It's time for the final group of performers until we hit the fabled Top 10. Well, kind of. There’s that wild card night, which I’m looking forward to since I’m having trouble remembering more than 2 of the 6 determined members of the Top 10 so far. Not a lot of Type A personalities, yet.
If you’re a regular viewer of Canadian Idol, you know that Ben has two primary styles; formal attire and dumpster diving. Today, Ben has gone with column A and is in a nice suit, accented by a pink shirt. At least he’s not suggesting that real men wear pink, that would just be asking for ridicule. He introduces the contestants and promises they're about to sing their hearts out. Just once I'd like one of them to correct him for being so presumptuous. What of one of them has absolutely no intention of trying that hard?
That Thing You Do
Thanks to the Live 8 coverage on Saturday, tonight’s episode is live. I know there are about 4 of you out there that didn’t realize these performances were taped, but it’s true. Sorry to break it to you. As always, the judges greet Ben with their standard salutation. The small, embarrassed wave from Jake; the polite one handed variation from Farley; a bigger wave from Sass and the same, strange finger point thing from Zack. And yes, this is important this week.
Jake reveals that on this week’s results show, for the first time on any Idol show, Canadians will determine who will perform in the Wild Card show. This means the judges will have to sell, sell, sell their favourites tonight! Farley, who worked the CTV Live 8 coverage with Ben and is wearing a Live 8 shirt, says that even though this group has had a longer time to prepare, natural talent will be the true test of the night. Sass believes that in deciding the Top 10, Canadians are just looking for someone to fall in love with. Ben gives his best effort at flirting, but it’s embarrassing and is probably best left without going into any great detail. Ben does ask Zack what is with the sweeping pointy thing and Zack responds that it, say it with me kids, It Is What It Is. Gee, thanks for clearing that up.
Kiss Mah Grits
Leading off the night is Genevieve Nadeau, a financial consultant from Montreal that says she needs to feel sexy when she sings. In this case, she’s chosen to sing Some Kind of Wonderful and is dressed in her best pink waitress uniform with her hair artfully tied up at the side. For someone so concerned with looking and feeling sexy, you’d think she’d chose a style other than what’s the rage at the hottest truckstop diners across the country.
Jake thinks it was an interesting song choice and that she had made enough changes to the arrangement to make it work for her. Farley liked the way she moved around, and despite her nasal tone, thought it was okay. Sass loved the way she moves on stage, but felt the song was more bluesy than she is. Zack says very little, other than he believes this is the second year in a row that no one from Quebec will make the Top 10. Ben does his best to ease Zack’s criticism and counters that Zack knows nothing about Quebec. And Ben, for the third year in a row, proves that he simply has no idea what Zack is talking about. Ever.
Kalan Lite: Less Curls, More Frat Boy
Since you can never have enough boys with golden curls, Luke O’Reilly, from Caledonia, Ontario follows with Bless The Broken Road. Luke made the Top 100 last year, but didn’t go any further and this year finds himself in the Top 32.
Farley says that he deserved to go further this year than last, and a strong performance is his reward. Sass praises him for how he worked the camera and finds him very polished, perfect and professional. Always one with the alliteration, our girl Sass. Zack thinks Luke is somewhere between Kalan lite and a frat boy next door. He doesn’t think he has a great voice, but people will dig him and think he did a good job. Jake agrees with Sass about Luke’s professional performance, but says it’s precisely what he didn’t like because he felt Luke didn’t sing from the heart.
Don’t Sing Out Loud
Keely Hutton, from St. John’s, Newfoundland, who I’ll admit I don’t remember whatsoever, is next. Since it worked for Emily, Keely figures she’ll take a stab at Don’t Cry Out Loud. Rather than doing the usual power ballad style, Keely opts for a softer, more controlled interpretation of the song. As you can imagine, it doesn’t really work.
Sass thinks she must be the mean judge tonight since her first reaction was that Keely shouldn’t sing out loud. Great. So now we have Jake, Sass and Zack all competing to be the next Simon? He’s so overrated. I’m all about Farley. He proves that you can be honest, insightful and nice, without the aid of prescription medications. Back to Keely, who Zack says was likely a little nervous which translated into a poor performance, aided, of course, by the fact that she’s not a good singer. Jake leaps to her defense and argues that she wouldn’t be there unless she was a good singer and is great to watch, despite the fact that she was pitchy and oversang. Y'know, the little things. Farley doesn’t have much kinder words than what Jake attempted and believes she didn’t gel with the song.
Ben, ever the white knight, tells Keely to ignore the judges because over a million people voted last week and they are only four people, so they don’t count. Sorry to break it to you, Ben, but bad singing does count and no amount of spinning is going to change that. Keely would be better off seeking advice and support from Stuart Smalley.
