Canadian Idol – Recap – July 17

So at this point I figure the competition should be wide open for Eva Avila to win… except that things don’t always go according to plan. A look at the previous seasons shows that Brandon actually has a good chance of winning because despite the fact that he can’t sing well relative to the others, he seems to have captured the votes of the young female demographic and that means a lot more in the Great White North than it does in Canada. Still, I maintain some faith in the Canadian viewing audience and I figure that sooner or later, talent will win out in this competition.

And now that we’ve gone from three shows a week to two, you’re gonna get a slightly reformatted CanIdol recap lineup. Murtz of course will still be around giving us the LIVE experience. I’ll be handling the performance shows (with Ed dropping by every once in a while) and Ed will be telling it like it is with the results shows, which this week should feature everybodys (except Richard Muntah’s) favourite Portuguese-Canadian, Nelly Furtado.

OK, let’s go.

We start with a video montage of what has previously transpired, and head right to the

Opening Credits

We are at the Bassett Theatre in Toronto, ON, and Ben Mulroney is out. Tonight’s theme is “Canada Rocks”, and because they’ll be singing songs by hoser from all walks of life, their mentor this week was the always awesome Nelly Furtado. Now here are the judges: Jake Gold, Sass Jordan, Farley Flex and Zack Werner.

Question/mic check time, and this week it’s Canadian-centric.

Jake – Canadians have to work ten times as hard to get one-tenth as far.
Sass – I don’t think there’s anything wrong at all with a little ego-mania.
Flex – Talks about Nelly being memorable and identifiable.
Zack – I’m thrilled that we’re going the entire way through with a live band.

And here are YOUR ten competitors. But before they sing, let’s take a look at them in their hometowns! Now Ben plugs the “Oh, What a Feeling” compilations, which by the way is a GREAT sampling of Canadian Music. And now let’s take a look at Nelly Furtado.

And now Mark Lalama is no longer the sole musical accompanist – we’ve got bassist Orin Isaacs and the Canadian Idol band with him!

Sarah Loverock leads us off and she’s singing the Rascal Flatts version of the Tom Cochrane classic, “Life is a Highway”. Nelly tells her to play with it more.

Jake – I thought the song started out not-so great, but once you kicked it into the chorus you did a great job.
Sass – Your presentation and assuredness, that was a joy to watch, and the gal that sang that, Molly Johnston (Molly sang backing vocals on Tom Cochrane’s album and is a fantastic singer in her own right), is sitting right there!
Flex – Have confidence in the skill you have. You are a serious singer and a serious contender.
Zack – I thought you stepped up on a serious level.

That first verse was hella-bad, but after Sarah switched keys during the chorus things seemed to come together for her. I’m still not overly impressed with her but I have to agree that she comes off better with a backing band. But since this IS the first performance, Sarah’s getting a 6.5/10

Prodigal son Rob James is up after the

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We’re back, and up is Rob James, who is singing “Hurts to Love You” by The Philosopher Kings, who I’d thought Rob had his previous effort produced by, but that wasn’t the case. The Philosopher Kings DID, however, produce the first two Nelly albums, as well as contributing to her third.

Sass – The real you – the heartthrob – is coming out.
Flex – It’s good to see your personality coming out. It’s gonna win people over week after week.
Zack – I just feel like, right now, you’re at that crisis moment. You just gotta chill just a LITTLE BIT so that it really feels genuine. (audience boos)
Jake – We said last week that was the best performance you ever did. I was was wrong – THIS is the best performance you ever did.

Wow, that was sharp to start off. But Rob worked it out very quickly and FINALLY shows some of that personality that we’ve been waiting for from this guy. And that Star Search moment was dead on. 7/10

We’ve got Steffi and Tyler up after the

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We’re back, and before the next performer, Ben plugs the financial institution-sponsored “Comfort Zone” seats, which they also have at Blue Jays games. I’d have to say though, that these particular seats seem much more comfortable, since the ones at the Jays games are practically on the field along the third base line. Really, how comfortable would YOU be with a foul ball making a beeline for your head?

