The time has almost arrived.
On Wednesday, the dust will settle and the Top 10 contestants on Canadian Idol will finally be revealed. Tuesday featured the final performances from the seven girls who remain in the competition, and I arrived early to the Trinity Studios in Toronto to get ready for the highly-anticipated showdown.
When I was in journalism school, one of the first lessons that they taught us was to always have a pen. I took that lesson pretty seriously and always carry many writing tools with me wherever I go because you never know when a story will break (or in my case, when somebody will ask for an autograph). Haha. Anyway, much to my chagrin, when I arrived at my seat ready to take notes, I could not find any of the pens that I had packed. This was especially distressing because it wasn’t like I had lost one pen. I had lost like 10! My theory was that they went missing because of the side slit pockets on my jeans. They must have fallen out when I sat down somewhere (as an aside, never buy jeans with side slit pockets… always go for the top pockets, heh, I am starting to sound like Farley Flex). Anyway, while I had my emergency pen in hand (the one that I file for situations just like these, kind of like Batman) and somebody else hooked me up with a spare, I couldn’t help but feel like I was the tool instead of the instrument that I was writing with.
Onto the show. My pre-show predictions were that Annika, Mila, Martha and Khalila were in the most danger. Except for Annika, the other singers were all from poor voting provinces and I felt that this would hurt them as the hometowns of their competition would undoubtedly go crazy in the final march to the Top 10. My prediction was that Mila and Khalila would be leaving.
After Sue Brophy introduced the band, the judges and the Top 7 guys (who took their seats in the TD Comfort Zone), Ben Mulroney came out to start the show.
He said that it was “all on the line for the ladies” and then asked the judges for their thoughts.
Zack thanked the firefighters and policemen who worked in his area last night (no idea what that was about). Sass sucked up to Ben and said that he put her in even a better mood than the show did. Farley said that it was the bottom of the 9th and that he didn’t know who the designated hitter was. Jake told viewers to pretend that it was the finale and to vote for the person on-stage whose records and t-shirts you would want to buy.
The Top 7 girls then came out and it was time to get busy.
Before she took the stage first, Annika explained to Ben that her brother and father were in Europe and they watched the show online.
– Sang “Ordinary Day” by Vanessa Carlton With Piano
– In her opening video, she talked about how she was going to “sing it” and how playing the piano helped her become emotionally involved with what she was singing.
– Big opening immediately gets crowd into it.
– I believe this is the first live performance where a female contestant has used an instrument.
– She is singing amazingly well and while I was in the minority last week and liked her performance, this is even better.
– Simply an awesome performance.
– She is rocking the song out and performing really well.
– I think that Liam and Matt could learn a lot from her performing abilities as she dominates the stage, and while they technically sing better, she is the one who commands attention.
– Performance is so good that she might have saved herself.
– The ending to the song was a bit abrupt and the entire performance seemed very short to me.
– It could be because I was enjoying it so much.
– Definitely a contender for the best of the night.
– Jake: There’s a big smile on my face tonight (Murtz note: to which Annika responded with ‘Praise Jesus’ and Jake said ‘I don’t know about that’ resulting in one of the funniest contestant/judge exchanges I have seen on any Idol competition).
– Farley: Rapunzel, you finally let down your hair! This is reality TV because it’s the first time we have seen the real you.
– Sass: That’s definitely where you belong.
– Zack: This was right.
After the break, Ben asked Khalila if there were any future Idols at the daycare centre where she worked. Khalila said there was one that she called ‘Mini-Me.’
– Sang “For You I Will” by Monica.
– In her opening video, she said that “you have to prepare yourself to stay but you must also prepare yourself to go.”
– Bad song choice.
– Performance is decent, but it is not one that I feel the crowd can rally behind.
– Whereas many expected Annika to definitely be leaving this week, I think Khalila just replaced her on the hit list (and I don’t mean the good hit list).
– I want to reiterate that she isn’t singing badly, in fact, I actually dig her performance.
– The problem is that it isn’t a showstopper which is what she needed.
– While Eva Avila won last season, traditionally Quebec trails just Ontario in terms of poor voter turnout and Khalila needed to wow the rest of the country.
– I don’t think she did.
