Monthly Archives: September 2006

Cook Islands: Episode 1

The premiere of Survivor: Cook Islands showed that the media
furor over dividing teams along ethnic lines was largely
unwarranted. Things went pretty much they same way they always do on
the show. The good-looking people banded together, and the lazy guy was
eliminated first.

The season started aboard a supply boat approaching a small island.  As the ship neared shore, host Jeff Probst told the latest crop of castaways to separate into their tribes, grab whatever supplies they
could carry, and begin paddling small rafts to their respective beaches.

Billy, of the Latino team,
Aitu, said he felt as if he was undoing some of the choices his parents
made years ago. They’d left the Dominican Republic by boat to reach the
United States, and here he was leaving America to paddle to another
island.

Rebecca, of the African-American team, Hiki, saw their
trip to shore as a chance to disprove some stereotypes: “Yes, black
people do swim. Yes, black people do know how to get on a boat and
paddle. We don’t just run track.”

For the most part, the Hiki
tribe got along well. Sundra and Rebecca, both of whom sport long
braids and wear yellow shirts, quickly formed a bond, because they both live in
New York.

Jazz  musician Sekou, who plays a mean conch shell, tried to take charge of preparing the camp, but
undermined his own authority by following each command with a lengthy
break. His breaks left the third woman on the tribe, Stephannie, in “a
state of pisstation.”

Puka, the team of Asian-Americans, hadn’t even reached shore before Cao Boi (pronounced “cowboy“)
offended all of his teammates with a ceaseless flow of Asian jokes.
Despite some regional ancestral similarities, Cao Boi couldn’t be more
different from his teammates. He fled wartime Vietnam as a child, while
his teammates — whose parents or grandparents hail from places as
diverse as the Philippines, Korea, and Hawaii — were all born in the
continental United States.

Cao Boi’s cultural peculiarities
weren’t entirely without value. Cao Boi’s knowledge of Eastern folk
medicine helped him diagnose Brad’s headache as a case of “bad wind,”
which Cao Boi treated by roughly massaging Brad’s face, and then
pulling and pinching the skin at the bridge of Brad’s nose. The
headache disappeared, although the treatment did have an unfortunate
side effect: a giant red mark between Brad’s eyes.

The Caucasian
tribe, Raro, seemed the most uncomfortable with the potentially
politically incorrect tribal divisions. But they got over it, jokingly
referring to themselves as the “Whiteys.”

It didn’t take Raro tribe members
Adam and Candice long to realize they’re not only white; they’re also
young, fit, and attractive. Thus, they felt obligated to start
snuggling romantically on the first night.

At their camp, Raro
flipped over a wooden box to create a makeshift coop for their two
chickens — one of which Adam had grabbed from the supply boat
legitimately, and the other that Jonathan had stolen from the Puka
tribe en route to the island. Jessica, this season’s dreadlocked fire
dancer, absentmindedly lifted the box, and the chickens quickly escaped
into the jungle. To this day, they rule with an iron fist over
all the island’s other beasts.

At the Immunity Challenge, teams
learned that the first three teams to complete the challenge would win
both immunity from Tribal Council and a flint for making fire. The
first place team would receive additional fire making supplies, such as
matches, kindling, and Aqua-Net.

Before the challenge started, host Jeff made small talk, asking the teams about their supply
situation. Brad and Yul pointed to Jonathan as the man who stole their
chicken. Jonathan shrugged, unconvincingly.

The challenge
consisted of two parts. Part one required each team to assemble a boat,
grab an unlit torch, row to a fiery platform, light their torch on
fire, and return to shore.

Ashore, teams solved four small block
puzzles (which composed the letters N, S, E, and W). Once the puzzles
were complete, teams placed the puzzle blocks in appropriate slots on a
wall: N on top, S on the bottom, etc. They then attached pieces from their
boat to the wall, creating a ladder. The challenge was complete when
the members of a team had climbed their ladder to a platform, and then used their torch to light a brazier.

Hiki fell behind early when they couldn’t figure out how
to assemble their boat. They made a push near the end when Raro
struggled with their small block puzzles, but couldn’t make up the
difference.

The consolation prize for losing was a chance to
send any contestant from one of the other three teams for a two day
stay on Exile Island. As payback for stealing Puka’s chicken, the men
of Hiki (who didn’t consult the women of their tribe) chose Jonathan.

Before
Tribal Council, the two Hiki men, Sekou and Nathan, tried to convince
Stephannie that she’d never be able to break up an alliance between Sundra and Rebecca. But, since the same was
probably true of buddies Sekou and Nathan — and since Sekou’s laziness
already annoyed her — Stephannie stuck with the ladies and voted off
Sekou.

Nathan didn’t seem too troubled by the vote, since Jeff
gave the tribe flint on their way back to camp. The prospect of a
toasty fire and parasite-free water was enough incentive to make him
forget all about Sekou.

Week 11: The Finale

After 11 weeks of competition, it turns out that none of the Rock Star contestants will be the lead singer of Supernova. However, that doesn’t mean nobody won.

Earlier
this week, a judge determined that Tommy, Gilby, and Jason would not be
allowed to call themselves Supernova, since there’s already a band with
that name. As of the time of this writing, they haven’t decided on an
alternative.

The finale began with a recap of the previous
night’s performances. Afterward, Brooke explained that the two rockers
(as opposed to the usual three) who received the lowest number of votes
would perform to save themselves from elimination. The band would
cut one person, and then the three remaining contestants would each
give a final performance.

During the course of the voting,
Dilana was the only one never to drop into the Bottom Two. By the time
voting ended, Lukas was safe, too. So it came down to Magni and Toby to
battle for a spot in the final three. They each played a song they’d
performed on an earlier episode of the show, with no major changes.

