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Archive for the ‘Canadian Idol’ Category

I apologize for not getting this review done last night but I when I found myself falling asleep over my laptop after the sixth singer, I knew I had to get some sleep and finish it in the morning. Not that “Unplugged Night” was boring, because it wasn’t, but I hate trying to rush my comments just to be timely in my posting. Sometimes a good thing is worth waiting for… 😉

Anyway, I suppose I’m just old enough NOT to know who Gavin Rossdale is but he seemed like a decent guy and I’ll be looking forward to hearing and seeing what he can do on the results show. The contestants didn’t demonstrate anything better or worse during their unplugged solo – just more of the same that they can do. It is that point in the competition for someone or two to start breaking out but that hasn’t happened — yet.

So, without further ado or falling sleep, here’s what I spied on my laptop from the land up north for this week:

Sebastian PigottLucille (Little Richard)

He obviously likes the real bluesy oldies and I’ll give him props for a mean harmonica solo. His charisma has been carrying him for the last few weeks but this week he seems to have channeled his inner musician and came out with a half way decent performance. I can tell the Zack wants him gone and, frankly, so do I but I don’t see him going anytime soon. Should be on the bubble, particularly since he went first, but I doubt it.

Earl StevensonTwo (Ryan Adams)

Ok, he was better this week but that was because he sat and played guitar the entire time. I just don’t get it, however – the judges gush all over him and I can’t hear or appreciate what they are digging. He just doesn’t do it for me – the voice is gravely but passable, he plays guitar well enough but I just don’t see the “specialness” about him. He’ll continue to be safe because I guess the Canadians like him a lot.

Mark Day Stay (Sugarland)

For all of his tomfoolery he happens to have one of the better voices in this competition and tonight he chose a song that fit his voice and played it absolutely straight. He has the Newfoundland/Labrador vote locked in, along with that dastardly VFTW following, but this week he would have earned my vote if I could vote — and that means he done real good with both the vocals and the interpretation. Might be bubble bound but I wouldn’t pit him there.

Mitch MacDonald Oh, Atlanta (Alison Krauss)

Well his performance this week was so good IMHO that I was able to forget all about his annoying vocals for once and get into the music. But it figures — I liked him and the judges trashed him. He wanted to represent his area and I think he succeeded. Bubble bound if the judges have any real

Amberly ThiessenThe Way I Am (Ingrid Michaelson)

Very animated, solid vocal stylings and no guitar – I really like this “last woman standing” and musically she deserves to remain in this competition to the bitter end. I don’t get why she was a bottom dweller last week but I truly hope she is not there again tomorrow. I totally agree with Flex that she has been picking great songs for her vocal abilities (I did question the Marley stuff from last week, however) and yet she seems to be struggling to find a fan base. Well, they’d better step it up and vote or she’ll be there again – or worse. Shouldn’t be anywhere near the bottom but this is Canada and they don’t seem to like the ladies this season.

Mookie MorrisOphelia (The Band)

He is so retro it’s cool, I suppose. A very unique song choice but he seems to like the obscure oldies. He’s another boy I can’t warm up to but I will admit he’s better than Earl in my estimation. At 18 he’s musically mature for his age and yet he appeals to the teenage crowd. He’s been in the bottom before and could land there again but I don’t think he will this week. The performance was solid enough to buy him one more week.

Drew WrightSunday Morning (Maroon 5)

I’ve liked this boy from the beginning and if there is a dark horse it would be him. The vocals may not always be on par with others but he has managed to stay true to his pop self and brought it to the stage each week, this time being no different. I sometimes wonder of the judges are looking to make their money by having to come up with things to say each week in order to take the contestants down a peg or two. Safe does NOT equal boring most of the time and I didn’t find this singer boring at all. He worked the stage, he sang comfortably and mostly in tune and put his own spin on the song. Depending on how much the viewers at home agree with the male judges, he may not be as safe as I’d like him to be.

Theo TamsWeak in the Knees (Serena Ryder)

IMHO the only true MUSICIAN in the bunch and that brand of training/gift carries through in every performance. Nice falsetto notes at the end without over-killing it (like some many others would be tempted to do), emotion charged interpretation without going over the top and good balance of singing and playing without either suffering for doing both. He would be my number one choice to GO-ALL-THE-WAY in this competition so if he’s not safe, no one else is.

