Wednesday, September 21, 2005

New Rock Star

The must-watch show in my home this Summer was Rockstar:INXS. I know reality TV gets a bad rap, but the producer of Survivor, Mark Burnett, knows how to create and produce riveting television. Throw rock 'n' roll in the mix and we were transfixed. Call it a thinking person's American Idol, only everyone was talented and the songs were all good.

Last night INXS selected their new lead singer, with the rock star name of J.D. Fortune. J.D. was the most controversial figure on the show; he had the arrogance of, well, a lead singer in a famous rock band, but he could back that arrogance up with vocals that sounded like INXS. Marty Casey, the Chicago-born runner-up, was a nicer guy, and a more progressive rock vocalist, but perhaps the more modern sound that he espoused was his undoing. Not that this will hurt Marty, who was a favorite in our house. Ultimately, I think his star will rise, either as a solo act, or with his old band, the Lovehammers.

J.D. ultimately stepped up and produced, what I think, a better original song, a dark lyrical journey called "Pretty Vegas," which was punctuated by a portion sung through a bullhorn. Marty's original song, "Trees," which was clearly a fan favorite, will more than likely attract more airtime. However, I was much less impressed by J.D.'s lyrics. Compare the chorus from "Pretty Vegas":

It ain't pretty
After the show
It ain't pretty when the pretty leaves you
With no place to go

versus "Trees":

It'll be you and me
Up in the trees
And the forest will give us the answer
It'll be you and I
Up in the sky
It's a combination for disaster

Anyway, that's that and INXS is whole again. Melanie had the opportunity to see them at least once in the '80s and I had the pleasure of seeing them rehearse their "new" song "Suicide Blonde" while working on the 1991 MTV Video Music Awards. I was a production assistant for MTV at the time and, as part of the crew, had free reign of the Universal Amphitheatre in the week before the show. We often sat in the seats and watched the performers run through their songs. At one point, I was tasked with giving something to an assistant director, and had the thrill of standing next to Michael Hutchence on stage as he was talking to the A.D. One of the most disturbing parts of the INXS show was the overavoidance of talking about Hutchence.

Regardless, the show was, in my opinion, a smashing success and a pleasure to watch.

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