Wednesday, July 5

RockStar: Supernova Premiere!

Whee! First episode. This year we have 15 finalists, and I actually know (or at least recognize) all 15 songs!

Show format, for any who don't know: we're looking for a lead singer for a new band called Supernova, to include instrumentalists Tommy Lee (from Motley Crue and Tommy Lee Goes to College), Gilby Clarke (from Guns 'n Roses), and Jason Newsted (from Metallica). They will record a single to "drop" at the end of September, make an album (produced by Butch Walker, who is also on hand to comment on the singers), and do a big New Year's Eve concert in Vegas. Voting will take place online or by text messaging. House band same as last year (yay!) On to the contestants!

1) Storm Large – Pinball Wizard
Yes, that's her real name! She describes herself (in her intro video clip) as a "performer," after mentioning that some people say she exploits her sexuality. She is very pretty and has a good voice, but her range seems very limited (she changed the melody to eliminate the lowest notes). Tommy asked why she chose the song? "I'm unafraid."

2) Ryan Star – Iris
Ryan points out that he's not your typical "tattoed and pierced" rock star, and even says he has the "rock" part down but isn't a star yet. He played acoustic guitar while singing (the band played too). I like his voice, it's rough but not too screamy. Dave said he could see Ryan's passion; Jason liked his versatility and performance but mentioned he kept looking at his guitar to play the right chords.

3) Toby Rand – Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door
Toby is an Aussie who's a high school dropout and surfer. They did this acoustic and I really love his voice! I don't love his performing expression though, like he thinks way too much of himself. He was seated for part of it & held one note for a really long time, which (to me) shows good 'pipes' & vocal technique. Tommy enjoyed it, saying "I don't know how I'm going but I know where I'm going!" and Toby replied "hopefully I'm comin' with ya'." In general the band loved him, and looking back he's definitely in my top 3.

4) Patrice Pike – Somebody to Love (the Jefferson Airplane version, not the Queen song)
She mentioned in her intro that she has toured Europe. She was the first to interact w/the band while performing, & of course got praise for that. Her voice sounds a lot like the original; she has a good voice and good lung capacity as well. Overall it was very good, and comments were in agreement: Dave said she "killed" it and Gilby loved the tone of her voice & said he could tell she really wants this.

5) Magni – Satisfaction
Magni is from Iceland (!). His voice was just ok for me & too screamy for much of it, but he was good at interacting w/both the audience (encouraging them to sing) and the band and used a lot of the stage. Dave called his stage vibe too "Vegas" (& Magni defensively said he's never been to Vegas!). Tommy said he wished he could say something in "Icelandic" to him! He asked how to say "Hello" and Magni said with a slight accent, "Hello." ;-) Tommy just kind-of shrugged & sat back disappointedly (he cracks me up!). Again referring to his stage presence, Gilby said that they're a "dirty" rock band, so they want him to be himself but also keep that in mind.

6) Zayra Alvarez – Bring Me to Life
She is from a small town in Puerto Rico, and her name is pronounced in 3 syllables (zi-ear'-uh). This is a very ambitious song choice, but as she started out we found she has the perfect tone of voice for it. Unfortunately, she's not a good singer: not enough strength/power, missed notes, and was out of breath before the end. Apparently the band didn't care: Dave bonded w/her over being Puerto Rican, Gilby loved her 'style,' Tommy said "spicy," and Jason got down on one knee and asked her to marry him!

7) Jenny Galt – How You Remind Me
Jenny is 29 (they only mentioned ages for a few) and Canadian, with long blond hair. Apparently she has toured (Canada) and done videos but has yet to hit it big. She has a unique voice, and played electric guitar (very comfortably) while singing. I think she missed some of the high notes though (flat). Dave said she was hot & sexy, and a great example of someone who's comfortable playing an instrument on stage.

