Lukas Rossi is the newest Canadian Rock Star, but fans in his home province of Ontario may be wondering what the heck happened during the final episode of Rock Star: Supernova on Wednesday night.
A gaffe by Global TV’s master control meant that Ontario viewers missed almost half of the one-hour taped show when it aired at 8 p.m. ET. The error meant Ontario got the international feed of the show, a longer version that started with a string of highlights from past episodes. By the time Global realised its blunder and switched to the shorter domestic feed, almost half of the meat of the finale had come and gone.
Global got it right for the rest of the country and repeated the show for Ontario at 10 p.m. ET but many in Rossi’s hometown of Toronto probably went to bed completely confused.
Ontario viewers lost one finalist altogether as Iceland’s Magni Asgeirsson was eliminated before Global figured out it what it was doing. The Ontario audience was taken to a commercial break with a promise of more highlights to come. When the show returned, one finalist had disappeared and Rossi was in mid-song.
Plus Ontario viewers had no idea how the final four were being culled since the segment explaining the format never made it to air. Lost was co-host Brooke Burke explaining that the Icelander and Australia’s Toby Rand had got the fewest votes among the final four. Ontario also missed Magni playing Jimi Hendrix’s "Fire" and Rand tackling Billy Idol’s "White Wedding." Magni was then sent packing and the final three made their last pitch to the band.
All of which Ontario missed.
Further confusing the Ontario audience, the misplaced Magni showed up to play acoustic guitar with Rossi and Supernova in the final song of the night.
Gaffes aside, the 29-year-old Rossi beat out Dilana Robichaux, a transplanted South African now living in Houston, for the prize.
"Lukas, you’re our boy. Welcome," said Supernova’s Tommy Lee, before adding his trademark "Hell, yeah."
Rossi blew kisses to the crowd and hugged Robichaux as a fan waved a Canadian flag in the background. The now-complete Supernova then took to the stage for a pair of songs.
‘Let’s do this, baby," said the spiky-haired Rossi.
Rossi follows in the footsteps of fellow Canadian J.D. Fortune, who won last year’s show and now sings with Australia’s INXS. Fortune and his band are currently touring Down Under.
Rossi’s new bandmates are drummer Lee (Motley Crue), guitarist Gilby Clarke (Guns N’ Roses) and bassist Jason Newsted (Metallica). Supernova’s debut show is Jan. 1 in Las Vegas with Canadian dates scheduled for
Jan. 23, Montreal, Jan. 24 in Toronto and Feb. 19 in Vancouver.
The band may be looking for a new name, however. Entertainment Tonight Canada reported earlier Wednesday that California punk band Supernova has won a stage in its legal fight to keep its name.
Eleven other would-be rockers, including Vancouver’s Jenny Galt, were sent home earlier in the series.
The final three each got one last song. Rossi chose the Verve’s "Bittersweet Symphony," Robichaux then sang "Zombie" by the Cranberries and Rand did "Somebody Told Me" by the Killers.
It came down to Rossi and Robichaux, the two favourites throughout the show.
"It’s down to the edgy ones," said co-host Dave Navarro as Rossi and Robichaux held hands and awaited the final verdict.
"Lukas, your look, your energy, your vocals, the way you move, everything has been really really amazing for us," said Lee before announcing the result.
Lee said the Canadian had garnered the most votes from fans Tuesday night _ and the band agreed with their public. Robichaux got a consolation prize. She was invited to join the tour as a support act, and to use Clarke as a writer and producer on her record, with Navarro volunteering to play guitar.
Rossi, a former Hooters fry cook, who said he was "broke as a joke" coming into the show, gets to enter a new snack bracket, staying in five-star hotels and flying first-class.
Wednesday’s finale capped a talent search that started with 25,000 applicants worldwide. And it found a receptive audience, especially in Canada where 1.4 million watched the first half of this week’s finale Tuesday. Right from Day 1, Rossi made his mark. "I came here to win," he told his rivals early on.
"I’m absolutely the real deal," he added.
Lee seemed to agree. "You’re raising the bar _ and I’m pulling up a barstool," he said after one performance.
Rossi was the exotic among the male finalists with a fashion sense that ranges from foppish to rock star chic. He has always looked the part of a rock star _ his spiky black mop of hair accessorized by a swirl of blond, above a nose ring and stylized beard. Tattoos, giant sunglasses, caps, crosses and nail polish were usually part of the picture. Fans seemed to warm to him, with signs proclaiming the "Rossi Possi" showing up in the studio audience.
Rossi is no musical johnny-come-lately. Previous bands include Cleavage and Rise Electric and he has spent more than 10 years on his music career. His voice has been used in music for commercials (McDonald’s) and cartoons (Rescue Heroes and Beyblade). Each week the rockers performed and viewers voted. Those in the bottom three of the fan vote sang again on a show aired the next night, with the band then sending one of them home. Rossi landed in the bottom three just once, last week, but was rescued by Supernova who plucked him out of the firing line before axing another contestant. In his final pitch to the band, Rossi said he was taken by their attitude.
"They’re amazing guys," he said. "It’d be my honour to lead them on a world tour."