Rihanna debuts Rock Star 101 on American Idol (new single)

Rihanna gave a sterling performance of her new single Rock Star 101 on American Idol last night. Not looking quite as trashy as she did in her last video, Rihanna was decked out in a sexy black PVC catsuit. No complaints from this part of the audience on that front.

And…and…she was joined on stage by my personal favourite living guitar legend, Nuno Bettencourt of Extreme (yeah, that’s More Than Words for those of you who remember). Nuno contributed an effortless guitar solo to proceedings, and unless there was some camera sleight of hand, even Rihanna played a little guitar on the track. And it wasn’t even one of those guitars with five coloured buttons! Update: The two are touring together.

Did I mention the catsuit? As with everything pop at the moment, there’s a crazy Gaga-inspired thread running through the staging – a backing dancer takes an angle-grinder to a metal bodice. The backing singers are all sporting sunglasses with spikes on the lenses.

On to the song…since I oft-times review music on this site too. Well, it’s a big improvement on the dross we’ve heard from Rihanna lately. Of course, it’s rock by numbers, as the title suggests. Reminds me of when Janet Jackson did Black Cat back in the day, but not as good. Still, it’s got all the required ingredients for a mini-anthem. And that’s not bad.

Did I mention the catsuit?

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  1. RandomEnigma

    I, on the other hand, am a big fan of Rihanna’s new album Rated R. And Def Jam, Rihanna’s label, clearly cannot make up their minds on what to do with it next. Rude Boy was initially supposed to be the final single from Rated R with plans for Rihanna to release a more “upbeat Summery album” but that’s obviously been scrapped. The will.i.am assisted single Photographs was supposed to follow Rude Boy as the next single. Then it was my personal favourite, the lesbian island jam Te Amo selected as the next single and it was supposed to be performed on American Idol. Now Rockstar 101 has been chosen instead. Rockstar 101 is okay, it made decent album filler.

    The performance was surprisingly good, Rihanna is certainly getting better after five years as a singer. I don’t think she was actually playing guitar though. Do you know that Slash appears on the studio recording of this?

    1. Gerard McGarry

      Well, judging from what Bettencourt’s been saying about touring with Rihanna, she’s heading in a rockier direction (otherwise what would be the point of him being there?)

      And no, after re-watching the performance, I think she’s mirroring what Bettencourt is doing, but he’s providing all the sounds. Her guitar’s probably not even turned on. But he should give her lessons!

      Can I just say, it’s nice to see you on here again. I’ve missed your reviews, and I’m looking forward to seeing what you recommend in the charts at the moment! I’d been meaning to ask you if you were interested in creating a collaborative “Music Magazine” type of group on Shout where we could share our blog posts and get other members to contribute and subscribe. I’m sure there are a couple of other around here who’d pile in and write about music as well.

  2. RandomEnigma

    Thank you! 🙂 It’s good to be back! And I’ll be back on a more regular basis too. Yep, I’d be very interested in co-creating a “Music Magazine”. Just show me the steps on how to do so and I will.

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