This summer, Canadians are faced with a very difficult task. You see, now that the auditions are over and the field has been narrowed to 32, it’s time for Canada to determine the Top 10. You all did such a great job last year, have you stopped patting yourselves on the back long enough to grasp the severity of this responsibility?
Don’t screw it up, Canada.
After a new, jazzed up intro, featuring Canadian landmarks, Ben opens the show with his usual flair. And by flair, I mean stating the obvious. It’s time for Canada to take over the judging responsibilities. Over the next few weeks, the Top 32 will perform and the top two vote getters will advance to the Top 10. Memories properly refreshed? Excellent.
As usual, Ben moves to the awkward stage of the show where he banters with the judges and pretends he’s witty. There is a small crowd made up of the performers’ friends and family, who will smile and laugh and put everyone, including Ben, at ease. Ben asks Zack, aka his arch nemesis, how he enjoyed the cross Canada tour. Zack says it was great, since he was able to meet his Canadian heroes, including Gordie Howe. Ben chides him for not mentioning the kids. Farley, dressed in his best Toronto Blue Jays gear, is asked if the contestants this year are more savvy having seen 2 seasons of Canadian Idol, now. He responds that ultimately, it’s about who can turn their potential into talent. Jake had previously said that the top 100+ performers were the best Canada has to offer and tonight, these are the best of the best. Those comments are met with wild applause, okay, applause, and it’s time to bring out the performers.
One by one, they are introduced and take their seats on the couch of shame. Those of you familiar with the previous season know that this couch is only brought out for the results show. Not this year. Instead, they will get to sit there and watch their competition. No back room for these guys.
Ton Of Talent From Timmins
Leading off the show is Matt Humphreys from Timmins, Ontario. Matt wants to select a song that reflect his personality and adds he’s been working with Debra Byrd, the singing coach, to learn how to sing with a mic, since he’s used to performing with a guitar. He sings Chariot and gives a solid, if not stoic, performance.
Jake says he wished he knew what song he sang and believes Matt needs to pick familiar songs to succeed in the competition. Farley also doesn’t know the song, but says it worked for him. Sass thinks he sang his butt off and calls him a ton of talent from Timmins. Zack compliments Sass, somewhat sarcastically, on her use of alliteration, and says Matt’s performance was solid and okay, but likely not enough to keep him in the competition.
She Was A Showgirl…
The second performer of the night is Jenn Beaupre from Drumheller, Alberta. She describes her style as pop/folk/jazz/rock. Thanks for narrowing it down, Jenn. Jenn has chosen Cheek to Cheek and has donned her best red party dress. Jenn has a great voice and belts the heck out of the song. She’s also punctuated her performance with lots of theatrics, if that’s your kinda thing.
Farley says he’s never seen the mic stand so low, but felt she gave a good performance. Sass loved her energy. Zack says there is a good chance there are Canadians from coast to coast saying, ‘what the *beep* was that?’, but felt she was really creative and gave it her best shot. Jake loves her because she’s so unique, and glad she didn’t let them down. Reminiscent of last year, he tells her she has soul up the yin yang and he means that in a good way.
Get Your French On
Melody Benicel from Montreal is next to take to the stage and Ben gets his first chance to show off his French skillz. Melody is a francophone, but says she likes to sing in English because the sounds are so nice. Oh, Melody, that’s so sweet, but French is really a much more melodic than the language that brings you words like, well, buttock, clodhopper, pug and crackpot.
Melody selects All Is Fair In Love and despite her thick accent, is able to convey the emotion of the song. Ben translates the comments from the judges, even though Melody seems perfectly able to decipher what they say. Sass tells her that what she lacks in the way she sang was made up for with her gorgeous emotion. Zack loves her Karen Carpenter tone, but thinks she’s short on star power. Jake was impressed with not how she sang, but how he felt when watching her. Farley trots out the sports analogies to match his outfit and tells her that she started out shaky, but brought it home with a full sprint.
What Happens When He Hits Puberty?
