Murtzcellanious: LIVE Canadian Idol Thoughts – July 19

And now the real show begins.

The search for Canada’s next Idol has taken us to the top 10 competitors and the show finally moved over to the bigger John Bassett theatre venue on Tuesday night.

When I arrived at about 6 PM EST, I I just noticed massive amounts of people. On the street. Around the building. And along Front Street West (where the Bassett theatre is located).

While I realized that Canadian Idol had a pretty massive following, I just could not comprehend why there were so many people around. Then I realized that the Blue Jay game was starting at around the same time and it all made perfect sense.

When I attempted to bypass the line-up and go straight inside, I was hassled by a know-nothing security guard who basically wanted to know everything about me. I felt like I was at JFK airport in New York.

Are you travelling alone?
Yes.

What do you do?
I work on a website.

What kind of website?
It covers television among other things, shows like Survivor.

Ever been to the Middle East?
Yes.

Step inside that room as we rob you of your dignity.
Yes sir.

Anyway, that’s my tangent.

While I was used to getting personal attention from the cool CTV people, I realized that we were long-removed from the Masonic Temple and even getting to see them was a success, forget talking to them.

I knew from the CTV press release on Monday that one of the competitors would be singing “Born To Be Wild” by Steppenwolf on the program and I felt that it was an appropriate analogy for what the Bassett theatre was like. Wild!

I noticed Canadian Idol 2 contestant Shane Wiebe mulling around and I figured that he was either going to be performing on the show or was there just to hype his new CD. It ended up being the latter.

Once again, I had arrived early to the show and so as I sat in the holding room waiting to be seated, I contemplated whether it was better to be inside or outside before the show began. Being inside won by a mile because of the air conditioning.

When I finally got inside, the first thing that I noticed was the amount of lights that the Bassett had versus the lights at the Masonic Temple. It resembled an actual concert venue and just seemed a lot brighter than when I was there last season.

While I appreciated the new lights, I missed the intimacy that the Masonic Temple provided. It sort of always gave you the impression that the contestants were performing directly to you.

There is no question that my favourite part of the new place was that they had a new warm-up CD! Yes. No more Kelly Clarkson or The Killers. I revelled in it.

My feelings of excitement were soon replaced by feelings of angst as Sue took the stage again to lead the audience warm-up. Luckily, the audience was not subjected to hearing about the fire exit strategy again. Unfortunately, that was replaced by kids repeatedly singing in the audience which is like nails on a chalkboard for the Murtzinator.

I was sitting next to an incredibly annoying dude on my right who kept cheering like he was at the Super Bowl. Don’t get me wrong. I have no probelms if you want to show your support for the program, but cheering at noticeable silences just to get attention is annoying. Especially if you are over 30, like this guy was. I was hoping that the empty seat on my left would be filled by someone setting a new high on the hotosity scale, but unfortunately this didn’t happen either.

Before the show began, cards and posters were handed out featuring the top ten. If I had a dollar for how many times I heard people ask if there was a Rex, Suzi or group shot available, I would be a Hilton. The top 10 signals the beginning of the hype machine and it was quite a sight to see. Average Canadians, mired by their obscurity were now full-fledged stars.

John Brunton, the producer of the show was announced and talked about the Canadian Hits theme of the show. He went on to say that the rehearsal earlier in the day was great and then introduced host Ben Mulroney.

Mulroney said that the first Top 10 show was always his favourite because “nobody’s been cut yet.”

The judges then came out and the show began.

Zack Werner said that the crowd was there just for him.

Farley advised the competitors to take risks, because by taking them they would be coming memorable.

Jake screamed “LET’S GET IT ON!”

I couldn’t agree more.

The contestants came out and immediately the L’Oreal cosmetic stylings were evident as they looked great. Rex Goudie wasn’t wearing a hat which I am sure will result in a million posts on the Idol site.

After an intro video was played featuing Neil Young and Joni Mitchell (to introduce the Canadian Hits theme). It was time for the first performance and Aaron Walpole came out. Before he sang, they ran a little profile segment on him.

In his bio, we learned that he was singing in his crib before he could even speak. I liked the way that the bio introductions were used to start building each singer up as a character. That is the hallmark of successful reality programming and I was pleased to learn more about Canada’s next singing superstar.

AARON WALPOLE
– Sang Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet.
– Didn’t like his versus, but rocked the chorus!
– Clear that he was drawing on his theatre background.
– I thought that his song choice would make for great headlines. In fact, I was thinking about calling this column “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet.”
– Jake: Good Work.
– Farley: Discomfort didn’t win him over.
– Sass: Didn’t jive.
– Zack: Everytime I see you, I can’t help thinking about when the frog will jump out of the box and start singing “Hello My Baby…”
– I dug Zack’s comment.
– A good performance for Whopper. He will move on.

EMILY VINETTE
– Sang Cryin’ by kd lang.
– Great song choice.
– Personally, I think that Emily is the smartest contestants. She keeps picking songs that showcase her strong vocal skill and delivers mesmerizing performances.
– Outstanding display, one of my favourites of the evening.
– Farley: You skipped the journey on the way to the star search moments.
– Sass: Improvement, you played it safe.
– Zack: Shaky lower register, this is not Miss Teen Canada Pageant.
– Jake: Take chances.
– While I disagreed with the judges, I still could see their points.

