It’s that time again. With the summer heatwave, comes the rush of another Idol season. Only this time it is of the Canadian variety.
As some of you may remember, I was at every Idol show last season and we shall see if the Cal Ripken record maintains itself.
To start off with, this season of Canadian Idol is very different from the last season. The first big change is the fact that Canada now has MTV. I know, I know. I can’t believe how long it took either. The reason that this has an affect on Idol is that the building that previously housed the Top 32 programs has now been taken over by MTV. As a result, the initial set of shows for this season are taking place at the Trinity Studios in Toronto. When the competition whittles itself down to the Top 10, it will move over to the larger John Bassett Theatre venue.
Another big change for this season is the actual organization of the show. For the first time, instead of having a ‘Top 32,’ there is a ‘Top 22’ with the Top 11 male performers singing on Monday, the Top 11 females performing on Tuesday and four eliminations taking place on Wednesday.
Alright, now that that is out of the way. Let’s get to it.
For the first show, I arrived early (as per usual), and lined up outside the studio with about a half hour to spare. I was quickly ushered in and took a seat near the back beside judge Zack Werner. I was also sitting behind the family of Newfoundland contestant Craig Sharpe and enjoyed talking to his uncle for some time before the show began. Before the show started, host Ben Mulroney came out and did a quick meet and greet with the audience before he was ushered to the back to prepare for the impending start.
At 7:40 PM, Sue Brophy came out and proclaimed “we’re back” and this was the first sense that I got about the show finally returning from last summer’s coronation of Melissa O’Neil.
Right off the bat, I noticed a big change this season with regard to covering the show. A lot of my friends from last season had moved onto other things, and so I was working with a new set of people from the show’s team. It was weird and an analogy can definitely be drawn in the sense that like the contestants, it almost felt like I was competing for the first time. That was my prevailing feeling.
Anyway, the show began and Ben Mulroney started things off when he said that the new contestants were trying to “make their Idol dreams a reality.” He also asked if the audience remembered how to vote, and even though there were only a couple of hundred in attendance (because the venue was so small and intimate), judging by their reaction, their fingers were certainly ready to start dialing. Ben asked the judges for their opening night thoughts.
Jake Gold: You get to sing three weeks in a row to make the top ten.
Sass Jordan: Reach down into the roots of the song…
Farley Flex: Be willing to leave a piece of yourself on the floor.
Zack Werner: It’s all boys, it’s all testosterone. It makes you feel like throwing a garbage can.
The Top 11 were introduced and Ben asked contestant Jeremy (Koz) about his support system. Koz said that his band, Floor 13, were in attendance and said that it was great to have his bass player in attendance.
With that, it was time for the performances.
– Sang “It’s Only Love” by Bryan Adams
– In his opening video, he talked about how he likes to make his own jackets.
– I thought he shouted the song a little.
– He sang to the Top 11 females who would be performing the next night.
– It was clearly obvious that he was “feeling it” and delivered a good show.
– Also evident that the studio’s acoustics were great.
– His voice started to trail at the end.
Jake: Good performance, big loud and brassy song. Good job.
Sass: You could get on a stage in a stadium. Great voice!
Farley: Judges did good work.
Zack: Out of a group of 11, we’ll see if it stands up.
Upper Island Cove, NFLD
– Sang “What Hurts The Most” by Rascal Flatts.
– In his opening video, he said that he loves “doing what I am doing.”
– While I think he will go far in the competition, I do have concerns that his voice sounds a little feminine. Not a big deal though, because his good looks will carry him far.
– A solid performance and he proves that he is a contender.
Sass: You know not to go too far. Fantastic job.
Farley: You’re a boy amongst men and the last man standing might be you.
Zack: Unique set of pipes. Interesting to watch you grow up.
Jake: That was a fantastic performance. Newfoundland might have another Top 10 candidate.
– Sang Sam Cooke’s Change Is Gonna Come
– In his opening video, he talked about the judges forgetting him and that he was good.
– His performance is decent and exhibits a soulful tone.
– He is much better than I thought.
– At the end of the performance, he pulls out the gold ticket that the judges initially awarded him after his first performance as if to say that he just showed them why he got it.
– My background in reality television tells me that this may not have been the best move, as he may come across as cocky on TV.
Farley: Soulful song with a lot of control.
Zack: Too good-looking to not be around.
Jake: Waiting for you to step out of that element. Little retro.
Sass: I think you are GORGEOUS! You sing good too!
