The band said the competition was tough, but viewers of this summer’s “Rock Star: Supernova” could have predicted from the very first episode that the gig was probably going to end up in the lap of goth-glam croaker Lukas Rossi.
The pint-sized, eye-shadow-sporting Canadian growler won out over smack-talking, tattooed stomper Dilana in the finale of the 11-week competition to front the band formed for the show by Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee, ex-Metallica bassist Jason Newsted and former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke.
The only remaining mystery after Wednesday night’s finale was what the band will actually be called when they make their sold-out live concert debut on New Year’s Eve. A day before the finale, a judge ordered the producers to come up with a different name for the group when he granted an injunction to a California punk band named Supernova (see “Judge Sides With Original Supernova In ‘Rock Star’ Suit” ).
The evening began with the dismissal of bald, somewhat bland Icelandic belter Magni Asgeirsson, who was followed out the door by frontrunning Aussie Toby Rand, who seemed destined to be a top finisher after unveiling his instantly catchy original tune, “Throw It Away,” earlier in the competition.
In the end, it was down to Rossi and Dilana Robichaux, a pair host Dave Navarro said looked like a goth wedding waiting to happen as they stood side-by-side awaiting the final decision. Given her stumble several weeks earlier — she was filmed dissing the other rockers during mock interviews with journalists — Dilana seemed unlikely to take the gig, despite her alluring stage presence and exotic, dreadlocked metal priestess look.
So it was Rossi — whose consistently passionate, swaggering performances mixed the falsetto leaps of Radiohead’s Thom Yorke with guttural punk/metal barking and a fashion sense that leaned toward fingerless leather gloves, heavy eye makeup and towering spiked hair — who emerged victorious after Lee said the band realized they had to “listen to our fans.”
“Lukas, your look, your vocals, the way you move … everything has been amazing for us,” Lee said. “Lukas, you’re our boy.”
The 29-year-old singer got the most viewer votes in Tuesday night’s polling and seemed to seal the deal with a revved-up cover of the Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony” earlier in the night. Rossi became the second Canadian in a row to win the reality competition, following in the footsteps of Toronto’s J.D. Fortune, who became the new lead singer of INXS during last summer’s debut of the “Rock Star” show. Before cutting Dilana loose, Clarke pledged to produce her debut, Navarro volunteered to play on the album, and invited her to perform on an upcoming tour featuring the unnamed group and his own new band, the Panic Channel (see “Dave Navarro Juggles TV And Guitar, Shrugs Off Panic Channel Sales” ).
Looking as if he’d already fronted them for years, Rossi — a former Hooters fry cook — seamlessly jumped into lead-singer mode at show’s end to play a pair of originals with Lee, Newsted and Clarke, including the poppy hard rock tune “Be Yourself and Five Other Clichés.” Next for Rossi: recording the band’s debut with producer Butch Walker (Avril Lavigne). The disc is slated for a November 21 release.