Last week, cute Ashley Leitao and super cute Daryl Brunt were the first to make this year's Top Ten, proving that it helps if you can sing, but it's even better if you're a cutie-pahtootie. This week, the stacked Group Two takes the stage. I'm very excited about this group, mainly because I remember some of them! Casey from the hard luck town in New Brunswick! The Moffat! Mutton Chop guy with the girlfriend! Vince the mechanic! What a great lineup! How will we choose? How will we choose, indeed...
The air is thick with excitement and Ben looks as if he's dressed to go dumpster diving, so you know it's an important night. Where are those L'Oreal stylists when you need them? Before we get to the performances, it's time to check in with the judges for some weekly mindless banter. Jake, like me, believes that as good as last week's group was, this group will be even better. Ha! Idiot, I thought so too! Farley says the best way to really breakout is to be yourself and feel comfortable in your own skin. Sass says something, I'm sure, but I'm actually distracted by how she's sitting; she's assumed the classic position that most women take when they realize that what they've selected to wear is perhaps a bit low cut by blocking the line of sight to her family jewels with her entire arms. Ah, been there. Ben tells Zack that the entire internet is buzzing about how nice the judges were last week. Zack looks just as skeptical as I feel and makes a throwaway comment about how you can't always be mean to little girls. Is that why Zack stopped being mean to Ben? It all makes sense now.
When Child Stars Hit Puberty
This year, rather than arbitrary banter with the performers, Ben will direct a question to two of them before they take to the stage. First up is Dave Moffat, from Victoria, BC, or, as I like to call him, the kid from the Moffats. Wisely, he downplays his success with his brothers and says that he looks at this as an opportunity to grow as an artist. Feel free to add your own puberty joke here.
Dave sings Stevie Wonder's Overjoyed, an interesting choice as it's a difficult song to sing. He's great if you enjoy bland performances tinged with awkward notes. The judges are less than overjoyed and Jake says the only thing he found interesting about it was that Dave looked like he borrowed Zack's jacket. Farley says he should've stepped up and came to play, particularly considering his background. Sass, still sitting with her arms crossed awkwardly across her was also disappointed and points out all his missed notes. Zack simply says, 'Bye Dave' and Dave, not understanding what Zack meant by that, says 'Bye Zack' and stands there with a deer in headlights grin on his face. Poor Dave is only rescued by Ben, who reminds him that it doesn't matter what the judges think, it's up to Canada and if Canada wants to see Dave advance, they should make sure they vote. Great. Just what all the fangirlies need, a battle cry.
Fasten Your Seatbelts...
Up next is Alinka Chambers from Barrie, Ontario. Alinka gives the standard speech about how fortunate she is to be here and how singing has long been a dream of hers.
Alinka sings Black Velvet by Alannah Myles. Truth be told, I've always hated this song and unless Alinka can make the song almost unrecognizable, I'm not going to enjoy this performance. She tries her best, but overenunciates a bit for my liking.
Farley says she's Black Velvet personified, but doesn't say much else. Sass wanted to scream at her being so radically out of tune. Zack thought it was awful and incredibly contrived. Jake liked the performance, except for the sharp and flat singing. Well, sharp and flat singing isn't really important, is it?
... It's Going To Be A Bumpy Night
The next performer of the night is David Mongar, from Duncan, BC. Ben reminds us that this is the guy with the annoying girlfriend, who made it as far as Toronto, but not into the Top 32. David says she couldn't be here tonight as she's singing backup for an Elvis competition. Looks like she forgot to take your chops, pal.
David sings Only The Good Die Young, that propelled Jacob Hoggard into the Top Ten last year and does his best to ham it up and even grabs his mikestand like Bo Bice. Unfortunately, it's tough to say who he's ripping off more. David, I knew Jacob Hoggard and Bo Bice...
The judges are slightly more impressed. Sass is happy he picked a good song for his range and thinks he has a fabulous effusiveness and vitality. Sass must read a thesaurus each night. Zack wonders what they were thinking about during the Top 100 and makes reference to David's 'Porkchops'. This seems to offend David more than the criticism and he tells Zack that they are, indeed, 'Muttonchops'. Jake thought it was a great song for him but felt it was a little rushed and didn't take advantage of the melody. Farley has little else to say but to wonder why these guys are making it easy for those still on the couch. Ben, again, trots out the pep squad and reminds everyone at home that it doesnít matter what the judges think. As true as that may be, somethingís gotta be said for a poor performance. Once in awhile, even Benís gotta think that someone was crap.
