Thank you Ty Conklin, and thank you Ryan Smith, for your snafu. Your timing was impeccable. So glad I didn't have to choose between a Stanley Cup overtime and Canadian Idol (sorry Edmonton Oiler fans)! Beautiful Montreal is our first stop tonight. Quebec has been sorely under represented the last few seasons, so let's hope we find some good ones. First up is Marie Soleil McPhee, a gorgeous 17 year old who goes by the name of Sunny because she always makes everyone happy. Her hair was the most unusual golden colour but that's the only gold she saw on this day. Andrew Chevrier screamed at us for a bit and then Louisa Abbaca screeched at us a bit more. C'mon Montreal, you can do better than this.
Finally, pretty Anna-Belle Oliva with the most charming french accent, but such a sad back story about losing her 16 year old brother in a fire last year. You know the producers are hoping she can sing. If she makes it to Toronto, we'll hear about it more than once I'm sure. Hallelujah, she's great, and she gets a unanimous yes. Julia Nguyen tries sucking up to Sass, telling her she's beautiful. Doesn't help. A steady stream of really horrible singers, and as Ben calls them, desperate dancers, are making the judges really really tetchy, and me too. Gah, I tune into these shows to get my first look at some of our contestants, to start picking favourites. Why are they subjecting me, and why am I subjecting myself, to this nonsense. The bickering, the crabbing, the kvetching among the judges hits a new low, for this year anyway, after George Bekiaris gives it a try. His voice is far from the worst we've heard tonight but a sour note sets them off and Jake and Zack get at it, arguing about his appearance more than his singing. Zack thinks if he looked like Kalan Porter (nobody's as cute as my cutey patootey Kalan - just look at my avatar!) Jake would let him through. Jakes gets all red in the face and yells and screams like a two year old. Sass puts her fingers in her ears and tries to block them all out. Good move Sass. We should all do that!
Anna Meer is next, and, well, she stands out for her costume anyway, and her boots. I've seen platform boots before, but yikes, those suckers have to be six inches high. She looks like she's walking with peg legs. She's going to give the venerable old Bo Rhap a shot, but she can't get past the word Mama. The judges must have all had a pee break or something because they're all happy and smiling for a change and are very patient with her, leaving her alone in the room to work out her song, to no avail. But we do get to hear all the judges giving the song a try. I'd put Sass through - she's good!
Amy Torok, a 28 year old from Ottawa, wearing some kind of creature on her head is up next, and girl can sing. Farley loves her, says "you've got soul coming out of your noseholes baby". Uh, is that a good thing to have Farley? First pimp clip of the day goes to metal rocker Alissa White-Gluz. I guess blue hair is in this year. I'll say right off the top, this is so far from my kind of music, that I really can't be objective. Bo Rhap again, and at least she remembers the words, but to me, she sings all nasally up in her nose. There's a segment of CI fans that are going to love her style and the judges like her, but Jake? Shut up. Just sit down and shut up, o.k.? Boy is he obnoxious tonight. Twenty-two people get gold tickets in Montreal and next we're off to Regina.
Brrr, it looks cold and nasty there. Hey, I know the prairies have some terrific places and some wonderful people, but I'll pass on their winters, thanks all the same. Auditions are in the beautiful legislature building where they're greeted by Premier Calvert. How can I put this relatively nicely? Is there a more unattractive premier in Canada? Whatever. I'm sure he's a very nice guy. Cecil Armistead (Johnny Rockstar) is back. I guess with how they're talking to him, he's tried out before. If he was this bad the last time, why in the world is he getting another shot? And why is he getting so much face time on my t.v.? Dusty Hunter, the farming, singing hockey player from Shaunavon gets a video clip and we see some great shots of his brothers and his down home family. He's cute, and not that bad a singer, but I don't think he'll last too long in Toronto. Unfortunately, not that bad is about as good as it got in Regina. Zack says to one contestant that if she can even burp in tune he'll vote for her. Tyler Lewis gives a spirited rendition of Heartbreak Hotel which perks the judges up briefly and he gets one of only five gold tickets handed out in Regina. Not a bumper crop.
