After last week's dismal performances, I feared that rock really was dead. Fortunately, last night's show kick-started my heart and renewed my faith in the singers, who finally have me believing that one of them can front INXS. Still, they're not there yet. As another Australian band once sang, it's a long way to the top if they want to rock and roll. Here's the recap:
Jordis: This dreadlocked damsel was clearly not in distress. Au contraire, she totally took control and made the shopworn "Gimme Some Lovin'" sound fresher than it has on classic-rock radio in years.
Suzie: While her stage presence during Stevie Wonder's "Superstition" might not have had Stevie wishing he could see Suzie Q's performance for himself, she did hit the notes, both with her voice and with her harmonica. Sure, she didn't invoke John Popper, or even Elwood Blues, but she knew how to handle her harp.
Jessica: Her most subdued — and clothed — performance yet was one of her strongest, as she covered "Because the Night" as ably as Natalie Merchant ever did. I'll take one Jessica Robinson over 10,000 Maniacs any day.
MiG: This guy may be the one to beat. From his heartfelt opening words to the people of London to his lilting "Lola" chorus, MiG turned in the gig of the night. And wasn't it nice of him to toss his red ringmaster jacket back to its rightful owner, INXS saxophonist/guitarist Kirk Pengilly, who, with that Boston Blackie mustache, looks like he's been moonlighting for Ringling Bros.
Brandon: "Tempted" just isn't for you, Brando. Luckily, "Dapper Dave" Navarro was more focused on your ability to successfully wear a white belt than on your inability to sing Squeeze.
Ty: "Everybody Hurts"? Not when you're singing it, man. That was epic. Somewhere, Michael Stipe is smiling. Or applying eyeliner. Could go either way.
Heather: Oh, H. You said you weren't feeling well, and it showed in your rendition of "If It Makes You Happy." That was as flat as the Earth pre-1492.
J.D.: If I were to write down every bad idea I ever had and then sing them aloud, it'd probably sound like this. While "We Are the Champions" wasn't the worst performance of the night, its arrangement was the worst idea of the competition.
Deanna: "Trust yourself and we will trust you." Thus spake Navarro to Deanna following "Give a Little Bit." What he means, I have no idea.
Daphna: Looking oh-so-J.Lo in what appeared to be a formal gown, Daphna vainly tried to "Rock the Casbah," but her Miss America look clashed with her delivery.
Tara: Wam, bam, thank you, ma'am! Regardless of what Navarro said, Tara ably sneered her way through David Bowie's "Suffragette City." Somewhere, Bowie is smiling. Or applying eyeliner.
Marty: Finally, a performance by Marty that I believed. And it was a Nirvana song no less. Who knew he had it in him?
So who's in danger of going home tonight? Guessing the bottom three is as difficult as getting Pink Floyd's David Gilmour and Roger Waters to reunite, but, hey, that happened, so here goes. In no particular order: Heather, Brandon and Daphna.