Canadian Idol – Recap – July 3

It’s Tuesday morning as I write this, as the wife and I just got back from Chicago last night. Ed was taking care of some personal issues so I’d ask that you pray for his family if you’re the religious type, and if you’re currently reading this part then you know that he still put in his part of the recap.

With that, let’s start!

Opening Credits

Here’s Ben Mulroney, looking rather dapper, and notes that it was no holiday weekend for the guys. He checks to see if the studio audience voted, and if you managed to see Murtz in the audience, you’ve got some damn good eyes. Let’s give some well deserved props to pianist Mark Lalama. And here are the nine remaining male singers! And there go the remaining nine singers!

Now here are the judges: Jake Gold, Sass Jordan, Farley Flex and Zack Werner.

The obligatory questions/mic checks follow.

Jake – Song selection is still the most important thing here.
Sass – We need to hear big energy.
Farley – There should be a certain amount of diversity that reflects the age range of the group.
Zack – Has been celebrating Canada’s victory in the World Cup. I’d like to know which World Cup that is. Maybe he meant the World Series… of Poker. But looking at the board we don’t have a Canadian winner yet this year. Daniel Negreanu’s always a good bet, and maybe Evelyn “Evybabee” Ng or Isabelle “No Mercy” Mercier can win a tournament this year.

Oh yeah, Idol. Because we’re only doing one hour this week, there aren’t any “heartwarming” interviews with the contestants. Instead, we get right down to it, starting with Greg Neufeld singing Elton John’s “Rocket Man”

Jake – Great song, for me it showed more of limitations than your abilities.
Sass – I could use a little more “up-ness”. A really good job.
Flex – I don’t think you did a bad job with it. I thought it was safe.
Zack – I thought in that “matinee idol” vibe it worked completely for me.

Kevin: There’s something about Greg’s posture that really bothers me. I can’t explain it. Anyways, I wasn’t feeling it with this performance. It felt like an “Easy Rock” special, but even “easier”. Not much pitchiness or anything, and his glory note was good, but it was, in Simon-speak, forgettable. 6.5/10

Greg Neufeld took on Elton which is always a scary proposition. But on this night Greg conquered the “Rocket Man”. When I first heard he was singing this my first thought was “Uh Oh”! To my surprise and delight he did a great job. Actually better than anyone I can remember singing it on any Idol show. He didn’t go for the high notes and settled for the alternate lower note but for me that’s good because he didn’t try to do something he isn’t capable of. He knows his limitations and that will help him go far. Greg was one of my faves last week and did nothing sway me away from that at all. In fact I am more convinced than ever he could be one of the last ones standing. Starting the show off on the right foot. Grade: A

Ben – You ended last week’s show in style; You kicked it off the exact same way. By the way, I like that shirt.

Tyler and Chris are up after the

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We’re back, and singing Ozzy Osbourne’s “Mama I’m Coming Home” is Tyler Lewis.

Sass – That was really interesting because you lack in the subtleties, but when you get into the higher register, when you’re “givin’ ‘er”, that’s what we’re talkin’ sir.
Flex – I really like how you stepped up and challenged the song.
Zack – Personally I’m really confused by you. If that was a rock ‘n’ roll performance that you did then you ain’t no rocker. In a new country sort of take, it’s passable. I just don’t get it.
Jake – It didn’t really do anything for me. If you want to be a rocker, then you’d better rock. It was kinda lame.

Tyler Lewis singing Ozzie Osborne… Country. “Mama, I’m Comin’ Home” may just be a prediction of what happens on Wednesday. I liked him last week but this week, he lost me. He will need to depend on his looks to get him thought because his singing tonight won’t. It wasn’t awful… but it almost was. Grade: C-

To me, it seemed like Tyler figured “well, I did a rock ballad last week and people liked it, so I’ll do it again”. Hey it worked for Chris Daughtry on American Idol, so why not? Well, to start with, Daughtry at least sang with intensity. Tyler is singing rock ballads as if he was Barry Manilow. To give Tyler some credit though, he sang better this week. 5/10

Ben – Gets the crowd to yell “Happy Birthday Tyler” since it’s his birthday. And of course you know that means that Murtz had to suffer through another rendition of the Birthday Song. My condolences, Murtz.

Chris LaBelle is up now, and he’s singing “We Shall Be Free” by Garth Brooks.

Flex – You’re the smoke and mirrors guy. You understand how to entertain.
Zack – There’s tons of people who can’t sing that make a huge career because they know how to entertain.
Jake – I know you’re not the best singer in this competition, but right now, you’re the only one that’s showing you want to win this.
Sass – It makes me feel that you’re gonna jump out of the TV and get me and dance. I love that kind of excitement and energy.

