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Rockstar: Supernova - Week 8
Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2006, 14:20

Week 8 of Rockstar! Supernova!! Thankfully after a bit of a lame week the contestants rebounded with a more-than-solid string of performances, none of which I would have placed below the *** standard.

But week 8 kicked off fuelled by a series of incredible scenes at the mansion where the rockers live for the duration of the competition. During a "media clinic" (a series of interviews with well known tv, radio and magazine journalists) Dilana totally lost control of professional courtesy, launching a tirade against several of her co-contenstants; Lukas getting the brunt of criticism for his moods and attitude. While she stuck the knife in anyone within reach, the likes of Lukas and Ryan did their best to avoid confrontation despite some aggressive questions from the interviewers. The tension between Dilana and Lukas is growing - she is the front-runner, but is she feeling threatened?

Song selection was more interesting this week with two originals on the table. Storm backed down from her initial insistence that she had to do an original and ended up with the difficult "Cryin'" by Aerosmith (about time we had a 'Smith track, but bloody "Cryin'"!!?). It was agreed by the group that Patrice, who had been in the elimination group three times, should get one with Ryan - who chivalrously stepped aside to allow Zayra to do an original last week - getting the other.

Lukas got a Killers song (I have a feeling Lukas would take anything), Magni took "Smells LIke Teen Spirit" while, in a reverse of the previous weeks deal, Dilana ran around the pool naked in order to wrestle "Every Breath You Take" from Toby (who admitted he didn't even want the song to the camera). After seeing that I've decided that Dilana is sexier with her clothes on.

So seven left, one to go. You can click on the hyperlinks to see the actual performances.

The recap
7. Patrice (Beautiful Thing) - The first of two originals and really not that bad - nice middle eight and good bass line. Certainly no worse than the Supernova-written effort last week that had about 75 years of musical talent behind it! Patrice has an interesting vocal that is reminiscent of British vocalists like Saffron of Republica and Justine Frischmann of Elastica - but it's not a Supernova vocal. A decent talent but surely Patrice's number is up this week? Surely?

6. Storm (Cryin') - Oh, good God. I am so over this song. When "Get a Grip" came out in 1993 I loved it to bits - but then it was released as a single and was on what seemed like 24-hour rotation on MTV and radio. Leaving that aside (well, trying), Storm did a fine job on what is a very hard song to sing - her vocals were spot on. She threw in her usual facial cringes, sexy growl and bow-legged stage walk but the problem is that it was exactly what I thought she'd do. She does it well but, you know, surprise me sometime? Gilby agreed and suggested that it was time for a "memorable performance" from her. Tommy simply said "I wish you had less clothes on".

5. Lukas (All These Things That I've Done) - I'm not a Killers fan so I'd never heard this song before but it wasn't too bad at all. The band loved the performance but I think they've been blinded somewhat by their love for Lukas. I found it directionless, I thought he struggled vocally to the point where he seemed out of breath and - like Storm's - I found it predictable. Final point from Gilby was about his habit of turning his back to the crowd - they'll be watching him for that in future. He's done much better than this and will rise again.

4. Magni (Smells Like Teen Spirit) - Another thumbs up from the band for Magni but again I found this a little disappointing. The problem with covering the anthem of a generation (one of the finest tracks of all time in my opinion) is that you are limited in what you can do with it. Can you mess with the arrangement? Should you change the vocal style? This ranks above Lukas as I thought he showed more energy and a clear emotional love of the source material. Tommy suggested that he should have played guitar for the first verse - and then smashed it. Magni promised to do it next time - but would someone beat him to it?

3. Dilana (Every Breath You Take) - She said that this would be her best performance and to be honest she didn't disappoint. It's hard to fault it - absolutely gorgeous vocals and her frequent cheesy gestures are quite entertaining. One thing I didn't notice first time until it was pointed out by my mate Kat was her substutition of "Di-la-na" for "Da-na-na". Good grief. It was revealed during the post-song chat with the band that the song was her mom's favourite song and that she hadn't spoken to her mother in years - another side to the complex being that she is.

2. Toby (Layla) - I think Toby has slipped a little in recent weeks due to his seeming lack of growth but he jumped back in to contention with a very strong version of Clapton's classic, "Layla". He messed with the arrangement a little - something Gilby "didn't care for" - but I thought it worked well, building up some anticipation for the classic riff until the end of the first verse. Once we hit the mid-section, he stripped off his top and led a sing-song with his fellow contestants. Really great stuff and his likeable personality is shining through. I do hate when Tommy addresses him in an Australian accent and says "g'day mate" every week. Isn't that "racist" these days? Or is it just tiring?

