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Arts and Entertainment

Rock Star is No American Idol Wannabe

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OK, so summer TV is like a car crash on the 405. You really don’t want to slow down and look, but you do anyway. That's what happened to LAist when we happened to catch some of “Rock Star: INXS” earlier this week. (It was a toss-up between that and “Hell’s Kitchen” on FOX.)

Here’s the premise of Mark Burnett’slatest addition to his “reality” show empire: 15 wannabe rockers live in this Hollywood Hills manse and vocally compete for the spot to replace INXS front man Michael Hutchence, who died of auto-erotic asphyxiation in 1997. The winner of the show will eventually record an album and embark on a world tour with the band.

There's no comparison between "Rock Star" and the "American Idol," musically anyway. The contestants on "Rock Star" have the chops and cool looking tattoos. These folks are a little older and a lot less pop-oriented. And we like that.

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We all have friends, family or next-door neighbors here in LA who are just like these contestants: Baristas by day and musicians by night. On last night's show, Marty sang a great rendition of Franz Ferdinand's "Take Me Out" while Jordis blew us away with Nirvana's "Heart-Shaped Box." Monday night's episode featured mohawked Ty belting out Living Colour's "Cult of Personality."

Host Brooke Burke is certainly not as grating as Ryan Seacrestand celebrity judge Dave Navarro is actually quite normal on the show. So far, the focus of "Rock Star" has been on the music and not on any living-situation drama. At least not yet. That may change because "Rock Star" has been doing abysmally in the ratings.

Now although we may have questions about the relevance of resurrecting the career of a band that was popular in junior high school, we'll leave our barbs for NBC's "Hit Me Baby One More Time."

The saga continues tonight at 9:30 p.m. on CBS.