Rock Star: INXS -- week 7

Goodbye, Deanna. The contestant whom I had originally pegged as the standout performer during the first week was sent home the seventh week. At this point, it's no surprise at all. As the weeks went on, the husky-voiced singer showed little variety. She did what she did well, but it was all she did. However, she did get a great showcase on her final Tuesday night performance. She was able to perform her original composition "My Truth", a suitable blues-rock number that was co-written by her and Ty, in front of a worldwide audience of millions, and she did well. She has already lived many a musician's dream, and I'm almost certain we'll hear more from her in the future. When she sang the INXS song "Elegantly Wasted" on Wednesday night, her voice put a unique spin on the song, but it showed that she was not the appropriate person to become the full-time frontperson for INXS. But I hope to buy a Deanna Johnston CD someday.

My vote this week went to Ty. His grandiose arrangement of "Proud Mary" was more Turner than Fogerty, which made it a fine vehicle for his talents. Enlisting his three female competitors as backup singers was brilliant. The change from slow to fast tempo came on a bit strong, but I was impressed with the whole Ty show. If his future doesn't lie with INXS, he could be headed for Broadway, or for his own dynamic solo act.

My vote didn't save him from the bottom three, but that's not such a bad thing. When Ty is in the bottom three, he comes out looking good after nailing his assigned INXS song. In this case, the song was "What You Need", and he excelled with it.

That brings me to my next point. We need to see these singers perform INXS songs. Up to this point, I haven't had a problem with the show's format. It made sense when there were 10, 12 or 14 contestants. But it's now high time we heard the top contenders cover INXS. We can rant and rave about Jordis, Mig, and JD all we want, but the fact remains that the viewing audience has yet to hear them perform songs by the band they are competing to front. I hope I don't sound like a conspiracy theorist, but judging from the posts on MSN's official message boards, there seems to be a plot among countless female viewers to keep voting for JD every week to keep him out of the bottom three. Come on, girls! I want to hear this hotshot do an INXS song! He's the one who once brazenly told the band that he loves their songs more than the other contestants do. And Dave Navarro now says that JD's voice is "totally suited" to the INXS back catalog. I want to hear proof!

Mig was the other contestant besides Deanna who performed his original composition. His song "Do Or Die" was not all that impressive, but Mig and the house band punched it across well. After the Sunday night drama over the contestants writing their own songs, it seemed like a letdown to only hear two of them.

But I guess Mark Burnett and company needed to play it safe, and had the other five performers do classic rock songs. Suzie's enthusiastic perfromance of the Stones' "Start Me Up" was worthy of the Wednesday encore. JD's modern interpretation of Foreigner's "Cold As Ice" was cool, and almost compensated for his blunders the two previous weeks. Marty made the most out of Live's "I Alone", though he continues to be predictably Cobain-like. His Wednesday performance of INXS' "Don't Change" was good enough to earn him points.

But what happened to Jordis? The girl who took my breath away three weeks ago flirted with disaster this week. The Aerosmith classic "Dream On" seemed like an ideal song for her. But her performance was troubled from the beginning. And when she hit (or failed to hit) that feared note toward the end, she crashed and burned. It's a good thing she stayed out of the bottom three (remember Daphna and Heather?). But she needs to redeem herself.

There are only six contestants left, so half of them will be in the bottom three next time. Good. (To see what I mean, re-read the fourth paragraph above).