Canadian Idol 07/21 – Canadian Hits & Misses
The Top 10 kicks off it’s run at the John Basset Theatre and it is an exciting time! I’m personally not that excited, but I’m trying to feel the excitement. The crowd is excited! RoboBen is excited! The judges, well, they don’t look all that excited, but Ben is excited! Ben is shouting very loudly and quickly, yet still manages to seem every bit as bland as always. Kind of like those people that think speaking louder to someone that doesn’t understand the language will make a difference, Ben seems to think that speaking louder will make him more interesting and therefore validate his existence. This show better be exciting, if only to validate my love of exclamation marks!
Ben gives the background on the journey to the Top 10. The auditions! The journey to Toronto! The four groups of 8! The wild card show! Finally, we’ve reached the next stage and Ben asks the judges to comment. Jake suggests the audience appreciate the quality of many of the Top 10 finalists as many are actual, honest to goodness musicians. Zack suggests Ben stop using the teleprompter. Ben? Teleprompter? Say it ain’t so! Then, obviously unable to adlib anything at all, Ben returns to his beloved teleprompter to introduce the Top 10 and thusly proving Zack’s point.
The theme tonight is Canadian Hits, so we take to the streets of Canada to discover who Canadians consider the best homegrown talent. The answers are what you’d expect; Barenaked Ladies, Alanis Morrissette, Rush, Anne Murray, Ryan Malcolm… Ryan Malcolm? I don’t frigging think so. I mean, maybe Billy Klippert, but Ryan? Nice try squeezing that one in.
The Dull, The Bland, The Mediocre
Joshua Seller was the first to make it to the Top 10 and is also the first to start off the evening. Before he takes to the stage, we travel back to Brigden, Ontario where the whole community is behind Joshua. We learn he’s had a life long love affair with music and excited to be a part of the competition. Joshua has chosen to sing Try by Blue Rodeo. Josh tries to work some personality into it, but fails to generate any more connection with the audience than a veteran bar singer to a half-empty club at closing time.
The judges are less than impressed. Jake and Sass both call it a safe choice, as does Zack, who adds that he did a mediocre enough job with it to fight another day. Josh grins as if he’s just been awarded ‘Best Home Perm Job’. Um, Joshua? Mediocre isn’t exactly a compliment.
Next up is Brandy Callahan. Before she takes to the stage, we travel back to Halifax, Nova Scotia where the whole community is behind Brandy. We learn she’s had a life long love affair with music and excited to be a part of the competition. Brandy has selected Deborah Cox’s Nobody’s Supposed to be Here. I know the song. I like the song. I don’t like Brandy’s version for many reasons. Brandy’s arrangement has been slowed down significantly and Brandy doesn’t even sing some of the best parts of the song. Regardless, she has a pleasant and strong voice if not entirely forgettable.
The judges are mixed. Farley and Jake liked the performance, but Sass felt Brandy was holding something back. Zack adds that he believes Brandy deserves to be there, but needs to show him a little something.
Shane Wiebe from Abbotsford, BC follows. Before he takes to the stage, we travel back to Abbotsford where the whole community is behind Shane. We learn he’s had a life long love affair with music and excited to be a part of the competition. Shane sings the gawd awful My Song by Glass Tiger. There were many, many fans of Glass Tiger when I was in high school. I was not one of them. Shane’s take on the song does little to put me in his camp either. It’s pure schmaltz and not even interesting, charming schmaltz at that.
The judges are equally as embarrassed for Shane. Farley says this round is like the playoffs and you have to step up. Sass feels that Shane is capable of more. Zack expected fairies to come out and dance around him. Jake says he’d say more, but he doesn’t want to be the one to put the final nail in his coffin.
The next performer to take to the stage is everyone’s favourite teacher, Manoah Hartmann. Before she takes to the stage, we travel back to Regina where the whole community is behind Manoah. We learn she’s had a life long love affair with music and excited to be a part of the competition. Manoah performs Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. Hallelujah indeed, Manoah. Hallelujah you’re still in the competition, beating out more worthy performers. Did I say that out loud? Truly, sorry.
Manoah sings her scholastic heart out, but leaves the judges mostly cold. Jake allows that she sings with passion and that’s what it’s about. Farley says he’s still not won over. Sass says it’s unfortunate that she’s heard the song many time by many better performers than Manoah. Zack says if someone worthy doesn’t come along soon, he’s going to change the channel. Please Zack, sometimes I wish you would.
We thought we were safe, but no, Tanya Kim is back with her L’Oreal pimp show. Can this show get any worse? <cue ominous, foreboding music>
Let The Real Competition Begin…
Jason Greeley is first up after the break. Before he takes to the stage, we travel back to Upper Island Cove, Newfoundland where the whole community is behind Jason. We learn he’s had a life long love affair with music and excited to be a part of the competition. Jason sings Bryan Adam’s Cuts Like A Knife and even though I hate the song, I’m impressed. Jason is charming and hams for the camera a bit, but without that annoying, Jon Peter Lewis quality to him. Plus, Jason can carry a tune.
Jake gives the ever ringing endorsement that Jason has given the best performance of the night so far, as does Farley. Guys, really, you need to upgrade your comments. My cat coughing up hairballs would be a better performance than the crop so far. Sass borrows a line from Ben’s writers and tells him he doesn’t cut like a knife, but shines like a star. Zack says he was a bit hasty in his comment about changing the channels.
