Rock Star: Supernova

This really isn’t a post so much as a “my gut tells me” kind of reaction. I don’t usually watch reality TV, though you wouldn’t know that by how often I’ve mentioned it here. 😉

Basic premise of Rock Star: Supernova, for those not watching, is a group of singers compete against each other to become the new lead singer of a new band (With Tommy Lee! Swoon or gag here.). The group is a decent mix of men and women.

I’ve seen it twice, and I walked away with a gut feeling that none of the female rockers really stand much of a chance. Why? The “bottom three” for the weeks I watched were heavily female. Last week they were all female. It could just mean that the women didn’t rock it like the men. From what I saw, they did, though.  

I’m going out on a limb and predicting that when the finale rolls around, there won’t be any women left. Which is fine, they were given their fair chance, right?


  1. Ifritah says

    I completely agree with you, except for on one woman: Storm. I honestly think she has a chance. (This coming from someone who has only seen a half of an episode, so you know, take my opinion with a grain of salt.)

    She was given the most praise from the episode I caught, and she was chosen to give an encore performance of her song. (I hope she does win, for she was the one that stood out to me.)

  2. sbg says

    Oh, I hope you’re right.

    As I said, I don’t really watch it closely – my opinion should also be taken with a grain of salt. It was just a gut reaction I had.

  3. Jennifer Kesler says

    I tried to form a band with some other girls when I was in high school in the late 80’s. No boy would consider jamming with us, let alone joining us. When we told people we were a band, we got the same reaction as if we’d announced we were aliens. That sort of, “Okay, I guess they’re insane, but probably harmless, so I’ll just let it slide.” When boys said they were in a band, they got criticized for wasting their lives, congratulated for exploring their talent, etc. But it was taken seriously as a claim, if not as a valid lifestyle.

  4. baskerville says

    I don’t think any of the girls stand a chance, no matter how good, if only because of the pre-existing band members. I doubt guys will want a female singer, because, like it or not, who sings a song does effect the lyrics of the song.

    I don’t think any of the guys already in the band will be interested in writing girl-slanted lyrics and songs.

    And then theres the whole ‘rock is for dudes’ attitude, too.

    Btw, some of the ‘feedback’ and ‘critisism’ on that show seems terribly innaproriate to me. Like telling one of the girls she should dress more revealingly. Whuh?

    Maybe it was just a joke, and maybe even pre-planned to give the girl the oppotunity to snark (it was the one who told him to google if he wanted skin), but still. Do you want a rocker or a stripper, Supernova?

  5. sbg says

    Well, that must have been frustrating. I don’t get that attitude, frankly. It’s like people believe women can’t be musicians of this nature. Why not?

  6. Glaivester says

    I think that Baskerville has a point.

    If the band plays songs about sex and relationships, the songs will ultimately seem “gendered” so that the lead singer is the narrator. That is, if the song is seen as a story, the lead singer is is identified with the narrator of the story rather than simply being seen as someone reading the story.

    This means that unless the majority of the band is the same gender as the lead singer, they will not be able to be seen as participating. To put thngs another way, when Def Leppard sings “pour some sugar on me,” one can imagine the entire band as singing the song to some women (presumably each member to a different one). Likewise when the Go-Gos sing “Our Lips are Sealed” or “Unforgiven” you can see the whole band as participating through the lead singer.

    On the other hand, in bands like Blondie and Scandal, you usually think of Deborah Harry or Patti Smythe as being the narrator in such songs and of the band as being, essentially, back-up.

    You can get around this with less personal, less “narrator songs,” but it will limit the types of songs the band can sing.

  7. Jennifer Kesler says

    Because they’re desperate to believe there’s something boys can do better than girls?

    It was the same attitude that people had about women in sales and female doctors and lawyers. Who would want a woman defending them in court? Who would buy anything from a woman? Chicks can’t rock, or so the prejudice goes.

  8. Jennifer Kesler says

    So, as per usual, it’s a case of guys fearing that if anyone in any way thinks they can empathize with a female, they’re less of a man?

    Yep, that level of pathological insecurity sounds about par for boys who never grew up. 😉

  9. Jennifer Kesler says

    I’m going to have to lean more heavily toward the “rock is for dudes” theory. I know from my own experience, when my female friend and I were trying to form a band, neither of us were singers. Nor were we very interested in songwriting. We just wanted to play music. The boys still didn’t want to play with us. ANY association with a female was unacceptable, because rock is for dudes.

  10. sbg says

    I tend to agree. I think there are more women out there who just want to rock. Not girl-rock. Just plain old rock.

  11. Jennifer Kesler says

    Also, I’m not sure what “girl-slanted” lyrics you’re referring to. Pop tends to have sappy ballads and other gender-biased stuff that bores me senseless, but most rock songs require nothing more than a switch of the pronoun to go from female to male or vice versa, BECAUSE it’s such a male-dominated musical style. Women going into it in the real world know it.