I’m impressed. I didn’t think you could meld pop-punk movements with gospel, but that’s exactly what Chris did. With that being said, I didn’t think Chris came across as “strong” enough singing a gospel song. I mean, he had emotion, but gospel requires EMOTION, and I didn’t think he had it. 6.5/10

Chris Labelle donned a red Mohawk this week in celebration of Canada’s World Cup victory I guess. Not enough for me to get past his singing though. Mediocre at best, but surprisingly better than last week. Like Farley said, he’s a smoke and mirrors guy. He reminds me of a magician who makes you follow one hand while the other is hiding the coin. We call that misdirection. And oddly enough it may work for him… but not for the Idolhead. In my book he does not deserve a top 10 spot. Grade: C-

Ben – Tells Chris to clean up the Monopoly money and rubs his hair.

Craig, Shelton and Chad are coming up, but first, an

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Back from the break, and Ben does some scripted flirting with Nancy Silverman, and we’re back to the performances with Craig Sharpe singing ‘N Sync’s “This I Promise You”.

Zack – It should get you on to the next day.
Jake – I think that song was the perfect song for you.
Sass – I can’t get over your voice. It’s astonishing.
Flex – To me, that’s a great strategy. A guy who sings better than most boy band singers sings a boy band song and sings it really well.

Craig Sharpe sang some NSYNC – “This I Promise You”. He seemed a little stiff but performed it well. His high voice really does make me think “Boy Band” rather than solo. But hey, he’s knows what he’s doing and chooses the right songs. You can tell he’s been competing for a long time, however long someone 17 could compete. I think he is a lock for the top 10. Grade: B+

This was a good choice for Craig. Again it shows a voice that doesn’t seem like it should be coming from him, and it allowed him to emote without going overboard with it. A good job. 7.5/10

Ben – I think we learned that Zack doesn’t like ‘N Sync. Shocker!

Following Craig is Sheldon Elter, singing “Moondance” by Van Morrison.

Jake – That’s the kind of song that you can be the guy who gets up at weddings and sings. But you did a good job.
Sass – You’ve got a softness that comes out in your tone. I really thought that was cool.
Flex – You showed the texture of your voice.
Zack – Unless you’re some crooner dude, that was real lounge for me. It was really irrelevant.

This was much better than last week in terms of Sheldon showing off what he has to offer. Unfortunately this also showed more of his limitations, as the song doesn’t really challenge the voice much. Still, Sheldon’s jazzy rendition was about average for tonight, and the question now is – did it come too late to change the voters’ minds? 6 /10

Sheldon Elter singing “Moondance” had disaster written all over it but color me surprised. I now see why the judges put him in the top 22. Last week’s disaster should have sent him home but it’s a good thing it didn’t. I loved the tone and the subtle facial expressions as well as his understated movement. Yep this is one of the guys that won me tonight. Good on ya Sheldon. Don’t pay any attention to Zack. Grade A-

Ben – Just stick with what you know.

Now, singing Michael Bublé’s version of “Save the Last Dance For Me” Chad Doucette.

Sass – It was totally weird but it was really interesting.
Flex – That was a plateful of all the cheeses I’ve seen in my life.
Zack – That song was a hit at Jake’s prom. For me it’s time for Tiny Talent Time (note: an old Canadian kid’s talent show) to go away and time to sing some real songs.
Jake – You’re going really camp with that song. It was entertaining.

Chad (I’m channeling Jacob Hoggard) Douchette. It’s was weird to see him do Jacob (sans the lip ring). He actually looked a bit like him as well. But for the Idolhead, one Jacob is enough and Chad didn’t raise his bar. He may have lowered it a bit. There were moments I liked, but not enough of them. It’s also not a good sign when the only one’s giving you a standing O are your parents. Grade: C-

Again, I wasn’t feeling it. Chad’s better than this song shows. I don’t think that it’s anything better than you’d hear at a bar or lounge, but playing to the audience won’t hurt Chad any. 6/10

Ben – Cheese works.

Rob is coming up after the

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We’re back, and singing “Heaven” by Bryan Adams is Rob James.

Flex – You fascinate me. You’ve got the tools. I can hear your voice on records again.
Zack – There seems to be an internal tension and I can hear it in your voice. You’ve gotta loosen up.
Jake – I actually think that’s your charm – there’s an understatedness about you, and it works.
Sass – I thought that was really nice. You’ve got that tone thing happening.

