TORONTO – In addition to talent, Canada’s apparently also got daddies.
In the second CGT semifinal performance show of the season, Montreal’s 13-member dance troupe clearly was the story on Sunday night with most of the audience in attendance either related to or cheering for the middle-aged group of dance dads.
After a reasonably solid first semifinal which saw absolutely no surprises with Freshh being voted into the next round and the judges saving Julie Lafontaine, the sophomore episode is certainly not as certain.
While the ostentatious Daddy Cool had the support of the crowd (to the point where I actually had to check make sure I was in Toronto’s Showline Studios and not the Montreal Convention Center), as I will explain, their performance did leave a lot to be desired.
The staging had clearly advanced even from the first live show last week and was significantly improved. The sets and props were much more elaborate for Sunday’s performance show and I can now definitively say that Canada’s Got Talent has the highest production value of any Canadian reality show that I have ever attended, seen, or reviewed.
From the dancers dressed as robots in Scott Jackson’s beatbox routine to the candles used in Yuval Fichman’s piano solo to the spectacular costuming in Roger LeBlanc’s monologue, I was absolutely blown away by how good the show looked. While we are still determining who the country’s most talented is, my vote is for the “WHAM team” which, as host Dina Pugliese explained to the audience, stands for the show’s wardrobe hair and make-up team.
Let’s get to the performances!
– Jackson is a professional beatboxer from Toronto
– Fans of the show will remember that Jackson actually had to face-off against another Toronto beatboxer (KRNFX) to make it into the semifinals before the judges decided to put them both through
– I wasn’t a big fan of Jackson during the audition phase and I certainly preferred KRNFX
– With that being said, I thought Jackson displayed significant improvement
– His act was helped tremendously by the staging as he had the aforementioned accompanying back-up dancers who were dressed and styled like metallic robots
– The dancers resembled a silver version of the Blue Man Group
– While the beatboxing was decent, the act seemed much bigger that it was solely because of the dancers
– Not sure whose idea it was to include them but whoever decided to should get a raise
– There was a brief moment where the dancers stumbled into each other (a horrifying moment for the dancer who made the mistake I am sure) but aside from that, they added a completely new dimension to an otherwise good set.
– Judge Martin Short said that he loved the production of it but that Scott didn’t need any production
– Stephan Moccio said that he did everything right and that the costumes were fabulous
– Measha Brueggergosman said that she loved Scott from the very beginning and that he was captivating as a performer
– This performance was everything that H.I.X. wasn’t last week
– With that being said, there is no chance Scott will make it through
– The screaming crowd didn’t have to wait too long
– Stephan Moccio touched upon this last week so I can’t claim credit for it but he discussed the idea that the group acts have an advantage because using Daddy Cool as an example, they have 13 voting members with 13 voting families
– Their daughters probably all have friends who will vote for them as well
– When you compare that to a solo artist like Scott or Yuval, it is definitely something to consider
– I would be absolutely stunned if this act didn’t make it through
– The performance itself was a comedy of errors
– The routine was inspired by prisoners escaping out of Alcatraz (which I thought was great cross-promotion for Citytv)
– Music medley was good with “What Is Love” from Night At The Roxbury” transitioning to “Party Rock Anthem” which got the crowd into it even if the dance moves didn’t
– The one part of the routine that I did like were the complicated hand gestures which dancers have told me are one of the hardest things to master
– I understand that these guys aren’t spring chickens by any stretch of the imagination but the routine seemed like it was happening in slow-motion which only elongated the pain
– The judges talked about how the routine was all technical and not light-hearted which is what they fell in love with
– My point is that the show is called Canada’s Got Talent, and unfortunately the cutesy audition stage of the program is finished
– These guys should have been eliminated long ago
– Martin Short finally showed some reasoned tact when he said that while it was “a great Disney movie,” that he didn’t think they had the talent to finish this competition
– This 23-year old actor from Calgary was one of my darkhorse picks in the competition
– I thought he was a phenomenal talent and I appreciated the fact that the judges gave him a chance in a competition format that usually tends to reward more colorful and boisterous acts
– Once again, the costumes and staging of LeBlanc’s performance of the St. Crispin’s Day monologue from Henry V took center stage
– The stage was transformed into what looked like a real life battle zone complete with uniformed extras
– LeBlanc delivered an impassioned cry and one of those captivating dramatic performances I have seen in a long time
– While I hope that Canada votes him through, I don’t see it happening but Stratford would be lucky to have such talent among its roster
– Measha said that he had a “powerful presence,” that he was “unique in this setting” and that the performance was “so visceral”
– Martin said that it was “spectacular”
