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Round of 10: Number Ones - July 17-18

It started with over 10,000 hopefuls.  From there, 198 of them went to Toronto, where the field was narrowed down to 22.  Now, only 10 remain, and it's time for the competition to really heat up.

This week, the competition moves to a bigger stage, located in the John Bassett Theatre.  Plus, we're now at that point where each week, the singers will be picking songs that fit specific themes.  And this week, the theme is #1 Hits.  So what kind of a special guest would be best suited to appear this week?  How about someone who has had some #1 hits of her own, Rihanna!

After the usual comments from the judges, we meet this season's Top 10, then we go into a brief bit on the theme; basically, every artist wants to make it to #1 on the Billboard charts, but only a select few actually manage to get there, and even fewer are able to get multiple songs up to that top spot.  Rihanna is one such artist; she has reached #1 with such hits as S.O.S. and Umbrella, and her latest single, Shut Up and Drive, is steadily climbing up towards that spot.

On to the competition.  Dwight d'Eon starts things off this week.  He has been a fisherman for 9 years, so this is quite the career change for him.  He performs "Unwell" by Matchbox 20.  Jake felt that he sang it well, but he wants Dwight to be "more interesting" next time.  Farley thought that he seems to be more ready for this phase of the competition than he was in the Top 22 phase.  Sass said that she would have found it more interesting if he sang it better.

Next up is Khalila Glanville, who works at a daycare.  The support from her family means a lot to her.  And she hopes to continue to get more support, as she sings Roberta Flack's "Killing Me Softly".  Farley thought that she sang that with a lot of intensity.  Zack said that it was mature, but it's nothing that would wake him up and make him say "wow".  Jake felt that it's good enough to keep her around, but he wishes that she would show more emotion.

Carly Rae Jepsen has been performing with a band for a while, so singing on a stage seems to be natural for her.  And she is now on the stage, ready to sing "Inside and Out" by Feist, a cover song of a Bee Gees hit.  Zack didn't get it; he thought she was short on energy and singing.  Jake thought she didn't seem to show any of the dynamics that were needed for this, though she sang it well.  Farley liked the effort she made to entertain, but she could have gone more over-the-top with it.

Moving right along to Brian Melo.  He has been with his band "Stoked" for 4 years, and they have been very supportive of him during this competition.  Tonight, he hopes to keep going, with "If You Could Only See" by Tonic.  Zack gave him some advice after seeing this performance; don't just aimlessly wander around the stage.  Jake liked the fact that Brian went with the song that he auditioned with, and he did a great job with it.  Sass saw some major intensity from him.

Mila Miller has been playing the clarinet for 7-8 years, and she hopes to show her true personality on the stage.  She has that chance now, performing "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" by Stevie Wonder.  Jake said that it's a tough song, and her performance came off as karaoke (a word one doesn't want to hear in this competition).  Sass thought she sang it good, but it felt safe (another word one doesn't want to hear about their performance).  Zack said that they're supposed to be here to win, not to show up like they're at a bar mitzvah!  Ouch.

Hopefully, Jaydee Bixby will give us something better.  He says that the community in Drumheller has been supporting him 110%, and he has been performing for a while.  Tonight, he hopes to shine with Conway Twitty's "It's Only Make Believe".  Farley thought it was fantastic, and he's gonna be famous.  Zack called him the "Michael Bublé of retro country".  Jake felt that he was a little awkward in his movement, but he did provide the first electric performance of the night.

Before we continue, here's some filler.  Dave Kerr visits with the 10 finalists as they are checking out their new phones that they got for getting this far into the competition.  They mention all the features that their phones have, while Dave shows them a bunch of older phones that he has, taped to objects like a boom box and a keyboard.  Um, right.

Anyway, Greg Neufeld is up next.  His family has been supporting his dreams of being a musician for quite a while.  And he looks to impress everyone with his rendition of The Killers' "All These Things That I've Done".  Sass liked it a lot, and felt that he really delivered with that one.  Zack doesn't really see him as the rocker type.  Jake thought he showed more intensity than he has ever showed before.

Let's see how Martha Joy follows that up.  She was encouraged to start singing by her family, and she has been taking salsa lessons to help her be more comfortable on stage.  This week, she sings "The Power of Love" by Celine Dion.  Zack said that it was strong vocally for the most part.  Jake agreed, but he also thought that she was just milking it as opposed to going with it.  Sass thought she sings really well for a 16-year-old, but she found that performance to be "sleepy".

Next on the stage is Tara Oram.  She has been singing with a country band for almost 4 years, so she is used to singing on stage.  And tonight, she has chosen to go with Shania Twain's "You Win My Love".  Farley said that she pushed harder than ever, and she has that "star quality" in her.  Sass felt that it was a strong performance, and that Tara definitely knows her voice.  Zack said that that was the first time since the Top 22 started that he dug what she did.

Closing the show tonight is Matt Rapley.  His father is a pastor, and he first discovered his musical side while at church.  And he's looking to give the show a strong finish with "Heard it Through the Grapevine".  Farley thought it was a nice, energetic performance, and Matt showed a new side of himself.  Sass thought that he glided through that performance.  Jake felt that he sang okay, but there wasn't a lot of vibe coming from it.

Overall, it was a good start to this phase of the season, but I was expecting a bit more.  If I had to make predictions a la "Safe, Trouble, Out", I'd put the Trouble label on Khalila and Carly Rae, as their performances seemed underwhelming to me.  As for Mila's performance, let me put it this way: Jake said it came off as "karaoke".  Sass said it felt "safe".  I say Mila is "Out".

But we'll see who Canada is sending home, as well as a performance from Rihanna, tomorrow.


Last night, the Top 10 singers sang #1 hits.  Tonight, we'll see who will only go as far as #10.

The show starts right into a pair of songs from those 10.  It was okay.  Afterwards, we find out that 2.5 million votes were cast last night, before we go into recaps of the performances that those votes were for.

Now, we get to see footage of the 10 meeting with this week's special guest, Rihanna.  Among the things that she said to them, she says that she likes to try new things, so before turning down a song that doesn't fit her, she at least tries to record it.  She also advises them to look at everything in a positive way, and to fight for what they believe in.  Following that is a live performance of her recent #1 hit, Umbrella.  They went all out with this one, and I gotta say, I liked it!  Afterwards, Ben announces that Rihanna's latest album, "Good Girl Gone Bad", has gone Platinum in Canada!

Moving on, we now get to see a clip showing the 10 finalists on set for a new video from the Season 2 winner, Kalan Porter.  We also got to hear a bit of his new single (which the video is for), and it sounds nice.

But now, it's time to see who is in the bottom 3 this week... 

Tara - SAFE
Dwight - SAFE
Martha - SAFE
Jaydee - SAFE
Khalila - Bottom 3
Carly Rae - Bottom 3
Mila - Bottom 3
Brian, Greg, Matt - SAFE

Just as I predicted, Khalila, Carly Rae, and Mila are in danger of heading home.  So what do the judges think?  Farley said that they need to take risks.  Sass said that what she thinks doesn't matter, because this is Canada's vote.  Jake said that of those 3, he expects Mila to go home.  Zack wants to see Carly Rae move on.

So who is gone?  After one more break... 

Khalila - SAFE
Carly Rae - SAFE
Mila - OUT

And just like that, Mila Miller becomes the first casualty of the Top 10 phase.  She closes the show with "Signed, Sealed, Delivered".  For the other 9, they'd better be ready to sing songs from the '60s next week!


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