– At this point in the show, I wondered if there would be any other entertainment vehicles in the 90-minute show.

DARYL BRUNT
– Video package said that he went to Sudbury Secondary School.
– Teacher said he was “witty and sarcastic?!”
– Also showed his love for muscle cars
– Why haven’t we seen this yet? He always seems like a deer in headlights to me.
– Sang “With These Eyes” by Roch Voisine.
– Nothing special.
– I was not incredibly impressed.
– As soon as he was finished, I realized that his family was sitting directly in front of me as they immediately stood up and clapped for a sub-par pperformance.
– Sass: You’re my favourite scaredy-cat.
– Zack: Six months from now, you will grow.
– Jake: Other singers are better. You have to take the muscle from the muscle cars.
– Farley: Liked it.

SUZI RAWN
– Still my pick as the winner.
– Played the daughter card in her intro video as I called several weeks ago.
– Sang “Everytime I See Your Picture” by Luba.
– Ballad was an interesting choice. I actually thought she was the one who might be singing “Born To Be Wild.”
– I liked it, but objectively was not her best performance.
– I still think that she is the class of the competition.
– Zack: You’ll be here for at least seven or eight weeks.
– Jake: Seems like you wrote the song, great job.
– Farley: You’re relaxed and raw. I am telling you. Take the “n” out of your name.
– Sass: Fabulous!

A L’Oreal advertisement was played for the studio audience and for viewers at home. Sue came out again and announced the rock band Three Days Grace was in the audience.

MELISSA O’NEAL
– Sang “I Believe In You” by Amanda Marshall.
– Excellent performer.
– Compared to Daryl, she is a seasoned professional.
– Has cute style of winking and smiling at camera.
– Darkhorse in the competition who is currently being overshadowed by Rex and Suzi.
– Jake: Playfulness will take you a long way.
– Farley: You come out and win.
– Sass: Clarity of tone, wonderful to watch.
– Zack: You’re just so damn lovable.

At the halfway point, I ranked them like this:

1. Melissa
2. Suzi
3. Emily
4. Aaron
5. Daryl

Jone Dore came out to do one of his comedy routines where he thanked Canada for providing “insulin, mullets, basketball and gowan” among other things. I don’t even know what gowan is.

ASHLEY LEITAO
– Video discussed her Portugese background.
– Had the best profile because of its comedy. Her brother cried and said that her singing was like the Oprah Winfrey show because it reduced him to tears.
– Solid performance.
– Farley: Well done.
– Zack: Now we have a game to play.
– Jake: Different facets of Ashley have yet to be seen. Way to go!
– When talking to Mulroney after the song, Ashley said that she made the last-minute decision to go barefoot because she doesn’t like heels.

REX GOUDIE
– Came out to the biggest pop.
– He’s not going anywhere.
– Sang “Born To Be Wild” by Steppenwolf.
– Electric show with lights all over the place.
– Half the audience gave him a standing ovation.
– Sass: You’re a new rockstar-in-training.
– Zack: Ashton, when you talk sometimes I need subtitles. You’re a guaranteed record deal.
– Jake: I miss the hat (Rex responded by blaming the L’Oreal girls which was very funny).
– Farley: You’re a natural.

AMBER FLEURY
– Video discussed her paralegal background and showed her performing on the Tommy Hunter Show as a kid.
– Sang Possession by Sarah McLaughlin.
– One of my favourite songs.
– Didn’t really use her upper register.
– Zack: Not sure about song choice.
– Jake: When you open your mouth, my body starts to vibrate.
– Farley: You do something extraordinary everytime you sing.
– Sass: Sacred Sound.

Why does Josh Palmer always go near the end?

JOSH PALMER
– Sang Halleljuah.
– I thought the performance was going well, but why does he always have to scream like that?
– Seems like a forced artist.
– What was that?
– I could almost guarantee that the judges were going to love the performance.
– Jake: You’re a real artist.
– Farley: Projection of soul.
– Sass: Intensity.
– Zack: Dude, you’re fantastic!

CASEY LEBLANC
– I have a funny story about her later.
– Sang “From This Moment” by Shania Twain.
– Not a great performance, not because of a lack of effort but simply a case of nerves.
– In danger.
– Didn’t go for broke to move on.
– Farley: Nerves insurmountable
– Sass: You look gorgeous, but sounded like karaoke.
– Zack: You’re on the short list of somebody’s who isn’t going to be in the mansion very long.
– Jake: You got through it.

Alrighty, so let’s get to my rankings!

1. Melissa
2. Suzi
3. Emily
4. Rex
5. Ashley
6. Aaron
7. Amber
8. Casey
9. Daryl
10. Josh

I know many will probably disagree, but that’s how I heard them.

As for who will go, I think that Casey, Daryl and Josh, Ashley are contenders. I will go with Casey.

Now speaking of her, I will tell you the funny story.

When Casey made the Top 10, I was at the performance show and rode the elevator with someone who said he was in her family. I assumed he was her dad.

So at the end of Tuesday’s performance, I saw him again and figured I would go and reintroduce myself. When I did, the guy looked at me kind of like the JFK Airport customs guy that I referenced earlier. He didn’t have a clue who I was! He told me that I had probably met Casey’s uncle the last time and if that is the case, wow. What a family resemblence!

See you guys after the results show on Wednesday.