Richly Deserved: A Canadian Idol analysis

We learned a lot of lessons from this week’s eliminations.

Murtz Jaffer called Wednesday’s eliminations “The most unbelievable 22 minutes of reality television” he’s seen.

But a closer look at the thoughts of avid Idol supporters suggests that other than the failure of Liam Styles Chang to make the Top 10, who we are still scratching our head, there was a case for the others.

Take for example, Tyler Mullendore. He certainly had a lot of fans but also a lot of detractors who wondered about his singing, his attitude, and those annoying shades.

Annika Odegard’s elimination really shouldn’t come as that big a surprise. Sure, she was Alberta’s lone representative among the ladies and that province has produced two winners, but Annika was so close to elimination the previous week that her lack of fanbase caught up to her. That, and most people thought she was the weakest link of the night.

Then there’s Montana Martin Iles. Yes, she wowed everyone with her Top 22 performances but then it started to unravel. The detractors came out of the woodwork when she turned Thnks Fr Th Mmrs into Tnks Fr Th Mmrs. Somehow it reached her because she felt the need to apologize in her CTV blog. Dude, you can’t do a whole lot about the accent especially at 16. But despite a valiant singing effort this week, her vocal weakness was exposed and unfortunately, jumping around on stage and screaming simply isn’t enough.

As for Liam. We figured he’d make the Top 10. Apparently, his fans figure the same thing. It is a reminder I have given 100 times. They count the number of times the recording that goes “CTV thanks you for voting for competitor number … ” was played for each contestant. If that number is the lowest, your fave is gone. And there’s no amount of whining you can do on the message boards to change that.

So what’s changed in this year’s Canadian Idol?

1. VOCALS MATTER: Bouncing around on stage and singing in a non-conventional voice are not recipes for success in Canadian Idol. That’s not to say the best vocalist is going to win but if all you’re interested in is creating some exciting light and sound show to cover up your singing weaknesses, the majority who watch the show will pick up on that.

2. MAYBE LOW-KEY IS BETTER: Sometimes, it’s better to be safe, which is why Tara, Greg, and a few others are in this field. The days where Jacob Hoggard can ignite the crowd with something totally different are done.

3. MAYBE REGIONAL VOTING IS A THING OF THE PAST: Though was it ever there? How can singers from one of Canada’s smallest provinces, Newfoundland, prosper without having a national base of support? Eva’s win was a breakthrough for someone from the sleepy Capital region. For the first time since season one, singers from the Greater Toronto/Golden Horseshoe area are in the Top 10, and three no less. The days of guessing who will win based on where they’re from are over.

4. LOOKS CAN DICTATE SUCCESS: It did for Kalan Porter. It nearly did for Rex Goudie and Craig Sharpe, who the female fanbase generally thought were cute. This season, the two frontrunners may be the cute ones, one guy, one girl.

So here’s how I think the Top 10 will go.

Tenth: Mila Miller. Already had a close call. Don’t get a lot of buzz around her.

Ninth: Khalila Glanville. Again, nearly eliminated before. And in a season where many think the guys are outdoing the girls, being the fourth most-popular girl isn’t enough.

Eighth: Matt Rapley. Probably was a popular pick to be eliminated this week so his days may be numbered.

Seventh: Dwight D’Eon. May better this placing considering he’s got some momentum, but I think his climb may be too daunting.

Sixth: Brian Melo. Something tells me he’s good enough to last a few weeks but will end up mid-pack.

Fifth: Tara Underwood. Far and away the hottest woman in the Top 22 but you’ve got to be, as Donny and Marie sang “a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll” and Tara seems to have 1/2 of that equation right.
(I’m reminded her last name is Oram. Sorry, I think I have her confused with someone else.)

Fourth: Martha Joy. Surprised? Especially coming from the guy running the Martharians fan club thread? I want her to win and I’ll play for her to win but the sense I get now is that three people have bigger fanbases. She’s got the best vocals in the history of this show. But being from Toronto and performing Celine Dion is not a good combination given the viewership demographics. She can take comfort in that she’s 63rd in the Reality TV Honor Roll.

Third: Greg Neufeld. It’s almost unfair that he has a fanbase that’s one year ahead of everyone else but he has shown tremendous improvement since his failure to crack last year’s Top 10 and I think he’s the second-ranked guy.

Second: Jaydee Bixby. Yup, this is your 2007 Kalan Porter. Your 2007 Daryl Brunt. Your 2007 Craig Sharpe. The 16-year-old blonde who does Elvis impersonations. Eventually we’ll have to see his real singing voice. Or maybe not. Don’t fix something that ain’t broken.

Your 2007 Canadian Idol: Carly Rae Jepsen. She’s got the vulnerability, the folksy style (someone suggested she’s an edgier Theresa Sokyrka), and she’s adorable. Whether that’s gonna sell CDs for Sony BMG Canada is debatable but her fanbase is the strongest and fastest-growing so don’t be surprised if the title goes to the left coast this year.

There ya have it. The biggest lesson to be learned. If you have a favourite, YOU HAVE TO PLAY THE GAME.

Good luck to the entire Top 10.