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Rock Star: INXS
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INXS is looking for a new lead singer, and they have 15 rockers who just might do the trick.

Recaps by Chico Alexander, GSNN


FACT FILE:

Hosts:
Brooke Burke & Dave Navarro
Judges: Andrew Farriss, Kirk Pengilly, Jon Farriss, Tim Farris, Garry Beers
Creators: Mark Burnett, David Goffin
EP: Mark Burnett, David Goffin, Lisa Hennessy
Packager: Mark Burnett Productions
Airs: Mondays at 9:30p and Tuesdays & Wednesdays at 9pm ET on CBS


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"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 us).

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 rock stars.

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 possible.

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 eliminated).

Deanna, (36, Reseda, CA) is a musician by day, and a musician by night.

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 performance.

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 performances.

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' William Hung.

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 job tomorrow.

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 factor".

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 larger-than-life performer.

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 just me.

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 know—the 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 hallelujah—they'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 well—Heather 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 around.

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 range—the verses were too low and the chorus was too high—and 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, not surprisingly, 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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