    If the women on this show are trying to act like pop divas (I don’t know, but this just popped into my head and I wondered), the show is deliberately casting women who can’t make it, so as to satisfy the male audience that women are for looking at, not listening to.

    What’s the addage? Children and women should be seen and not heard? 😉

  12. sbg says

    Oh, I’d say the women are not “pop divas.” Some rock harder than others, just like the men. I just don’t think they fit the image the band is going for, but they couldn’t NOT have them in the competition. I question how much in the competition they really are, if that makes sense.

  13. Jennifer Kesler says

    Makes total sense. The old, “We have to interview them – we don’t have to hire them” policy.

  14. Glaivester says

    So, as per usual, it’s a case of guys fearing that if anyone in any way thinks they can empathize with a female, they’re less of a man?

    No, it’s not that they can’t empathize, it’s that the song can’t be about all of them in the same way. And it’s not that the ywould be “less of a man,” it’s that they would not be able to have “primary roles,” so to speak. It’s more that in love songs, they would be relegated to the background, and the songs would be about the lead singer, as opposed to being about all of them.

  15. Jennifer Kesler says

    Yeah, and absolutely everything you just said is true if the singer is another guy, as evidenced by the plethora of bands that get jealous of the lead singer being perceived as the frontman.

    So what exactly is the gender distinction you’re seeing here?

  16. baskerville says

    Even pronoun choice ‘genders’ a song*, and while it might not be a thing that matters to the song’s point in the long run, I can see how it could matter to someone, especially if they wrote or had a hand in writing the song. And someone who’d tell a singer she needs less clothes? I believe a thing like a her/him change would matter a lot to him.

    *By which I mean lots of guys wouldn’t sing along to a song about picking up a ‘he’ in a bar, even if a pronoun change was all it took to reverse the song’s ‘gender’. And I can see a guy not wanting his band to sing songs where the pronouns are reversed from how he’s use them, were he the one singing/fronting.

  17. baskerville says

    I don’t know about Glaivester, but what I meant was about relating to the songs your band is singing. I assume even a drummer, hidden behind the kit way back on the stage wants his band’s songs to be, in some way, about him.

    Its not that if you empathize with a female, you’re less of a man, but just having to empathize puts a distance between one and the song. With a singer who shares one’s gender, you can directly put one’s word and thoughts in the song, without even having to switch ‘he’s and ‘her’s. You can sing about bitchy cheating groupie ex-girlfriends, if one wanted, and not have to worry about how that might sound coming the singer’s mouth, or about changing the lyrics up.

    To some people it wouldn’t matter, but to some–actually, I think quite a a lot–of people it will.

    Fame envy is another thing altogether.

  18. Ifritah says

    I just had another thought concerning this show. On the one episode I caught they were re-capping each of the singer’s performances. One of the girl rockers started, well, practically dry humping her guitarist. The judges told her that was in very bad taste and that women shouldn’t have to do things like that to be noticed. It was about talent, not about being sleazy.

    You know, whether the show does wind up giving it to a guy because the girl’s don’t stand a chance (and aside from Storm, I can certainly see your point), I must say, I thought that was rather nifty of them to call her on it.

  19. Glaivester says

    My point is that in a single-gender band it is at least possible for all of the members of the band to be in the foreground. This can also be true, I suppose, of a gender-integrated band such as Fleetwood Mac.

    But when the lead singer is a different sex than the band (which means female in all of the cases I can think of), the rest of the band is practically automatically relegated to the background for any love song, unless the lead singer makes the male members of the band the object of the song.

  20. sbg says

    I went and checked out the Rock Star: Supernova website, just to see how things had panned out. Hey, there’s one woman left in the top four. Not bad. I still don’t think she’ll be chosen, though good for her for making it so far.

  21. sbg says

    Simple solution: don’t do love songs.

    Second simple solution: check the ego at the door and “let” a woman be the focal point for the love song.


  22. Jennifer Kesler says

    And I can see a guy not wanting his band to sing songs where the pronouns are reversed from how he’s use them, were he the one singing/fronting.

    There’s that sense of entitlement that’s fostered in men, but beaten out of women. Men expect to have songs customized for them, but we females grow up KNOWING we’re not entitled to get many songs about men. When I was a kid, even in the super-homophobic culture of the bible belt, girls sang right along with “Billie Jean” and “Rio” and reversed the gender in our heads. Interestingly, Madonna’s songs were almost always second person rather than about a “him”, so even she didn’t give us gender-customized songs to enjoy.

    Honestly, your post causes me to pity men. If guys are so bound by the concrete that they can’t belt out a great song and enjoy themselves because the pronouns are wrong, how sad is that? Why limit yourself?

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