– Hit the big notes, but Annika’s performance was too memorable.
– Farley: Definitely an element of risk. Did a little bit of (vocal) gymnastics there.
– Sass: Didn’t get a lot of the ‘wow’ factor out of that.
– Zack: You were really trying to hit a home run. I don’t think we have ever had a sophisticated woman like you in our Top 10.
– Jake: Felt it was really strong.
During the break, Zack talked to Sue Brophy about some charity work that he is doing with the Terry Fox Foundation.
After the break, Ben asked Tara about why she said she wanted to see Rush live since she is such a big country music fan. Tara said that the band represents great musicianship (ha, I bet the Word dictionary that ‘musicianship’ wasn’t a word and I lost) in Canada. Ben told Tara that Geddy Lee goes to his gym, and then corrected himself and said that it could just be some dude.
Another highlight in one of the funnier Idol shows that I have seen happened when Ben asked Carly Rae about how she sings in a swing band. Ben said that the Idol audience hasn’t seen Carly swing yet and if she was “holding back.” The vivacious Jepsen said that is because Ben had to come to a swing dance event to see it and Ben said that it was a date as soon as she turned 21. When Carly said that she was 21, Ben jokingly said ‘goodnight Canada’ joking that he was ready to go. It was HILARIOUS! I was laughing for a good few minutes. I talked to a fan after the show who told me that the judges were laughing equally as hard.
I really don’t think that Ben Mulroney gets enough credit for his work on the show. He rarely flubs lines and is one of the best ad-libbers I have ever seen on television (not just Canadian TV). This was another example of his quick wit and the Carly quip was a classic Canadian Idol clip. How’s that for alliteration baby? It even rhymes! Some can write. Murtz Jaffer redefines the language.
Onto the performances.
Carly Rae Jepsen
– Sang “Waiting In Vain” by Annie Lennox.
– In her opening video, she said basically what every contestant has said so far. “Song selection is #1.”
– While the video was playing, the band moved onto the stage and surrounded Carly Rae.
– The tight set-up definitely looked cool and you could tell that we would get yet another special Jepsen performance.
– My question to readers is whether Carly Rae is getting votes because she sings well or because she looks good?
– I think it is unbeatable combination of both.
– She is the champion.
– The band and back-up singers around her make it seem like we are not watching Canadian Idol but an actual concert.
– Forget “The Greg Neufeld Show” as Jake said yesterday.
– This is “The Carly Rae Jepsen Coronation.”
– Needs to watch her enunciation and diction as I found her mumbling a couple of words, but this is a minor quibble.
– Another perfect performance as Carly’s tone, stage presence and personality are all spot-on.
– Just as an aside, I really hate the term ‘spot-on,’ I don’t know why I use it so often.
– Didn’t get a big crowd pop which I found a little surprising.
– Sass: Lovely, vulnerable and adorable performance like you always do. There’s something so magical about your presence.
– Zack: Some of the people who watch this show sort of demand or want this high-end critical analysis or they want us to be something other than I choose to be doing this thing. In the time that I have done this show, there are maybe two people that I ever said ‘if I didn’t make so much money doing this job, I would just say you and me, let’s go and have a record deal’ and the moment I saw you, I believed it. And I believe it more everytime I see you. You’re fantastic. You’re a star.
– Jake: Liked when you stepped out and showed that it was your show and you were the star.
– Farley: You style your way back into the pocket.
Hare Bay, NL
– Sang “When God Fearin’ Women Get The Blues” by Martina McBride.
– In her opening video, she says that she doesn’t always want to hear good things (referring to the judges’ comments) and that criticism helps her learn and improve.
– Crowd way into it.
– Judges also into it.
– Decent performance.
– Not the worst that I have seen.
– Normally, I would say that Tara is in trouble… but the fact is that she is the only contestant left from Newfoundland which is arguably the province that votes the most.
– As a result, I do not think she is in danger.
– Would prefer her to get even more animated in her performance.
– Decent vocal.
Zack: You have got good energy and a great smile. It’s just not my thing. Even not being my thing, I just find it average.
Jake: What I really liked (and Farley mentioned it in the pack that we saw, was that there was some physicality in that performance. You’re more Gretchen Wilson….
