The new terminology for acoustic is "stripped down." I guess because "unplugged" made sense, but it's sooo 1991. So to do songs acoustic nowadays, we now find it perfectly reasonable to employ five guitars and a seven piece orchestra and still call that "stripped down."
Also, there was something grotesque to me about the censors making Navarro and Tommy put their shirts back on. Let me make sure I understand this properly. It was perfectly acceptable to have ten seasons of Jennifer Aniston flouncing her pert nipples around on "Friends" in her clingy tops, but it's not okay for Dave to show his skin? It's perfectly acceptable when everyone's running around on an island on "Survivor" with no shirts and shorts while we watch them willfully emaciate on a weekly basis, I suppose because they're whoring themselves to self-torture for the oh-so noble pursuit of money. But when a couple of rich dudes sit around with their shirts off, that's unacceptable? Perhaps it's the psuedo BDSM-looking thrones they perch themselves on that brings too much to the table? I don't know. But God forbid anyone get a sexual thrill from rock! Censors. What a bunch of killjoys, you know?
Anyhow, even being forced to wear clothes couldn't dampen Dave's enthusiasm last night, what with The Panic Channel's CD being released and all. Nice national exposure, shirtless or not. What the hell. I'll buy it, because it's win-win for me. Maybe I'll like it. If I don't like it, it'll be something to re-ignite my Navarro disdain.
Speaking of disdain, there's not much that could increase the level I have for Gilby Clarke these days. I will say this, though. He didn't mangle Peter Gabriel's "Solsbury Hill" last night with his acoustic pickings.
(Toby sang with him on this, and played the bongos. It was cute, Toby sounded fine, and he reeled in his smarm factor somewhat. What he upped what his ass-kissing groveling, which was smart. Toby, he knows the moves to make. He ran 'round naked to prove he wanted the song with Gilby, because he was smart enough to LEARN after the ass-chewing last week that they need to prostrate themselves for these opportunities. He then told Dave that the Panic Channel Cd was great. And he told the guys how bad he wants the gig. They do not question his commitment. Also, T. Lee thinks he's got a nice ass. Charmingly hypocritical, isn't it, how we can see a man's bare ass on TV as long as it's in pursuit of a job. It's just when it's in pursuit of pussy that it's not allowed. And yet, the irony is that, as I said before, the "job" for Toby is really just to up his pussy-intake. It's nothing but a pimp middle-man. But I guess that thin veneer of acceptability makes all the difference.)
Anyhow. Back to Gilby: His acoustic playing was definitely an improvement over the shitty sound his electric stylings had previously lent to "Brown Sugar" and "Won't Get Fooled Again." But last night was certainly nothing GOOD, either. He sat there cross-legged on the piano, plucking out the melody in a fairly innocuous and safe manner. And then he had the balls to lecture the other contestants about how they should bring something new to the songs.
Plus, it's quite obvious that he fancies himself quite the intelligent spokesman at this point. Listen, Gil. Just because you can string together a coherent sentence doesn't make you a fucking musical Mensa candidate, okay? Trust me, leave the meaningful commentary to Dave and Jason, because not only do they know what they're talking about, they have actual musical chops. You weren't even the lead guy for G-n-R, Gil. Slash punk'd you in every way back then, and you're no better now. You don't have the himbo appeal of Tommy, you're too tight-assed to enjoy the onstage humping, and you can't back up a single arrogant thing you say with even one decent fucking lick, okay? So fuck off, Gilby Clarke. Just fuck off.
Gilby keeps riding Zayra about not doing something that would fit with Supernova. At this point, it's a really redundant thing to tell her, and it's why I've fallen in love with her.
Last night, Zayra won the battle and got to do her own original song on the stage. Nevermind that she came out dressed in a black bra, a silver collar, and a red dust ruffle. (okay, we can't nevermind that, it was great!) She also wrecked shit with the song. It was in Spanish, and I don't have a clue what she was saying. Brooke did her host duty and told us we could read the English version on the website, but I'm not going to do that. I know that's fraught with danger, right there. Just like Zayra's costumes, if I'd pull a loose string like that, the whole thing could expose too much. I don't want to know, because as it was, it was beautiful. She sang ON KEY. I mean, her voice was good.
