Canadian Idol – Recap – July 10

Last week’s results show told me one thing – had the ethnicities of Melissa O’Neil’s parents been switched, and her surname was, say, Chan, then Mel would’ve never cracked the Top Ten, let alone won the whole darn thing.

Yes, I’m playing the Race card, but I’m not outright calling Canadian voters racist, but I am taking issue with how they are voting. The problem lies with the fact that people are not voting for the “best” singer, but rather, they’re voting for their “favourite” singer, and the Idol producers encourage this.

Why is this a problem? Inherently, people will gravitate to those singers that they feel a “connection” towards. Given that the majority of the population (and thus presumably the majority of voters) are Caucasians that speak English, it’s natural that they’re going to feel a greater connection to the Anglo-Canadian singers than the Guyanese singer or the Francophone singer or the Native singer. And once you “latch on” to a favourite, you’re unlikely to let them go until they’re gone.

So as a result of this subconscious bias, one of the two best female singers is now gone, the other could be in trouble (since she’s from Quebec), and the African-Canadian male and Native male were left hanging by a thread for a second consecutive week. Let’s hope that at least one of them makes it into the Top Ten.

Going back to Melissa, the thing about her is that you couldn’t, at a glance, definitely say that she was mixed – and really the fact that she was mixed was only confirmed when they showed video of her mother around the Final Three or so, but by that time race doesn’t matter – talent does.

Is this an issue in the U.S.? I don’t think so. Jasmine Trias made the final three on the strength of overwhelming support from her home state, and African-Americans are also fiercely supportive of their own, so I’d have to say it’s a non-factor.

OK, rant over. Let’s get to what you came here for.

Opening Credits

Ben Mulroney is on stage, and this is Canadian Idol. Now here are the judges: Jake Gold, Sass Jordan, Farley Flex and Zack Werner.

Question/mic check time!

Zack – The fact is if you couldn’t garner enough votes to stay out of the bottom two then you weren’t going to win (regardless).
Flex – Stresses song choice again.
Sass – Perhaps the ones that are a little behind will jump up a bit.
Jake – It’s the finals all the time. You’ve got to leave your best performance on the stage all the time.

And of course we’ve got one other person – pianist Mark Lalama. Let’s say hi to our seven female singers!

We’re gonna kick off the competition with Steffi D singing “Kiss Me” by Sixpence None the Richer. Shockingly she uses the phrase “off the hook”.

Jake – Two weeks in a row, fantastic song choices, even less theatrical than last week.
Sass – Charming, sweet, sparkling, corny, innocent.
Flex – I get the sense that you really understand your tone well.
Zack – I think this was a little too happy for me and you haven’t found the moment where you could blow the roof off the song.

Ed: First off for me this was the best song choice of the night – one of my all time favorite songs. Not one of my all time favorite movies or bands with stupid names (Sixpence None the Richer? Huh?) Second she sang it great. It is a very hard song to sing even with the proper instrumentation to back you up. She killed it with only a piano. I could hear the texture and tone of her voice clearly. She was pitch perfect and there were many places she could have easily veered off key on this song. This proves to me she is no one trick pony, she’s at least a two trick pony and belongs in the top 10. I see her there. Will Canada? Grade: A

Kevin: The name apparently came from a C.S. Lewis book and since the band has Christian roots it makes sense. Anyways, I like her jazzy inflections here, which make up for being pretty off key. However I still feel that she’s too theatrical with her singing, and it’s not what I’d look for in a potential winner. But the Mirvishes should really look into having her audition for some shows. 6.5/10

Ben – Brandon you dog. (Steffi sang to Brandon during the song).

Six ladies left to sing after the

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We’re back, and as promised, we’ve got Ashley Coles, who is surprised at how everyone has gotten along so well. She’s singing Aretha Franklin’s “Think”.

Sass – That song’s a real tall order for anybody, but it falls short for me.
Flex – You confined yourself physically. Your upper register isn’t suitable for parts of that song.
Zack – You kinda made me think that one of the contestants on Nashville Star thought they were on Soul Train. That was way the wrong choice.
Jake – Not much left to say, really. Bad song choice.