– Stephan said that he was drawn to his courage
– What impressed me the most was when LeBlanc told Dina that today is the anniversary of Vimy Ridge and that he didn’t care about votes as long as he helped people remember
– Just before the show went on break, he received a standing ovation from all three judges
– The best of the night as far as I am concerned
– Five-member rock band from Moncton
– Angry Candy was another act that I was look forward to seeing again
– In the audition phase of the program, I much preferred their performance to that of Pulp City Inn’s
– Lead singer Izabelle Ouellet both look and sounds a lot like Gwen Stefani and the band has a good look (especially wih the phenomenal makeover they received)
– Chose to sing “Alone” by Heart which was a brilliant song choice
– While I didn’t love the arrangement, I thought the performance was very good and easily one of the best of the night
– I believe that because “Alone” has such a strong hook, it’s hard to reduce down to a 90 second performance
– Thoroughly disappointed by the crowd reaction as they clearly didn’t appreciate the brilliance of the performance
– Martin said that he wasn’t as knocked out as he was by the band when they last performed and that they started off “a little shaky”
– Stephan said that he wasn’t convinced by the song and wouldn’t have chosen that key
– In one of the strangest moments of the night, Measha said Izabelle “wouldn’t have to do much to get me alone” to which host Dina Pugliese responded by saying it was a family show
– Fichman is a 46-year old concert pianist from Toronto
– His video package was hilarious where he said that if he won, he would get driving lessons
– As previously mentioned, the staging was great as candles lighted up the stage and Fichman’s grand piano
– Given that Fichman was battling the glitz of the other performances (in a similar case to LeBlanc’s), I expected him to choose a classical piece with a lot of vigor and was surprised when he went with something much lighter
– Unfortunately, he is definitely not going through
– Measha said that she thought that they should have opened the piano and that she hoped that they would get to see him covering something more modern and hip
– Martin said that he thought that he played beautifully but that it wasn’t completely filled with emotion
– Stephan said that Canada was going to decide his fate (duh)
– This 16-year old singer from Montreal was helped by some of the local Daddy Cool contingent in attendance
– Found it interesting that Measha said that he wasn’t the strongest competitor in his video package
– The staging of this one was interesting too as producers decided to put an image of empty theater seats behind him
– It looked visually cool but you had to wonder if Vithou enjoyed playing behind empty seats
– The performance was alright
– If he moves through it will be because of his looks as his singing was mediocre
– Measha said that she was ready not to like him but then he winked at her
– Is a wink all it will take to win Measha’s approval?
– Martin said: “Canada’s Got Talent? Canada’s Got A New Star!”
– Stephan said that Vithou’s charisma couldn’t be denied but that he needed to project a little more
– This was my favorite audition during the opening phase of the program (next to Marissa Puff’s) and I couldn’t wait to see what the six-member family of circus performers would do next
– For their follow-up, parents Leonid and Tatyana Radyuk decided to involve their children in the act
– I knew the act would be good because they got the plum closing spot
– It was clear that this was also the most dangerous act
– Unfortunately, despite more cool costumes (Leonid was dressed as a Russell Crowe lookalike from Gladiator and the involvement of the kids, the act was literally the exact same from the auditons as Leonid balanced himself on cylindrical objects that his family would throw up to him on an elevated platform
– Although I was just as captivated as I was when they first did it, I wonder if they have any more proverbial tricks up their sleeve
– The performance also ended with an explosion of confetti on the stage (which is typically saved only for reality show finales) and this gave me the impression that this was one of the show’s favorite acts and one that is destined to move on
– Martin said that there was no difference from what they did the last time other than their costumes
– Stephan said that he enjoyed the act but that there was “no evolution”
– Said that he was still focused on them for the entire 90 seconds
– Measha concurred
– I wonder if Fantasy Circus is just a one-man act?
So there you have it. I believe that Fantasy Circus and Daddy Cool will be moved on, although I’d like to see Roger LeBlanc get one of the spots.
I will leave you with my favorite moment of last night’s show. As previously discussed, Canada’s Got Talent, takes place from the Showline Studios which was the former home of So You Think You Can Dance Canada (before it got cancelled). Last night, former So You Think You Can Dance Canada judge, Luther Brown was in the first row. Incredibly ironic since just a few months ago, he was sitting in one of the judges’ seats. Wonder if he enjoyed watching this series without the pressure of critiquing or if he missed his old show. Hopefully I’ll get the chance to ask him sometime.
Speaking of So You Think You Can Dance Canada, on last week’s episode of The Murtz Show, I had last season’s runner-up Melissa Mitro, former Canadian Idol winner Eva Avila andCanada’s Got Talent and illusionist Lucas Wilson join me. To check out the archived show, just click HERE