Apparently it’s Canadian Idol’s intermission. Jon and Ben are up to their old tricks and perform another truly bizarre and unfunny skit. Everyone back from the fridge? Excellent. Let’s move on…
Every preteen girl’s darling,Kalan Porter follows. Before he takes to the stage, we travel back to Medicine Hat where the whole community is behind Kalan. We learn he’s had a life long love affair with music and excited to be a part of the competition. Also, he plays a mean Devil Went Down to Georgia on the fiddle. Kalan has selected Steppenwolf’sBorn To Be Wild. No really, he chose that. Surprisingly, Kalan rocks the heck out of it and does a great job. I believe my original reaction was, ‘Holy crap, I didn’t know he had it in him’. Kalan was nothing short of awesome. Boy band, schmoy band.
The judges are also blown away. Farley says he’s a rock and roll superstar in the making. Sass insightful contribution is that Kalan’s ‘got it’. Zack just wants to take him off and make him rich and famous. Jake says Kalan comes off as this quiet, unassuming kid and then lets it go with these rock songs… and he loves it.
Following in those tall footsteps is Theresa Sorkyrka, but fortunately, she’s up to the challenge. Before she takes to the stage, we travel back to Saskatoon where the whole community is behind Theresa. We learn she’s had a life long love affair with music and excited to be a part of the competition. Theresa has chosen to sing Jann Arden’s Good Mother. Good Mother is one of my all time favourite songs and had anyone else but Theresa sang it, I’d have instantly hated it. While I still prefer Ms. Arden’s version, I appreciate Theresa’s take on it, even if her voice did seem to die off in a few key spots.
The judges, still high on the wave of the previous competitors are full of praise. Sass says her performance is as captivating as she is as a person. Zack says he’s trying to channel his inner Cowell, but can’t pass judgment on her performance. Jake steps up his praise and says it may have been the best of any performance ever on these shows. Farley feels like he’s competing to love her, but also thinks she did a terrific job.
Up next is Kaleb Simmonds. Before he takes to the stage, we travel back to Dartmouth where the whole community is behind Kaleb. We learn he’s had a life long love affair with music and excited to be a part of the competition. Kaleb sings Bryan Adams’ Everything I Do. I’m not a huge fan of Kaleb’s, but I did enjoy his arrangement of the song and managed to provide a glimpse of a personality which unto now has lay dormant.
Zack comments that it’s absurd the last four performers are in a competition because he would chose to watch each of them night after night. Jake adds it was an unbelievable performance, in a great way, of course. Farley says Kaleb was representing and then goes on to make some ridiculous analogy about how much soul he has. Sass says he made it his own, and then seems embarrassed to lapse into a competition show cliché. Good for her. It’s taken 3 seasons for Paula Abdul and she still hasn’t caught on.
Next on deck is Elena Juatco. Before she takes to the stage, we travel back to Vancouver where the whole community is behind Elena. We learn she’s had a life long love affair with music and excited to be a part of the competition. Elena, not surprisingly, has chosen Alanis Morissette’s Mary Jane. It’s not a well known song, but an Alanis song nonetheless. Elena does a good job and puts the right amount of passion and technique into her performance. One thing bothers me. Elena is such an obvious Alanis fan that I feel like I’m watching a tribute band sometimes. I wish Elena would try to develop some of her own personality rather than incorporating so much of Alanis into it.
However, the judges don’t seem to mind. Jake says she pulled it off while Farley comments on how well she balanced presentation with emotion. Sass tries to build her own clichés when she praises Elena on finding her ‘Star Search’ moments and Zack is pleased she’s managed to hold on long enough to create moments like these.
Last, but certainly not least is Jacob Hoggard. Before he takes to the stage, we travel back to Abbotsford where the whole community is behind Jacob. We learn he’s had a life long love affair with music and excited to be a part of the competition. I know, it’s such a unique path, isn’t it?
More importantly, Jacob is dressed straight out of the 50’s, complete with slicked back hair and a sweater vest. And a lip piercing, of course. You see, Jacob has opted to perform Paul Anka’s Put Your Head On My Shoulder. Jacob sings it well. Not only does Jacob showcase his great voice, he pulls one out of left field and makes it even more entertaining than if he stayed with his usual manic performances. Shame on you that thought he’d sing something by Sum 41.
Farley stands up and tells Jacob he has all the respect in the world for him. Sass says he’s a quadruple threat and that he’s the Mac(k). I don’t really know what it means. Heck, they’re still debating in the Canadian Idol forum as to what they think she meant. Zack says Jacob is clearly a schizophrenic and that it was the most ridiculous thing he’s ever seen… and he loved it. Jake says Jacob is a guy with talent, vision, but most importantly, ‘the guy’. To his credit, Jacob seems genuinely appreciative of their reaction and not like a guy that’s just pulled a fast one over on his teachers.
Ben concludes the show with a heartfelt, (well, heartfelt for someone with a limited range of emotions,) monologue about how talented they all are and how each and every one of them (except for the first four, of course) rocked Canada. Yes, it was an impressive showcase, but not one that will change the course of history Ben. See Zack? THAT’S what happens when you take Ben off the teleprompter.
Next time: Canada sends someone home. $20 says it's one of the first four performers!