So, curiously enough, after this set of performances I’m going with the same three bottom feeders this week that I chose last week: re:

Mitch, (no sure his song choice will play as well in Canada as it did with this American)

Sebastian (not sure he did enough this week to erase the last few attempts)

and Mookie, (I think his song choice was too “hip” for most)

with “das boot” probably going to Mitch MacDonald since the ladies are not about to give up on Sebastian yet – but I’d LOVE to be wrong on this one. There is an outside chance that Mark Day might have run his time out but that’s just a hunch I have as of this writing. Guess we’ll see soon enough…

Carry on!

J

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Hey Canada — are you happy with your Top 10? I was, with two exceptions: I didn’t feel that either Mark Day or Adam Castelli had done enough to make the finals. Mark is a tad too goofy to be taken seriously and I don’t feel that Adam’s vocal skills are up there with some of the others who did make the cut. If I were voting, I would have wanted to back Martin Kerr and Kaitlyn Dawn so that they could reach the Top 10 but, hey, I’m an American…what do I know? I can’t get my own picks here in the US of A to the finals sometimes! 😉

Anyway, I thought that Jake gave some really sound advice to the finalists going into this week’s David Bowie night:

  1. Pick great songs
  2. Be memorable
  3. Be lovable
  4. Make an impact

From what I saw last night, some of them took than advice and ran with it and others, well, marched to the beat of their own drummer (and that is NOT a slam on Drew…you’ll see…) In any Idol competition, song selection makes or breaks a contestant with the latter happening more times than not. We singers love some songs that we should NEVER sing and in this type of a situation, one needs to be a little more objective when choosing what will win over the fans. The Music of David Bowie is a really tough songbook to work with because while it is not very challenging music-wise, it’s eclectic styles and sometimes downright weirdness can make a good singer sound bad and a so-so singer sound worst unless they play it up in the performance. I was afraid for the kids and after watching and listening, I was surprised at how most of them stayed away from the more familiar songs in favor of lesser known tunes.

Here’s what I experienced from my laptop for this round:

Drew WrightFive Years

Tough to go first on the first night of finals and equally difficult to play the drums while doing it but this boy held his own very well and I actually liked it! The vocals may have suffered a little but, hey, it’s Bowie — don’t have to possess a great voice to pull it off. He looked comfortable, sang well and kept a steady beat — worked for me. I can understand what Jake and Farley were saying but I think his originality will win the day and buy him another week if not more.

Adam Castelli Rebel, Rebel

Most unique entrance of any Idol ever and it will NEVER happen in America! Sass is correct that the song has little melody but it was perfect for this boy whose vocal qualities are limited at best. I wish I could warm up to him but it’s just not happening for me. However, others seem to dig the vibe so that and his originality should buy him another week at least.

Mark Day Dancin’ In the Streets

I forgot that Bowie and Jagger covered this song. It’s also one of the most overused Idol songs — right up there with Ain’t No Mountain High Enough. Ok, this kid’s got a good voice but he’s a bit too much of a goof ball for me to take him seriously. He did choose a good song for his voice from the Bowie song pile and, yes, he did camp it up a bit but that’s his gimmick. How long it will sustain him in this competition is anyone’s guess. But he CAN sing. Might get him through this week if no one else feels like me.

Mookie MorrisThe Man Who Sold the World

My hubby is much more familiar with the Bowie Collection than I am but he was hard pressed to remember this tune. I haven’t figured this young dude out yet but he has a unmistakable presence that helps him transcend his very different vocal tone. The young girls should carry him far into the finals for sure.

Amberly ThiessenSpace Odyssey

Interesting song choice for this young gal and not one I would have chosen for her, especially with all the changes in style. And she did the Natalie Merchant version? Didn’t know there was one. This is a case of bad song choice, even though I agree with Zack that she sang it well and did it in her own way. Could end up being a case of the “bad song choice blues” should she end up on the bubble this week. I’d hate to see her go because she is a good singer.

Sebastian PigottLet’s Spend the Night Together

Now, can you say great song choice? However, he DID mess up the delivery in a few places…ok, MORE than a few…OK, he goofed up big time. I don’t think it will hurt him much because this young man has charisma to spare and he’s already captured the hearts and votes of many a young Canadian maiden. I will say that he’d better clean up his act for next week or else – fans CAN be fickle. Should be safe in spite of it all.