This song is more in Ashley’s wheelhouse than her previous ones. Her high note, however, is painful to hear. Aside from that, you get the sense that she was just singing the song, as opposed to really feeling the song and getting into it (see McPhee, Katherine and – it pains me to say it – DeGarmo, Diana). So, good from a “technical” standpoint, underwhelming from the “intangibles” standpoint, which based off of the Steffi D benchmark gives us a rather harsh 4.5/10

It’s obvious for me she didn’t (think) because even with a full orchestra behind her this song is hard to pull off. The song ain’t nuthin’ to write home about either. Diana DeGarmo did a great job as did Katharine McPhee. I’m afraid she is neither. It was a very weak performance. I was really surprised how well she did last week. Really disappointed this week. No top 10 for this Ashley. Grade: C-

Ben – Who here thought that was a good song choice?

Another Ashley is up after the

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As promised, we get Ashley Coulter singing, and Nancy Silverman is onstage with her. Ben asks Nancy what “100% Nancy to the core” means, and asks Ashley why she likes Patsy Cline. The stage is Ashley’s now, and she’s singing “Crazy” by Patsy Cline.

Flex – You put a good effort forth. It was just ok for me.
Zack – I do think that you’re a valid contender and you should be in the Top Ten regardless of your effort there.
Jake – You sang something that meant a lot to you and it showed.
Sass – I was really quite impressed by that performance.

When I heard Ashley would be singing this I was worried for her. I really like this song but no one has ever done well on the show with this. Well Ms. Coulter, now some one has. I thought this was great even if the judges gave it the big pan. For the first time I really got a taste of he voice. And it was sweet. There were a few of pitch problems but no biggy. Save a seat in the top 10 for this Ashley. Grade: A

Coulter was the better Ashley on the night for certain. Good tone, perhaps a bit theatrical, but a solid outing. There was a problem though – to me, her performance was oddly reminiscent of Steffi D’s, so on a night where Ashley needed to be “memorable”, she perhaps fell a bit short. 6.5/10

And now we go to Nancy Silverman singing Sarah McLachlan’s “Stupid”.

Zack – Really well done. There is some love/hate involved (with Nancy) but I think it would be absurd if you weren’t to continue with the show.
Jake – What’s great about you, is that you perform the song, and it sounds like I’ve never heard it before. Mesmerizing.
Sass – Killer.
Flex – I really enjoy, deep down inside, hearing you perform. When you hit a bad note, it doesn’t matter.

A Sarah song. That explains the dress, and it’s a logical choice, Sarah being the patron saint of “alternative” divas in Canada and all – hey, she was CFNY before she was pop. Anyways, Nancy shows that she can do the serious sensitive ballads, although really it’s not what you’d see on her album should she win. The Kobayashi shimmy (don’t know what else to call it, but that’s exactly what the hotdog eating champion does) was an interesting addition to her repertoire. Obviously, this girl can do it all, and I have to think that she’s the dark horse contender to win it all. And if you’re not down with that, I’ve got two words for ya: 8/10

I’ve never heard this song before and didn’t like it at all. As for Nancy, I can’t say the same for her. She shined on a crappy song. I could do without the spastic arm movements. I was over them the first night she did the flail, but she did a bang up job on this. Nancy can sing! It seems every season there is one quirky type that makes it to the top 10. This year will be no exception. See you in the top 10 girl. Grade: B+

Ben – You seem to have your stuff together everytime you’re out here.

The pride of Quebec is up after the

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We’re back, and Ben is with Eva Avila, who used to have a nickname of “dragon”, and finds song choice difficult. She’s singing the classic “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”.

Jake – A very difficult song with just a piano. It was OK, it wasn’t great.
Sass – I thought it was an amazing, animated, wonderful performance.
Flex – That song demands so much soul. It had no soul for me.
Zack – I’m still having a hard time imagining Ben being “Nancy to the core”. I thought – relative to doing it with just a piano – that you pulled it off.