But I digress. Steffi D is up, and she’s singing David Usher’s “Alone in the Universe”.

Flex – Little Bo Peep has found her sheep.
Zack – You’ve got unique tone, unique presence. Your growth is the biggest of anyone around.
Jake – Don’t lose the bow. What a great performance.
Sass – That was a lovely, heartfelt performance.

The always theatrical Steffi starts lying down, and as she gets up, she’s apparently decided to escape the twenties, as her outfit practically lets her girls out. The performance, as usual, is decent right up until the end. I have no idea why she keeps insisting on musical-style endings, but I don’t think that it becomes the songs she sings, and if she really wants to win this thing, she’ll have to stop it. 6.5/10

Now it’s Tyler Lewis’ turn to sing, and being a rocker, he’s chosen to sing a piece from hoser rock band Nickelback, “Too Bad”.

Zack – If Chad looked like you maybe they’d have sold another bazillion records. It was what you are – meat and potatoes, straight, no chaser.
Jake – You couldn’t have picked a better song for your voice.
Sass – You kicked it.
Flex – I liked the part where you kicked the rake (mic stand) back.

Interesting performance. Tyler was pretty good to start, but then he started what my wife called “prancing” on stage during the chorus. But during the second chorus, Tyler kicked it up and gave more of that “Rock Star” feel that you really need if you’re singing a rock song. There were some pitch problems, but being a rock song, it doesn’t matter as much. Yes, I know I picked on Sarah for a poor verse, but even if it’s a rock song, if it’s that darn bad, I’ll make a note of it. As for Tyler, best performance I’ve seen from him. 7.5/10

Ben – The only thing that could’ve made this better? Pyro.

Katie’s singing a Canadian hit after the

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Kati Durst will try to prove she belongs here by singing “It Makes No Difference” by 80% Canadian group The Band.

Jake – Really tough song choice. I thought you did a decent job on it.
Sass – I just like to commend you on your choice of music.
Flex – It didn’t really grab hold of me.
Zack – I really felt you singing the song the way you would sing it. I thought it was your most honest and forthright performance.

The song is right for Kati’s voice, but the problem with this is that most of the listeners would never have heard of The Band, and never heard of the song. Could I see Kati putting a song like this on an album? Oh yeah. Will it get her through to the next round? Not unless someone really, really sucks. 5/10

Ben – (Sits down) Hostin’, like pimpin’, ain’t easy.

Speaking of people that really suck, Brandon is coming up after the

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Time for some looks at the second five singers.

Now it’s time for Brandon “Pretty Boy” Jones (does he even know what “the shocker” hand signal is about?), and he’s singing “California” by one hit wonder Wave.

Sass – So nice to see you pick a song that has more energy.
Flex – I thought it was an excellent song choice.
Zack – The fact is, you chose the right song. I thought you did a really good job for your demo.
Jake – It was really nice that you thanked the band at the end.

You know what the difference between Brandon and tween favourites Kalan and Rex are? The latter two can sing. This was nothing short of horrible. He’s off key for the whole song, seems to forget words in places, has the worst Star Search moment since Emily Vinette, and seems more focused on being a hip-pop wannabe than actually, you know, SINGING. In the mentor session, we saw Nelly talk to him about breath control, and this proved prophetic as Brandon’s bouncing around causes him to gas out about halfway through – 45 seconds into a 90 second song if you’re keeping track.

To sum things up, if you’re voting for Brandon, stop watching this show and/or stop voting because a) you have no idea how to judge talent or choose a “favourite” and b) you’ve potentially screwed over a singing career for someone who deserves it. 1/10

Ben – Takes a poll to see who thinks Brandon is a dreamboat. There are screams, but cameras panning the audience fail to pick up the source of the screams – instead finding a lot of people sitting on their hands.

Craig and Ashley are coming up after the

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We’re back, and singing Avril Lavigne’s “Losing Grip” is Craig Sharpe.