Though I'd grown fond of her anyhow, somehow, when she got up there and did her own thing, I finally fully "got it". She's been fighting the Supernova box, and I love that about her. But last night, she wasn't just fighting the genre that's she's not, she was also herself, in all her Zayran glory. I get it, baby! I dig it. As Elliott was my cupcake, Zayra is now my licorice whip. Not everyone likes licorice. And people who don't like it can't ever understand why anyone else likes it. But if you've got a taste for it, nothing else will do. It's a strong, acquired taste. Not quite fruity, but definitely odd, and with more bite than sweetness, but still full of whimsy. That's Zayra. She'll probably go home this week.
Even though it should be Patrice hitting the road. She did The Police's "Message in a Bottle" and it was wholly average. I admit it. Unlike Zayra, I don't "get" Patrice at all, because I don't think there's much TO get. Dave thinks there's a "brilliant performer inside her." But I have a feeling that statement would only apply at the exact moments that Tommy had his cock literally inserted and was fucking her. Cause otherwise, she's empty.
Another chick hitting the skids last night was Storm. She made the bad decision of stepping on guy's toes by wearing a formidable wallet chain, and changed things up by letting it dangle from the front of her suit instead of her ass. She belted out the overwrought, overplayed disco anthem "I Will Survive" and she put the Cake stink on it, trying to heavy it down. The crowd loved her, the band and Dave hated her. They used that word, repeatedly. And she repeated her favorite word: Spank. She said she likes spankings. Oh, how well Stormy fits in with the BDSM decor.
Dilana fared the best of the women. She did...oh shit. This is telling. I can't recall what she did. I have to go look it up. Oh yeah. She did "Cats in the Cradle" by Harry Chapin. Well. Yeah, she was good. And I mean that. But I'm not making it up, I had forgotten what she sang. And it's because she was good, and the guys praised her, but it was nothing extraordinary. It was a very mainstream, solid performance. Which I guess puts her even more in the lead of the pack here.
In a similar vein was Magni and his take on Bowie's "Starman." Nice white suit homage without being a rip off. Good voice. Good performance. Plenty of ass-kissing to reaffirm he wants the gig. Magni is good. In a mainstream way. He's a likable guy. But I've yet to see anything extraordinary about him. But I "get" that that's not the point, here.
There is something extraordinary about Ryan. It's the level of his suckitude. He was all dressed up in Tom Cruise's leftover wardrobe from "Interview with the Vampire" and he shouted out the once-sultry revenge anthem "In the Air Tonight." Now listen. I'll admit it. I've been struggling with swimmer's ear in my left ear for the past week. Maybe that's why Zayra finally sounded fantastic. And maybe that's why Ryan continued to sound like hell to me and the guys praised him. But I don't think so. I think they mistake Ryan's clueless, squinty, knotted eyebrow look for intensity. I don't think he looks intense. He looks constipated. And I think he looked ridiculous in his feathered mohawk hoodie last week and outlandishly silly in his silver skull ring and turn of the century pea coat last night.
And then there's Lukas. The fuck can I say at this point? He sat on a wooden chair and in his preacher's collar and strappy black pants he looked like he was preparing to be electrocuted. His vocal affectations sounded like he was being electrocuted. Know what he moves like? Remember the Nine Inch Nails video for "Closer" and how it was herky-jerky shot? Lukas moves like he's in that video, and it's not camera tricks causing the disorientation. From ghastly fake smiles to affected ticks and menacing scowls, he, unlike Dilana, left an impression. That's good. But it wasn't the Zayra kind of impression. He's not like a licorice whip. More like a cat-o-nine lash -- but in a teenage, asexual way. All the pain of BDSM without the eventual pleasure and release -- until he shuts the fuck up and gets off stage. He mumbled his way through "Hero" and all the guys loved it and Jason said he needs to stop closing off his voice and blahblahblah. We've seen this show before, and we're going to keep seeing this act of his for several more weeks. And yet no one's strapping me into an electric chair and forcing me to watch.
I do it willingly. With glee.
Until Gilby strips off his shirt. Then I'm out of here.