Who: Dilana When: 8 p.m. Monday Where: Jammin' Java, Vienna
Dilana was the one to beat last summer. From the beginning of the second season of CBS's summer reality show "Rock Star," the South African-born singer was a favorite of both viewers and the program's panel of judges: Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee, former Guns N' Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke and ex-Metallica bassist Jason Newsted.
With her eyes on the prize (a job fronting the contest judges' new super group), week after week Dilana earned high praise from the rockers for her powerful and adaptable voice and her energetic and charismatic presence. In one midseason episode, the show's co-host, former Jane's Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro, told the other contestants, "If it were up to me . . . Dilana would win this thing right now."
But whether it was a late-season series of missteps (slamming fellow contestants in the news media, a glass-smashing temper tantrum) or the viewers' honest preference for the shuddering dance moves and the throaty bleating of Toronto fry cook Lukas Rossi's performances, Dilana's support with viewers waned. Rossi won, and Dilana finished second.
But Dilana didn't come away from "Rock Star: Supernova" empty-handed. Clarke and Navarro both offered to collaborate on a record with her, and the exposure from the show hasn't hurt her name recognition. She will probably have little trouble filling the intimate space at Jammin' Java when she plays there with her band Monday.
Like many of the other contestants on the show, Dilana was no rank amateur. The 34-year-old has sung in rock clubs since she was a teenager in Johannesburg. Her muse led her from South Africa to the Netherlands where she had a hit album, "Wonderfool" in 2000. After spending some time in Scotland, she relocated, first to Houston and then to Los Angeles.
At just under five feet, Dilana has a voice that seems much bigger than she is. She cites Tina Turner and Stevie Nicks as influences and has a bluesy growl that has earned comparisons to Melissa Etheridge and Janis Joplin. Her Gilby Clarke-produced single "Supersoul" was released yesterday.
-- C. WOODROW IRVIN