That Time INXS Hired a New Singer on a Reality TV Show
J.D. Fortune learned he'd replace the late INXS singer Michael Hutchence in a moment of TV drama, as guitarist Tim Farris announced "you are right for our band" on CBS. It was Sept. 20, 2005, and Fortune had battled to become one of two finalists on Rock Star: INXS, a reality show meant to produce a new singer for the group.
That Fortune would emerge from some 50,000 applicants to appear on the show couldn't have been a bigger surprise. After all, up until then Fortune had enjoyed little career success – to the point where he had been living in his car. Still, as he once said, "the first song I learned how to play on guitar was [the INXS hit] 'Devil Inside.'" He seemed like a perfect fit. The drama wasn't over, however, as J.D. Fortune's tumultuous tenure with INXS continued – off and on – through 2011.
Switch, INXS' first studio effort since 1997's Hutchence-fronted Elegantly Wasted, arrived that November – and represented a notable high point. The album rose to No. 17 in the U.S. "Pretty Vegas," a single co-written by Andrew Farris and Fortune, cracked the Billboard Top 40. But J.D. Fortune had difficulties adjusting to his newfound fame, descending into a drug habit that reportedly cost him the INXS job.
Fortune aimed to turn his attention to a still-unreleased solo project, said to be titled The Death of a Motivational Speaker, but ended up homeless yet again. After a lengthy period of confusion over his role with the band, and how it had all gone wrong, INXS did indeed come calling again. The Canadian-native rejoined the band for a memorable performance at the Vancouver Olympics in February 2010, then saw a solo song titled "One More Day" appear on ads for the Jerry Bruckheimer-helmed CBS series Miami Medical that April.
Watch INXS' 'Pretty Vegas' Video
A series of stage appearances with INXS arrived in 2010, followed by the October release of an update of the song "The Stairs" – originally found on INXS' 1990 project X – featuring vocals by Fortune. By 2011, they were performing on tour in Australia, England, Portugal, South America, Canada and the U.S. Fortune also appeared on a bonus track titled "Love Is" from INXS' multi-vocalist tribute album Original Sin.
He seemed to be on top of the world again. That is, until September 2011, when J.D.'s fortune turned once more. The erstwhile singer says he learned he had been dropped by INXS again – this time via their website. He promptly launched a new solo group, titled simply Fortune, while INXS moved forward with the Irish singer Ciaran Gribbin.