Magni
reprised “Fire” by Jimi Hendrix, in front of some giant video screens
brought out for the finale. Jason Newsted stood and
clapped at the end of the song — a sure sign that Magni was getting
cut, as Jason has often saved his heartiest responses to show respect
for those who are about to get axed. Toby played “White Wedding” by
Billy Idol, and did a typically solid job.

After the band
conferred over a commercial break, Gilby Clarke told Magni that he
seemed more a part of the House Band rather than a true frontman, so he
was being eliminated. Jason stared at the ground, resting his forehead
on his hand, perhaps an indication that the band’s decision was not
unanimous.

Dave Navarro said that he’s never had a bad thing to
say about Magni, and that the “Iceman” is loved throughout the world. Magni
thanked everyone involved, focusing special attention on the House
Band. He said Gilby was right; he didn’t want to front the House Band,
just be a part of it. Hopefully, Mark Burnett was listening and will
take Magni up on his offer next season.

As Magni left the stage, Jason turned to Dave and said, “He’s heading off to become the King of Iceland.”

Then
the Final Three joined Brooke onstage, where she gave each of them a
chance for some final words to the band. Lukas said that he was most
impressed that the guys were nice, despite being so rich and
successful. Dilana said that, while Lukas and Toby are great, she’s
“the one.” Toby said that he deserved to win because he’s taller than
Lukas and Dilana.

Then it was time for the final competition performances of
the season. Lukas sang “Bittersweet Symphony” by The Verve, Dilana did
“Zombie” by The Cranberries, and Toby performed “Somebody Told Me” by
The Killers. Supernova conferred one final time, pretending they hadn’t
decided on a winner weeks ago.

Jason grabbed the mic and lauded
Toby for his vocal range and energy level, and then abruptly cut him
from the competition. Lukas and Dilana stood dumbfounded as Toby hushed the grumbling crowd. Dave told Toby he’s already got a hit
single on his hands with his original. Toby was gracious and thanked
Superwhatever for not picking him–er, for their advice throughout the season.

After
Toby exited the stage, Brooke stood next to Lukas and Dilana. Dave
said, “It’s down to the two edgy ones. Brooke, it looks like you’re
about to perform a goth wedding… Ha, it’s not a bad idea!”

Tommy
told Lukas his look and vocals fit the band. He then told Dilana,
“You’re enchanting. Who doesn’t love you?” Apparently, Tommy doesn’t,
because he then announced that the band had picked Lukas as the winner.

By the end of the previous night’s voting, Lukas had moved up to receive the
highest number of votes, and the band said that helped them settle on a
champion.

Dave quickly took some ecstasy and gushed over Dilana,
“I absolutely adore you! You’re awesome. I love you.” He asked her to
take part in the upcoming tour, performing with the House Band. Dilana said she would.

And
Gilby offered his services to co-write and produce Dilana’s album. To distinguish himself from the other members of Supernova,
who’d made a similar offer to Storm, Gilby said, “I didn’t offer that
to anyone else. Only to you.” Dave and Tommy both said they were in,
too. Jason cried silently, wondering what the hell he was thinking when
he left Metallica and agreed to do this gig.

Then the newly complete band took the
stage to perform with their official lead singer. Jason gave Lukas a quick
hug, before donning an expression as if he’d punch the next person who
spoke to him. Someone must’ve let slip that even Dateline‘s ratings were pummeling those of the Rock Star finale. He picked up his bass and stood as far away from Lukas and the others as possible.

Gilby
and Tommy embraced Lukas, and the band played “Be Yourself (and Five
Other Cliches),” a song they’d tried a few weeks back with Toby on
vocals. Tommy smiled widely during the performance, and Gilby
frequently interacted with Lukas.

Brooke then called them back to the front
of the stage to sign off for the season. Jason crossed his arms and
scowled the entire time, because he was missing the end of Dancing with the Stars.

The
band again took up their instruments, this time to play “It’s All
Love.” Lukas asked Magni (who sang the song with the band last week) to
come out and play acoustic guitar with them. As they performed, the
credits rolled, and the show faded out.

The first thing the band
is going to have to do is move the songs to a key that Lukas can
actually sing. Either that, or Lukas needs to work on his range. He had
a rougher time with the new tunes than he did with most of his covers
during the season. And Gilby’s harmonies didn’t mesh well with his
voice, either.

It wasn’t the best first impression to offer the band’s potential fans. But it
seemed fitting to go out on a sour note, since Jason already looked set
to quit the band.

DwtS 3, Week 1: Results Show

To almost nobody’s surprise, Tucker Carlson was the first celebrity eliminated from Dancing with the Stars 3. And it appears that Jerry Springer is more popular that he thought. He
was near the top in the audience voting, despite barely surviving his
Cha Cha Cha.

During a quick recap of last night’s performances,
Joey Lawrence revealed that his pants ripped during his routine.
Regarding his own routine, Tucker said, “Our campaign is not based on
competence. It’s based on fun.”

After the recap, the judges
asked Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke to give an encore of their Cha
Cha Cha. They did, and it was pretty much a carbon copy of the entertaining original.

Tom
Jones took the stage next, singing his classic, “It’s Not Unusual.”
During the song, Louis van Amstel and Karina Smirnoff (whose outfit
took fringe to new lengths) danced a Samba, which showed us what we already knew: the celebrities are doing well, but the professionals are on a whole different level.

As
medical staff brought out a tank of oxygen and some high-waisted pants
for Tom Jones after his song, Samantha Harris talked to some of the
couples backstage. Sara Evans said her icy reception from the judges
was shocking, but made her want to work harder. Tucker said he hoped to
improve his scores by working “more actual dancing” into next week’s
routine.

