This show doesn't waste much time, does it? After a brief recap of Season 1's search for a new lead singer for INXS, we go right into meeting this year's band: "Supernova." Don't feel bad if you can't hum any of their tunes, because they don't technically exist just yet. Jason Newsted from Metallica, Gilby Clarke from Guns N' Roses, and Tommy Lee from Tommy Lee are looking for a lead singer, with help from producer Butch Walker, guitarist Dave Navarro, and eye-candy Brooke Burke. It's a world gone mad, really. They're also out to prove that kid gloves can be rock & roll as that's pretty much how they handle the fifteen finalists. Who are as follows: Storm Large from Portland insists that it's her real name and screws up the lyrics to "Pinball Wizard," not that anyone notices. Ryan Star is not Ryan Starr, so he has that going for him, as well as the fact that the judges dig his performance of "Iris" by the Goo Goo Dolls. Toby Rand is so eager to become a caricature of an Australian that it's a really good thing he's from Melbourne, and he manages to find a way to sing "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" in a way that Gilby hasn't heard and played "a bazillion times." Patrice Pike from Austin pulls off a rendition of Jefferson Airplane's "Somebody to Love" that is, fortunately for her, more Grace Slick than Jim Carrey in The Cable Guy. Magni is from Iceland, and therefore uses his performance of "Satisfaction" to prove that he is diametrically opposed to BjÃ¶rk in every imaginable way (Navarro even calls his bit "Vegas"). Zayra Alvarez, from Puerto Rico via Dallas, picks up the BjÃ¶rk tip that Magni dropped with her Evanescence cover. Jenny Galt hails from "Vancouver, Canada," and for someone as tall as she is, she has a little trouble reaching the high notes on Nickelback's "You Remind Me." Josh Logan came out of the teeming soul scene of Manchester, New Hampshire for the Black Crowes' "She Talks to Angels." Chicago real estate guy Matt Hoffer got tired of trying to get on The Apprentice, so here he is in a rocker costume and wig crooning "Yellow." Originally from Johannesburg, Dilana scares the fuck out of me by singing Nirvana's "Lithium" in the voice of possessed Regan from The Exorcist. Dana Andrews does fine singing "I'm The Only One," and then someone has to bring up the idea of putting a twenty-two-year-old ingÃ©nue from Georgia on a tour bus with Tommy Lee, effectively dooming her. Phil Ritchie from Maryland does a Living Colour song, convincing nobody that he's a "Cult of Personality" (he's barely a PTA meeting of personality). Jill Gioia sings "Piece of My Heart" like someone took a piece of her trachea, and I mean that in a good way. Chris Pierson slaughters "Roxanne" so badly that even the judges don't like it, earning him the only real criticism of the night. And then an insane Oompa Loompa named Lukas Rossi belts out "Rebel Yell" in a way destined to make us forgive his regrettable forehead and inadvisable eye makeup. Thursday we find out which three singers got the least votes, and those three will compete to stay in the competition. A few minutes into voting, those three are Magni, Phil, and Chris. If there were a bottom four, the fourth would almost certainly be Chris again.
Before we get into eliminations, Lukas does a little shit-stirring over speculation on who will be in the bottom three. Of course, we already know from last night that a few minutes into voting, they were Chris ("Roxanne"), Magni ("Satisfaction"), and Phil ("Cult of Personality"). Brooke notifies those unlucky three, and then tries to crank up the suspense by telling them the names of three other contestants who were in the bottom three at various points during voting. Those other three are Zayra ("Bring Me to Life"), Matt ("Yellow"), and Ryan ("Iris"). Turns out Ryan, Zayra, and Magni are safe, so the other three have to sing songs of their own choosing before Supernova boots one of them. Chris covers "L.A. Woman" by the Doors, which both falls more in his range and explains why he curled his hair. Phil does Switchfoot's "Stars," impressing the judges more than last night. After being told to "bring the rock," Matt kicks out a little Duran Duran, complete with fake British accent. And the song choice gets him booted. Better luck on Rock Star: Bay City Rollers, dude.
