As a child, we had a family friend who had a cottage in Orillia. Orillia is a beautiful place, but there isnít much to do. On those rainy days when relaxing by the lake wasnít an option, weíd drive around town. Our hosts would explain that this was Gordon Lightfootís hometown and show us various sites that didnít matter to young girls who didnít know who Gordon Lightfoot was. Orillia, like itís favourite native son, isnít for me, but I can still appreciate what others see in it.
Upon learning that Canadian Idol was going to do a Gordon Lightfoot night, I didnít know what to expect. Iím by no means a huge Lightfoot fan, but I canít say I know enough of his collection to make a qualified judgment. After all, itís gotta be better than Big Band night, right?
Itís All Been Done Before
For some reason beyond my comprehension, Ben elects to start the show outside by the legions of fans that are lined up and apparently unable to get seats. Ben has them shout Canadian Idol and runs into the auditorium leaving the crowd behind as the intro rolls. Wow. What a magical moment.
The magic continues and the Idols are introduced. No one looks out of place and everyone is dressed rather low key. Iím not sure what I was expecting, but no outlandish performances for our great Canadian folk hero seem to be in store. Ben turns to the judges and asks the questions heís been rehearsing in his bedroom all week. Jake says these theme nights are a test to see if the Idols really can sing anything. Farley starts spewing out sports analogies that make no sense, as is often the case with sports analogies, and ends up talking about song choice. Sass says most people would consider everything that has been thrown at the contestants to be too much too fast, but they have proven to be more than capable. Ben, desperately trying to be funny and personable asks Zack if the showís popularity can be attributed to him. Zack says that since the contestants change and since Jonís weirdness, Benís permatan and he and the other judges are constants then yes, he is to be credited for the success of the show. Itís lame, but at least he isnít using Ben as a whipping boy anymore.
Heís No Lionel Richie, But Heís Canadian
Itís Gordon Lightfoot night and as a service to the millions of viewers who havenít heard of him, a retrospective of his career is shown. Gordon Lightfoot is one of those people who always seems very familiar. Everything about him is recognizable; his voice, his face, his songs. So I wasnít surprised to discover that I knew more Lightfoot songs than I actually thought I did. A career spanning back to the 1960ís, Gordon Lightfoot is a successful entertainer that is more than just the songwriter of If You Could Read My Mind as disco-ed up by Stars on 54 a couple of years ago. Raise your hand if thatís the only Gordon Lightfoot song you knew. Now raise your hand if the only other Gordon Lightfoot song you know is Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. People, heís a great, Canadian hero! Iím not sure if he qualifies as a hero in my eyes, but Ben keeps yammering hero like a 3 year old that just met Spider-Man. However, Iím not sure if this group, while immensely talented, would really ever be considered anyoneís idol. Ah, semantics. In any case, Gordon Lightfoot is part of the audience tonight and will have a front row seat to watch the Idols perform his songs.
Before the performance, each of the Idols gets a chance to rehearse with Gordon Lightfoot at Lionel Richieís house. Okay, itís not Lionel Richieís house, but itís apparently the same place they met him last week.
Elena is excited to meet the Canadian hero and explains she wants to do a good job and make him proud. Elena has softened her look tonight with curled hair and a cute hairband. Sheís chosen to sing Early Morning Rain. Elena does a good job with it and her tone is very clear and compliments the song as does her girl next door look.
Jake says itís always a special thing when someone takes anotherís signature song and makes it their own and sheís done just that. He congratulates her on a captivating performance. Farley notes there were a few weaknesses, but the emotion was great. Sass is impressed with her technical quality and Zack says it was simple, lovely and correct and has no issues with her performance.
A Little Bit Country, A Little Bit Newfie
Upon his meeting with Gordon Lightfoot, Jason brings his guitar. Gordon comments that the Jasonís arrangement had the right feel, but he wanted him to bring the tempo down. Jason has selected Rainy Day People. Youíd think Gordon Lightfoot grew up on the west coast with all these songs about rain. Jasonís version of the song is somewhat deeper than usual for him and sounds as much country as Iíve ever heard him. It reminds me, perhaps not coincidentally, of Joshua Gracin, the US marine from AI2 that did his best to infuse country into every single song he sang. In my completely amateur opinion, Jason sounds like heís missed a few notes and isnít really connecting to the song.
The judges disagree. Farley thinks the song was perfect for Jasonís tone and says it looked like a piece of cake for him. Sass although thought he did a great job and comments Jasonís lower range. Zack thought the singing in the lower range was a bit flat but applauds him for coming out of his comfort zone, even if he thought it was boring. Jake chastises Zack and says heís mistaking boredom with comfort and thought his performance was very natural.
Did Jon Just Make Me Laugh
Ben announces that Idol Fever is spreading in Toronto. As the number of performances decreases, the amount of filler required increases. Any moron can figure out this will result in more Jon Dore. Jon is out with the crowd that Ben was with earlier, apparently still unable to get into the building. One of the girls has a sign that says, Future Mrs. Kalan Porter. Jon chitchats, but doesnít ask the obvious questionÖ if sheís the future Mrs. Kalan Porter, why in the world couldnít she land a seat in the theatre rather than stand in line? Jon moves on and talks to a 5 year old Tyson, adorned in a Jason Greeley t-shirt. He asks Tysonís mother a trivia question, Who was last yearís idol, and she answers it correctly. Rather than award the prize to the mother, Jon hands a cup of sugar to Tyson, who proceeds to dig out a handful. I giggled. So did Ben. I decide I should get more sleep if Iím finding the same things amusing as Ben Mulroney.
