Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Rock Star Supernova vs. The One

Greetings from the oven known as Los Angeles,

Last night I flipped channels between the talent competition rivals: Rock Star Supernova, which I love, and The One, a new talent competition on ABC with some huge names behind it…

The One has some great names behind it. I’d been looking forward to watching Mark Hudson (the guy with the cool multi-colored beard), because in addition to being a producer, songwriter, former Hudson Brother, occasional exec, and Kate Hudson’s uncle, Mark Hudson is in my opinion, one of the best studio backup vocalists known to man. His clear tone, blending ability, and chameleon-like ability to blend with, sound like, or harmonize with anyone from Jon Bon Jovi to Steven Tyler make him well-known in studio circles. (He’s also known for getting his part down really fast in the studio--obviously a major plus.)

And Andre Harell (former president of Motown--was majorly involved in the career of Sean Puffy Combs, aka P. Diddy) and Kara DioGuardi (songwriter, producer--worked with Gwen Stefani, Kelly Clarkson, Christina Aguilera) are certainly no slouches. Plus The One has major names on the artist development team--including choreographer Tina Landon, vocal coach Roger Love, and guitar teacher Ray “The Weeper” Fuller--and the prize is a contract on a label with a great behind the scenes talent pool (Interscope/Geffen). So, I had really high hopes for the talent on this one.

Hmmm. Maybe they’re trying too hard to make “good TV” and are intentionally holding something back so we can see the performers develop, but I wasn’t impressed with the overall talent pool or the performances. Caitlin Evanson was a standout, but I was really bored by the rest.

As for the host…Well, he’s no Ryan Seacrest. But his delivery would make him a good host for Rock Star Supernova.

As for Rock Star Supernova…Now we’re talking! For the most part the contestants are extremely talented, seem to have a decent amount of live performing experience, and most of them have good stage presence. The show also has a great house band…Great players, tight rhythm section, good sound, and they can actually rock. Musical director Paul Mirkovich’s credits on paper might not look like he can rock hard--he toured for years as Cher’s musical director and was also the keyboardist for the band Nelson, plus a slew of other credits--but he’s an excellent rock arranger who’s assembled what has to be the best backing band on TV. (Sorry American Idol people, I gotta call it like I see it.)

Favorite contestants on Rock Star Supernova? They’ve given very little indication of what Tommy Lee is looking for, so choosing a singer for Supernova is a tough call: Would a female singer really be considered, or is it just because they have to? Are they the kind of band who wants a good looking front person to attract a wider audience, or do they want someone more “interesting” and dark? Do they want someone colorful who gets a lot of attention, or do they want Tommy Lee to be the colorful one? All those things are important factors. If there was no ego factor involved, Rossi might be a good choice, or, if a female is being considered, Delana, because I think she’s a riveting performer and could handle performing in front of a large audience at a festival.

Tommy Lee band aside, my own favorites include Jill (who was in my Top 2 until the unfortunate white dress performance but redeemed herself last night with a pretty good version of “All Right Now.”), and Toby, who was my favorite until he had the misfortune of singing one of my all-time favorite songs, Soul Asylum’s “Runaway Train” at too fast a tempo, and without much emotion. There are one or two others that could make my Top 3...but no one who’s stood out enough to make me remember their name yet (a telling consideration in itself).

Overall, the contestants on Seasons 1 and 2 of Rock Star have been far better live performers than on all seasons of American Idol combined, and I’m more entertained by them. (But, as a show, Rock Star still doesn’t have the “it” factor Idol has in terms of drama and chemistry between judges and host. Nor does it have a breakout, household-name star…yet.)

What don’t I like about Rock Star Supernova? Brooke Burke was cool on other shows she’s hosted but tries way too hard to “act rock and roll” on this show. Maybe a better fit would be the host of The One, George Stromboulopoulos?

Live your dreams!!!


Randi Reed
Founder / Editor in Chief,

Copyright 2006 Randi Reed. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Zen and the Art of Music Licensing Reader Mail...

While going though reader mail this week I made an interesting observation: most of the questions /complaints we receive about having to pay copyright holders for the use of their music comes from Christian businesses.

You’d think it would be rabid audiophiles, or college students on a budget, right? Nope. The people who seem the most intent on finding a loophole out of it--intent enough to write to us, anyway-- are Christian businesses and organizations.

I find this amusing, because not even the sleaziest promoters and club owners I’ve met over the years have complained about paying music licensing fees. I’ve heard complaints and debates about catering, roast turkey instead of pressed turkey, brands of bottled water, the necessity of shore power, airfare, hotel, ground transportation, pizza, bars of soap, Kleenex, and even ice. But never music licensing fees.

We get a lot of mail of this type, so we must have accidentally ended up on a Christian music website or Christian music directory. (Whatever works for ya, welcome. Just don’t try to recruit me, please. I’m a spiritual person but don’t happen to believe mere mortals have the right to try to interpret spirituality for other mere mortals.)

Rock on, kids...

Randi Reed
Founder / Editor in Chief,

Copyright 2006 Randi Reed