Ty Taylor talks

TelevisionEntertainmentElectionsRock and Roll (genre)Television IndustryDave Navarro

Following what INXS, Dave Navarro and several contestants of "Rock Star: INXS" called an "epic" night of stellar performances, the announcement of the three people who received the lowest votes from the public came as a shock to many.

As I stood in the CBS studio during the taping of the Aug. 31 elimination show, I heard the names of J.D., Ty, Marty and Jordis called as possible rockers having to sing for survival. J.D. and Ty sang their INXS songs, then with Marty and Jordis ready to be called to the stage, host Brooke Burke called Marty's name.

I wasn't the only one disappointed to hear that. But in an unexpected twist (this is a reality show, too), host Brooke Burke told him to wait. Though he was in the bottom three when Tuesday's show went off the air, the public kept voting for him through the night -- enough to give him more votes than the final three combined. Phew. That was close.

So, Jordis sang her first INXS song for survival, "Listen Like Thieves," and we detected a slight falter with a cue towards the end. Would the band notice her mistake and attempt to cover it up with fancy vocal stylings?

After about a half hour of deliberations, INXS came back on stage to say that they found all three rockers' performances "underwhelming." Then Tim Farriss said they had to let Ty go because it was his third time singing in an elimination round, and that was enough. Of course, Tim added the clincher, "I'm sorry, but you're just not right for our band, INXS."

Mig was shocked and visibly upset, and he, Suzie and Jordis broke into tears as Ty choked through tears to say good-bye to his fellow rockers and INXS.

We talked to Ty backstage after the taping wrapped to find him still struggling with his emotions, but trying to remain strong enough to get a message across.

Coming off of a great performance last night, which the crowd and the band loved, how did it feel when you were called into the bottom three today?
Well, I've gotten used to it a little bit. Like I was saying, it was exciting because I got to sing an INXS song ["The One Thing"] which was far from mediocre, like they said. I guess they needed some reason to say I was going home because I know my performance wasn't mediocre. [Laughs.]

It hurt, really. It's hard. And I've spent this whole show really never taking any platform about race issues at all, but I know how hard it is just judging by history, judging by the fact that I can count on my hands how many successful artists there have been that are African-American in rock 'n' roll. And it's just like a lot of people aren't going to watch the television show that aren't into rock music, and then therefore those people that have not seen enough black people in rock 'n' roll don't think to put me in [the band, INXS]. That's the only reason, that's the only reason. I know things. I'm very in touch with myself and the world and spirituality. And I know what my performances are like and I know – now that I don't have to deal with being so politically correct – I know where they land as far as substance. And you know, I hate having to live history [Starts crying]. You know that's it. I just hate being a part of something that just doesn't seem like it's gonna change.

[We stop the interview while Ty cries.]

Well, what are the good things you'll remember about your experience here?
Everything else besides what I just said. We definitely formed a family and relationship that I would never give up. We just laughed a lot and had so many good times together. Getting to sing with the house band, getting to do songs with INXS [when members of the band performed with the rockers on past shows] was just unreal. Living in the house was great, the food was good [laughs], everything. It was just an amazing, amazing experience.

I know we haven't heard the last from you. So, what's next?
I don't know. I thought I was going to be here. I didn't even bother to put it in my thoughts, in the realm of possibility because I didn't think it was gonna happen. But I know by my past that the universe always takes care of me. I'm not worried about not being on the show anymore. That doesn't scare me. In the end, and as things were rolling on, I didn't think I was going to be the person they [INXS] were going to choose, so it's easier for me to go and get on and do whatever's going to be next then stay around another couple weeks and prolong it. [Laughs.]

Karen Budell is the metromix nightlife producer.Originally published Sept. 3, 2005.

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TelevisionEntertainmentElectionsRock and Roll (genre)Television IndustryDave Navarro