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''Rock Star'' Tuesday: A ''Who Needs Supernova?'' Night

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 16, 2006

Maybe it was the trip to Vegas. Maybe it's being down to eight contestants. Tuesday's ''stripped down, acoustic'' version of ''Rock Star'' felt less like a battle to front Supernova than a demonstration that the singers are going to have careers in music even if it doesn't involve singing with Gilby, Tommy and Jason.

Zayra started the show with an original, ''Lluvia de Mar,'' and it was actually a performance I didn't hate -- perhaps because I had no previous version to compare it to. But it also seemed as if it was meant for ''Rock Star: Celine Dion'' or the like, and it dragged as it went along. Tommy was gentle when he said he wasn't sure if the song was right for the band. Wasn't really right for me. Grade: C.

Magni followed with Bowie's ''Starman,'' and man, did I get a Vegas vibe off his singing on the verse -- and that Thin White Duke suit he was wearing. I liked him better on the chorus than the verse, but the verse was still oddly entertaining. Considering how much he bored me in the early going, either Magni's improved or I've gotten used to him. B plus.

Patrice's ''Message in a Bottle'' was one of her better performances, at least at the beginning. She ran out of steam -- and power -- as she went along. But she still stepped up pretty well (and the band had a serious groove behind her). B.

Lukas finally seems to have ditched the evil-wizard attitude of the early going, and he was really personable doing ''Hero.'' I just didn't connect with the song. C plus.

Storm, Storm, Storm. The darling of Google had a no-win situation -- a worn-out song (''I Will Survive''), in fact a worn-out song associated with disco, and one that she had to do acoustically to boot. Still, if I ever had to hear that song again, I would rather hear it this way -- with edge and some vulgarity -- than in a freeze-dried Gloria Gaynor rendition. So where does that leave me? Storm did really well with an acoustic rendition of a disco song I am sick of. I wasn't as hostile as the judges, but -- while giving her an A for effort -- the performance overall gets a C.

Toby sang, GIlby played, the song was Peter Gabriel's ''Solsbury Hill'' -- and for the first time in the show, I really wanted to hit the fast-forward button. Toby had a few moments but not enough to merit more than a C, C minus from me.

Ryan. ''In the Air Tonight.'' A very similar situation to Storm's. Song that's stuck too deep in all our heads. Not much to be done with it. He's got authority, and the judges like pinning the how-far-you've-come badge on him, but I didn't really need to hear this. C.

Dilana closed the show with Harry Chapin's ''Cat's in the Cradle.'' Not my favorite song. Not my favorite performance by her (and she hashed some lyrics), or of the night. (Magni gets the nod, and believe me, I'm surprised to say that.) I worry over her lapses into Stevie Nicks-ish vocal mannerisms. The ending could have been more dramatic. B, although she's still my overall fave.

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