No Such Nonsense

A little of this, that and... what was I talking about again? It's TV, sports, pop culture and politics - all the stuff that really matters in life.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Canadian Idol: Well, that's enough of that...

Watched the Canadian Idol top 10 show last night. Just walking up from the stupor now.


I know the American version has been on the downslope for a while - but I still had high hopes for the annual Canuck edition. See, I've always thought that the Canadian edition isn't afraid to do things differently. The judges are at once tougher and more constructive; they typically avoid the 'you did your thing, dawg' and the 'wow, you look pretty tonight' level of criticism typical of Randy and Paula. Sass rarely even seems to be drunk on air anymore these days. But what was really different about the show was the contestents that the judges chose and that Canadians voted for. Of the top three in the second season only one, pretty-boy Kalen Porter, would have likely made it past the top 100 in Hollywood. But quiet singer-songwriter Theresa Sokyrka? Hard to believe Simon would have selected such a non-commercial alternative if there were girls with long legs and thin voices like Antonella Barba around. And then there's Jacob Hoggard. Pierced, gelled, nasally voiced Jacob Hoggard. I honestly can't see him getting past the audition rounds in the States.

Yet both Theresa and Jacob each brought something sorely lacking in the current edition of the Canadian show. Theresa brought a genuineness, an openness and an honesty to her performances. Jacob, well, Jacob brought surprises. Every single week, we wondered what he would possibly do. For Canadian music week? Sum 41? Nope - Paul Anka. Then it was time for a little Bowie - in full Ziggy Stardust get-up. It was funny. It was entertaining. It was original. It was joyful.

I loved it.

Last night, not so much. See, last week, Canadians voted off the last contestants with the potential to surprise. It's not that I thought Liam Styles Chang or Tyler Mullendore were outstanding singers. Montana Martin Iles certainly wasn't. But they were interesting and at least a little unpredictable. And they're gone. And we're left with limpest, least interesting top 10 of any version - Canadian or American - I seen.


Last night was 'Number One Hits,' which meant we could have had almost anything, almost any song of any genre, as long as it had hit number one. And we got: Conway Twitty. Roberta Flack. Stevie Wonder. Gladys Knight. Celine freaking Dion. Plus karaoke-ready versions of true artistes like Matchbox 20 and Tonic. Whatever. Just one contestant tackled something remotely relevent - Greg Neufeld tried, and mostly failed, to summon up his best Brandon Flowers on All These Things That I've Done. But at least it was a song with a chance of hitting number one within the last 3 or 4 years.

The current crop of singers is best summed up by the girl Zac called the most talented singer of the bunch, 16-year-old Martha Joy. Martha has tackled Broadway show tunes and Celine Dion with technical skill but with an ironically joyless detachment. She hits her notes with all the emotion of a pressed and glossed pageant kid. And the show is much the worse for it.

Frankly, I had way more fun watching Age of Love on Monday night. When a washed-up tennis ace and a set of ravenous girls/women competing for his 'affection' is more entertaining than Idol, I gotta say Idol is in some serious trouble.


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