Rock Star: INXS DVD

Created by: Mark Burnett. Starring: J.D. Fortune, Martey Casey, Mig Ayesa, Suzie McNeil, Jordis Unga, Ty Taylor, Brooke Burke, Dave Navarro, INXS, and others.

Rock Star: INXS cover

Synopsis: Seventeen of the top performances from the show, with brief intros where the singer discusses the song choice and the rehearsal process. A five-song performance by INXS and J.D. Fortune, on the night he won the competition. And some bonus material.

Sample quote: “J.D., you are right for our band, INXS! You are the rock star!”

Comment: The most frustrating thing about this DVD is that it’s a single DVD with just a few highlights of the show. I want the whole thing—the good, the bad, and the ugly. I don’t have a big quibble with what was chosen as the best of, but I miss not having the context around it. How J.D’s arrangement of “California Dreamin’” showed his drive and talent after a disastrous debut. The full extent of Marty’s horror at having to perform “Hit Me Baby One More Time,” not to mention the amazing progress that his performance of “Wish You Were Here” represented. Ty’s frustration at often ending up in the bottom three despite electrifying performances. Suzie moving from bottom three to number 1 with “Bohemian Rhapsody”. The brief intro’s only touch on all that, and none of the commentary from the day is shown. Let alone everything else that happened during the run of the show.

The first INXS/J.D. Fortune concert is good to see. It’s a five-song set, clearly improvised on the night. Initially, one is struck by just how much J.D. sounds like Michael Hutchens, but he does have his own style. During “Never Tear Us Apart,” he walks over to the other contestants and has them join in, which is fun. “Pretty Vegas” features a glittery foghorn with a Canadian flag on it, apparently brought in by a fan. Also featured are “Suicide Blonde” and “Don’t Change.”

The third section is called “Behind the Scenes” and it features short segments of off-stage action that wasn’t shown on during the original broadcast: everyone getting their makeup done; several rockers getting tattoos; vocal exercises; a nostalgic look at photos on the night before the competition; and so on. As is the theme with this DVD, the segments shown are interesting, but simply wet the appetite for more material.

Rating: ***

The Extras: Extras include the original casting videos for each rocker, which are interesting to see. There is also a “Too Hot for TV” segment that isn’t as racy as you might think. There’s a nice little scene between J.D. and Mig that could have used some context, and a musical photo montage. Oh, and J.D. introduces the DVD and thanks fans for their support.

Usability: It’s occasionally a bit difficult to see which item is selected—it goes from yellow to red—but not a big problem. The performance menus offer just what you’d want: Play All, with or without the intros, or select a specific performance. The same care was not taken with the Behind the Scenes segments, though, which must be selected one-by-one (though they’re quite short), and always bounce back to the first segment on the screen, not the last segment you selected. I did like that length was given for each option.

Also see: Ottawa on Canada Day 2008 (featuring Suzie McNeil)