Could there be another song I’m more sick of hearing on Idol? Probably, but I can’t think of it off hand. I was not looking forward to Eva’s first bungle of the competition. But alas, she pulled this off. And if she can pull this off with just a piano, it will be difficult, if not impossible, for any of the girls to out last her in the top 10, because that is where she is heading. She exuded enthusiasm and personality and showed range and tone on a song that is not usually kind to either on a lesser singer. She was pitch perfect. And no, she couldn’t be any more Babe-a-riffic. Grade: A-

Eva’s awesome. Period. But I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. If she and Silverman aren’t in the Final Four then I’ll be really pissed off. 9/10

Ben – Before I wanted to be “100% Nancy to the core” I wanted to be Zack but it depressed me so I switched over.

Two singers left before voting, and we’ve got Kati after the

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We’re back, and Ben is with Kati “not related to Kathryn Morris” Durst. They had a float for her in her town’s Canada Day parade. She’s singing the Dixie Chicks’ “Not Ready to Make Nice”.

Sass – What was good about the song was the intensity.
Flex – I thought it came off really well from a performance songpoint.
Zack – I think sometimes the intensity can overshadow the technique. I think you’re representing something really strong and we’ll see how the cards play out.
Jake – I just really think that you really meant that song. I’m a big fan.

The song came out like an Ace Young special – “Hey, I know/like the chorus, let’s sing that.” Country is the right genre for Kati, but I think that she was off in her song selection and it’s gonna be reflected in her bottom four appearance on Wednesday. 4/10

It looks like Kati was also “not ready to make” the top 10. I liked her last week and thought she was top 10 material. Wrong song, and most of the time, in the wrong key. This was the pitchiest song of the night. It’s bad enough when you sing the mid range notes sharp or flat but when it’s the Star Search notes that rattle the ears, you’ve got problems. And Kati did. I liked her from the start and at 26; she is the oldest female in the competition. There were three teenagers that out sung her… by a mile. So it looks to me like the youngest and oldest females will be gone on Wednesday. Grade: C

Ben – If I have done anything to offend you, I’m sorry.

One last performer after the

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It’s time for Sarah Loverock. She too thinks that song choice is stressful, and she’s singing “She Talks to Angels” by The Black Crowes.

Flex – I really, really enjoyed that performance.
Zack – I just don’t know what you’re all about.
Jake – I think she sung amazing.
Sass – Wicked.

I have never heard this song and didn’t catch the title but what ever it was Sarah killed it. This was the best song of the night for the Idolhead. This may have been the best song of the competition for me so far. I didn’t even like the song but Sarah put everything into it and made me want to pay attention. I absolutely loved it. The only problem Sarah has is there seems to be a personality void. When compared to Nancy, Eva, or Steffi, she seems like a machine. A singing machine, but machine none the less. She looked a little better tonight as well. A little sultrier. This was perfect for me. She should make it to the top 10 with ease. But the way things went this past week, who knows. She gets my vote, even though I can’t. Grade: A+

Didn’t someone do this on Rock Star last week? Anyways, while I didn’t think she killed it, Sarah put a lot of soul into the song, and did a little less rocking out – which in hindsight was a pretty good decision, since that would’ve put it right into the wheelhouse of one Sass Jordan. Good job. 7.5/10

Ben – Way to close out the Top 22 for the ladies.

We have time left for the Name Brand Cereal recap and now… it’s time to vote!

Kevin: The low girls on the totem last week were the Ashleys, and I’m kinda doubting that voters gravitated to them this week either, so they’ll be again making a bottom four appearance. In theory, Eva, Nancy and Sarah should be safe based on their performances this week, leaving Steffi and Kati to round out the bottom four. Kati should be going if we’re looking solely at performances but it’s more likely that we won’t have to deal with multiple Ashley Cs as both will be sent packing Wednesday.

Ed: Another pretty good night for the ladies. There were two standout performances (Steffi and Sarah) and two that weren’t. And I think the two who sang those will be going home; Ashley Coles and Kati Durst. And with that it looks like a very strong top 5 girls. I’m thinkin’ that a few guys will be sent packin’ before the first girl goes this year.