A month or so ago, my wife and my daughter got me watching "Rock Star: INXS". The show, for those of you unfamiliar with it, is sort of a twist on "American Idol". Fifteen contestants compete to become the new lead singer for INXS, the Australian band whose lead singer, Michael Hutchence, committed suicide eight or nine years ago. Each week, the contestants perform and viewers vote on their favorites. And each week, the bottom three vote-getters are stood up in front of the band, who collectively decide which one of the three goes home.
I was skeptical at first, but since I was a bit of an INXS fan back in the '80s and early '90s, I decided to watch it. I was wondering who among the band members would take on the Simon Cowell persona and hurl put-downs at the poor performers in the bunch. Then I found out that along with the band, Dave Navarro would also be judging the contestants. Now, Dave Navarro is the outstanding guitarist of Jane's Addiction and Red Hot Chili Peppers fame. Navarro also looks like Satan having a really crappy day. I thought "Cool...not only will he mercilessly insult those contestants not performing up to par, but will drag the losing contestant each week, screaming in agony, into the depths of Hell!".
Man, was I EVER wrong.
It turns out that Dave Navarro is a REALLY nice guy. Judging performances each week isn't his only job. He also acts as mentor and cheerleader for the contestants, offering honest but polite critiques to each one, and loads of encouragement. And when a contestant puts on an exceptionally good performance (which is surprisingly frequent), he's nothing short of lavish with his praise.
I guess you just can't judge a book by its cover. Or a rocker with countless tattoos and a demonic countenance.