Tom Bergeron then introduced a new show feature.
Members of last night’s studio audience — including a number of
non-dancing celebrities who showed up to watch the competition — had
some of their comments filmed. One man nicknamed Mario Lopez “M-Lo.”
Actress Holly Robinson Peete said she liked Emmitt’s performance. And
comedian Nicole Sullivan said, “If there’s a God in heaven, we won’t
see Tucker sitting in a chair next week…unless it’s on some other
show.”

Tom and Samantha brought the couples onto the dance floor
to announce the first of the couples who would be safe until next week.
They were Harry Hamlin & Ashly DelGrosso, Jerry Springer & Kym
Johnson, Vivica A. Fox & Nick Kosovich, and Emmitt & Cheryl.
The announcement of his safety prompted Jerry to mutter a confused,
“What?”

Another new show feature this season is the SlimFast
Dance Challenge. Working mom Tysonia Sichinga volunteered to train with
professional dancer Christian Perry in the hopes of toning her arms and
slimming her buns. Footage showed Tysonia learning the Mambo in five
days for a performance in front of family and friends. The show will
track Tysonia’s progress as she attempts a new dance each week. Next
up: the Tango.

In anticipation of one of the dances some
celebrities will perform next week, the professionals gave a live
demonstration of the Mambo. Proving that he knows how to choreograph
for TV, Tony Dovolani made sure to place Maksim Chmerkovskiy front and
center — where he danced with two partners, Cheryl and Edyta
Sliwinska, early in the routine.

Afterward, the pros caught
their breath while Samantha talked to the four safe celebs backstage.
Jerry said he was so sure he’d be eliminated, he already checked out of
his hotel. He said, “Obviously people aren’t voting based on the
dancing.”

Harry said he’s looking forward to the quickstep next
week “because you can be really stiff from the waist up.” Vivica said
she’s her own biggest competition, but she’s worried about “brother
Emmitt over here.”

After a commercial break, Tom brought all of
the couples still eligible for elimination on to the dance floor and
asked the judges which couple they thought should go home. Len Goodman
nominated Shanna Moakler & Jesse DeSoto, saying they had “no
charisma.” Bruno Tonioli said it wouldn’t be fair to the other
competitors if Tucker stayed, because he was seated for half his dance.
Carrie Ann Inaba said she wasn’t impressed with what Sara brought to
the dance floor.

Everyone cleared the floor so that a
resuscitated Tom Jones could perform “She’s a Lady.” His voice sounds
remarkably good, especially compared to the painful performances of
Bill Medley and Barry Manilow last season. During the song, a camera
pan of the audience showed Jose Canseco, a former baseball player best
known for taking steroids and having a ball bounce off of his head for
an opponent’s home run.

Samantha and Tom then announced the next
couples who’d be returning for next week: Monique Coleman & Louis,
Joey & Edyta, Mario & Karina, and Sara & Tony. That left
Tucker & Elena Grinenko, Shanna & Jesse, and Willa Ford &
Max in the Bottom Three.

For Willa to wind up in the Bottom
Three after finishing in third with the judges, it meant that she
severely lacked audience support, and she could be in big trouble the first
time she has an off week with the judges.

For Jerry and Harry (and their respective partners) to avoid even flirting with the
Bottom Three, it seems they’ve got a surfeit of fans. Those two may
last a very long time, especially if their dancing improves.

Shanna
& Jesse were the first Bottom Three couple announced as safe until next week. Willa put her head on Max’s shoulder as Tom paused dramatically… before
finally announcing that Tucker & Elena had the lowest overall score
and were eliminated. Tom commended Tucker for coming so far out of his
comfort zone to appear on the show.

Tucker said that Kenny Mayne
convinced him to participate on the show, proving that mere association
with Kenny is enough to get you eliminated first. Tucker said that
Elena’s task was akin to “Einstein teaching addition to a slow kid.”
Tom then directed all of the offended slow kids to send their letters
right to Tucker, and not ABC.

Week 11: Performance Show

It’s the final week of Rock Star: Supernova, and, in my opinion, the show lasted one week too long. With a brand new episode of Dancing with the Stars on tonight, there was little incentive to (re-)watch performances of the rockers’ original songs from last week.

Dilana
got the honor of introducing Ryan as the winner of the fans’ choice
encore, and he sang his original, “Back of Your Car.” As the winner, he
received a Honda CRV and a Verizon Chocolate phone. And Brooke plugged
Ryan’s new album, “Dark Horse,” available on the Rock Star website.

Toby – “Karma Police” by Radiohead
Toby
sounded okay, but the performance was probably more meaningful to
people who were already fans of the song. I don’t care for Radiohead,
so this didn’t do it for me. Then Magni played guitar on Toby’s
original.

Dave loved the Radiohead song and the original, and
Tommy said, “Nice job.” Gilby said Toby lost it on the early melody of
the Radiohead song, but finished strong. Jason said Toby’s performance
generated a lot of energy.

Lukas – “Fix You” by Coldplay
Lukas
is finally starting to open up his voice on prettier songs. He stumbled
about the stage in Lukas fashion, knocking over his mic stand. The
House Band sounded perfect behind him. Then he played his original
acoustically — giving the audience its best shot at understanding the
lyrics.

After the set, Dave pointed out his alter ego from American Idol,
Paula Abdul, who was in the audience. Tommy said Lukas’s performance
was, “Wow, cool as hell.” Gilby called Lukas fearless. Then, plugging
Thursday’s Survivor: Cook Islands premiere, also on CBS, Dave said, “Grab your torch. Head back to camp.”