St. John's Newfoundland, home of some of the most avid Canadian Idol fans in Canada is next on the itinerary. They've got some pretty Newfoundland ladies working on their dance routines already. Brandon Jones, a 16 year old from New Brunswick, is currently playing a nerd in his high school play, and says the role isn't a stretch for him. Snerk!! He's cute, in a nerdy way, and does a very decent job of singing, so he's off to Toronto. Holly Nelson sashays in next wearing ... um, I'm not sure what that is that she's wearing ... fluff's description of "dressed in pink with what looks like a net curtain draped round her" is as good as any, so let's go with that. Girl can't sing so well either, and she sure is a little bit out there. Another 16 year old, Craig Sharpe from Jason Greeley's hometown of Upper Island Cove is up next. He's got a great voice and is cute and blond and seems disarmingly sweet. The girls are gonna love this one. Eight hopefuls got sent through to Toronto, and the judges held themselves together pretty well, so maybe we're over the grumpy hump and the next audition city of Toronto will be smooth sailing. Riigghhtt.
First though, we have to endure roving reporter Elena Juatco again. She has a most interesting subject this week. Ben Mulroney! Oh good, I'm really anxious to hear what the contestants have to say about him! Not! Actually, I shouldn't be so hard on poor old Ben. When not standing directly in front of the camera, he seems pretty human and maybe almost fun. But still, it made me pine wistfully for good old Jon Dore, when he just made Ben look foolish.
More than 3,000 people showed up for the Toronto auditions. Now, in that large a group, hopefully there will be some great singers, and only a few stinkers. Ashley Boucher starts off the proceedings with a finger in her ear and stretches out her last note, really really stretches it out, painfully so. Sass says she sounds like a really angry mosquito! Ashley Wynter, Aldo Parise, Joy Chapman and her ribbit frog sounds, all serve to do nothing more than up the boredom level of the judges. Iryna Chorna gives us the most unusual version of Summertime I've ever heard. Rob Gardiner gets Zack and Sass going with his drawl.
The suckitude of the contestants is getting to them. Zack questions some of them "Do you know Snowball's Chance in Hell?" or "How about When Hell Freezes Over?" or "When Monkeys Fly Out of My Butt?", but at least they're all still smiling. For now. It's getting worse, and they're horsing around with carts, giving away their stash of Oreo's, skipping rope (who knew Farley could be so light on his feet?), tossing around the city name letters, but the light heartedness can only last so long. Lordy, I'd be getting crabby too if I had to sit and listen to that stuff for hours on end. I might not throw a garbage can around like Zack did though! That's getting a little over the top, even for Zack! He and Farley go out to the crowd waiting outside and they lay down the law. Sing better! Or else!
Jordan Robitaille got the memo. Only 16, with a headful of wonderful wavy reddish hair, he's got a spooky resemblance to Theresa Sokyrka. He sings Fever very well, but when Zack and Farley ask him to sing another song, Jake displays more of his assiness and starts griping and sniping at them again. Farley bitches back to him, and before you know it, we've got full out warfare. Yelling, swearing, posturing, threats, throwing furniture, stomping. All in all, a very shameful display, and I can't imagine why the producers thought it necessary to include the footage on the show. Ratings, schmatings, I don't tune into Canadian Idol to see Jerry Springer. **steps down off her pulpit**
After everything is calmed down, we see Johnny Nite, a poseur if I've ever seen one, with stage name, fancy hairdo, heavy eye makeup, leather jacket and he does a bad imitation of Meat Loaf, but inexplicably three of the judges put him through. Zack may be there physically, but mentally, he's left the building. Finally, finally, we get a good singer. Amanda MacKenzie, 17, pretty, and a real pleasant personality to go with a good voice. Apparently they gave out twenty-one tickets in all, which considering the huge turnout isn't very many. If only we could have seen a few more of them singing instead of all the judges' shenanigans.
Next week, mercifully the last week of audition shows, we're off to Ottawa, Winnipeg and Halifax. Tune in to see if the judges make it through without killing each other.