The youngest competitor of the night, Daryl Brunt from Sudbury, Ontario follows. He began singing at an early age and adds that the Lion King rocks, complete with the universal hand gesture for ‘rocks’. He’s chosen When You Believe and despite some rough notes along the way, nails his last, long note.
Zack says he was concerned he’d be a deer in the headlights, but thinks he has the most potential so far to be a ‘star’. Jake said he felt there were some nerves at work, but he came through at the end with the big note to win over the audience. And really, it’s always difficult to win over an audience made up of family and friends. Farley says Daryl looks so fragile, but voice is powerful enough to make up for it. Hey! No fair recycling last year’s comments. Sass continues with the hometown shoutouts and pronounces him Sudbury’s favourite son.
This Song… Again?
Next up is Dianelys Hernandez who came to Canada from Cuba in 2000 and settled in Saint John, New Brunswick. Dianelys sings the Idol staple, Summertime and puts her own special style on it, complete with some stylized dance moves.
Jake, impressed, calls her a natural performer. Farley loves how uninhibited she is and says he sweats at the drop of her voice. Sass laments all the positive comments of the night, compliments her performance and then mimics Dianelys’ dance move, labeling it a waterfall. Zack jumps all over that and chides Sass for her rhyming skills and says Dianelys’ performance is an indication of why people are here in the first place.
Whoa! I Still Don’t Understand…
Stephane Aubin from Edmonton is next on the list and Ben takes the time to ask him what an Apprentice Talker is. Stephane gives some sort of explanation about giving people the opportunity to make up with their girlfriends, but I still don’t know what he does. In any case, dressed in his ‘Love Never Hurts’ shirt, he takes to the stage to sing Georgia On My Mind. He, like Jenn, infuses lots of theatrics into his performance.
Farley says it was an incredibly cheesy performance, but he belted it out. Sass says it was cheese, but French fromage. Aside from that being the French word for cheese, I have no idea what she meant. She seems to mean it as a compliment. Ed the Sock would no doubt disagree. Zack, rather complacent tonight, says they all can sing and he did a good job. It’s hard for him to go off on anyone. Jake says the song is his taste when Ray Charles sings it, but doesn’t know if it works for Stephane because it’s not believable for him. Ben gives Stephane a bit of a pep talk and says that he’s been sporting cheese for years now and finds it works for him, so not to despair. Who in the world told Ben that?
Do You Think The Judges Like Her?
Burnaby’s Ashley Leitao is the next performer of the night and says her love of music stems from her Portuguese background and credits her mother, who also loves to sing. She’s selected Colours Of The Wind because she thinks it’s part of who she is and wants everyone to know her as someone who puts her heart and soul into everything.
Sass thinks she’s gorgeous and gave a nice performance, but that it didn’t live up to where Sass knows she could go. Zack, a man of few words tonight says she’s money in the bank, and has a guaranteed career ahead of her. Jake pokes fun at Zack for his low key demeanor, but agrees with Sass that Ashley didn’t do what she is capable of. Farley echoes those sentiments and says he’s disappointed but she has an aura and potential that he likes.
Never Say Die
The last performer of the night is Cher Maendel from Winnipeg, who you might recall from last year’s Canadian Idol audition process. She’s determined and out to prove something to someone, so she takes a page from Constantine’s book when and chooses to perform Bohemian Rhapsody. She starts at the edge of the stage and puts everything she has into the performance.
Zack says she no one will be able to say she didn’t go for it and says he has little else to add. Jake jumps all over that one and proclaims it a national holiday, since Zack has nothing else to say. He adds that Cher did a good job and showed everyone she’s a rock singer. Farley says the contestants this year are more Idol savvy, and thinks everyone stepped up and tried to be a show person rather than let their nerves get the best of them, Cher included. Sass thinks what she lacks in skill she made up for in exuberance and congratulates her on a job well done.
Next time on Canadian Idol; the first two members of the Top 10 will be revealed… did you make sure you voted, Canada?