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Today is October 13, 2009

Auditions 1 - June 5

Once again, it's time to see who will step up and become the next Canadian Idol!  Ryan Malcolm...  Kalan Porter...  Melissa O'Neil...  Eva Avila...  What name will come next?

As always, the process begins with the auditions.  The 4 judges (Jake Gold, Sass Jordan, Farley Flex, Zack Werner) have gone through 10 cities to find people who think they have what it takes to be the next Canadian Idol.  They decide who gets the gold tickets to advance to the next round, and who goes home.  You can bet that there will be heartbreak for the rejected, but it looks like we'll also have quite a few temper tantrums from a few of them this year.

Oh, and we have a bit of a new twist.  This year, hopefuls will actually be allowed to use instruments in their auditions!  From guitars to pianos to drums, it's their choice.  This could give the round a whole new dynamic.  [If someone uses one, that instrument will be noted in square brackets.]

Toronto, ON

This time around, we begin the audition process in Toronto, where they also staged a concert for those waiting in line!  They got to see performances from Vancouver rock group Faber Drive, last year's winner Eva Avila, and American Idol Season 5 runner-up Katharine McPhee!  From what we got to hear, that sounded like a great concert!

But now, it's time to see who can cut it this time, and who can't.  We start with Brian Melo (24; Hamilton), who is in a rock band that does cover songs from 90s groups, as well as original material.  He sings "If You Could Only See" by Tonic, and Jake and Farley like it, with Jake adding that he seems believable.  Sass likes it as well, and Zack thought it was convincing enough.  The judges all say yes, and Brian gets the first gold ticket!

J.S. Roy (26; Montréal, QC) [electric guitar] looks great according to Sass, but his voice... not so much.  Linz Ross (23; Chatham) [guitar] can't resist moving forward; just not in the competition.  Blair Barnsdale (22; Mississauga) sings "We Will Rock You", but he didn't exactly rock the judges.  Miriam (named removed per request) (21) sounds inaudible, prompting Zack to jokingly call for security.  Naphthali (name removed per request) (18) hocks a loogie before he starts, but it didn't help his chances.  Mike Marges (22) is obviously tone deaf, but when Farley tells him, he shows his ego and starts arguing.  Oh, geez.  We then see more people who heard "no" from the judges, who say they got advice, ranging from posture to a different hat.

Maybe Yonatan Watts (18; Hamilton) will get a different response.  He was recruited by the McMaster Choir while still in high school thanks to a friend, so he should do well, right?  Yep!  The judges agree, and he gets a ticket to the next round!  This is followed by a montage of others who got to hear "yes" and leave the room with a gold ticket in hand!

Before we go any further, it looks like we have another new roving reporter this year; Dave Kerr!  This week, he looks to see what "secret weapons" certain hopefuls brought with them.  Responses include charm, character, the "booty", the hair...  You name it, they think it'll work.  Dave also asks people who their favourite judge is, and each of the 4 gets some love.

Ottawa, ON

Moving right along to the nation's capital, where Eva Avila auditioned last year.  Will this year's winner also come from the home of the Ottawa Senators?  Only time will tell...

Starting things off here is Marc Andre Gosselin (20; Gatineau, QC), who, contrary to what Zack might have thought, isn't here for Smurfs auditions.  Maybe he should have been, because his rendition of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" sounded a bit screechy.  Nicolas Najm (17) does some dancing while singing.  The dancing is okay; the singing isn't.  Angela Parent (26) makes it known that she respects whatever decision the judges make, and that's a good thing, especially since Jake says she's not a great singer.  April Story (19; Kingston) wants some R-E-S-P-E-C-T, but Zack found her singing to be peculiar.  Melanie De Gagne (26; Gatineau, QC) doesn't fare much better, with Zack calling her audition "nausea inducing", among other things.  That leads into a montage showing various terms that the judges use to attempt to describe certain peculiarities for each hopeful.  As well, they mention how too much bravado could make one sound terrible, and what they're looking for in terms of pitch and tone.

Moving on to Melissa Roy (24; Rockland), who loves country music.  So, obviously, she goes with a country tune.  It sounded quite good.  Zack is afraid to say "yes" because it seems to him like her head could explode, but the others say "yes"!  So she gets a gold ticket, and is headed to Toronto!

Calgary, AB

We're moving quickly this year, because we're already headed to Calgary for more auditions!  First up here is Jaydee Bixby (16; Drumheller) [guitar], and he manages to do great with an old classic.  The judges seemed to be enjoying his performance, and they all say "yes"!  He's moving on to the next round!  I'd keep an eye on this one; I bet Jaydee will do really well.

Unfortunately, we now have to hear Johnny Hurst (20; DeWinton) [electric guitar] butcher "Fallen Leaves" by Billy Talent.  I happen to like "Fallen Leaves", but I didn't need to hear Johnny's version of it.  Meanwhile, another hopeful is outside showing off some martial arts moves.  That someone is Harlan Sweet (23; Prince George, BC), and he gets to singing after showing some of those moves to the judges.  After that rendition of "Baby One More Time", I think maybe he should stick to martial arts.

Nathan Gignac (24; Tecumseh, ON) [guitar] has his girlfriend come in so he can serenade her during the audition.  She likes it, of course.  And then, he suddenly proposes to her!  She says yes!  Nathan leaves the room with his new fiancée, but I didn't see a gold ticket with them...  Hmm.

