It’s all over now, and we can feel free to stop caring. The entire point of Rock Star: Supernova was its selection process: we got to see “the fifteen best unsigned rockers in the world” work their way through initial awkwardness and growing pains and tough-but-fair criticisms, seeing most of them drop one by one until we finally got to the point where one of them was ready to front a band of wizened veterans. Now that one of them actually has actually been named as the new singer of the band, all that tension is gone. In a weird way, last night’s series finale was maybe the least interesting episode of the show. All the final four contestants came in fully formed, with their tics and quirks and preferences fully established and documented. They all performed songs they’d already performed over the course of the season; the only real reason to turn in was the moment when they named their winner. When they did announce that winner, the show still had about fifteen minutes left, and the guy they chose did a couple of songs with them, but the story was already over. I barely paid attention to those last two songs.
The guy they chose was Lukas Rossi, an angry Canadian goth dwarf with creative facial hair who sort of reminds me of Wolverine. He’d pretty much established himself as a frontrunner on the first episode of the show, when the band’s three members all fell all over his version of “White Wedding,” so it wasn’t exactly a huge surprise. He’s an interesting choice, though, a sort of walking composite sketch of virtually every rock-radio trend of the past decade. His wardrobe is a weird hybrid of Hot Topic mall-punk and Killers new-wave revival: white dinner jackets, studded gloves, aviator sunglasses at night. But his wire-thin goatee and blond stripe are total nu-metal holdovers, and that crucifix he always wears is some Scott Stapp shit. The songs he picks to sing are the the stuff of unimaginative Britpop dance-night playlists: “Bittersweet Symphony,” “Creep,” “White Wedding,” Killers. But he always sings those songs with a scratchy neo-grunge growl, and the effect is really strange, like if Liam Gallagher wanted to be the guy from Seven Mary Three as badly as he wanted to be John Lennon; that voice is the reason Jason Newsted was constantly on him, telling him “open up your throat” so many times that you could pretty much mouth the words along with him by the end. (Newsted was the only member of the band who didn’t hug Rossi after he won, so, um, maybe that’s a developing situation.) Basically, Rossi is like what would happen of Orgy’s cover of “Blue Monday” somehow took human form. The first song he did with the finally formed band had a lot of heys and hos in it, and it came out sounding something like a pirate song.
Rossi can sing, but he only really does it in little tantalizing bursts, quick snatches of falsetto or sudden rafter-lifting howls. He’ll do fine in the band, I guess, but I wish they would’ve chosen first runner-up Dilana, who dresses like a clown but who has a great raspy roar and a knack for turning a piece of garbage like the Cranberries’ “Zombie” into something resembling an anthem. She’ll be opening for the band on tour, though, and Gilby Clarke offered to help write and produce her album; I guess that’s the consolation prize. Navarro also offered to play on it; she must be just pissing herself about that. I suppose she could always pull a Miranda Lambert and outshine the actual winner, though I wouldn’t bank on any of these jokers ever having a day in the spotlight again, Rossi included.
There’s been another new wrinkle to this whole saga this week, though you wouldn’t know it from actually watching the show; the only real difference was that nobody last night actually referred to the band as Supernova. The name has been a problem, since there already was a Supernova, a California power trio who have released three albums (including one on Atlantic in 1995) and had that really awesome “Chewbacca” song on the Clerks soundtrack. The original Supernova is still around, and they sued to block the new one from using the name. In a rare case of the little guy winning, a judge ruled this week that the CBS Supernova would have to stop using the name altogether. Maybe they can have another reality show to pick their new name.
Voice review: Joy Press on Rock Star: INXS