1. Ryan (Back of Your Car) - Wow. This isn't just about the performance, this is about the original song too. A song about making love as the world ends (something DMB did recently in "When the World Ends" but this is better), it was an absolute belter. Magni's face turned white (whiter than usual) as Ryan threw his guitar across stage and stole his thunder. Everything about this rocked - the intensity, the vocals, the music, the performance. He got a thunderous response from the crowd and a standing ovation from the band and his fellow contestants - and rightly so. This might be the best performance so far. Ryan is now "The Dark Horse" according to Dave.

So who will be in the bottom three? Patrice, Storm and Toby are my tips. Why? Because Patrice and Storm were the two weakest performances of the night and Toby is not likely to get more votes than Magni or Lukas even though his performance deserved it on the night.

The next night
This week Toby had the "honour" of singing with Supernova on another new track called "Be Yourself and Five Other Cliches". Snappy title. The song was actually much better than last week's awful "Leave the Lights On" but still not up to much. There's just nothing memorable about it. For a band looking for memorable performances from the contestants you'd have to wonder why on this evidence - they'd only be wasted. Toby did a pretty good job but on such weak material it's hard to feel excited for him.

Dilana dug a deeper hole for herself than the one she was already in when we saw clips of her putting down Ryan after last night's show. "You would be nothing without that house band," she said to him rather cruelly (and inaccurately). Combined with her obtuse behaviour from last weeks media clinic, Dilana was in for a kicking from both the band and the crowd. She openly apologised and explained that she was human and prone to mistakes and .... blah blah blah. Dave asked why she even thought of saying these things in the first place (pointing out that none of them would be anything without the house band)? "I'm too honest," was her reply. It all seemed a bit fake to me. Dilana would sell her soul to front the band and anything that makes her look better at the expense of her fellow competitors is fair game. She is obviously threatened and feels bitterness when she is not the center of attention. I can see that in Lukas too but he seems far more intelligent and in control.

Anyway...back to the music. No encore performance tonight. The bottom three from last night were announced - Patrice, Toby and Storm! Spot on! But there was one more added to it in the 24 hours that followed - and only by a couple of votes - Magni. Not much of a surprise as he doesn't seem to have impressed the public as much as he has impressed Supernova. Of those four, the final bottom three were announced and Storm was the one who got to sit down. I love Storm's reaction whenever one of the other contestants gets bad news. She looks devestated for them - and I don't think it's fake. I think she's just incredibly genuine.

Magni was first up and sang "Fire" by Jimi Hendrix. Oooh, don't like that one but he did a great job. He even played two guitar solos! Awesome stuff.

Patrice decided to have a go at The Pretenders "Middle of the Road". Once I saw it I knew she was dead meat. I've never heard the song before so it was either crap before or she turned it in to crap. Just nothing exciting about it and Supernova didn't seem overly excited by it either.

Toby was next up tackling Stone Temple Pilots' excellent "Plush" (look at Storm's reaction to not being selected!). It was pretty good although not as good as Magni's version a few weeks back. Still way better than Patrice though. This looks a forgone conclusion.

And indeed it was! Toby was sent back to the seat and Tommy regrettably told Patrice that it was time to pack her bags. Definitely the right decision - maybe should been made a few weeks ago - but she's not bad and will probably be an underground success, maybe as a singer-songwriter.

How they rate
06. (06) Storm - "Cryin'" was pretty good but there's nothing "memorable" about her. Mind you considering there is nothing memorable about Supernova it might be difficult for me to argue that she actually shouldn't be the top pick.
05. (05) Toby - Toby did well and looked better than he has for weeks but is it too late and are the others too far ahead?
04. (03) Magni - Magni drops due to the strength of those around him. He hasn't done much wrong but I'm wondering if perhaps another bottom three vote might see him ousted?
03. (04) Ryan - God, how tough is this? Ryan has been the MIP (most improved person) for the last three weeks and there's an argument to say that he's deserving of that top slot already. He also seems to have a more mature and settled outlook on life. maybe he's not the right pick!
02. (02) Dilana - Her antics has not endeared her to me or many others and it is only right that her emotionally embittered behaviour is taken in to account.
01. (01) Lukas - He hangs on to top spot despite hitting auto-pilot this week. There's something unique about him which makes him a great rock star. But Ryan is closing in...

To those who might say to me "hey, you hate Big Brother so why are you getting so in to what is essentially a reality show with music?"

Well the big difference between this and Big Brother is firstly that these people have immense talent. These are not some off-the-street nobodies whose most notable skills and characteristics are their sexuality or artificial breasts. These are people who have been involved in music for years and who have the opportunity to give pleasure to millions with their musical talent. The behind-the-scenes soap opera is certainly intriguing and mildly voyeuristic but again it is all based on seeing the realising (or unravelling) of these people's desires to be bona fide rock stars. It's a bit different to the crass behaviour of interminably dull people who inhabit shows like Big Brother.

Week eight is down, mate. So G'day!

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