Farley: You look so athletic. You could bring so much more energy to your performance..
Sass: Didn’t think your singing was fantastic, but you command the stage.
After the break, Ben said that Montana’s dad couldn’t be there and asked if she had a message for him. Montana said “Hi dad, I am on TV.” I think her ‘edgy’ personality comes off as a little phony sometimes, but I still like her on-stage.
Montana Martin Iles
– Sang “Ironic” by Alanis Morrisette With Guitar
– In her opening video, she said that she wanted to make a connection with the people at home this week.
– When I saw the song selections for this week, I was the most excited for this performance because I thought it was a great song and particularly good for Montana.
– As soon as the band came to surround Montana on stage, I was disappointed.
– Unlike Carly Rae’s performance, the band surrounding Montana immediately signaled that she was going to do an acoustic/stripped-down version of the song.
– I know the judges wanted to hear her voice, but I know that the audience and I all wanted her to deliver one of her signature rocking showstoppers.
– I thought that the scaled-down version highlighted her weaknesses instead of her strengths.
– The song also focused attention upon her prevalent accent which was a drawback for me.
– An alright performance.
– I like Montana’s abilities a lot, but tonight… it wasn’t about her picking a bad song (she picked a good one), it was about the way she chose to perform it.
– In this case, she decided not to perform it at all.
– Sounded great on the guitar.
– Just a step down from her previous domination.
Jake: Vocally, could have been better. You should be in the Top 10 because you’re a star.
Farley: Certain quality you have that’s engaging. I want to hear you sing!
Sass: You really sang which was really cool. I thought that was terrific.
Zack: I think you’re a star. I am very honored that you were a part of the show and anybody who doesn’t think that somebody can sing with an accent can kiss my big blue Julio Iglesias.
During the break, Zack explained that the Julio Iglesias reference is an inside joke with his family.
The show returned and Martha told Ben that it is true that she can sing in 6 different languages including Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Filipino, French and English.
– Sang “That’s The Way It Is” by Celine Dion.
– In her opening video, she said that she wanted to show Canada that she is a fun person.
– Another big improvement.
– Covering a Celine song is difficult, but Joy did it was ease.
– Looked very comfortable on stage.
– Would have been better if she hit a couple of bigger notes because it’s obvious she can, but this is minor nitpick.
– Phenomenal performance.
– Arrangement of the song was a bit peculiar.
– I still liked it.
– A great performance on a night where almost everyone has had their moments.
Farley: The ladies are all improving. You pushed yourself. That was great!.
Sass: Totally shine with the big luscious ballads.
Zack: Sophisticated performance. You’re technically the best singer here.
Jake: The last half of that song was maybe one of the best things I have seen this year. I told Farley… I got chills.
After the break, Ben asked Mila to explain what ‘Fro Lightning’ meant. She said that it meant that she brought light to the stage.
– Sang “Rehab” by Amy Winehouse.
– In her opening video, she said that she has been known for picking older songs but this time she wanted to pick something that people could relate to.
– During the opening video, she sat on top of the piano that Mark Lalama was playing.
– Added a new look to the stage.
– While I still expect Mila to go, she finally proved why she made the semi-finals of the competition.
– I don’t like Amy Winehouse (somebody out there, PLEASE tell me how anyone could even remotely like this song) but Mila’s version is tolerable.
– A very good performance.
– Weak ending.
– Sass: One of my favorite performers on the show. That was a really good imitation.
– Zack: After last week’s debacle, I am really glad somebody did a song that wasn’t written in 1937. I think the girls have kicked some serious big blue Julio Iglesias tonight if you know what I mean. You guys are in-tough tonight. Good job..
– Jake: Love your sense of humor. Love your sassiness. Mila, you should definitely be there and you should definitely not have been in the bottom four last week.
– Farley: Felt that song and did it in your own way, took ownership of it and emanated soul.
One of the best performance shows I have seen in recent memory. It’s always better when the contestants choose contemporary songs. With that being said, it’s tough to make a call tonight. I think that Khalila is finished, but it is too close to call between Martha and Mila. I’ll stick with Mila.
That means that I think Matt, Brian, Mila and Khalila will be leaving on Wednesday.
We’ll see if I am right.
See you then.
Tags: Canadian Idol