Dilana – “Roxanne” by The Police
She can hit all of the notes of this song, which is a first for a contestant on Rock Star.
But she stripped things down and took all of the rock out of the song
— a disappointment, since my favorite part of the song is the drum
fill leading into the chorus. Magni, Toby, and Lukas sang backup for
her. Funny that she decided to perform a song about encouraging a
hooker not to turn tricks, while dressed like a hooker herself. Then
she performed her original.

Dave said he loved her 1000 times
more after tonight, and Tommy was similarly impressed. Jason requested
matching outfits for her backup singers, as well as some choreography.

Magni – “Hush” by Deep Purple
Finally, a rock song. The band actually got to have fun with one of the covers tonight. Magni’s original followed.

Dave
said, “You put on a great set, now the cards are gonna fall where they
may.” That’s executive producer code for, “You’re doomed.” Tommy said
that, unlike the other rockers’ songs, he didn’t remember anything
about Magni’s original. Jason said he dug Magni’s original, and Gilby
said Magni sang great and performed well.

Early Results:
1st – Dilana
2nd – Toby
3rd – Lukas
4th – Magni

My vote went to Magni. I don’t want him to win, but he doesn’t deserve to be first off tomorrow night either.

DwtS 3, Week 1: Performance Show

Season 3 of Dancing with the Stars is finally upon us. Some of the celebrities have some serious dance skills, and not necessarily the celebs you’d expect. Hint: one of them used to play football.

Tom Bergeron and Samantha Harris returned as hosts this season, and they started things off by introducing the new cast. They also acknowledged the new and improved ballroom, complete with balconies and chandeliers Tom said were stolen from a travelling production of Phantom of the Opera.

Tonight, the female stars danced the Fox Trot, while the men danced the Cha Cha Cha.

Joey Lawrence and Edyta Sliwinska – Cha Cha Cha
Joey said the last time he danced in front of anyone, he was seven years old. Edyta said her choreography is inspired by “creatures of the jungle.”

During their performance — to a low-energy rendition of “I Like the Way You Move” — the couple couldn’t stop grinning. Joey’s experience and commitment to practicing showed, as did his fondness for strong arm gestures. He’ll have fun with the Paso Doble.

After the dance, Tom introduced the judges, all of whom returned from last season. Head Judge Len Goodman said he expected fun energy and hip movement in the Cha Cha Cha. He told Joey to work on his hips. Bruno Tonioli said the couple “could be a match made in heaven.” Carrie Ann Inaba said that Joey’s a powerful performer, but he needs to work on his arms. Joey replied, “Arms. Done.” Even though it was the first performance of the season, the crowd started early and booed the scores.
Judges’ Scores… Carrie Ann: 7, Len: 7, Bruno: 7 = 21/30




Sara Evans and Tony Dovolani – Fox Trot
Sara revealed that she broke both of her legs when she was 8, so ballroom dancing was something she’d never dreamt of doing. Tony said that, when he dances, he’s the lion and his partner is the lioness. Sara took Tony on the road with her during her concert tour so that they could train.

It was a pretty performance, but Tony needs to stop having Sara do high kicks to avoid unfair comparisons to Stacy Keibler, his leggy partner from last season. Sara had a pained (or maybe just nervous) look on her face for much of the dance.

Len said that the Fox Trot requires gliding and romance. He noted that the celebs had longer to practice this season than last, so his expectations are higher. He said that Sara didn’t glide. Bruno said Sara had a split personality, “switching from Jackie O. to Barbara Bush.” Carrie Ann told Sara to relax and extend her arms. The crowd booed loudly during the comments, and only got louder when the judges revealed their scores.
Judges’ Scores… Carrie Ann: 5, Len: 5, Bruno: 5 = 15/30




Tucker Carlson and Elena Grinenko – Cha Cha Cha
Tucker admitted that he has no dance experience, and Elena added that he also has no natural ability. She’s just hoping to get him through one episode.

They used the first prop of the night, as Tucker sat in a chair for the start of the song, before Elena ripped off his trademark bow tie. He’s the show’s everyman, and by that, I mean that he looked stiff and uncomfortable.

Carrie Ann said that Tucker looked like he had a good time even though he only danced for half of the song. Len said that “the problems started as soon as Tucker stood up.” Bruno called the dance “an awful mess” and said Tucker “looked like he was sitting on the toilet.” Tucker said at least it was an artful put-down. Tucker said he’s gonna win Bruno over, after the “seeds of affection marinate in him a while.”
Judges’ Scores… Carrie Ann: 5, Len: 4, Bruno: 3 = 12/30




Monique Coleman and Louis van Amstel – Fox Trot
Monique said that she knows how to dance, but she’s best at krump. Louis said, “She’s young, she’s flexible, so I can mold her into anything I want.” Louis pushed Monique hard in training, making her cry, but she knew it was because he sees potential in her.

During the performance, she was the first celebrity who really tried to emote through her facial expressions. She moved beautifully and could be a sleeper contender.

Bruno said Monique’s “a dream girl in the making,” but she has to keep her hips under her. Carrie Ann said Monique’s arms were beautiful, but that she “overdanced it with her face.” Len agreed that Monique had gorgeous arms, but felt the dance had “as much romance as an autopsy.” He told Louis to take Monique out to dinner and romance her a bit.
Judges’ Scores… Carrie Ann: 6, Len: 6, Bruno: 7 = 19/30




Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke – Cha Cha Cha
Emmitt’s used to taking direction, but probably not from a coach that charges a quarter for his mistakes. (He owed Cheryl $2 at one practice.)

Based on how loudly the crowd cheered during the dance, they are the early crowd favorites. Emmitt moves likes someone who has danced before, even if just for fun. Jerry Rice has to be jealous. Cheryl even choreographed in some of Emmitt’s pop ‘n’ lock moves.