Flex – Your song choice has been phenomenal. Good job.
Zack – Dude you can really, really sing. Let your freak flag fly. Be a star.
Jake – You took it to another level.
Sass – You are a hell of a drama queen and I like that.

Well this performance would seem to answer that “is he or isn’t he” question I had about Craig. Which by the way doesn’t affect my critique of him in any way. The truth is that this was, by far, Craig’s worst performance on stage – it was pitchy, scratchy, mostly a mess, and didn’t show the singing ability that he’s shown over the last three weeks. It was a poor song choice for him, and if he was trying to show a bit more versatility, he failed big time. 1/10

Ashley Coulter was the correct Ashley C to survive, and to prove how Canadian she is, she’s reaching into the wayback machine to sing The Guess Who’s “American Woman”.

Zack – The people reacted to what you did. You came off like a little rock star.
Jake – I was thinking the exact same thing. Good job.
Sass – Anyone who can do that on those shoes I have to applaud. Good job.
Flex – You’re stepping up and leaving a part of yourself onstage. That was a really good development for you.

I’m sure how you all remember how Suzi Rawn was proclaimed an early favourite to win it all last year but ran into a wall of sorts and got stuck in a rut that she never got out of. I’m not sure if Ashley (as this year’s pint-sized rocker) will hit that same wall, but you can see that being in front of a band has revitalized her, and if she can show the same energy level as this week and continue improving, she might do better than most of us would’ve thought. Although I’ll still have trouble thinking of her as something outside of the Pat Benetar/Debbie Harry mold. 7/10

Crooner Chad is up after the

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After plugging Nelly’s CD again, we’ve got Chad Doucette, singing Sloan’s “The Other Man”. He liked hugging Nelly, by the way. Well, what guy wouldn’t?

Jake – You picked a song by one of the greatest indie-rock bands in Canada and you did a great job.
Sass – I think you’ve got a secret – that you’re a great big star in the rest of the world and we just didn’t know it yet. I think you’re unbelievably great.
Flex – He’s not the other man, he IS the man.
Zack – I just hope we don’t hold you back.

Chad takes a page from Marty Casey’s book on “How to look creepy while singing”, which is good since it’s hard to imaging this clean-cut kid as the “other man” in a relationship. I didn’t think that the singing was as great as it could’ve been, but Chad’s showing intensity in his eyes and is expressive which bumps it from “average” to “pretty good”. Note to Steffi – THAT’S how you express yourself without going all theatrical. 7.5/10

Ben – East Chezzetcook LOVES Chad Doucette, but West Chezzetcook, well, that’s Mulroney country.

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Our last singer is Eva Avila, and she’s being bold, singing a song by this week’s Mentor, Nelly Furtado. No, it’s not “Promiscuous”, but it’s a song from her second album (which was all but ignored in the US) – “Powerless (Say What You Want)”.

Sass – That was an insanely great performance.
Flex – What a way to finish the show. That performance for you was a signature performance for me.
Zack – I hate that we switched seats with Farley and Sass because he says exactly what I was gonna say. That felt genuine, felt like you, and I think that the rest of this competition will be about “who can chase Eva”.
Jake – That’s a lot of pressure to put on someone. I always thought you were kind of like a Nelly Furtado so that was the perfect thing for you.

I make it no secret that Eva is my favourite in this competition now that Nancy and Alisha aren’t around, and hopefully this performance shows everyone else why. Her singing is effortless, and in terms of pitch, noone else can match Eva. On top of that, it’s an absolutely perfect song for her, and I can’t say anything else but that she nailed it. 9.5/10

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

Brandon and Craig had piss poor performances that should in theory land them in the bottom three… but we know that that’s not gonna happen. The most “forgettable” performance came from Kati Durst, and you get the feeling that she’ll be the one heading home. As for the other members of the bottom two, you’re probably looking at Sarah Loverock and another singer who doesn’t deserve to be there – like Rob, Steffi or Ashley.

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