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''Rock Star'': Sorry, Dilana...

By RD Heldenfels Published: September 5, 2006

Storm was it tonight.

Toby wasn't bad either, because he made an excellent tactical decision. But let's start by clearing up something about Storm's original, which the show's graphic called ''Ladylike'' and which Storm had to sing as ''What the What Is Ladylike.'' That second ''what'' is, as you might imagine, an earthier word -- the one that starts with an f and is not as a rule heard on CBS. The song would sound better with the original word, but it was pretty massive even when bowdlerized.

That said, back to the beginning of the show. The recap had more drama with Dilana, followed by the news that she had ripped a calf muscle. She performed anyway, at times hopping on one leg as if she was about to launch a Ralph Macchio move.

Each singer did one cover and one original. Dilana's cover, ''Behind Blue Eyes,'' started well, went bad in the middle (when she lapsed again into that Stevie Nicks-singing-through-a-kazoo vocal), then went back on course. B overall. Her original, ''Supersoul,'' was one of those everyone-hates-me-but-I'm-strong songs favored by rock stars gone paranoid and thin-skinned. It was unworthy of the more confident Dilana of earlier in ''Rock Star,'' although I liked a lot of her performance. B minus.

Magni next. Strange pairing of ''Back in the USSR'' and an original rocker, ''When the Time Comes,'' that was sufficiently similar to the Beatles' track for Tommy to ask about it. I gave Magni a C on ''Back'' and a C plus on ''When the Time Comes,'' but I kept feeling that his performances were more tactical than awe-inspiring; he was trying to demonstrate that he could do the party-rock-boy thing as ably as Toby. But while I think Magni's better overall, Toby is more at ease channeling Billy Idol.

Storm. The dirty girl was back. You could tell the way the camera jumped during her incendiary ''Suffragette City'' that the show was having to dodge more provocative moves than they let on the air. She probably would have lit it up without Dave Navarro accompanying, but having him onstage was her license to kill. And she sang great. A. Then ''Ladylike,'' which sounded like a new anthem for every girl viewer with too much eye makeup and a collection of black T-shirts. A plus.

Lukas. ''Living on a Prayer,'' stripped, acoustic, mannered, boring. C minus. The original was ''Headspin.'' Better than the cover, with some catchy parts. C plus.

Toby still isn't all that interesting a singer. But what he did well was come up with songs that the band could just crush -- the Killers' ''Mr. Brightside'' and his own ''Throw It Away.'' All he had to was keep up with the melody, prowl the hall and not get in the way of the band. Then the people who remembered him might think he was good, too -- but mostly they would remember the cumulative sound. And that's what Supernova means when the guys talk about wanting a singer who fits: a singer who doesn't stink but who also isn't going to overshadow them. I'd give Toby a B on ''Throw It Away'' and a C plus on ''Brightside'' (mainly because I kept hearing the Killers in my head as he sang). But he could have been a lot worse and still nearly closed the deal.

But what the what do I know?

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