"My God! They're living on nothing but adrenaline and dreams!"

Thus (mostly) spoke a member of INXS as he watched in awe as 15 contenders spazzed out in front of him in a desperate bid to become the next Michael Hutchence. In a weird-but-not-so-weird coincidence, the spazziest performer, J D Fortune*, bore a distinct resemblance to Tom Cruise, and whose to say that it wasn't?

Most of the contenders seemed to have talent, but unfortunately some of them seemed unfamiliar with the conventions of the rock n' roll genre. Ty, the black mohawked rocker, sang Cult of Personality by Living Colour. Rocking song, but adding some Mariah Carey**-like aural flourishes at the end did him no credit, even if Dave Navarro was drooling over him. An Aussie took a shot at Smells Like Teen Spirit but his voice was more suited to show tunes. Dana, who sometimes looked like the hottest 70s groupie still alive, but then sometimes like the hottest 70s groupie who didn't get out of the 70s alive, added some feminine angst to Knocking on Heaven's Door, screaming for a good 20 seconds. (Pssst....Dana...you're knocking on heaven's door...isn't that bad enough?) And some other dude sang Heroes which I thought was a Wallflowers song, making me very angry, but then I found out the Wallflowers covered it from David Bowie....but still, that's wrong. Having to link Jakob Dylan and Bowie is bad; throw in Jakob's pa and you start wishing that the only time Bob and Jakob ever got mentioned together was on Jakob's birth certificate.

One thing that I thought was cool was the choice of songs. You Really Got Me, Baba O'Reilly, One Way or Another, Remedy by Black Crows, and other solid rock n' roll songs. However, I missed the beginning of the episode and assumed that the singers chose them, but judging by the end of the first episode, when they have a limited number of songs to choose from for next week, I'm guessing I was wrong. So kudos to the producers, then. Mark Burnett, you magnificent bastard!

The girls were better than the boys, and I think a girl will win out in the end, probably over the Bo Bice-alike who sang the Kiss song. They seemed to understand better that rock n' roll is not about hitting every note, but growling and scraping over some notes when you have to. However, most of the girls added unnecessary flourishes and along with some of the guys, had too much polish to their dance moves. In truth, rock n' roll is all about spazzing out, and while you don't want to have an epileptic fit or gyrate your hips out of the earth's orbit, it is necessary to combine moves that reflect preening self-fascination with some "rough around the edges" clumsiness. After all, rock n' roll is all about living in the moment, right? With nothing but adrenaline, dreams, and Dave Navarro to take you to the next level, where Tom Cruise awaits.

*A pseudonym
**At what point does bringing up Mariah Carey's aural histrionics, as opposed to Beyonce's, Ashanti's, and whoever else, date me? I guess I can take comfort in the fact that Whitney Houston wasn't the first singer I thought of.


Mike said...

Is the idea of the INXS show that the new band will put out an album as INXS and tour and stuff? It's a shame, because I really liked INXS. It's not like they were some total crap band. Why are they doing this?

Actually, when I was in 6th grade, I had this super-religious teacher who convinced us that most rock musicians were satanists and that if you listened to records backwards you could hear their satanic messages. She actually used the cover of INXS "Kick" as an illustration, pointing out all the "seret satanic images." Which is funny, because as I recall the cover of the album is just the band members standing around and some dude skateboarding. Apparently the devil gives a thumbs-up to extreme sports.

Of course all the devil talk just made me think INXS was even cooler. Maybe the woman wasn't a religious nut after all, but a record company executive masquerading as a teacher and using psychological tricks to sell albums to impressionable kids.

Pete said...

Haven't seen the show, but does the winner have to subscribe to Hutchence's fatal kinks as well?

joe said...

Inxs is such an odd choice for a show like this. It's the kind of thing I'd expect from say, Blink-182 or a band of their ilk, but, like Mike said, Inxs was really good in their day. Plus, how long ago did Hutchence die? It was a while ago, right? Five or ten years? Is anyone going to care about the remainders of the band and watch the show to see what's going on with them? Weren't there more appropriate candidates, like Creed, that we would much rather see relegated to the netherworld of near celebrity that is reality television?