And Now For Something Completely Different…
St. Thomas, Ontario’s Aaron Walpole takes to the stage with Blue Rodeo’s Try. Aaron admits that he was feeling confident, not cocky, when he made it as far as the Top 100, thanks to his musical theatre background. Even though this song is dangerously close to being worn out, Aaron sings it just a bit differently from the typical male contestant style and makes it interesting.
Zack confesses that he finds Aaron appealing, but when the theatrical tones slide in, it bugs him. Jake says that Aaron is a true professional, he knows how to emote, know how deliver, and thinks Jim Cuddy would be proud. Farley agrees and thinks he gave a great performance. Sass, like Zack, says he has a vibrato that she doesn’t love, but she appreciates the guts he brought to the performance. An especially chatty Ben tells Aaron that all Ben needs is to just ‘Try’. Gee, clever. And Ben, you certainly try enough for everyone. Perhaps that’s your problem.
Remember What Happened To Justin...
Speaking of overplayed songs on Idol shows, Danian Vickers from Toronto, follows with Get Here. I’m sorry, I can never hear this song again without thinking of Justin Guarini. And yes, I loved it - shut up. Danian’s version is almost as good and she manages to sing without relying on too many of the obnoxious ‘look at me’ notes.
Jake wishes she held the last note a bit longer, but thinks it’s the best performance they’ve seen from her. Farley is pleased to see she was able to let it all out and despite his issues with some tonal things, praises her for being able to step it up tonight. Sass, clearly in a mood tonight, says even though Danian’s a sweetheart, she’s not really a performer. Zack disagrees and says she has the ability to sing louder but not sing louder and he thought it was great. He starts to talk about compression and I really don’t understand what he’s talking about. Guess that’s how Ben feels.
Hey, Did You Know She’s In A BAND?
The wannabe Instant Star and everyone’s favourite pink haired rocker chick,Suzi Rawn from Kamloops, BC is finally ready to take the stage. Love her or hate her, this girl has been pushed so hard I thought she was already IN the Top 10. She’s selected Fortunate Son and does her thing. Not surprisingly, she’s quite comfortable. She has a band, doncha know.
Farley is quick to eat it up. She’s one of his favourite performers, he loves her comfort and confidence. She rocks. She’s the bomb. Oh Farley, just ask her out already. Sass has temporarily abandoned her foul mood, says she’s a female rockstar and loved it. Good to know Sass doesn’t feel threatened. Zack makes a throwaway comment about not knowing that rockstar was a male term, but loved how she was able to rock out in the midst of the cheese that makes up Canadian Idol. Jake congratulates her on song choice and also thought she did a great job. If the judges had their way, she’d be the next winner. I really don’t see all the fuss, although I admit she’s better than listening to one more interpretation of Don’t Cry Out Loud.
I Knew Shane Wiebe, You Sir, Are Not Quite Shane Wiebe
Army reservist, Matt Kennedy from Coquitlam, BC is the latest ‘young married’ to find himself on Canadian Idol and has selected I’ll Be, the song he sang to his wife at their wedding. Midway through the performance, he gives her an encore as he makes his way into the audience and over to his wife. Awww, that would be sweet if it hadn’t so obviously been planned for weeks.
Sass thought it was okay in the softer parts, but the shouting didn’t work for her. Ah, so Sass is hungover! At last, the reason for her mood. Zack says that Matt may well belong in the Top 10, but felt it was contrived and soulless. Jake says when Matt went into the audience to sing to his wife and then came back across the stage, he thought he was going to sing to Zack. He thought it was pretty good, but he wasn’t blown away. Remember, Jake is all about the connection. EMOTE, PEOPLE, EMOTE! Farley agrees and says he didn’t feel anything special after his performance.
Friends In High Places
The last performer of the night is Melissa O’Neil from Calgary, who was stunned when the judges immediately gave her a gold ticket after very little reaction. She’s selected Concrete Angel and says she likes to sing songs where she’s able to emote. Perfect, I hear Jake likes that.
Zack says she looked so scared that she might not be able to sing, and going into this round she was one of his faves. He thinks she comes off incredibly real and asks her to be more funky in Top 10. He refers to Melissa being in the Top 10 so many times that I’m convinced he’s practicing Mind Control 101 to sway votes. Jake points out that contestants often give performances that are enough to help them advance before stepping up in the Top 10, but thinks she gave a Top 10 performance tonight. Farley gives Zack credit for praising Melissa all along and agrees that she was fantastic. Even Sass really enjoyed it and says she thinks she’s going a long way.
Well, that’s it for the group performances. After two more move on to the Top 10 tonight, Canadians will be given the chance to get drunk with power in order to determine the Wild Card performers. Let the battle of the losers begin!