Trevor Paul (28) is here for a second try.  His first try was in Season 2, where he apparently walked out due to not being ready.  Well, he'd better be ready this time!  He seems to have a bit of a problem remembering the lyrics to "Black Hole Sun" by Soundgarden, so he's not exactly prepared enough.  He does have a good voice, though.  This eventually prompts a challenge from Zack: Trevor will have to pick a song that he knows, and they'll print out the lyrics.  He'll then have 1 hour to prepare, after which they expect him to sing the whole thing!  He's up for it, so the challenge is on!  Trevor takes a risk by going with a song with a lot of lyrics, so either he'll really impress the judges, or he'll really fall flat on his face, so to speak.  Once the hour is up, he is back in the audition room, but again, he can't seem to remember all the lyrics without checking the sheets of paper in his hand!  So, no ticket for Trevor.

Brenna Daley (20; Granum) lives on a ranch, where she has to deal with plenty of horses.  But she wants to sing, and man, does she ever sing!  Zack shows a lot of praise for her performance!  Needless to say, she has no problem getting a gold ticket!

Winnipeg, MB

Since host Ben Mulroney was in Hollywood covering the Oscars during Idol's Winnipeg auditions, Dave Kerr takes over for him for this part of the round.  After the judges give this group some words of advice, it's time to get going.

Up first is Jeremy Kraut (16), and... this guy's audition disturbs me.  He's trying to sing "Buttons" by the Pussycat Dolls.  'Nuff said.  Franco Bruni (25) doesn't fare too well, either, making the judges not want to listen anymore.  He seems to think they don't want rockers this year.  Um, yeah, they do.  It's just that they want good ones.

Speaking of which, here's Dan Legrand (26) and Travis Thompson (23) [electric guitar], who are both part of a heavy metal band.  Well, this should be interesting.  Dan goes into a deep voice to start, then they both sing simultaneously.  Jake thinks that Dan's voice, while good for his own thing, might not work for this show, and Farley thinks he might not be good enough.  But Sass and Zack are both willing to give him a shot, and Zack decides that he's getting a gold ticket!  But what about Travis?  Zack and Farley say "no", but Sass says "yes", leaving Jake with the decision.  He says that since he's not sure if anyone else would want to be in a room with Dan, he might as well say "yes", giving Travis a ticket!  So they're both going to Toronto, but who knows how long they'll last in the next round...

St. John's, NL

The last couple of years, the runner-up has auditioned here.  Will it be 3 in a row, or will we get a winner from St. John's this time?

Jason Benoit (22; West Bay) [guitar] starts things off with something okay.  Adam Baxter (24) [guitar] does his own rendition of "Baby One More Time".  Jon Bennett (26; Harbour Breton) [guitar] doesn't exactly impress the judges with "Mr. Brightside" by The Killers.  Todd Scott (24; Conception Bay South) [guitar] does better, but the judges want to hear him without the guitar before deciding.  So he sings without the guitar, and the judges all say "yes"!

Meanwhile, Dave Kerr has a "bright idea"; wandering around the city with a Canadian Idol sign and going to people's houses so they can audition at home.  For the most part, the people he meets don't bother attempting to sing.  One guy with an accordion is even laughing a lot.  Um, yeah.

Back to auditions, where Tara Oram (23; Hare Bay) awaits her chance.  She's a country singer, performing at bars with a band for a few years.  With that experience, she should do fine, right?  Singing "I Will Survive", she gets a mixed reaction from the judges.  Zack says "no", Sass says "yes".  Jake wants her to sing something more meaningful to her, so she goes into a different song.  And it turns out much better, as this time, they all say "yes"!  This just goes to show how important song selection is.

Halifax, NS

Moving on to Halifax, where we begin with Ashley Daniels (18), who also sings country.  Just not as good.  Her family apparently likes her singing, but they're not the judges.  The judges say "no".  Afterwards, she feels that she just might have picked the wrong song.  Or it was because of bad acoustics in the room.

I'm not sure if that excuse will work for Margo Belliveau (19; Moncton), though.  She believes that she's good, and even before the judges decide, she's begging.  That won't help, because the judges won't let her through.  Krista Poirier (23) isn't helping her own cause with some overall bad singing, but at least she could dance well.  Maybe if there was a Canadian version of So You Think You Can Dance...

Naomi-Joy Blackhall (25) feels that she has what it takes.  She is comfortable on stage, since she has been performing for a few years.  She sings rather well, but Sass notes that she doesn't have complete control of her tone yet, though some practice can take care of that.  Nonetheless, they give her a gold ticket!  She's going to Toronto!  Dwight D'Eon (28; West Pubnico) [guitar] is a singer/songwriter who fronts a rock band in Halifax.  He goes with "Kiss From a Rose" by Seal, and the judges don't even bother to discuss it; they give him a ticket!  Morgan Donaldson (20; Truro) is taking another shot at this; last time, the judges said he was just too nervous.  This time, singing "Lips of an Angel" by Hinder, he gets a mixed reaction.  But he does get enough support to be on his way to Toronto this time!

Tyler Mullendore (19; Lake Ainslie) [guitar] sounds authentic when he has the guitar, but the judges want to hear him without it.  Afterwards, Zack warns him not to keep singing songs from the '60s and '70s, but Tyler does get the support needed to claim a gold ticket!  He'd better be ready to sing more recent material, though.

Overall, through the 6 cities seen tonight, the judges handed out a total of 119 gold tickets!  How many more will be awarded in the remaining 4 cities?  We'll find out next week, as auditions continue in Montréal, London, Saskatoon, and Vancouver.

 

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