"Week One": July 11-13, 2005
So you wanna play some rock'n'roll, huh? Well, you've come to the right
place. This is GSNN's personal guide to becoming a rock star, compliments of
CBS, Mark Burnett, and the Australian rock band INXS. Now before you go
screaming Idol ripoff, we just want to go on record by saying that it's only 1/3
the Idol rip that it could be. For one, we have drama elements. For another,
we're not going to show you ALL of the performance (but you will hear it, trust
Still want to be a rock star? Cool!
Let's start by meeting the band you want to impress. INXS (by name, Andrew
Farriss, Kirk Pengilly, Jon Farriss, Tim Farris, Garry Beers, and Michael
Hutchence - deceased) greased up their collective cherry axes on the stages of
Australia during the 1980s before scoring big hits like "Need You Tonight",
"What You Need", and "Never Tear Us Apart". Unfortunately the band was torn
apart (temporarily) by the suicide of Michael Hutchence in 1997. But after
recording and playing with guest vocalists, we have a need for permanence...
Enter "Rock Star: INXS."
First off, we have our usual intro with our usual Hollywood mansion, and each
one with their usual weapons of musical destruction. Each one is a seasoned
professional, but only one will be... a Rock Star.
From here, we meet 1/2 of our hosting duo, former host of "Wild On" and
certified hottie Brooke Burke. She explains that the 15 rockers are in a
competition and that America will hold their fate in their hands, and... is that
music in the background NOT generated by a music machine?
Well, it is, and it isn't. You see, it's coming from former guitarist of Red
Hot Chili Peppers and Jane's Addiction, Dave Navarro. He's here to
explains that he will be here to help the contestants out, as he's been in their
shoes during his career. "If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, I'm
your guy to come to." He's also your guy if you want to pick up the likes of
Carmen Electra, but that's another show.
But just as this is reality TV, there are two rules: 1) Be ready for
anything. 2) Be ready for everything. Why do I bring these two rules up now?
Simple. The rockets are performing TONIGHT. They will be judged by INXS and Dave
in front of a live audience at The Mayan, where INXS played their final gig.
And the KICKer (get it? Kick?... Okay, maybe I'm the only one to get it)
is... they leave in an hour. So while mass panic ensues, let's meet our wannabe
Wil (28, Pasadena, CA) is a musician and pretty boy.
Neal (29, Queens, NY) is a musician/administrative coordinator. And
apparently his hero is Ziggy Stardust minus the glam.
Jessica (25, Chicago) works as a barista by day and a musician by
night. Double life. Rock Superhero?
Brandon, (31, Beaverton, MI) pays the bills as a recruiter. A very
insane-looking recruiter. He apparently likes to use his guitar to get chicks,
because he loves to play by the beach in the moonlight.
J.D. (31, Oakville, ON) is a musician dedicated to winning by any means
Tara, (31, Toronto) is also a musician who doesn't like the camera
(wouldn't it be interesting if one of the "musicians" was the first one
Deanna, (36, Reseda, CA) is a musician by day, and a musician by
Dana, (30, Studio City, CA) is a musician, bartender, and yoga instructor
by day, and what looks to be a basket case by night.
Heather, (27, Atlanta) is a musician/bartender/nanny. Now if I had a
nanny that looked like that... I'd be scared into behaving. Not so much the free
spirit vibe, but the tatts and the ratty hair.
MiG, (36, Sydney, AUS) works out of London. Remember when I said that
Ziggy Stardust was the hero of Neal? I stand corrected. This guy clearly is more
glam than Neal could EVER be.
Ty, (36, Vegas) Nevada, works as a musician and sports a mohawk that
shook the heavens. Nice...
Jordis, (the youngest at 22, St. Paul, MN) works as a waitress,
bartender, and... oh yeah, a musician.
Daphna, (29, Los Angeles) is a legal secretary that happens to look like
she should be singing for the Banshees.
Marty (31, Chicago) is a musician/real estate appraiser. Think Bo Bice
without the Southern Comfort or the blatant Gregg Allman stereotypes.
Suzie, (28, Toronto) recommends that Marty get his voice checked out, as
she's worried about polyps for some reason.
Intro's? Done. Let's get to the Mayan. We don't get INXS on stage, but we do
get... a stock band! Didn't even know those existed... They're all warmed up and
ready to follow along with whatever cues the rockers can come up. Dave is
sitting behind the crowd with the REAL band, INXS, and Brooke is announcing the
First up, Jordis lets loose with her rendition of "Baba O'Riley" (The Who),
commanding the stage, the audience, the band, and several execs at CBS. She's
just that good.
What they say: Dave says "Well, we've found her. The end."
What we say: ... well, because Mark Burnett really loves the jumping around bit,
we can't really do this bit for this series, can we?
Marty has a hard act to follow with his version of "You Really Got Me" (The
Kinks). Suzie doesn't think much of it, but Wil thinks that he's "a little
cliched". Judges like it. Crowd loves it. Of course, they love all the
Next, Tara steps on stage and belts out The Pretenders' "Middle of the Road."
Dave loves it, and one of the Farriss guys remarks that she has a voice that can
cut anything. Go Canada.
Neal remarks backstage that when he hits the stage it's "sex and rock." Becauase
drugs are bad. Neal sings the Stones' "Brown Sugar," and you know that the
audience is paid off when you see someone as lily white and skinny as him create
such a buzz.
Daphna charms the judges and audience alike with her rendition of Blondie's
"One Way or Another," so much so that Dave holds up a sign that says "What's
your number?" Yeah, Carmen Electra's gonna really love that one.
