Rock Star: A Night at the Mayan Theatre showcases the first night of live performances on the extended audition show Rock Star: INXS. The brainchild of reality television impresario Mark Burnett -- creator of Survivor -- Rock Star featured a motley group of vocalists auditioning to become the new lead singer of iconic Australian rock group INXS, whose lead singer, Michael Hutchence, died in 1997. The overall atmosphere on that first night of performances was one of hyped-up, adrenalin-fueled excitement, which resulted in less than stellar performances by totally unknown singers. Oddly, not a single INXS song was sung and, as such, none are included here. Instead, the contestants were forced to prove their "rock star" worth by belting out a mix of recent and classic rock hits. Former Elvis impersonator J.D. Fortune ultimately won the job as INXS' new lead man despite his hyperbolic debut here on "American Woman." Much better is cherubic powerhouse Jordis Unga's tidal wave-like album-opener on the Who's "Baba O'Riley." Similarly engaging are eventual runner-up Marty Casey's punk rock David Bowie take of the Kinks' "You Really Got Me" and Mohawked soulster Ty Taylor's invigorating version of Living Colour's "Cult of Personality." Also included is third runner-up Mig Ayesa's truly inspired late-season standout performance of Peter Frampton's "Baby, I Love Your Way," in which he accompanied himself on piano. It'll never win a Grammy Award, but as a truly odd and insignificant souvenir of television's "reality years," Rock Star: A Night at the Mayan Theatre is a fascinating listen.
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AllMusic Review by Matt Collar