Carrie Ann called Emmitt over to the judge’s table, shook his hand, and said, “You can dance!” Len said Emmitt is a natural and that the performance was a joy. Bruno said, “For the first time tonight, I wanted to join in and dance.”
Judges’ Scores… Carrie Ann: 8, Len: 8, Bruno: 8 = 24/30




Willa Ford and Maksim Chmerkovskiy – Fox Trot
Willa said about Max, “He’s a very attractive man, and he knows it.” Max posed in front of the mirrors in the practice studio, flexed his arm, and told Willa to “grab my beautiful muscle.”

They performed to Spandau Ballet’s “True.” They obviously liked dancing with each other, grinning the entire performance. Willa looked polished, and they seemed like they’ve been dancing together longer than 6 weeks.

Bruno said, “What an exquisite treat.” He complimented Willa on spinning well and said she has a great teacher. Carrie Ann said Willa was “graceful and flawless.” Len liked the fluid movement, but told her to work on her footwork: “Sometimes your feet are a little bit bizarre.”
Judges’ Scores… Carrie Ann: 7, Len: 7, Bruno: 8 = 22/30




Mario Lopez and Karina Smirnoff – Cha Cha Cha
Mario was hyper in rehearsal, giving Karina “Mario Overload.” At one point, she put tape over his mouth. During one poor practice, Karina said, “Len Goodman is gonna have a field trip with this.”

During the performance, Mario looked like he was having a great time, making the dance look easy. Karina’s choreography really took advantage of Mario’s manic energy.

Len said the performance was “one of the best of the night.” Bruno declared, “Super Mario, the hottest Latino in town! Do you have extra batteries in your pants?” Carrie Ann loved the chemistry and Mario’s hip action, and called them the couple to beat.
Judges’ Scores… Carrie Ann: 9, Len: 8, Bruno: 9 = 26/30




Shanna Moakler and Jesse DeSoto – Fox Trot
Jesse said that, since Shanna’s also dealing with the stress of a public divorce, she’s her own worst enemy on the dance floor. It’s hard for her to leave her baggage behind.

Their performance, set to “Saving All My Love For You,” was nice, but not passionate or moving.

Bruno said Shanna needs to sustain the performance the whole way through, and not turn into an “ice queen.” Carrie Ann thought it was nice and that Shanna had good posture. Len said he was expecting more, since she’s pretty and she has a great partner. He said he didn’t like her footwork or holds.
Judges’ Scores… Carrie Ann: 7, Len: 5, Bruno: 6 = 18/30




Harry Hamlin and Ashly DelGrosso – Cha Cha Cha
Ashly said that training with Harry is completely different than training with Master P, which is a good thing. Harry spent more time practicing for this first performance than P did all last season.

They performed to “Disco Inferno,” and, thankfully, didn’t go for gimmicky ’70s outfits. Harry tried hard to nail the technical details, but his carriage was very stiff. It looked like Ashly danced around him, more than with him.

Carrie Ann said she had high hopes for Harry, but the performance was “stiff and awkward.” Len called it “mechanical.” Bruno said it was like Harry was fighting the kraken in Clash of the Titans again, just waiting to get it over with.

In response, Harry pulled Medusa’s head out of a sack and turned Bruno to stone.
Judges’ Scores… Carrie Ann: 5, Len: 6, Bruno: 6 = 17/30




Vivica A. Fox and Nick Kosovich – Fox Trot
Vivica said the extent of her dancing experience was playing a stripper in Independence Day. But she and Nick looked elegant and very comfortable together during their performance. Vivica paid attention to detail, and the routine even allowed her to show some tough girl attitude.

Bruno said, “You’re a bad girl, aren’t you? I loved it.” Len said Vivica sold it, and that the dance was “sophisticated.” Carrie Ann said that Vivica was feisty, but her technique was a little lacking. Bruno and Len objected, but Carrie Ann said she believes in Vivica and just wanted to see it come together a little better.
Judges’ Scores… Carrie Ann: 6, Len: 8, Bruno: 8 = 22/30




Jerry Springer and Kym Johnson – Cha Cha Cha
Jerry’s using DwtS as training for his daughter’s wedding in January. Upon meeting Kym, he asked if she’d if she lost a contest and gotten stuck with him as her celebrity.

Jerry’s suit jacket for the performance had a weird, black karate belt thing wrapped around it. He moved about as well as George Hamilton did last season. Kym was a great partner, even though the routine got little gimmicky at the end, with Jerry throwing dollar bills around.

Len said Jerry held his own against the young guys. Carrie Ann said he forgot his choreography a few times, but that it was obvious that he was having fun. Bruno said that Jerry must have attended “The George Hamilton School of Dancing,” and that the performance was endearing.
Judges’ Scores… Carrie Ann: 5, Len: 5, Bruno: 6 = 16/30




Leaderboard:
1 – Mario & Karina
2 – Emmitt & Cheryl
3 (tie) – Willa & Maksim and Vivica & Nick
5 – Joey & Edyta
6 – Monique & Louis
7 – Shanna & Jesse
8 – Harry & Ashly
9 – Jerry & Kym
10 – Sara & Tony
11 – Tucker & Elena

My vote went to Emmitt Smith tonight (and not just because his partner was nice enough to give me an interview back in March). I had assumed he’d be another stiff ex-athlete, but his dancing ability was a pleasant surprise.

The season’s first elimination takes place tomorrow night, after a special performance by Tom Jones.

Week 11: Reality Episode

The four remaining rockers were sentimental about the end of their journey in the final reality episode of Rock Star: Supernova. Although not sentimental enough to skip some pointless, last-minute bickering.

At
dinner following Storm’s departure, Magni, Toby, Dilana, and Lukas all
said they would miss living with Storm. Then they marveled over the
fact that one of them would become Supernova’s singer in a matter of
days.

