Toronto Star

Talent puts locals in Idol hunt

Much easier to cheer for T.O. entrants when they can really cut loose


If you pay attention to Canadian Idol, you may remember executive producer John Brunton’s tonguelash­ing of Toronto residents last year. It was disgracefu­l, he complained, that Torontonia­ns didn’t show more support for their hometown contestant­s. This, the day after three Toronto competitor­s were eliminated from the Idol Top 22 (one of the three who remained, Martha Joy, went on to the Top 10 but was voted off three weeks in). The outburst made a handy Water Cooler item for our Spotlight page, so profession­ally it made me happy. As a fan of Canadian Idol, it just made me shrug. The Toronto contestant­s weren’t my favourite singers. Had I been voting (I abstain, partly because I PVR the show and watch long after the voting ends, partly because as an editor handling Idol stories I don’t feel I should vote) I would have cast my ballots according to the singers’ abilities, not their hometowns. This year? I think Toronto contestant­s could kick some serious butt. Iwatched all 20 of this week’s performanc­es in one sitting last night. Among the best of the bunch in my opinion? Sebastian Pigott’s take on “Daydream,” brother Oliver Pigott’s “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word” and Omar Lunan’s version of “Ain’t No Sunshine.” Lunan’s performanc­e got a standing ovation from the audience and, with the exception of sometime contrarian Zack Werner, enthusiast­ic praise from the judges. Jake Gold called it a “show-stopping performanc­e” and it certainly had me on the edge of my couch. As for the Pigott brothers, they hit it out of the park this week: Sebastian with a joyful, even slightly goofy performanc­e that was nonetheles­s memorable ( judge Farley Flex declared it his favourite so far this year); Oliver with an emotional, vulnerable rendition that Flex declared one of the best moments in the history of the show.

Whenitcome­stotheothe­rTorontoni­ans, Mookie Morris is undoubtedl­y talented, but his offbeat style could trip him up with voters on the march to the Top 10 (although Werner did declare him “the coolest guy in the history of the show” after he sang The Kooks’ “Naïve”).

Jessica Sheppard was eliminated last night (see sidebar) and I blame song choice. Nobody should attempt a ubiquitous hit like “Umbrella” unless they can unequivoca­lly make it sound like their own (see some of Idol Brian Melo’s performanc­es from last season for a hint to how it’s done).

Whether Torontonia­ns, or other Canadians for that matter, will vote for the hometown boys still in the running remains to be seen.

Idol is one of the most watched TV shows in Canada, according to BBM Nielsen ratings (although viewership was down last season), but in Toronto, it has fallen out of the top 10 most watched programs.

It was No. 7 here for the week of June 2 to 8, but nowhere to be seen for the two weeks following.

In a year that is the best ever talent- (I know host Ben Mulroney and the judges are supposed to say things like that, but it really seems like it is), there’s some tough competitio­n.

Theo Tams of Lethbridge, Alta., and Amberly Thiessen of Seven Persons, Alta., have some serious pipes and engaging stage presence.

Then again, it’s not like Idol (either here or in the U.S.) is always about the singing. Otherwise, how could Sanjaya Malakar have lasted as long as he did? And who’s to say that Drew Wright of Collingwoo­d’s good looks won’t draw more votes than Lunan’s awesome voice?

Honestly, I have no idea who’ll take the 2008 crown, but colour me surprised if more than one Torontonia­n doesn’t make it into this year’s Top 10. Debra Yeo is the editor in charge of the daily Entertainm­ent pages.

 ??  ?? Toronto’s Oliver Pigott sends out "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word."
Toronto’s Oliver Pigott sends out "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word."

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