Please Pass The Midol
The sweetheart of Nackawic, New Brunswick, Casey LeBlanc, is the next to perform and dressed in an elegant green dress. Casey prides herself on being unique and believes she brings something different to the competition, but fails to elaborate on what that might entail. I'd be tempted to add that the producers are solidly behind her as she's received a very favourable edit, so far, but that's just me. Casey has chosen to sing Bring It On Home To Me, by Sam Cooke. It's a very understated performance and Casey does have a very strong and pleasant sound to her voice, so maybe the producers are right to pimp her out to the audience. Surely this will please the judges as they've all but hated everyone so far.
Zack thinks there is some weird manic-depressive vibe tonight and believes she'd be better with a second go. Jake felt it was very good, but was not blown away. Farley thought it was a little dispassionate at the beginning and was disappointed in her performance. Sass can't believe that she has to agree with Zack and says she sang in the wrong key and that Casey is capable of much better.
At this point in the show, we were treated to a LíOreal shopping spree where everyone pretended it was the thrill of a lifetime and everyone mugged for the camera. Three years later and it still provides absolutely no entertainment value.
The Artist As A Young Man
Dressed in his best skin tight Sgt. Pepper gear, Josh Palmer from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, reveals that heís friends with last yearís runner up, Theresa Sokyrka, who gave him some advice upon coming to Toronto. Weíll know how seriously he listened to her if he thanks the judges profusely after each positive comment and starts alternating contact lenses with glasses.
Josh has chosen Love Having You Around by Stevie Wonder. I donít happen to know it, and the lyrics about flying a kite were a little odd to me, but Josh does his thing and seems to have little difficulty. Surprisingly, or not surprisingly, the judges eat it up. Jake calls Josh a real artist and that everyone should vote for him. Great Jake, then you run home and spend two hours voting non-stop. I suppose Jake thinks the remaining performers should leave right now. Farley is also a fan of Joshís and loved how he brought an essence of self to his wicked performance. Sass agrees and says he has an innate sense of performance and looks like a real rock star. Uh, okay, I guess thatís a subjective thing. Zack also loved it and tells Josh heís slightly the real deal. Isnít that like being a little pregnant? You either are or youíre not. Zack seems to be in a bit of a mood tonight, so thatís the best itís gonna get, I suppose. Much like the judges, Ben giggles and fawns over Josh telling him how awesome and cool he is. In fact, Ben can just feel himself getting cooler by associationÖ except that in reality, it makes him look just that much more sad. Poor Ben, still never quite one of the cool kids.
Hey, Did You Know Ben is Bilingual?
Ben, always eager to show off his mad French skillz, introduces us to the next performer, Julie Tellier from St-Bruno-de-Montarville, Quebec. Like Josh, she has her own encounter with a Canadian celebrity and counts meeting Celine Dion as one of the greatest days of her life. Sheís chosen to sing a bluesy song that I believe is called, Dirty Man. (Hey, I said I didnít know for sure!).
Farley tells her that with all the problems tonight, she may be the diamond in the rough. Sass says that she wanted to love it, but canít, as she sang so radically out of tune. Details, details. Zack didnít notice it being so out of key, but did have problem with Julieís lack of intensity and guts. Jake agrees and says Julie didnít perform to her potential and he wishes sheíd show it a bit more.
Safety In Numbers
Vince Benenati, from Toronto is the next to follow in the ongoing parade of disappointment. He says being a part of the process is a thrill for him and heís excited to see where this will lead him. Heís chosen to sing What A Wonderful World and manages to sing it as well as, well, every other Idol contestant that has chosen this song.
The judges, however, donít agree. Sass thought he was shaky in his bottom notes, but awesome in the higher register. Zack thought Vince flat out choked. Jake says he thought it was a safe choice and would have been better off to pick a better song to show how good he truly is. Farley also trots out the sports analogy and says he had one shot to step up to the plate and he blew it. Never fear, Vince, Ben is there to console you and urge Canada to vote for their favourites, no matter how much they suck!
Say, You Remind Me Of A Blonde I Know From American Idol
Emily Vinette from Ottawa, Ontario is next to take the stage with Donít Cry Out Loud. She sang it for her audition and figures she did well enough to see if it can help her through to the Top 10. Emily has a very strong and pure voice and does well enough and I canít say that Iím all that captivated with her performance, and with the mood these judges are in tonight, who can tell?
Zack says all the notes between her Star Search moments were mediocre, but she sang strong enough to save her performance. Jake says she hit the notes, did the key change and sang well enough to be one of the best of the night. With Josh, of course, canít forget to throw his name out there a few more times. Josh! Farley adds to the praise and says she sang the tough notes very well and was encouraged and relieved by her performance. Sass, again with the music teacher position, points out a few missed notes but calls her the best singer of the evening.
Itís going to be a bloodbath Wednesday night. It took the Canadian Idol judges 5 months to create the Top 32, and just one hour for Group Two to screw it up. Who will survive is anyone's guess.