Magni tried to quietly appreciate the gravity of their
situation by playing the piano, and Dilana hopped over to sit beside
him. Puckish Toby couldn’t resist the opportunity to exact his messy
congratulations on Magni for singing with Supernova that night. Toby
slipped Dilana a frosting-laden piece of cake, which she shoved into
Magni’s face as he played.

The rockers were surprised the next
day by MiG, last season’s elfin Aussie contestant. MiG handed Toby a
set of keys to a new Honda Element, and then MiG jumped in and out of
the car, prompting Toby to call him “a funny little man with painted-on
jeans.”

MiG stuck around to remind the gang of the sobering fact
that three of them would not win. Those three need to be prepared to
seize opportunities when they see them, as the exposure from the show
won’t automatically generate multimillion dollar recording deals. MiG
himself finally signed a deal recently, and his album will be out in
January.

After MiG left, Lukas admitted that he stopped
listening as soon as MiG talked about the possibility of losing. Lukas
said he showed up to win, and that is his only option. Then Toby
gleefully said, “I got a fucking car,” and everyone was back in high
spirits.

The gang went into the song selection room where they
discovered that four of the pictures on the walls had been replaced
with shots of them performing. There was close up of Magni screaming
into a mic, and a long shot of Dilana in her hoodie on week 1. The shot
of Toby featured him surrounded by the girls he dragged on stage a few
weeks ago. He shocked Magni when he pointed to a girl and identified
her as Ashley from Melbourne, prompting Magni to wonder, “How the hell
do you know that?”

Toby and Magni took a special pleasure in
critiquing Lukas picture, taken when he performed “Creep.” He was
making a face that Toby described as “humanly impossible,” with his
lips puckered and smooshed up against his nose. Lukas remarked, “I look
like the Predator. What are my lips doing?”

When it came time
for song selection, the rockers received a note instructing them to
choose any song that’s been performed this season, including Bottom
Three songs, or one of four new tracks. In addition to the cover song,
the rockers will reprise their originals.

So while the season premiere of Dancing with the Stars enters its second hour of brand new performances, Rock Star
will be rehashing four performances we’ve heard before (twice already
in Lukas’s and Toby’s cases). Not a good move. I’m sure I won’t be the
only one taping Rock Star in favor of DWTS.

Searching
the huge stack of previously performed songs gave the rockers a chance
to reflect on those who went before them, a technique Mark Burnett uses
in the final episode of each season of Survivor. Magni found Matt’s ill-fated Duran Duran song, and all agreed it was best left on the pile.

One
of the new songs was “Comfortably Numb” by Pink Floyd, and, despite
having dozens of songs to choose from, both Lukas and Dilana decided
that they needed that song. Lukas made the point that he gave Dilana
what she wanted last week, so she should do him the same favor.

But,
just like last week, all it took was someone suggesting a challenging
alternative for Lukas to give in. “Fix You” by Coldplay was another of
the new songs, and Lukas’ initial reluctance to perform a second
Coldplay song gave way to the challenge of making it better than the
first.

So Dilana got her song and everyone was happy. That is,
until she changed her mind and decided that she’d rather sing
“Roxanne.” She offered “Comfortably Numb” back to Lukas, but he
declined.

Dilana, who performed “Every Breath You Take” a few
weeks back, practiced her new choice with Magni before exclaiming, “I
can’t believe I’m doing two Sting songs!” Somewhere, Stewart Copeland
and Andy Summers asked, “Hey, what about us?”

At rehearsal with
the House Band, Lukas said that “Fix You” reminded him of his
relationship with his absent father. If Lukas wins, Supernova’s first
album will be titled “Family Therapy.”

Dilana
went into her rehearsal session knowing that all she had to do was
leave “Roxanne” alone, and she’d avoid the fate Chris suffered for his
disastrous rearrangement. But then Dilana ignored her own advice and
decided to “strip things down,” leaving guitarist Raphael hiding his
face in his hands.

As always, band leader Paul voiced the
opinion of the masses: “It’s perplexing that she would’ve chosen the
song, and then chosen to do it the way she’s doing it. I don’t
particularly care for it, personally. But she likes it.”

Dilana
went preemptively on the defensive: “If I get crucified for doing this
song, then whoever crucifies me needs their head read, because I think
it’s stunning the way I’m doing it.” Then she was shown singing and
screwing up the first word–the very title–of the song: “Roxanna.”

Week 10: Elimination Show

Dilana should’ve been eliminated for butchering a classic song by Cheap Trick, but instead, Supernova booted Storm off of Rock Star.

The
show started with an announcement that Brooke is pregnant with a baby
girl. And Tommy and Dave wasted no time hitting on the embryo.

Viewers
were then shown a montage of the original songs performed last night.
In the studio, Dilana sat on the rockers’ mini-stage, holding a new
pair of crutches decorated with artificial flowers.

Dave tried
to ask Toby about his performance from the previous night, but Toby’s
answer was repeatedly interrupted by (presumably young) screaming
girls. Toby said, “Thank you, girls. In ten years.” Then, Supernova
chose Magni to sing with them.

Magni – “It’s All Love” by Supernova
The
song was totally forgettable adult contemporary alt-rock. This would be
featured on one of those radio station that still plays The Spin
Doctors a few times a week. Aside from a couple falsetto bits, the
vocals had such a narrow range that it was impossible to tell anything
about Magni’s voice from the performance — which is too bad, since we
know Magni can sing.

After letting us know that each of the
rockers had arrived at elimination show in a new Honda Element, Brooke
listed many fabulous features of this year’s model. She must really
like that car! Also, by sheer coincidence, we learned that the winner
of tonight’s encore would get to keep the Element they rode in on.

