Despite being a huge INXS fan for a good chunk of the '80s and '90s, I avoided the Mark Burnett created Rockstar INXS not wanting to subject myself to yet another Idol like 'pick-the-singer' show. I actually even questioned whether or not this was an appropriate way to choose the new frontman for the band and was sleptical that I would bother to check out their new album when they finally did. I know there are a lot of talented people that make it on these shows. American Idol and Canadian Idol have both showcased some very good singers but there is still something about the process that I find a bit undignified and it tends to leave a bad taste in my mouth more often than not.
Still, I will admit to watching the final episode which was rerun here last Sunday. I wasn't looking for it, but after I'd heard that J.D. Fortune was the new singer I realised that I knew nothing about him, including how his voice sounded. I tried to find something I could download but had no luck on that front. My wife e-mailed me and said he did a really good rendition of 'Mystify' and that he was a good Michael Hutchence sound-alike, all things considered. Still, my search left me with dead links and just a little bit of frustration.
So, when I saw it listed on the TV program menu for Sunday evening, the wife and I decided we should watch. See if this Fortune kid has the chops to fill Hutchence's shoes and, more importantly, see if we would bother buying the album in November.
It was actually a semi-interesting show, to be perfectly honest. While sitting there watching I did question whether or not I should have been tuning in all summer, but I have a feeling that if I had to sit through all the hopefulls I might not have made it to the finale. As it is, Fortune was really quite good and I firmly believe that he either really did his homework for this show or he was channelling the late Hutchence during his rendition of 'What You Need'. I also liked his lead on the new single (the title of which eludes me at the moment) even though I think the song lacks something in the hook department.
There was one moment where I worried that an album written completely bereft of Hutchence's influence might be something of an albatross, but then I recalled that it was Andrew Farris who did the bulk of the songwriting on previous INXS efforts anyway, so Michael or no Michael, it should at least sound like the band I used to know and love - even moreso now with J.D. fronting them.
Just as an aside, my wife found it amusing that when the band, who hails from Australia, chose their new frontman, they chose a Canadian, essentially keeping some good ol' Commonwealth flavour to the band.
Anyway, the good news in all of this is that I think INXS may have just bought themselves a new lease on life. The show (which I still think was a little silly) raised their profile a bit so that they don't release their new album into a vacuum and has even built up some anticipation for the new CD - at least among the ranks of hungry INXS fans.
Best of luck to them and J.D.
You can preview the new track 'Pretty Vegas' here.