Hey, out there, are you ready to rock? I said are you ready to fuckin' ROCK? What's that? I can't hear you! No? You're not? Okay, I'll give you a minute. Take your time.
So, full disclosure: I didn't watch Rock Star: INXS because I was busy with other shows last summer. So I hope to bring an outsider's perspective to recapping this, the second season of Rock Star. Because really, what other choice do I have?
Brooke Burke walks out onto a stage amid a screaming, cheering crowd of maybe several hundred. The venue where this is being held is sort of a combination between a small auditorium and a vampire's lair. Because heavy metal and horror-movie dÃ©cor go hand-in-hand. It's standing room only, because there are no chairs. People are pressed right up against the edge of the runway that thrusts out into the crowd. And I say "people," but what I really mean are "chicks handpicked to wind up on camera a lot while their boyfriends languish in the anonymous back rows." Brooke asks if we're ready for "another amazing season" of Rock Star, even though it's only my first. And then they play a clip. Oh, good, this is where they recap the whole first season for all the people who didn't see one second of that but plan to sit through the whole thing this year, i.e., me. This will be handy. But then all they show is one moment from last year, the one where J.D. Fortune was crowned the new lead singer of INXS and was then immediately led off-camera to have his belt and shoelaces confiscated. He interviews how cool his new gig is, and then we're moving on. No time, people! Brooke tells us that for this season, they took 25,000 auditioners from around the world and narrowed them down to fifteen finalists. And they just happen to be here tonight, sitting in their own little Peanut Gallery off stage right. I'm really going to have to come up with a more rock & roll name for that little area. Or you are. We'll go with Peanut Gallery for now. The crowd greets the finalists enthusiastically despite having no idea who any of them are. Seems a bit weird to have finalists three minutes into the season, no? Brooke tells the finalists that in three months (really?) one of them will be the lead singer for "the most incredible new rock & roll band to emerge in years: Supernova." More cheering.
A film montage introduces Supernova, narrated by Tommy Lee. Clip of Jason Newsted playing bass with Metallica. Clip of Gilby Clarke playing guitar with Guns N' Roses. Clip of Tommy Lee playing drums with MÃ¶tley CrÃ¼e. The three of them walk down the street in the present day, looking like they just got mugged walking out of a job interview. Then they're jamming in the studio, and it's actually kind of weird to actually see Tommy Lee behind a drum kit again. Seems like it's been a while since he was famous for his musicianship. He describes Supernova as a "clash of stars." And I have to say that as much as I mock, I must admit that Supernova is an ideal name for this project. You've got "Super," referring to the "supergroup" concept, combined with "Nova," which literally means "new star," who may well end up a "superstar," combined into one word that refers to the most spectacular explosions in the universe. It's perfect, really. Other than the fact that there's already a band with that name, but let's not nitpick. Jason Newsted interviews that he's been friends with Tommy and Gilby for years, and that Tommy called him to ask him to be in his band. Supernova does some more studio work, and producer Butch Walker sits behind the board like I'm supposed to know who he is, which I don't. Gilby interviews that Supernova is not a heavy metal band. Tommy tells us, "We're looking for a rock star." Shots of crowds, Boston, crowds, New York, crowds, London, Reykjavik, crowds, Sydney, Toronto, a bar marquee announcing the auditions, and some face-pierced redheaded chick shrieking "Oh, yeah" onstage tell us what American Idol takes a month to convey: they went all over the world auditioning singers. Gilby says he knows that their singer is one of the finalists. Which is good, because the season finale would be a little awkward otherwise. Tommy tells the finalists, "Hang on, baby. Hope you brought your helmet." Right back at you, dude. Supergroups are a dicey proposition at the best of times, but the fact that nobody's admitting that the driving forces behind this one are Mark Burnett and the Codger Broadcasting System makes this one especially iffy.