Earl StevensonRock and Roll Suicide

Well, this obscure little number was perfect for his vocals and his personality. Talk about the Jason Castro/Taylor Hicks of the North! I need more time to figure this one out and from the looks of it, he will be around for quite some time.

Katherine St-LaurentCat People (Putting Out Fire)

She has a tendency for screaming and tonight was no exception. I didn’t like the song on her however it looks like the judges did. She has a HUGE voice but I’d like to see her select something that shows it off rather than songs she feels she needs to ram down our throats. She’ll be safe, no doubt, but I want more SINGING from her. Please!

Theo TamsSilly Boy Blue

I can tell you from experience that classical training is the best vocal conditioning for ANY type of singer. This alone puts this boy a cut above the rest vocally and it shows. Another edge he has is that he IS a musician and that comes through in every performance. Zack did feel the need to burst his bubble a tad but I don’t think that will slow him down one bit. Safe for a long time.

Mitch MacDonald Moonage Daydream

I still can’t get past this boy’s thin über-tenor sound. It’s not cartoonish but it drives me a bit crazy. He is very comfortable on stage and has the right performance intensity but it’s the tone color that throws me off. Decent song choice, rocked the tune, good stage presence. Maybe safe. Maybe not.

Ok, I’m not sure if there is a bottom two or three north of the border so I’ll choose my usual three for “das boot” this week and then adjust as I need to. This week’s bubble dwellers, IMHO, should be Mitch, Mark and Amberly, though I really don’t want to see her there, with “das boot” going to Mark Day. Will I be correct for my first CI Top 10? Stay tuned…

J

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I’m baaaack…and raring to go! I was able to at least watch last week’s contest when I returned from my travels so I have to agree with how Canada has been voting. Up to now, the only one that has been dismissed that I really liked was Jessica, even though Paul was the most unique of the bunch. Other than her, the rest were expendable. No matter – we’re on to the Top 16 and after this week six contestants will be sent home and the Top 10 will be revealed…that is, if they don’t go for a Top 12 like their companions to the south.

Here’s how I saw tonight’s songfest:

Martin Kerr

Fix You – Coldplay

Solid opening performance from the resident Brit…very comfortable on stage…strong, spot-on vocals…just reminds me too much of a coffee house singer…agree with Jake on the lack of star vibe…

Might be on the bubble b/c Zach really put the smackdown on him but in America that usually creates the opposite response.

Theo Tams

Colbie Caillat – Bubbly

Very comfortable on stage and very believable…versatile musician…in touch with lyrics and song styles…full commitment to whatever he’s singing…

Two words: Very safe.

Amberly Thiessen

You and I Both – Jason Mraz

Started out shaky…and continued that way in spots…I like this gal but this was not a great song choice for her potential…Has a much better voice than this song gave her credit for…

May have enough cred so far to make fans forgive her for this week. I sure wish I could vote.

Adam Castelli

If I Were a Carpenter – Tim Hardin, Johnny Cash, et al

They do choose some way out songs on this show…but I love it…however, not this rendition…this performer has not grown on me at all…he’s decent enough but not Top 10 worthy…too one dimensional…and off key at times…

On the bubble and the judges agree.

Marie-Pierre Bellerose

Piece of My Heart – Janis Joplin

Someone always has to tackle Joplin, don’t they…may not have been gritty enough but she sang the crap out of it and for that I give her BIG props…not sure what to think of her overall but she deserves to stick around a little longer…she’s a bit of a ham…

May be safe…maybe not…

Omar Lunan

If Tomorrow Never Comes – Garth Brooks

Ok, the R & B version of a country tune…that’s different…not sure if he knew the original tune so I can’t tell if he was off key at times or not…I didn’t care for the song choice for him but I’m not sure he knows what to pick…and may I say I love Zack’s take on the whole thing…

Probably safe because he’s trying every genre.

Mark Day

Against All Odds – Phil Collins

The unlikely Idol contestant…he never would have made it past Simon…vocally he’s been very good…but tonight he went for over emoting and that may have done him in…Broadway could be in his future and that wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing…

It’s bubble time for this boy.