Before
announcing the encore winner, Gilby gave an update on the Supernova
tour itinerary. Dave’s band, Panic Channel, will be joining the House
Band as Supernova’s opening acts. Then, Jason declared Toby the winner
of the encore and the Honda. No word on if they’ll be switching the
steering wheel to the opposite side for tooling around Australia.

Toby – “Throwin’ It All Away” by Toby
Toby
dedicated his song to the memory of fellow Aussie, Crocodile Hunter
Steve Irwin. For a second night in a row, Raphael got to go nuts on his
guitar solo. Metal bands always sell out huge venues in Raphie’s native
Brazil, so this must have been a dream week for him.

Immediately
after winning a car and an encore, Brooke announced that Toby spent
some time in the Bottom Three during the course of voting. But so had
everyone else. The final Bottom Three was as follows:

Storm – “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd
Storm
needed to rock. Instead, she performed a song being simultaneously
played in coffee houses across the country by hundreds of guys who’ve
just learned how to play acoustic guitar. Her voice sounded beautiful,
and she dedicated it to her mom and started to cry. Jason was crying as
well.

Dilana – “I Want You to Want Me” by Cheap Trick
Nooooooo!
Dilana sped up the song dramatically, and then couldn’t keep up with
the rhythm, making it sound like a polka. She concentrated so hard on
hopping on her one good leg that she screwed up all of the words.
Having just seen Cheap Trick perform this song on Sunday, Dilana’s
performance was an absolute joke.

Lukas – “Headspin” by Lukas Rossi
Jason
said that he was surprised to see Lukas at the bottom. Taking full
advantage of the national television exposure, Lukas performed his
original song again. His enunciation was a little better tonight, or
else I’m getting better at understanding him through repeated exposure.
I can only imagine how many lyrics I would have picked up if he’d
gotten the encore, too.

Gilby said that Storm’s been changing up
her performances, but she’s been in the Bottom Three several times. He
said that Dilana’s been the one to watch so far, but, being in the
Bottom Three, “that’s a rough one.” Gilby told Lukas he was safe and
sent him back with Toby and Magni.

Tommy professed his love for
both of the women (for all women, really), then handed his mic to Jason
to do the actual dismissal. Jason said the band respects both women as
“comrades in rock.” Then he sent Storm home, thanking her for lighting
up the stage every week.

Dave told Storm that he could’ve chosen
to play with any of the rockers this season, and he’d picked her. Dave
promised to play guitar on a recording of her original song. Tommy said
he wanted to play drums, and Jason volunteered to play bass. Storm
called her new band Rock Star: Stormnova. Echoing Ryan’s words from
last week, Storm promised that we’d see her again.

Week 10: Performance Show

Original song night on Rock Star: Supernova put the rockers in
their comfort zones, and the performances benefited from it. Toby,
Lukas, and Storm just made Supernova’s final decision a little more
difficult.

Brooke started the show by encouraging Ryan’s
disappointed fans not to despair. Ryan’s got the top three music
downloads on MSN music, so his solo career seems off to a promising
start. After showing footage from the reality show, Brooke introduced
Dilana, the first of the evening’s rockers to perform an original song,
as well as the requisite cover tune.

Dilana – “Behind Blue Eyes” by The Who
Dilana
tore a calf muscle during rehearsal, so she spent the majority of her
performance seated on a stool. She finally used the pretty voice she’s
been hiding under her smoky growl. It would’ve been nice if she’d used
it a little more liberally throughout the season.

Dilana’s Original -“Supersoul”
The
verse sounded just like Nirvana’s “Heart Shaped Box.” She used
childish-sounding rhymes to sing about how strong she is, and how she’s
not scared even though she’s small. It showcased the same problem she
had during the songwriting clinic: writing lyrics that are too literal
and specific.

Comedian Dave Navarro said that, vocally, you’d
never know Dilana had torn a calf muscle. Dave didn’t like her
original, but Tommy Lee did. Gilby Clarke said that her lyrics
over-explain everything in detail, and that she should use more
imagination when writing.

After returning from the commercial
break, Brooke announced that the House Band will open for Supernova on
their tour. Some of the losing rockers will perform their best songs
from the show. I might be willing to pay $45/ticket to listen to the
House Band and not have to hear Supernova play.

Magni – “Back in the USSR” by The Beatles
Magni did a fine job, but the House Band stole the show with their “hoo-hoo-hoo” backing vocals.

Magni’s Original -“When the Time Comes”
He
said that he just translated his song from Icelandic to English.
Apparently, the same words rhyme in both languages. Musically, it was a
pretty straightforward rock song. It wasn’t bad, but not particularly
memorable.

Tommy said that both songs seemed kind of the same,
and he asked Magni why. Magni replied, “Because both of those songs
were sung by me.”

“Oh, that’s why!” laughed Tommy. Gilby said that Tommy had a point; Magni should’ve kicked things up a notch for his original.

Storm – “Suffragette City” by David Bowie
Dave
interrupted Brooke as she introduced the song and asked if he could
play guitar on the song. Storm asked, “Are you kidding me? Get your ass
up here.” Storm might be the best David Bowie cover singer out there.
During Dave’s guitar solo, Storm yelled, “Oh, David!”

Storm’s Original – “Ladylike”
Creepy
and atmospheric, this was the most original of the original songs. The
chorus was really heavy, and I’ll bet the uncensored version (she
changed some words for TV) sounds great. This was Storm’s best
performance since “Anything, Anything.”

Dave said performing
with Storm felt like performing with some of the greatest singers he’s
ever played with. He said that her original was his favorite from both
seasons. Tommy said the original was, “Vvvvvrrgh,” while Gilby
described it as more, “Mmmrrgh.” Then Storm kissed Brooke on the lips,
in a clip that should be on YouTube in 3…2…1.

