusts on stage).

And while we're talking about one Jackass, let me bring you news of other Jackasses.

There is a ultra-conservative fringe church that is protesting at the funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan saying that "God is punishing American soldiers for defending a country that harbors gays."

Let me make this loud and clear to you idiots:

You don't speak for me, morons.

Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, which is unaffiliated with any denomination, is made up primarily of the "Reverand" Fred Phelps, his children, grandchildren and in-laws (insert the inbreeding joke of your choice here). They traveled fron Kansas to Tennessee and plan on going to Ohio to stage a similar protest there at the funerals of other soldiers killed in Iraq earlier this month.

As a rabid First Amendment supporter, I have no quarrel with these folks speaking their mind, no matter how whacked-out and misguided their message is. Free speech doesn't protect speech you like or agree with; free speech protects speech you dislike, fear or hate. A constructive discourse that includes contrarian views is necessary for democracy to work (something Dubya needs to be taught).

The sad part of all this is that these idiots aren't too far off from what the Fundy Christians believe. Both Jerry Falwell and Pat "The Assassin" Robertson have told their flocks of lemmings that 9/11 was God's retribution for America "protecting" homosexuals and anyone else who doesn't fit within their narrow-minded vision of Christianity.

Are these people really doing any good with not only their moronic message, but the moronic way they're trying to get it across.

Whether you agree with the war in Iraq or not, any rational person will tell you that using the funeral of a fallen soldier is simply not the best place to make a point. I hope that if you guys here about these jackasses coming to a town near you, you will exert your own First Amendment rights and see to it that good taste and common sense is exerted.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Hey, golfers, take your best shot.

Jay Mohr, a commedian who I sometimes like and sometimes can't stand, wrote an article about golf I wish I had written myself.

Maybe I'd like the game (notice that I don't call it a sport) more if I could get past the windmill and the dinosaur.

Deanna . . . gone

You know things are getting serious when everyone starts sucking up to INXS.

So Deanna's gone, which isn't really surprising since she never had a chance to win to begin with. What was surprising is that Suzie was never in the bottom 3. Her rendition of "Start Me Up" was average at best, but somehow she still got the encore.

Why did CBS drag this show out into an hour? Is their other programming that weak, or are they trying to compete with So You Think You Can Dance? Rock Star: INXS's ratings are never going to be high as long as the performance show in on at 10:00 pm EST, but why make what should be a 10 minute show into an hour?

I was again surprised that there was no "Drama, Brought to You By Jackass™" this week.

I thought for sure the bottom 3 would be Deanna, Marty and Suzie. Although I think Suzie has no chance to win, Ty's presence in the bottom 3 wasn't a total shock; he's been there before, which shows that 1) he's vulnerable, and 2) that the audience doesn't like him.

Before announcing Marty for the bottom 3, when Brooke Burke called out Jackass's name, I said, "YES!", but when she told him to sit down and that he was safe, the people two counties over heard me yell, "Dammit!!!!" Why are people voting for that guy?!?!?!?!

Ty, Deanna and Marty all sang their INXS songs pretty well, although I think as soon as Deanna was announced for the bottom 3, she new she was gone. As soon as the band sent Marty back to safety, she got the "dead man walking" face and sure enough, she wasn't right for our band, INXS.

How do you think Peter Farriss drew the job of saying that every week? Or did the rest of the band stick him with that job?

MiG is still my favourite to win the whole thing and the final 6 weeks are shaping up to be a good competition.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Rock Star: INXS

Just a couple of quick observations:

Why does everyone on the show smoke?

It looks like Marty has gotten the "suck-up" bug. I used to like him.

This week was free of JD drama. It almost made me forget what a jackass he is.

Suzie, "Start Me Up"
The five cover songs this week are all instantly recongisable as classics, but almost all of them sounded very karaokeish. I was thoroughly not impressed and this I think this is going to get her right back in the bottom 3.

Jackass, "Cold As Ice"
What an arrogant jerk. What did he say in his pre-performance tape, "If I had done my song, it would have been the best thing INXS has ever heard" or something to that effect. I was surprised Jackass didn't go into seclusion and bring out some new arrangment for this song, but that's the danger of singing classics; you can't change them too much or people will wonder why you messed around with a good thing. The song was okay, but his performance was a little too dramatic. All his primping, preening and camera eye-boinks reminded me of Constantine, and you all know that in my book, that's not a good thing.

Deanna, "My Truth"
Deanna's song was good, but was it really her song or was it Ty's? This week also seemed like it was one of the weeks that she was hiding behind the band. Still, she had a strong performance and while I don't think any producers are going to be kicking down her door to record that song, she only had 12 hours to work on it, so overall, it was pretty good.

Ty, "Proud Mary"
Last week, MiG showed that he was a team guy and this week it was Ty's turn. Between helping Deanna with her original song and bringing the girls on to sing back up for him, Ty gets the "Plays Well With Others" Award. His performance was excellent, although when I heard he was going to sing "Proud Mary", the only version I could think of was Leonard Nimoy's.

MiG, "Do or Die"
Since I'm not a song writer, I can't judge the quality of the song, but the performance was good. MiG has gotten stronger as the competition goes on and unlike some of the other contestants, he is not afraid of the band and does not get blown away by them.

Marty, "I Alone"
Marty is again going with the grunge sound and I think that's going to get him eliminated. If this were Rock Star: Nirvana or Rock Star: Pearl Jam, he would win hands down, but the band didn't like his screaming or that he was pitchy, comments which elicited boos from the audience, but were spot-on. Marty is a strong contestant but just isn't write for our band, INXS.

Jordis, "Dream On"
When Dave starts out his comments with either "you look gorgeous" or "the band sounded spectacular", you know you're in trouble, and Jordis was. She was bad. I don't know if it was her or the song, but she was flat as a board, and if I can tell that someone is out of tune, it has to be real bad. This song takes a big voice, which Steven Tyler has, but Jordis does not. The chorus and the bridge was okay, but the verses were not. Peter said, "It's good to see that even you can scrw up" so I don't think she's in danger of elimination, but this was not her song tonight.

What was with the covers this week? No one did any new arrangements or brought anything new to them, so almost all the songs were okay to average, and some performances were better than others.

My picks for the bottom three are Deanna, Marty and Suzie, although based on last night's performances, Jordis may also get her shot at singing an INXS song tonight. At the end of the show, the peliminary bottom 3 was announced as Deanna, Ty and Jordis, which was surprising considering that Ty had a good night. At the same time, INXS voters have shown that they don't like him and I can't figure out why.

My pick to go home tonight is either Deanna or Suzie and based on last night, I'd have to go with Suzie to be eliminated.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

4th and Gone

So long, Jessica. You are very good at singing INXS songs, and tonight was no exception, but I think the band finally got the message that the viewing public doesn't like you.

Deanna, Suzie and Ty . . . you guys are officially on notice that you're numbers are coming up next. Maybe even in that order.

I thought it very interesting to see MiG sit for the encore and then ask the other two in the top 3 to sing it with him.

It was as if he was saying, "I'm a team guy. I include my friends and my bandmates. I play well with others. I don't generate drama, encourage chaos, mayhem and discord everywhere I go, Jackass."

To me the move solidified MiG as the front-runner in the competition and also helped showcase Marty and Jordis, two folks who really don't need help, but it never hurts to get screen time.

I think the competition is starting to shape up into one of the tightest competition-style reality shows I've ever seen. Given a strong charge, any of the seven remaining contestants could possibly pull it out, although some are in better shape than others.

If I were a gambling man, the odds of winning I give folks right now are:

Deanna, 100-1
Suzie, 75-1
Ty, 50-1
Marty, 10-1
Jackass, 8-1
Jordis, 4-1
MiG, 2-1

So You Think You Can Dance

I haven't really been watching this show because Fox keeps putting it up against Rock Star: INXS and well, that's no contest. Tonight I saw two very interesting things which I think could make their way into the next American Idol.

First was the half-hour pre-show. That Fox wanted to milk an extra 30 minutes out of the franchise is nothing surprising, but the fact that everyone got some screen time was. During the preliminary shows, they showed some "human interest" stories among the contestants and some of the trainwrecks, but to devote a solid half hour to introducing each competitor was a first for Fox.

I can only hope this makes its way to American Idol next year.

As you know, TV time was one of my biggest criticisms of the way American Idol handled itself last year. Of the 24 semi-finalists, while cameras followed Carried Underwood to her farm and showed Vonzell running her postal route, fully half had either not been shown on TV at all or had only been shown in a short segment going into the first rounds of singing.

And surprise, surprise, surprise . . . only one of them went deep into the competition, and that was Bo. The other people who we did not get to see (Melinda, Celena, Aloha, Joseph, Jared) or saw only in short bits, sometimes back in the early audition stages (Sarah, Judd, David, Travis, Amanda) were gone by the time the 12 finalists were chosen.

This was not coincidence.

TV time killed the chances of some contestants while the producers insisted on showing us people who should not have advanced as far as they did (Mikalah), who could not handle the strain of constant competition (Janay), or who had no business being TV to begin with (Mary Roach, the mime).

Before the individual singing rounds start and "America" starts voting, I hope that Fox will take an hour, introduce us to everyone who will be singing and level the playing field for all the people who are depending on votes to survive in the competition.

The other thing I liked about the format of So You Think You Can Dance is that the judges actually get to do some judging. By picking the six folks who are up for elimination, they ensure that the best competitors are safe from the whims of a fickle "America" and help to dilute the "Vote for the Worst" crowd by constantly exposing the weakest contestants and protecting contestants who shouldn't have to worry about being elminated (like the weeks Bo and Rueben ended up in the bottom 3).

I hope that Fox will continue this format on American Idol. "America" still gets to vote, but it will save some folks from "premature elimination" (I'm convinced it would have saved LaToya, FRC, Jennifer Hudson and Anwar and would have gotten Anthony, Josh, JPL, John Stevens and Private Pyle eliminated a whole lot sooner).

The other thing they could do to the format is have each judge pick one contestant who would automatically become safe and everyone else is up for grabs. A change to the format either way would work fine for me and would make the results a little palatable.

Rock Star: INXS . . . unplugged

Have I mentioned what a jackass JD is?

I think that's how I'm going to start referring to him from now on, so if you see "Jackass" (with a capitol J), I'm either talking about him or Johnny Knoxville.

The show started out as an abbreviated version of the half-hour show which used to be on Monday nights on CBS, but has now moved to Sunday night on VH-1. The eight remaining contestants were split into two groups and tasked with writing a song for a track INXS has started.

In one group were Jackass, Marty, Jessica and Jordis. In the other were Ty, MiG, Deanna and Suzie.

Ty's group was all on the same page and as a group, they seemed to gell and get along. When they performed, they had good harmony and really looked like they were having fun. The quality of their product was not very good; it almost had a bubblegum pop sound to it (but then again, some INXS songs like "New Sensation" were very pop-sounding), but they showed that they could work together as a group.

Marty's group was a mess and it was all because of Jackass. He wasn't into working with the other three and while Jordis, Jessica and Marty were all collaborating, Jackass was brooding about and working on his own thing. When they performed, Jackass just sat there.

Dave called him out on it and awarded the songwriting competition win to the other team. They got to spend a night out with INXS and a new sound system. However, Dave still enabled Jackass's discord-spreading malevolence by asking him to sing his song anyway and then said that Jackass's song was the best of the three that the heard.

Last night, as CBS used the recap to fill time, Jackass once again threw his fellow competitors under the bus by saying in essence that he wouldn't work on a (bleepy) song just to win a competition. Nevermind that working on a song in a group was the assignment. Dave and the band said they liked Jackass's song, so MiG called everyone out on it by asking essentially, "So what you want us to do is sow discord among the rest of the group?" You can read more about the exchange here.

Here is my warning to INXS once again:

Jackass is not a team player. If he is willing to crap on all the other contestants to get in your band, he will do the same to you if a better opportunity comes along.

Jackass is like Terrell Owens. He is so fixated on himself and winning that he is alienating the other contestants. While he has a lot of talent and charisma, his behaviour shows that he will not make a good bandmate. I've heard some people say that they think that he's a plant by the producers to bring some drama to the show, but I think INXS has too much riding on the outcome to let CBS put someone in the mix just to stir things up.

We'll see how it goes. Of course, this kind of thing is great for ratings, so maybe that will work out for INXS and CBS in the long run.

However, let me put INXS on notice: If Jackass wins this thing, I will never buy another INXS product and I won't feel guilty if some friends share your songs with me.

Now on to the performance show:

Jordis, "Knocking on Heaven's Door"
This could have been a nightmare. So many people know this song (even if some of them think that it was originally done by Guns N' Roses), that to try and emulate Bob Dylan would have been pointless. Jordis, however, pulled it off. She got creative with the arrangment and made the most of it on "unplugged" nights. She's always had a good voice, and tonight she really got to show it off.

Jessica, "Torn"
After three weeks in the bottom 3, Jessica is probably getting set up for a fourth. While she wasn't bad, she wasn't great, and since people don't like her enough to vote for her, she is definitely going to be in the bottom 3 and should probably go home tonight. Her rendition of "Torn" was okay. She never stumbled, but nor did she bring anything new to the song and in a competition where people are getting very good at re-arranging tunes, it's going to kill her.

Ty, "Maggie May"
I've like Ty, but tonight he sucked hard. He wasn't bad, but like Jessica, he didn't bring anything new to the song. And what was up with the tongue? I could have done without the tongue. Still, who stuck their tongue out after he was done to try and do the curl that I'm sure impresses all the ladies?

Suzie, "Bring it On Home to Me"
I'm not sure what to make of her performance, since I don't know the song, but the band seemed to like it and my wife liked it. Her performance was subdued and she didn't let her voice get out of control, as she's been known to do. I might have a better feeling for her if I was more familiar with the tune.

Marty, "Baby . . . One More Time"
I thought for sure (as did everyone else) that this would be a trainwreck. Britney Spears on a rock n' roll show? Marty thought he was dead when the song was announced. He did a good job in pulling it off, but I'm not sure he's right for INXS. Here's my problem with Marty: he's too grunge. He sounded like Nirvana last night. While that's not bad and Marty should be one of the frontrunners in this competition, INXS isn't a grunge band. Nor are they really a rock n' roll band. They've got a lot of pop to them, not bubblegum pop, but enough to sell bazillions of records to the masses. I was kind of disappointed he didn't at least try a couple of Britney moves.

Deanna, "I Can't Make You Love Me"
Tough, tough song. This is one of those songs that you hear and just know that it was made for one single singer, and anyone that tries it is only going to end up doing a bad cover. Having said that the unplugged format was also good for Deanna because it let her show off her voice without having to worry about being overpowered by the band. One thing that was curious for me was that in the intro to the song, while she was saying how much vocal control and air control the song required, she was shown smoking.

Jackass, "As Tears Go By"
He started his intro by sucking up to the band, and as you know, I hate ass-kissers. Jackass said something to the effect of "this song is timeless, much like INXS songs". Gag. Blech. This is another song I don't know, so I really can't judge whether he did it well or not, but I was happy to see that when the camera cut to the other contestants, the look on all their faces showed that they wanted Jackass to die.

MiG, "Baby, I Love Your Way"
Does everyone born between 1950 and 1965 have this song on vinyl? I think MiG has been one of the strongest contestants and in my opinion should be chosen by INXS to be the winner. He seems to be genuinely into the other competitors, often cheering heartily for the others (even for Jackass, until this week that is; now I think even MiG wants to see Jackass get run over by an 18-wheeler). Plus he works well in a group. I didn't like his piano-only rendition of Peter Frampton as much as the band did, but he was still very, very good. The difference between Jackass and MiG is that when Jackass is on stage, he makes everything about him. When MiG is on, it's all about the song. And that's why he should win.

After the performances, Booke Burke once again showed us who was in the bottom 3 after 5 minutes of voting. I thought that the bottom 3 would be Jessica, Suzie and Deanna because, let's face it, the only girl who has a shot at winning is Jordis.

Surprisingly, the preliminary bottom 3 was Jessica, Deanna and Ty. I don't know that Ty is in serious danger, but if there is a guy who is a candidate for the bottom 3 this week, his performance was the weakest this week.

My prediction for tonight is that Jessica will be sent home. Even though she sings INXS songs really well, the band should get the message that if she keeps being put in the bottom 3, maybe it's time for her to go home.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Gas prices

Holy crap!

I went out today to run some errands and the price of gas here in town is up to $2.69 per gallon for regular unleaded. That's up 14¢ more than it was yesterday, and 45¢ more than it was last Tuesday.

What the hell is going on here?

A year and a half ago, in December 2003, we drove to Florida and I paid $1.28 per gallon for regular unleaded in Thomasville, Georgia. When we got home, gas was $1.39 per gallon.

Around the first of the year 2004, gas jumped up to $1.60 a gallon and hasn't gone back down since.

When the first gulf war started in 1990, I remember paying about 94¢ a gallon for regular unleaded. At its worst, the price of gas was up to about $1.39 in Tallahassee. But after the war, the prices dropped again to about $1.00 a gallon and stayed pretty much level for the next 10 years.

So from 1990 to 2003, the price of gas went from 94¢ a gallon to $1.40 per gallon, or an increase of 48% over 14 years. Then, in the year and a half from January 2004 until now, the price of gas has increased a whopping 93.5%.

Something is seriously wrong here. The price of crude oil has gone up, but the taxes on the gas have not, nor has the cost of refining the oil. What gives?

I realise that we don't pay as much as some other countries, but Americans are used to diving a lot and don't have the kinds of mass transit that's prevalent in say, western Europe.

Some of it is our fault. We don't think twice about driving 20 miles to the mall. We like to drive gas-guzzling SUVs that get 8 miles per gallon. We like to get on the Eisenhower Interstate System and drive to Florida to visit our relatives.

Still, it seems to me that something is seriously out of kilter when the gas cost has almost doubled in the last year and a half but managed to remain fairly stable for the previous decade.

I also wonder how much our President really cares about the cost of gas. It's not like he has to pay at the pump like the rest of us.

Oh, wait, I forgot . . . Dubya's family made all their money in the oil business, so I'm sure they're laughing all the way to the bank. I'll remember that the next time I go to fill up my crappy, gas-hogging American car and it costs me $35 when it would have cost me about $18 two years ago.

And I hope everyone else remembers that when it's time to vote again.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

I thought Brandon would have lasted a little while longer

First off, let me apologise for not getting any blog entries in for the last week. I spent the second half of last week putting flooring down at a friend's and on Tuesday of this week, I took a bunch of kids from church to King's Island in Cincinnati. That means that I missed Rock Star: INXS and had to tape it.

Here are some abbreviated comments on the show:
  • Was Jordis going to the prom?

  • Jessica was, once again, awful.

  • I didn't care for Marty's song, but he pulled off the acoustic thing, and it looks like he's a week ahead of the "unplugged" show.

  • Deanna is barely hanging on; she and Jessica are clearly the weakest links.

  • Once Deanna and Jessica go, everyone else is actually pretty good, and should make for an interesting finish.

At the end of the show, my wife asked me who I thought was going to be in the bottom 3, and I said, Jessica, Brandon and Deanna. Sure enough, those three were the ones who were in the bottom 3 in the preliminary results they announced before the Tuesday show ended.

The top tier of this show (MiG, Marty, Ty, Jordis and I hate to say it, JD) is deeper than the top tier of American Idol has ever been and there are some second tier performers (Brandon, Suzie, Deanna) who aren't bad either. I think even some of the people who have been eliminated (Heather, Neal, Daphna) are better (and certainly more experienced) than some of the folks who have made the the top 4 or 5 on American Idol.

On Wednesday night, I was still sticking with my picks of Jessica, Brandon and Deanna for the bottom 3 with Jessica being eliminated. I was mildly surprised when Deanna was replaced by Suzie in the bottom 3, but not really.

Jessica, who isn't the youngest but certainly looks like she is, had a horrible night on Tuesday and did okay singing another INXS song. I didn't think Suzie should have been in the bottom 3 and she did okay.

After a trip to the bottom 2 last week, Brandon was eliminated after forgetting some of the words to "Don't Lose Your Head". I don't know the song, so I didn't notice him dropping a line, but the folks who wrote the song certainly noticed.

Here's my take on Brandon: this was not his show. He's good, and I thought he'd last longer than this week but the bottom line is that he should be fronting a band in the mold of The Black Crowes, not INXS. Maybe he and Bo Bice should get together and headline a "Southern Rock Reality Show Tour". By the way, if that ever happens, I expect royalties, people.

I don't know how Jessica keeps surviving. Apparently, the band thinks she sings INXS songs really well because they keep saving her, but the fact that she has been in the bottom 3 three times should be a flag that the audience doesn't care for her (That and she's not very good on Tuesday nights), and that should be her undoing, especially since Dave keeps saying that the fans's input is huge since they're the once buying the records and going to the concerts. If the band values the audience voice so much, why keep her around?

King's Island

The reason I didn't get a Wednesday recap or Tuesday's Rock Star: INXS was because I was at King's Island with 29 other folks from church. We had a good trip overall. Everyone checked in when they were supposed to and no one was detained by park security for any reason.

A couple of folks got sunburned, I got blisters on my feet in a couple of places, and some of the more popular rides were closed due to maintenance, but other than that, the kids enjoyed the park.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Tara . . . gone!

After two previous trips to the bottom 3, Tara was finaly kicked off.

Ty and Brandon were there with her, the first trip for both. I was kind of surprised at both thinking that Deanna, Suzie or Jessica deserved to be in the bottom 3 after this week. Both guys had bad performances this week, but I thought both were popular enough to cruise through to another round.

With every song, Brandon is being exposed for having a bad voice, one of the worst of the competition. He's getting by on stage presence and his performances. Ty has a better voice but was handicapped by having to sing a song he didn't know.

Tara has been under the gun for a couple of weeks and her performance of "Beautiful Girl" was not very good, so the band rightfully eliminated her.

In the next thre weeks, I'd look for Jessica, Deanna, Suzie and Brandon to be eliminated (maybe even in that order) with the top tier forming up to be MiG, Jordis and (unfortunately) JD. Marty and Ty are on the bubble and need to make a serious charge in order to ward of elimination.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Rock Star: INXS, show review from 2 August 2005

I missed the show last night, so I had to go back and watch the tape. I also missed most of the Monday night show, but from what I did see, I may have saved myself from wasting 30 minutes of my life.

MiG, "We Will Rock You"
Two Queen anthems in a row? Musically, there's not a lot to this song, but if you do it right (and MiG did), it gives a performer a good chance to interact with the audience, and he got lots of points from them.

Deanna, "I'm the Only One"
If Melissa Etheridge were dead, she'd be turning over in her grave. Nobody has ever been able to sing this song; every American Idol performer who has attempted it butchered the song and Deanna was vocally not up to the task. The band was largely complementary, but that may due to the fact that she spent the last half of the song shaking her booty in their faces.

Marty, "With Arms Wide Open"
I'm not one of Marty's fans. Nor am I a hater; he just doesn't do it for me. He was good, but I just don't get him. I think he's going to be guy who's still around with four people left and everyone is going to say, "What's he still doing here?"

Ty, "Everlong"
I don't know the song and Ty seemed to start out a little shaky, but he recovered well. Ty is a strong stage performer, and that may save him.

Jessica, "Blister in the Sun"
I like Jessica and I like this song (I am a child of the 80s, after all). She did okay, not spectacular and vocally, she's either hot or cold. She's cute and that may be what keeps her around on elimination nights. Unfortunately, I think this week may be another week for her in the bottom 3.

Brandon, "If You Could Only See"
While other contestants have been improving over the weeks, Brandon is backsliding. He started the competition strong, so maybe there really wasn't anywhere for him to go but down. Still, he is vocally inferior to some of the other contestants and I thought he faltered again this week. I don't think he's flirting with elimination, but he needs to get better or he won't make it to the top 5.

Jordis, "The Man Who Sold the World"
She has become one of the stronger vocalists in the competition. While she will never be in the same league as Anwar or Carrie, her performance was very good.

JD, "The Letter"
It was nice to see that it was "everyone rip on JD night"; I can't get enough of that. Why can't he just sing the song? Of course, if you're going to cover a song, you may as well bring something new to it, and JD does a good job of that. I've said before that I don't think I can have an objective opinion of him because I think he's such a jackass, but unfortunately, he was actually pretty good and will easily sail through this week.

Tara, "Message in a Bottle"
After evading the bottom 3 last week, Tara might be back this week. Dare I say it? Of course! Tara was pitchy and all over the place.

Suzie, "Get Back"
After messing with Marty during week 1, Suzie has steadily slipped into the background (in a good way) and let JD take over as the drama-magnet. Her vocals were off; in a couple of spots, her voice was so low, I couldn't hear what she was singing. She did a good job on stage, but I was less than impressed by the overall performance. It may not help that I just heard Paul McCartney sing this song a couple of weeks ago at the Live 8 concerts.

My picks for the bottom 3: Deanna, Tara, Suzie (or maybe Jessica in this spot)

After eliminating two people last week, there's no telling what will happen tonight. Maybe no one will be eliminated this week so CBS can keep the show's full run going or maybe they'll can two more people to get it over with faster.