Ty, backstage, gives props to his fellow contestants thus far, but tells us that
he's about to raise the bar. That he does with Living Colour's "Cult of
Personality". Personally, my favorite. He's like rock'n'soul. I can really dig
it, because personally, it's the kind of music I perform. A little bit of
Motown, a little bit of The Who. And the contestants' looks agree with me; Ty is
the one to beat. Will Dana do it with her rendition of "Knockin' on Heaven's
Door" (Bob Dylan).
Uh... no. Dave remarks that the growl in question was sexy for about five
seconds, but then it became uncomfortable. Translation, we have our series'
Deanna needs to save this act from being a disaster. She does with Janis
Joplin's "Piece of My Heart". Her voice is great, and she really works the
crowd. INXS bassist Garry is very impressed, and says she could easily take the
MiG comes out nervous, as he stifles through Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen
Spirit." The kids love it. But then again, the kids prolly don't remember what
the early 90s were like. Dave does. I do. I don't buy it. Dave doesn't buy it.
But he sounds good. Then again, see Evrard, Peter.
Jessica follows with a performance of Hole's "Celebrity Skin," highlighting her
deep voice. The guys ogle the words and the body.
Next, David Bowie's "Heroes". First covered by the Wallflowers. Now, it's all
Wil. He definitely decides to try to connect with all the ladies in the
audience, and he's got one particular cougar gazing right in his dreamy eyes. Or
whatever his eyes may be. The all-male INXS isn't necessarily impressed by one
who could easily get the most eye-(^_^)s in the band. I call this "the van Halen
Now Heather is up, who chooses to perform the Talking Heads' "Burning Down the
House." You may remember it as the theme to "The Complex". Jon remembers it, and
never saw something so funky in his life. Very nice.
Bare-footed Brandon takes the stage following Heather, and runs around, stomps,
and belts out KISS's "Rock and Roll All Nite." The crowd loves it; Brandon is a
J.D., the penultimate performer, opts to sing The Guess Who's "American Woman,"
and he certainly has some unique stage moves. He sort of twitches constantly,
and grabs the hair of a woman near the stage. Hmmm. "I think he's high on
energy," says Tim Farriss. "I think he looks possessed!" says Dave. I think the
moody drifter here might be high on something other than adrenaline, but that's
To close out the first night of performances, it's up to Suzie to take us out
with The Black Crowes' "Remedy." She comes out displaying a lot of personality
and stage presence . . . too bad she misses her entrance. This throws her off
enough to come in with the second verse first, and, well . . . let's say it's a
good thing she can sing. She manages to recover the performance pretty nicely.
And that's it! Not a bad intro to the contestants; not bad at all. Everyone
takes a bow as the audience gives everyone a standing ovation. Never mind that
they've been standing the whole time.
Upon returning to the mansion, it's all chocolate-covered strawberries,
champagne, shrimp cocktail . . . you knowthe good life. The contestants relax,
chat and laugh together, and much alcohol is downed on this merry day.
Meanwhile, INXS is busily deliberating in the wake of the debut performances. No
groundbreaking thoughts, as there were two obviously sub-par performances in
Dana and Suzie, but you can tell that the bandmates have been around the block
as they offer many thoughtful comments. And hallelujahthey're not all spouting
cheesy, scripted lines while one of them drunkenly flails about.
As INXS sorts through photos, the party at the mansion takes a short, four-hour
break, until our rockers wake up and the revelry resumes. The contestants join
in an impromptu jam session, with Brandon strumming on the guitar and everyone
else joining in some great harmonies. The contestants are getting along very
wellHeather remarks that it's like church . . . with alcohol. During the
jamming, Daphna breaks out into a tribute song for her dad, who passed away
about a month ago. Everyone is touched by the song, and there are hugs all
Later, the contestants and Brooke gather in a room of the mansion with Dave and
Tim Farriss, and it's obvious what time it is. Tomorrow, there are fourteen
songs to perform; one for each of the contestants. Since there are fifteen
contestants at present, that means it's time to say good-bye to one of them.
Before getting down to it, Dave and Tim have a few contestants to address. "Ty,"
says Tim, "Incredible performance."
"Phenomenal!" adds Dave. "You were like a superhero up there."
Deanna is also given praise for a great performance from Tim, with Dave chiming
in that he had to take a cold shower after her performance, but the news is not
so good for MiG, who takes some flack for his song choice. Dave says that the
song wasn't good for his rangethe verses were too low and the chorus was too
highand MiG says in confessional that he was mortified to hear such comments.
Now, it's time for business. Pulling no tricks, Tim says that everyone but three
performed adequately to move on with no problems, and the three in question are,
J.D., Dana, and Suzie. J.D., Tim believes, looked very nervous on stage and was
channeling his energy in too reckless a manner. "There are some lines you don't
cross," he says. Hmm, such as pulling someone's hair? However, the band is going
to give him another chance.
So it's between Suzie and Dana. Dana, Tim feels, would need the most work over
the three-month audition process. As for Suzie, well, she forgot the words.
No surprises there. However, Suzie has one trump card to play over Dana, and
that's her more polished vocal ability. Thus, Dana will be leaving the
competition. Dave and Tim wish her all the best, and Dana feels very grateful
for this experience.
But wait! There's one slight surprise before the episode ends. Brooke leads the
contestants into another room to choose their songs for next week, and they
learn of the catch. There are fourteen different songs in the room, and they
have to decide among themselves who will be singing each song. Will there be
blood? Just by glancing at some of the titles available next week, it looks as
though it will be a doozy. "Should I Stay or Should I Go" by The Clash,
"Somebody to Love" by Queen, and "Heart-Shaped Box" by Nirvana?
Sounds like we're going to have a kick-ass
(there's that kick again!) show tomorrow! See you soon!
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