Youíve Lost That Midas Touch
After meeting the star of the evening, Jacobís impression of Gordon Lightfoot is of a soft spoken, sincere man. Judging by his reaction, Gordon doesnít know what to make of Jacob. I think Jacob must get that a lot. Jacob and Gordon discuss the arrangement and Jacob asks him why he didnít think of it himself. Um, likely the same reason he opted not to pierce his lip, Jacob.
Jacob takes to the stage with Sundown a song I didnít realize I knew. Jacob stands with his hands in his back pocket for the majority of the song. Heís toned down the theatrics a bit this week and manages to sing the song in his own style without making the song unrecognizable. Personally, I loved it.
Sass says it wasnít her favourite performance of his, but she liked it. Zack says it was a horror show up there, but he tried to show who he is and prays that he makes it through next week. Jake comments that heís familiar with that arrangement from a tribute album and thought Jacob nailed it. Farley says Jacob has a distinct and unique voice and he truly enjoyed his performance. Ben thanks him for dressing like a human being and Jacob rewards him with a wet willie. Ben is a mix of embarrassed, surprised and flattered. Iíd just like to know what his dad thought about all of that. Why, Iím not quite sure but I always do enjoy seeing a Conservative flustered.
But You Were Supposed To Crash & Burn!
Shane, who many thought would get the ax last week, has made it through to meet Gordon Lightfoot. After their rehearsal, Lightfoot suggests to Shane that he bring up the energy. Iím sorry, but if Gordon Lightfoot is suggesting more energy, what does that say about Shane? Was Shane half asleep at the rehearsal?
Shane has selected The Way I Feel. I have made it clear that Iím not a Shane fan, although I do admit the guy has talent. Shane is dressed down in his 5 oíclock shadow mode, obviously trying to sway some of the Kalan fans his way with his own boyish good looks. Shane does a good, solid job of the song and has obviously pleased the songwriter, who beams from his front row seat.
Zack explains he doesnít want to seem unfair since heís such a huge Jacob Hoggard fan, and thinks it was a lovely performance. Jake compliments him on being able to sing almost everything. Farley says unlike his fellow judges, he never thought Shane was a weak performance and predicts he will not fall. Sass adds that his performance has changed the way she feels. Hey now Sass, lame puns are Benís department, whatever will he throw to the phone number with now that youíve stolen his line?
Danger! Tanya Kim Alert!
You know the show is in desperate need of filler when Tanya Kim makes an appearance. They do a little LíOreal promo, naturally, this time about self-tanning products. Obviously Kalan didnít use his as heís still porcelain doll white.
Afterwards, the camera pans to Ronnie Hawkins, who is also in the crowd tonight. I sure wish they spent their filler time interviewing him. Heís at least relaxed and natural in front of a camera.
The Weather Is Cold Enough, Thanks
Theresa is thrilled to meet Gordon Lightfoot and asks him to sign her guitar. Gordon Lightfoot is equally taken with the young songstress and like Lionel Richie last week, comments on her jazz style voice.
Theresaís selection is Song For A Winterís Night. Iím not sure what the weather has been like this summer for you, but in Southern Ontario, weíve missed out on summer. As Theresa performs, Iím swaddled in blankets and I donít even have air conditioning. The song seems appropriate, somehow. Theresa has decided to use the serious stool this evening and her voice sounds very rich and strong.
Jake says Gordon Lightfoot has had a 30-40 year career and doesnít doubt that Theresa will be around for just as long. Farley, still with the sports analogies on the brain, says she was in a bit of a slump, but she came back with something great. Sass thinks it was the best sheís heard in a long time. Zack once again adds that he loves Jacob Hoggard, but in all honestly, only in Canada could we have such a simple, loving and elegant performance.
If We Could Read Kalanís Mind
Ben adds that there is one last performer and the crowd roars. Truth be told, the roars were more like the squeals of many 14 year old girls.
Kalan says meeting Gordon Lightfoot was a cool experience. Mr. Lightfoot doesnít seem thrilled that Kalan has chosen If You Could Read My Mind, but adds some songs just need to be sung. Kalan, mercifully, has opted to perform the original arrangement and not the faster, better known version. He sounds good, as he always does, and I think that reading Kalanís mind would be interesting, as he usually has such a blank, vacant look. That would be a treat.
Farley applauds Kalan for nailing the phrasing. Sass says the performance is a testament to Gordon Lightfoot and doesnít really explain how. Sass has been very disappointing this evening with her brief, banal comments. Zack drops Jacobís name another time and says his touch of immaturity is almost genius against the mature performances and thinks it will take a thermonuclear explosion to stop Kalan. Kalan looks uncomfortable upon the endorsement. Jake says he still canít get over the mature sounding voice coming out of someone that looks like Kalan.
Ben explains that heís discovered he has a talent, at the mere mention of Kalanís name, people will squeal. They do. Again, mostly what sounds like 14 year old girls. Well Ben, thatís one more talent than I thought you had.