Despite the fact that he forgot a line, a great performance from Rob, and much better than Elliott Yamin’s attempt on American Idol. Rob is an interesting case, as certainly he doesn’t deserve to go when compared to the rest of the guys, but the question of his “pedigree” keeps coming up and you wonder if it was a one-time thing or if it’s a true backlash against a talented singer. 7.5/10

Rob James was trying to go to “Heaven” on this one and while he didn’t quite get there he did much better than last week. But was it enough? He sounded good and had control of the song but I’m still not wowed. I’m thinking Canada isn’t going to be either. But he is one of the guys who won me, at least a little tonight. Grade: B+

Ben – Well done.

We’ve got two more singers, and Brandon is singing next after the

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Brandon Jones is up now, and he’s singing Queen’s “Somebody to Love”.

Zack – You’re singing a Queen song on a mediocre level.
Jake – I thought that was pathetic. It was absolutely atrocious.
Sass – It wasn’t the best thing.
Flex – You decide who you are, and you take your own risks.

Brandon was one that lost me tonight trying “Somebody to Love”. A bit of advice for all contestants left; Leave Queen out of your repertoire. Unless you are a true rocker (and none of you are) or you have a massive range (which none of you do except maybe Craig) and Craig is not Queen material. I don’t think it was atrocious as Jake called it but it twern’t nothin’ to write home about for sure. He could be in danger. He lost the Idolhead tonight. We’ll see if he lost Canada on Wednesday. Grade: C-

Another Elliott Yamin song. Brandon’s entertaining is much better than his singing. Granted, that’s not saying much, but he’s doing a great job playing to the crowd and trying to get them into it. There’s even some spontaneous clapping that starts up – and it dies two claps in. Vocally, that was about as bad as Sheldon’s singing last week, maybe worse, but will he go this week? Probably not. 2/10

Ben – I think that comment (which one?) was a little offside.

One singer left, and he’s up after the

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The last singer is Keith MacPherson, and he’s singing “Best I Ever Had” by Vertical Horizon.

Jake – Again, like last week, was perfect – that’s what you are.
Sass – Can I get your autograph?
Flex – Your tone is immaculate, you know exactly want to sing. I can’t wait to see you live.
Zack – It’d be a shame to not have you in the Top Ten, and could one of you guys rock next week?

Like Tyler and Sheldon, Keith is essentially repeating last week’s performance with a different song. But what I was this week shows me that Keith would be a natural in musicals – his expressions and vocal arrangements would be great there. Idol? Maybe not, but I could live with him in the Top Ten, I guess. 6.5/10

Keith MacPherson is in the pimp spot up last for a good reason. Singing “The Best I Ever Had” made me think Keith was the best we surely have. I don’t want to parrot the judge’s thoughts here but this guy has it figured out. He can sing better than anyone in the show first off. He, so far, has picked the perfect songs for his voice. He has a subtle stage presence that draws us in and a confidence that isn’t overbearing. His voice is tonal perfection and he sings spot on in tune. I don’t know how high his register is but I can honestly say, at least to this point, I haven’t liked a guy on Idol this much since Clay Aiken. You remember him don’t you? Keith I think is the oldest in the competition and has been performing for around 10 years and it shows. He toned down the rhetoric a lot this week which also may aid him in garnering fans. I rather like his banter myself but I can see how a lot wouldn’t. I said it last week and I’ll say it again I’ve got the MacPheever and Mack the knife just may cut his way through the competition to the title. Grade A+

Ben – You gave the viewers exactly what they wanted.
And that brings us to our Name Brand Cereal recap and with that, it’s time to vote!

Ed: Well I think Keith, Craig, and Greg are locks for the top 10 and they did nothing to disappoint or change my mind this week. Tyler, Brandon, and Chris don’t look like good bets to me and none of them really stepped up to the plate tonight. I think they all struck out. Chad may also have hurt his chances but he is a PPSD favorite and he has shown us he can sing. But Jake was right with the camp remark. Rob put himself in good position to get that second chance tonight and at least for tonight, I’m on his side. And Sheldon could possibly have propelled himself from the homeward bound to the top 10. I really liked him tonight. I and virtually everyone else had him packin’ last Wednesday and with 3 others with fewer votes than him last week he may have picked up enough fans to see him through another show. My revised top 5 guys are: Keith, Greg, Craig, Rob, and Chad. Ugh! It’s tough after the first 3. I think tomorrow we will be saying by to Tyler and Brandon. What a difference a week makes.

Kevin: OK, Brandon SHOULD be going home based on tonight, but I don’t think it’ll happen – he’s the Ace Young of the competition. Sheldon is in deep trouble, and I think he’ll be put out of his our misery tonight, and I’m guessing Tyler again because of his singing position this week.

So, bottom four: Brandon, Rob, Sheldon and Tyler

Going home: Bil and Joey. Oh wait, that was Last Comic Standing. I mean Sheldon and Tyler are headed to the exits.