September 5, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 5  

Front Page >> Arts & Entertainment > A cynical look at Canadian Idol


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A cynical look at Canadian Idol

The Talent

Talent is a questionable choice of wording, considering the fact some of the expected front-runners in the CI competition were eliminated early in the game. Karen Lee-Batten seemed a shoe-in for the top five at least, but she was the first to go. Then there was the disappointing episode that signalled the end for the starry-eyed Mikey Bustos. Okay, so Mikey went a little over-the-top with the emotional schmaltz, but with a little coaching, Bustos had the potential to become a superstar.

The most ridiculous kick-off of the competition, however, was Toya Alexis, arguably the strongest singer in the entire bunch and definitely a hell of a sight better than the three boys who now remain. Speaking of which, why is Billy Klippert still in the competition? The guy can only sing in one style and those "Billy notes" make the audience's vocal chords hurt by proxy. Even so, his shtick makes him a little more interesting than Gary Beals, whose smooth, polished voice - not to mention hair - is exactly the same each week. Lets get some contestants with personality, people! At least Ryan Malcolm has the whole "W8er Boi" appeal going on, if you call that "appeal." Hey, at least it's something and with Jenny Gear out the door, Malcolm's probably the most interesting performer left.

The Hosts

When Ben Mulroney is the "A" host, you know there's a problem - but then again, next to "B" host Jon Dore, anyone would probably look like a pro. And in reality, Mulroney isn't doing a terrible job. Sure, his banter with the judges is forced and phony and his segues are stilted and corny, but at least he can translate Audrey De Montigny's irritating Français rants. Besides, Mulroney has very little to work with when he's dealing with the likes of Sass Jordan and Jake Gold. That being said, Mulroney has proven himself to be Canada's version of Ryan Seacrest and he's just as talented - and that's the closest we'll come to a compliment. You can read between the lines yourselves.

As for Dore, his lame antics and staged horseplay with the contestants wears thinner each week. Dore is Canada's version of "the other host" from American Idol - you know, the one who was booted off after season one, during which he proved his uselessness in spades. However, if Canadian Idol continues to mirror its American counterpart, then perhaps this will be the first and last year we'll have to suffer through Dore's tomfoolery. An especially vile moment was Dore's mouth-to-mouth kiss with a dead cod fish... but then, that's probably the most action he had in months, so who are we to blame him?

The Judges

Oh, where to begin. First off, we have to applaud the producers of Canadian Idol for finding the exact Canadian counterparts of the AI judges. Zack Werner is a low-budget Simon Cowell, Sass Jordan a less talented Paula Abdul and Farley Flex a slightly more intelligent Randy Jackson. Jake Gold is just dead weight and I doubt anyone knows why he was hired in the first place. Maybe they figured having four judges would make the show stand apart from AI; then again, maybe Werner just wanted someone around to lick his boots.

Speaking of which, Werner is the guy who viewers can supposedly rely on to "tell it like it is." Though his opinions often contain necessary truths, he's certainly a far cry from his image of himself - that is, God's gift to music criticism. As for Sass, why is she even allowed to judge talent? Everything is always "wonderful" and "unique"; even when a performer figuratively blows chunks, Sass is right there telling them how they did it with a great sense of "personality." Of course, it's probably not fair to expect someone like Sass to judge the talent of other performers. On an unrelated (haha) note, Sass... Best of Sass Jordan is available in the 2 for $20 rack at Sunrise records.

- Megan O’Toole



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