The next two competitors are ones that are expected to go far in the competition. Rob James had a professional recording contract when he was 1/2 of McMaster & James. And Brandon Jones is one of my male picks to go far. Brandon admitted that it has been a big week for him as he got his braces off (just in time to win the hearts of Canadian teeny-boppers everywhere) and his license over the last seven days.
– Sang “Lady.”
– Immediately I started to draw comparisons to the second season winner, Kalan Porter, who delivered one of his best performances when he sang that song.
– While I think Brandon is a contender, I was not a big fan of this performance.
– I was never a big Kalan Porter fan, but I think even he sang this better.
Zack: There are a lot of phones in New Brunswick. I think this was a demonstration of what you couldn’t do.
Jake: Song didn’t show any of your personality.
Sass: Totally disagree. You’re a natural.
Farley: You have a hip hop sensibility. You were a little shaky with “Lady,” but you left a lot of little ladies shaking.
– In his opening video, he said that despite his fame, he still had something left to prove and that he had seen what it could be like, but that was a long time ago.
– Also said that he was hoping that Canada wanted to get to know him.
– Sang “I’m So In Love With You.”
– I really don’t think James should be in the competition. He has already had exposure and is old. He does not fit the Idol profile.
– That being said, he delivers a spectacular performance.
– Audience loved the show, especially when he really started getting into it near the middle.
– How much of this was put on for the cameras is anyone’s guess.
Jake: It doesn’t matter if you had your shot. You deserve to be here.
Sass: You get as many shots as you want.
Farley: Your pedigree was evident. You left a piece of yourself on that floor.
Zack: Looking for a wow factor. Who are you going to be when you win?
After the break, Mulroney talked to Macpherson a little and the contestant said that he chose the song while driving in the car, after seeing his girlfriend hook up with someone else. It was a great story and definitely bought him some points.
– Sang “Collide.”
– His vulnerability immediately catches the audience’s attention.
– Perhaps the best performance of the night from an unlikely (however Seth-Greenesque) source.
Sass: When you sing, you are in a league of your own .
Zack: We often talk about what’s needed in this competition and you are what is needed. You sing without ego .
Jake: So natural. Tone is beyond anybody else. At the end of the day, there’s only one winner. Could be you buddy, could be you.
– Sang “Walking In Memphis.”
– Certainly is an attention-grabber with his weird haircut.
– Performance was eerily reminiscent of Jacob Hoggard.
– Trying too hard to make an impression.
– Audience will like his charisma, but I didn’t.
– Vocals weren’t the best.
Farley: You make people smile.
Zack: Dude has charisma.
Jake: Really entertaining.
Sass: You are a marathon man.
– Sang “Here Without You.”
– Not a big fan.
– Not feeling the cheesiness.
– A unique voice, but bad song choice.
Zack: There are a lot of telephones in Saskatchewan .
Jake: You’re going to be here for sure .
Sass: Pretty good performance.
Farley: Like the Ukraine said to their goalie today, nice save..
– Sang some weird song that I have never heard of.
– Sass seemed to like as she kept clapping her hands to the beat.
– I am not a big fan.
– There was one part in the song, where Elter stopped the music and sang a cappella, but I am not sure if this will be enough to save him.
– I think the poor song choice will hurt.
Jake: Good choice, you really entertained.
Sass: You exude this joy.
Farley: That song didn’t do it for me.
Zack: I’m a big no.
After the break, Chad Doucette talks about how he was missing his prom for this. Dude, I have been to a few proms. You’re not missing much.
East Chezzetcook, NS
– Sang “Alone In This House Tonight.”
– Has a unique voice and tone, but nothing special.
– Makes weird facial expressions when he sings.
– Like the fact that he is different, and that he comes from a small place. These are usually the ingredients that make a successful Idol contestant.
– I still think he is at risk on elimination night.
Sass: Your voice stands out in a crowd. Wicked sweet!
Farley: Memorable. You have a distinct aura about you .
Zack: You’re what I hope Canadian Idol should be about.
Jake: Big fan of yours. You really know how to show vulnerability. You did a fantastic job!
– In his opening video, he said that his song portrays good notes and all that he has to offer.
– Again, not sure what the song is.
– Decent attempt and is an average performance.
– Song seemed to bore audience.
– I think he suffered from being last in front of audience, but will benefit from being last with voters watching on TV.
Farley: You sung big notes well.
Zack: This guy’s a monster.
Jake: You were amazing. Good job Greg!
Sass: If Brad Pitt could sing, his name would be Greg Neufeld.
So here are my thoughts.
I think that Sheldon, Chad, Chris and Nathan are in trouble. I’ll make my predictions after the girls perform on Tuesday.
See you then.