8) Josh Logan – She Talks to Angels
Josh is from New Hampshire and is a "soul" singer. He describes himself as multi-dimensional and says the term "rock star" needs to be re-invented. His voice is somewhat nasal and his look is a bit too boyish & pretty, but the performance was good despite over-embellishing. Dave said he's "like Chris (from The Black Crowes) went to finishing school" (hee!). Tommy asked why he picked that song and Josh said because he could "feel it;" T. said it was a good choice for his style. Jason asked why he thinks he can front their band, and he said he will bring his style/funk to them.

9) Matt Hoffer – Yellow
Matt is from Chicago and worked in real estate (aww, just like mmmMarty!). He mentioned how much money he thought he'd be making if he were still doing that, but said "life is about taking risks." Interestingly, his was one of the only clips that showed him singing (& playing acoustic guitar). His voice is different, rather soft, and his falsetto was not good. Dave mentioned the pitch problems but waved them off (nobody cares because "it's rock & roll"), saying he still "delivered." He wants to see something "uglier, heavier" next time.

10) Dilana – Lithium
Dilana grew up in a poor family in Africa and now lives in Texas. She has a very 'interesting' look, very extreme (mostly in makeup). For most of the song she stood very still at the mic, just singing intensely in her very growly, even somewhat snarly, voice. Then she ran around the stage frantically. Tommy loved watching her & was shown giving her a standing ovation; Dave said she was "awesome" and found her intensity "riveting."

11) Dana Andrews – I’m the Only One
Dana is the 'baby' of the group at 22; she's from Georgia and it's mentioned that she sang at weddings. She says she grew up very sheltered & took her first plane ride for the show. She has a low voice with a nice tone and surprising power! She started softly but really wowed a lot of us at the chorus (Jason was shown mouthing "wow"). From what we can tell I think she has the best voice of anyone. The crowd like it; Gilby said her voice was "awesome" and she had great pitch (and compared her to Bjork & someone else I didn't catch). Jason agreed and said she has a "gift."

12) Phil Ritchie – Cult of Personality
Phil is a former marching band member (yay) and college chemistry major from Maryland, but says he's passionate about music. His vocals weren't great nor did I enjoy his 'antics' on stage, though he was animated and used a lot of the stage. Dave said his stage presence lacked strength & confidence and implied the vocal was good, but Gilby called him "pitchy." Tommy said it was a "crazy" song choice for him, but he liked his style and said it was "well done."

13) Jill Giola – Piece of My Heart
Jill is a 4-11" well-endowed blonde from Long Island who's wanted to sing on stage since she was 3. (I think they pronounced her last name "Joy-a") I'm not exactly sure why but she really annoyed me with this performance (and I normally love the song), but then I didn't like last season's well-endowed bouncy blonde female's version either. ;-) I tried to stay objective though and am interested in seeing her do something else. Dave loved her and Jason said she's like a stick of dynamite - "a small package with lots of power." Oh and I laughed at Tommy Lee leaning backwards out of his chair to sing along into the camera!

14) Chris Pierson – Roxanne
Huh? That really says it all, but here's the rest... Chris is from Atlanta & was a baseball player until he injured his arm, and then music was his "outlet." This was a weird song choice and he rearranged it to be more rock, but it didn't come across well; they kept showing the band members who looked... somewhat bewildered! He had a good stage presence but *not* a good voice. Dave didn't like it and said the song showed what a limited range he has; Gilby & Butch both criticized the arrangement, acknowledging the intent but that sometimes you can't mess with classic songs and they didn't like it.

15) Lukas Rossi – Rebel Yell
Lukas is another Canadian (from Toronto) who says he lived on the street since (or at, at least) age 15. He said he's not here for the tv exposure or "to be a pop star," but to be in "a serious band." He has a very 'interesting' look and style, somewhat punk (which caused Mr. Pezkat not to like him). I thought he was very good, as did the crowd & Dave. Gilby channeled Randy and said he "made it [his] own," and Tommy just said, "Can you say 'Rock star'?!"

~ It's hard to tell just from one performance, but my early favorites are Dana (11) and Toby (3), though Josh (8), Patrice (4) and Lukas (15) have potential. Easily the weakest are Zayra (6) and Chris (14). Whew!

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