Mookie Morris

Valerie – Zutons, Mark Ronson, et al

Good thing he didn’t try out for So You Think You Can Dance, Canada…not very familiar with the song but I thought it was just OK…however, the judges love this kid so the pimping was big…

Should be safe if the voters listen to the judges.

“Das boot” for this group? I’d say Martin (because he went first and was forgettable), Adam (the performance was a bit of a disaster) and Mark (too much “chewing the scenery” – it’s a Broadway term). The other eight should take a cue from the first group and not try to over sing or be overly anything if they want to have a chance at the Top 10. At this point in the competition, if could hurt them more than help them. We shall soon see how this all plays out.

Carry on!

J

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I was going to try and do an initial review of the Canadian Idol Top 24 before the start of tonight’s Top 24 face-offs but I want to share a few more insights with you first before I launch into my critiques. I will admit it took me longer to get to watch the audition and Top 200 videos but I think I now have a couple of reliable sources that should get me through this contest in the coming months so I’ll add my first impressions of the singers as I review their first “official” performances this week. Once I get on a viewing schedule I probably still won’t be as timely as others who will watch it live but I’ll try not to be more than a day or two behind. It’ll be the best I can do give the circumstances.

So, for this installment, I want to comment on a few more show modifications that I happen to like and would love to see AI try for Season 8. First of all, can I say that I think having online auditions is a stroke of GENIUS? I understand that Canada is more geographically spread out and harder to navigate than the states but having folks submit video would sure be another way of finding that “best talent” out there that maybe can’t get to an audition sight for one reason or another. I’m sure some folks sent professionally done up clips that were probably thrown out after five seconds but most of the homemade jobs were decent enough to give a true rendering of the singer. This is a great idea that should be adopted here in the States for next season. Come on, Nigel — maybe there’s another reality show in it for ya…

Moving on, I LOVE the fact that TPTB did not feel the need to have a gender balanced Top 24 — if there were more guys deserving of a shot than gals then so be it. Life is not always fair and so what if that makes for a lopsided tour. I think viewers and concertgoers are a little more smarter than some promoters give them credit for. They will come out and support who they like rather than simply back a male over a female and vice versa. There have been quite a few AI contestants in both genders who have fallen victim to the PC way of Top 24 selection and some have not tried again…and that’s sad. I also don’t believe, as one article suggested, that some folks believe that since the viewing audience is mostly female that this unevenness will play in favor of the males. Again, talent is talent and most Idol watchers will gravitate towards the standouts in either gender eventually.

To repeat myself briefly, I said last time that I thought the judges were cool about making sure they nurtured along those who may not have been quite ready for this year in the hopes of seeing them again. Not only is it good for the artist’s ego and emotional well-being but it a great marketing tool as well, showing the folks at home that the show CARES rather than just wanting to use and abuse the contestants. AI gets that rap now and then and it could very well be deserved but after seven years they rarely display this type of sincerity with the singers. Maybe it gets lost on the cutting room floor or doesn’t make for “good TV” but we’ll never really know and lots of assumptions get made that way.

I read over the weekend that this part of the competition will be different than AI because it will not be boys against boys and girls against girls. Rather it will be a mixed gender 12 on both nights with an undetermined number going home. Hummm…there’s a cliffhanger of sorts. Not predictable, now is it? Love how the Canadians are willing to keep us guessing!

With all this said, let me head out now and see if any videos are up and running for my view pleasure. Given the diversity in talent this is setting up to be great musical summer for our northern friends…and those of us who can never get enough Idol. Let the games begin!

J

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OK, I’ve taken some time to breathe since AMERICAN IDOL 7 finished last month but I came to the conclusion that I don’t want to wait until Season 8 to keep this operation running. After taking a look at what is being offered this summer on TV I have decided to cast my viewing net a little wider and to the north —

Even though CTV is not making it easy for me to tune in, I WILL be watching and reviewing CANADIAN IDOL 6 this summer, along with the third season of AMERICA’S GOT TALENT! I’m going to ask my “video supplier” if I can share the footage I’ve been viewing with all of you “south of the boarder” but if it will get this brave individual in trouble then you’ll just have to be content with my riveting reviews to get you through the summer.

Stay tuned…this could be interesting!

ETA — Well, I can’t share the videos on this site but I’m sure if you ask me privately I could tell you where they are. Let me see how I want to proceed now…I’ll be back…soon…

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