Lukas – “Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi
Lukas
played guitar, accompanied only by Paul on keyboard. They turned the
song into the first Bon Jovi goth dirge. Lukas sang the opening verse
quietly, emphasizing the dire circumstances of Tommy and Gina. If you
weren’t listening to the lyrics you’d never recognize the song. In
fact, since the lyrics were pretty much incomprehensible, I’m not sure
I did recognize the song. Still, somehow, it worked.

Lukas’s Original – “Headspin”
This
song also started out quietly and was a little slow tempo throughout,
but it got pretty loud during the chorus. Lukas lurched about the stage
in vintage Lukas style, giving a great performance. The House Band
rocked again, with Nate adding some cool drum fills and bassist Sasha
spraying water out of his mouth in Gene Simmons fashion. I wish I could
do that.

Dave praised Lukas for showing his emotional side in
his original song. When he said that it was the kind of song an arena
full of people would hold lighters up for, Gilby pointed out that now
fans hold up cell phones. Dave held up a shaky hand mimicking the
lighter pose, and said in an old man voice, “This kid’s really good.”

Toby – “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers
Toby’s voice sounded FANTASTIC. The song was written to be a crowd-pleaser, and the range was perfect for Toby.

Toby’s Original – “Throw It Away”
This
sounded like a Supernova song, only better. The guitar part was
super-fast and oddly reminiscent of Iron Maiden — fitting since Toby
runs around as much as Bruce Dickinson. And he sang perfectly whilst
running around.

Dave said the song was instantaneously memorable
and noted that the crowd had been singing along with Toby. Supernova
was also impressed.

Instead of announcing the early bottom three, Brooke announced the early voting order for all contestants:

1st – Toby
2nd – Lukas
3rd – Magni
4th – Storm
5th – Dilana

My
vote went to Toby. He sounded great on both songs and put on a high
energy show. If Supernova is a serious band looking for someone with
lots of emotional depth, they should choose Lukas. But if they just
want to rock and have a good time, Toby is their man.

Week 10: Reality Episode

With Supernova so close to choosing their lead singer, they tested the remaining Rock Star contestants’ songwriting skills in this week’s reality episode. If Supernova’s choice comes down to lyric writing, Dilana and Magni are in a lot of trouble.

After returning from the elimination show, the rockers toasted Ryan, and then smashed cake and sprayed champagne in each others faces. Everyone jumped into the pool to rinse off, which means they’re not responsible for cleaning the pool.

Then the rockers received a new Supernova song. Each had one day to write a melody and lyrics for the new track, which sounded heavier and less poppy than Supernova’s previous tunes.

Everyone got right to work, but Dilana was stuck after taking so many ego blows recently. Her sub-par performance of “Psycho Killer” in her first trip to the Bottom Three the night before made it even harder to focus on cranking out a new song.

The next day, Gilby Clarke worked separately with each of the contestants on their new songs. Storm was up first. Gilby liked what she’d written all right, but he enjoyed working with her even more. He appreciated not only her professionalism, but also her willingness to just have fun. She described working with Gilby as “laid back and easy.”

Magni confessed to Gilby that he was nervous about his English skills when it came to writing lyrics, but admitted to the camera that “90% of rock n’ roll lyrics have the same vocabulary, the same cliches.” Gilby was disappointed in the lyrics Magni presented and worked on “coloring them up.”

In true slacker style, Lukas wrote only one verse and chorus. Gilby said that, “melodically, it was excellent,” but was irritated that Lukas showed up without having done all of the work he was supposed to. Gilby said that Lukas “feels that this is his to lose,” which is why he’s not putting forth his full effort.

By contrast, Toby’s song was the “most complete,” according to Gilby. He stressed that Supernova wasn’t looking to hire a “puppet,” and he liked the fresh, youthful energy that Toby brought to their music.

Dilana, who’d written a lyrically embarrassing song in an earlier clinic, made the mistake of venting her current personal frustrations through the lyrics of this new Supernova song. Thematically, it dealt with strangers judging you harshly, specifically by voting on the internet. Not exactly a problem most of us can relate to, unless you’re an ugly cat at kittenwar.com.

Gilby said that Dilana’s writing was “a little cliche…I could’ve almost predicted what she was going to say.” When he told her that writing about laptop screens was too literal, Dilana suggested changing the words to “control-alt-delete.” Gilby said that, when it comes to lyrics, “it didn’t seem like she has much of an imagination.”

Dilana admitted to the cameras, “I didn’t realize that the whole songwriting thing was going to be such a big issue. I honestly auditioned for this to be the singer.” Gilby also told the cameras that all successful artists write their own songs, and asked, “If you’re not bringing anything, then what the hell do I need you for?”

At song selection, Dilana and Lukas had a showdown for “Behind Blue Eyes” by The Who. Magni seized the opportunity to goad Lukas into choosing between “Back in the USSR” and “Livin’ on a Prayer.” Since no one wanted anything to do with Bon Jovi, Lukas fell into the trap and said he’d be the one contestant who could make it rock. Within a few seconds, he realized what he’d done and muttered, “I’m screwed.”

In addition to singing one of the posted songs this week, each rocker will also perform an original song. That means that Dilana will perform at least one song she’s familiar with. In rehearsal with the House Band, she admitted that she’d only ever heard the Limp Bizkit cover of “Behind Blue Eyes.” So, she decided to rearrange the song — since the original Who version sounded “too country.” Band leader Paul worried that Dilana was changing the song “from a position of ignorance.”

Dilana’s gamble might still pay off, despite the fact that she changed the words to, “No one knows what it’s like to be the bad girl.” She could be safe, as long as she doesn’t perform this song, too: