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Courtesy of: JAM TELEVISION

'Idol' OKs singers to play instruments

TORONTO (CP) - "Canadian Idol" auditions usually showcase a mixture of shining vocal talent and atrocious singers with lousy dance moves. And soon, there will be a new element to make viewers applaud - or cringe.

CTV announced Tuesday that the reality TV singing competition is making changes for Season 5 to allow competitors to play instruments during their auditions. The instruments may also return later in the series next summer. Previously, singers only went into auditions with their voices and producers say competitors who perform a cappella this year will be judged the same as those who play instruments.

"Canadian Idol remains a vocal competition, but we're hoping this new element brings out people who may have never considered auditioning before," executive producer John Brunton said in a statement.

The change does not apply to "American Idol."

"Canadian Idol's" Season 5 Audition Tour begins Jan. 27 in Vancouver and will tour malls in nine more cities across the country through mid-April.

Those stops include Calgary, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, London, Ont., Montreal, Ottawa-Gatineau, Halifax, St. John's and Toronto.

The series will return to CTV in June.

Eva Avila, 19, of Gatineau, Que., won the last season of the show. Her debut CD, "Somewhere Else," hit shelves in November.

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Courtesy of: CTV, CANADIAN IDOL

Musicians wanted: Idol hopefuls can play along at auditions

Updated Tue. Dec. 19 2006 10:22 PM ET

Eye on Idol

Aspiring Canadian Idols who feel lost without their instruments may have a better kick at the can this year, thanks to a major change to the audition process.

In a North American first, Idol hopefuls have the option of playing musical instruments during their try-outs.

Producers hope this will help the show dig even deeper into this country's talent pool broadening the search for the winner. Executive Producer John Brunton feels the new rules should make for an even more dynamic show.

"We are very excited about musicians being able to accompany themselves in the auditions," Brunton said, noting they've always been strictly a cappella.

"'Canadian Idol' remains a vocal competition, but we're hoping this new element brings out people who may have never considered auditioning before."

While all competitors will still be judged equally on their singing, those choosing to bring an instrument will also be judged on their playing ability.

It won't be the first time "Canadian Idol" will be breaking new creative ground. In 2004, the show was the first Idol program in the world to feature instruments on a non-performance show.

Following Canada's lead, several other Idol shows went on to emulate this element, including "American Idol."

CTV announced Tuesday that auditions for Season 5 will kick off on Jan. 27 in Vancouver. The show will stop in nine more cities across the country including Calgary, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, London, Montreal, Ottawa-Gatineau, Halifax and St. John's before ending up in Toronto in mid-April.

The auditions will once again be held mainly in shopping malls and primarily on weekends.

While ending up as the next Eva Avila is really what everyone's dreaming of, many former participants say that just being part of the process makes the stress of auditioning well worth the effort.

"It was so much more fun that I expected," last year's third place finisher Tyler Lewis told Eye on Idol on Tuesday. "It surprised me how much the competition makes you challenge yourself to improve, and how much you can grow as a performer in a few months."

Lewis, who auditioned in Regina, said that for him, giving Idol a chance seemed like the only way he would ever get a foothold in the business.

"I was trying to make contacts in the music industry and wasn't having a lot of luck," he said. "(I was) working a lot of hours in a couple restaurants and really wanting to be performing for people, figured it couldn't hurt, and I'm so glad I took the chance."

After finishing in the Top 100 the first year, Sarah Loverock made it to the Top 10 her second time around in 2006.

She told Eye on Idol she's glad she went back, because in her second year the weight of her experience pushed her as far as ninth place.

"If I hadn't prepared extra songs I would have been screwed," she said. "It's a very good idea to go into this over-prepared! That way, you never get caught wondering what you should do next."

Being ready and relaxed is the best audition advice Loverock says she can give anyone.

"You never really know how hard it can be to sing to a panel of judges," she said. "They want the whole package, someone who is confident and talented. Just be true to yourself!"

Audition Dates (venues to be announced later - all listings subject to change)

Vancouver, BC -- January 27/28

Calgary, AB -- February 10/11

Saskatoon, SK -- February 17/18

Winnipeg, MB -- February 24/25

London, ON -- March 3/4

Montreal, QC -- March 10/11

Ottawa-Gatineau -- March 17/18

Halifax, NS -- March 24/25

St. John's, NL -- April 4

Toronto, ON -- April 12/13

Registration runs between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on each day of auditions, which are open to all Canadians between the ages of 16 and 28 (inclusive) as of February 1, 2007. Complete rules and regulations will be posted at idol.ctv.ca in early 2007.

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Courtesy of: CTV, CANADIAN IDOL

AUDITION DATES

Vancouver, BC

February 3-4

Metropolis at Metrotown

Calgary, AB

February 10 - 11

Southcentre Mall

Saskatoon, SK

February 17 - 18

Market Mall

Winnipeg, MB

February 24 - 25

Portage Place

London, ON

March 3 - 4

White Oaks Mall

Montreal, QC

March 10 - 11

Forum Pepsi

Ottawa, ON

March 17 - 18

St-Laurent Centre

Halifax, NS

March 24 - 25

Halifax Shopping Centre

St. John's, NL

April 4

Village Shopping Centre

Toronto, ON

Starting April 11

To Be Confirmed

More Audition Info

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Courtesy of: CTV, CANADIAN IDOL

Season Premiere

Tuesday, June 5

8:30 - 10 p.m. ET.

Competitors from across Canada show off their pipes in the first 90-minute audition episode.

Schedule

Updated Wed. May. 16 2007 1:37 PM ET

Canadian Idol kicks off on June 5 with two weeks of audition shows featuring some of the 10,000 competitors who auditioned across Canada. In Week 3, two back-to-back "Top 200" episodes lead to the reveal of the Top 22, followed by the start of live performance and results episodes in Week 4.

Back for Season 5 is host Ben Mulroney who, along with judges Farley Flex, Jake Gold, Sass Jordan and Zack Werner, welcomes new roving reporter, comedian Dave Kerr.

Premiere: Tuesday, June 5 (90-minute audition episode, 8:30 - 10 p.m.)

Audition Episode 2: Tuesday, June 12 (90-minute episode, 8:30 - 10 p.m.)

Top 200 episodes: Monday, June 18 from 9-10 p.m. and Tuesday, June 19 from 8:30 - 10 p.m.

Top 22 performance episodes: Mondays/Tuesdays from 9 - 10 p.m. beginning June 25

Top 22 results episodes: Wednesdays from 7:30 - 8 p.m. beginning June 27

Top 10 shows: Monday/Tuesdays beginning July 17

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Sorry this is late........

Courtesy of: CTV, CANADIAN IDOL

Singers, dancers & screamers step in front of Idol's judges

Updated Wed. Jun. 13 2007 12:37 AM ET

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Eye on Idol

After already making dreams become reality for four talented Canadians - Ryan Malcolm, Kalan Porter, Melissa O'Neil and Eva Avila - Canadian Idol headed back on the road in the search for the country's next superstar.

The season premiere of the country's most popular show took judges Sass Jordan, Jake Gold, Farley Flex and Zack Werner to six cities across Canada in the first of two episodes showcasing the best and worst of the country's talent.

Their goal was to scout out singers to bring back to Toronto for the show's Top 200, including one who would end up as the Canadian Idol -- a title that comes with no uncertain amount of musical panache.

"This is the real deal, a real shot at number one," host Ben Mulroney reminded viewers. "Almost a million (Canadian Idol-related) albums have been sold in Canada alone and almost every Idol has gone straight to number one."

But there was something a little different about this year's auditions. For the first time in the show's history, competitors were allowed to bring instruments - and instruments they brought.

Not only did the hoards of competitors with guitars prove Canada is truly a nation of singer-songwriters, they also proved its diversity - bringing flutes, violins, keyboards, ukulele, stand up bass', harps and even an erhu (a Chinese ancestor to the violin).

"I think this year we have a chance to redefine Canada Idol, and Canada gets a chance to redefine what an Idol is," said Werner.

"We've embraced the idea of the whole singer/songwriter movement," added Flex.

And while some showed our judges just what musical talent is all about, others reminded us that a bad voice is not easily disguised by accompaniment, and bad accompaniment can detract from even the best voice.

"It's brought a whole new wave of people we didn't know existed before," said Jordan.

"I want to see if the Canadian people can recognize a really talented musician/singer," added Gold.

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Melissa Roy reacts to judge Farley Flex's request for 'Alabamafication.'

Travelling from Toronto through Ottawa, Calgary, Winnipeg, St. John's and Halifax, our cameras saw competitors at their best and worst; in their homes and where they work; and in the tense moments before their audition to the ecstatic or dismal moments afterward.

"These four (judges) have the power to make you or break you," said Mulroney, before a montage of competitors explained why they weren't picked to move forward. "The emotions came out in full force and some people just couldn't hold back."

Toronto

The biggest stop on the Idol tour was punctuated by a huge event that drew competitors and members of the general public alike -- an outdoor concert featuring Canadian Idol Eva Avila, American Idol finalist Katharine McPhee and Vancouver pop-punkers Faber Drive.

And while there were plenty of people at the event, the gold tickets weren't exactly flying out of the judges' hands - until they met Brian Melo, 24, a rocker from Hamilton, Ont. He quickly won over the judges with his chill style and powerful rendition of Tonic's "If You Could Only See."

"I really liked that a lot, you moved be there," said Jake, while Farley nodded in total agreement. "I find you extremely believable... I think you're fantastic."

Zack was less convinced that the performance represented Melo's true talent.

"I have a suspicion you're not as good as you came off here, but that will play out," he said before handing out the gold ticket.

After a confused attempt at Snow's "Informer," a competitor who spat on the carpet before starting his song and an atonal Disney crooner quick to pounce on the judges' credibility, the panel breathed a collective sigh of relief when they met Yonatan Watts.

Also from Hamilton, Watts showed off the pitch-perfect skills that earned him a spot in the McMaster Gospel Choir despite being only 18 years old and in high school. The judges were thoroughly impressed, quickly passing him through to the next level.

After a few more tickets were handed out, Mulroney took a break to introduce the show's new roving reporter, Dave Kerr.

Kerr quickly jumped right into the job, heading out on a mission to uncover the secret weapons competitors hoped would put them over the edge and into the Top 200 (answers included "my charm," "my diabetes" and "the French-Canadian Civil Code," which one competitor was carrying with him.

Ottawa

After producing last year's Idol winner, the nation's capital was clearly suffering a deficit. The series of pitchy, warbly, generally atonal singers to come into the judges room in that city caused the panelists to launch into a discussion of the verbiage used on the show to discuss the most common vocal problems.

"Some people have that particular vibrato," said Zack, describing a quivering vocal style he finds "completely vomitous." "It's like a roller coaster ride straight to the pit of hell as far as my eardrums are concerned."

"Pitch is hitting a note accurately," stated Farley. "Some people don't have the talent to hit the note on the head and you feel it."

Sass' weighed on riffing, the Mariah-Carey-esque phenomenon of inserting many different notes where one solid note once was.

"It all those notes and they're tumbling like a waterfall," she said.

"Tone is a personal kind of thing," said Jake, referring to the actual sound of a person's voice. "We all like a particular type of sound."

Fortunately for 24-year-old country singer Melissa Roy, she had a tone that the judges all seemed to agree on. After making jokes about her country twang and teasingly encouraging her to "Tennessize it" as much as she could, they were all sold on her charming personality and handed her a coveted gold ticket.

Calgary

With two Idols already hailing from Alberta, the judges had high hopes as they opened their doors to Calgary's talent. Things started well when the earnest and fresh-faced Jaydee Bixby walked into the room and blew them away with his countrified version of "Lawdy Miss Clawdy."

Sass danced and Jake clapped while the 16-year old Drumheller resident strummed his acoustic guitar. There was no question as to whether Bixby was Idol material, and he jumped at the chance to thank the judges for their kind words and gold ticket.

"You guys are great judges," he said. "I've seen you on the television program at my house and it's really neat to meet you in person."

"You're going to be famous," replied a beaming Sass.

Next was a Tai Kwon Do student's version of a Britney Spears song, a competitor who could missed his chance to go to Toronto because he couldn't memorize any songs and a marriage proposal in front of the judges. And then came Brenna Daley from Granum, Alta.

A fifth-generation rancher, Daley was keen to exchange the manure shovel for the microphone. Zack thought that was an excellent plan, telling Daley she's done the best singing of the day by a long shot before handing over her ticket to Toronto.

Winnipeg

The judges began the day in Winnipeg, like most days, offering advice to the competitors on how to do well during their time in the spotlight.

"We are looking for unique, distinct, memorable people," said Farley.

"Pretend you're lighting it up for a hundred thousand people," advised Zack.

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Winnipeg's Travis Thompson and Dan Legrand show us their metal face.

The first few competitors tried their best, but the crazy dancing and whiny singing that came through the door wasn't exactly what the judges had in mind. Then again, neither were metal-heads Dan Legrand and Travis Thompson, who seemed to earn their spot on the show by being truly different than anyone to ever walk into the audition room.

"We were born to rock," said Legrand, 26. "We know what people want to see and we deliver that with efficiency... In a lot of people's eyes we're already idols, so why not do it on the larger scale?"

After a head-banging tandem performance, the pair become one of few duets to both receive gold tickets. They also earned a special spot is Sass' rocker heart.

"How weird are we that we actually did this?" muttered Zack as they walked out of the room.

St. John's

More than anywhere else, St. John's proved itself a city of musicians, with a higher percentage of guitar players than anywhere else on the audition tour. For the past two years, the show's runner-up has been from Newfoundland, a province that's been producing music for 500 years.

Todd Scott of Conception Bay South proved himself a cut above the guitar-playing masses when he pulled off a rhythmic version of Dobie Gray's "Drift Away" despite being asked to put down his guitar.

Another impressive showing came from country singer Tara Oram, who'd spent lots of time traveling with a band, but wanted to take her musical career to the next level. At first she tried to impress the judges with a twangy version of "I Will Survive," but they weren't fooled, insisting she sing a song that actually meant something to her.

She chose Sugarland's "Gotta Be Something More" and got what she asked for -- a gold ticket to Toronto and a chance to run screaming into the lobby to tell her eagerly waiting parents.

Halifax

Things weren't off to a great start in Halifax after 18-year-old Ashley Daniels stepped in front of the judges. Even after her take on "Jesus Take the Wheel" sent all four judges into peals of laughter, she refused to believe that she might not be the top candidate for a career in music.

"But my grandparents, my family, everyone's like 'you're going to go somewhere,'" she insisted. "My grandfather's friend is like 'when you're 18, I have a place to take you.'"

"What does he do," the judges asked.

"He works construction," she replied.

Daniels unique musical sense was followed by more begging and bad singing until Naomi-Joy Blackhall took the spot in front of the panel. Her crystal clear tone and gorgeous looks made her a prime candidate for the Top 200.

"Where have you been until now?" said Jake, delighted.

"You have a beautiful voice and beautiful tone," added Sass. "You don't have fabulous control, but you'll get there."

When it rains, it pours, and Blackhall's success was soon followed by that of 28-year-old Dwight D'eon, a lobster fisherman who had moved to Halifax to try to make it in music. His performance of Seal's "Kiss from a Rose" -- accompanied by his guitar -- was so convincing the judges handed him his ticket with even voting and sent him on his way.

"Sometimes... they just know," observed the wise and experienced Mulroney.

The gold tickets kept coming, next to 20-year-old Morgan Donaldson of Truro, despite his penchant for staring at the ceiling. Zack, in particular, was a big fan, after he was convinced the punky Donaldson would be fine once there were more good-looking girls to sing to.

The episode's last gold ticket was certainly not its least memorable, going to Cape Breton 1970s rocker Tyler Mullendore. The 19-year-old with the shaggy blond hair and tinted aviator glasses rocked to a Blue Rodeo tune and left everyone amazed by his unique authenticity, despite being born 30 years too late.

As he walked out the door, finishing off the episode, he stopped to tell Mulroney about his family.

"My grandfather loves you, my aunt loves you," he told the host, who then logically asked Mullendore what he thought.

"Uh, me? I think you're ok."

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Nathan Gignac and Selena Scott celebrate their forthcoming marriage following Nathan's on-screen propopsal.

Check out the rest of the cross-country auditions on Tuesday, June 12 at 8 p.m. ET.

.........................................

Emotion, talent and Britney covers fill Episode 2

Updated Thu. Jun. 14 2007 5:11 PM ET

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Eye on Idol

Hopefuls from Vancouver, Montr

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Courtesy of: CTV, CANADIAN IDOL

Top 198 hits chopping block in Idol's music boot camp

Updated Wed. Jun. 20 2007 12:39 AM ET

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Eye on Idol

Making it to Toronto may have seemed like a big win for the competitors to arrive at Canadian Idol's music bootcamp - until they realized just how many hurdles were left to make it through such a brutal week.

The cross-country audition tour discovered 198 singers who were invited to Toronto for the next phase of the competition, where singers would be eliminated every day, a Top 22 chosen after four days of competition.

As he packed his bags at home in Drumheller, it was clear to Jaydee Bixby that the Toronto experience would be something totally new, and clear to his parents that their son would have no problem handling it.

"I've never been to Toronto before so I'm going to be pretty nervous," said the fresh-faced Bixby, looking like a true Albertan in a sleeveless jean shirt.

"He loves the people," noted his mother. "He loves the attention and he loves to entertain."

Rancher Brenna Daley was eager to get on with her Plan A (singing!) after leaving her Plan B behind at her audition.

Pierceland gas fitter Ryan Langlois was keen to get to the next phase after waiting for so long; and keen to set an example of following one's dreams for his son. Also a parent, Naomi-Joy Blackhall wondered if her toddler-age daughter had any idea how their lives might change if her mommy did well on the show.

"Here I come Canada, the next Canadian Idol," Blackhall said confidently as she got ready to leave Halifax.

Travelling by planes, trains, and for a lucky few, car-rides across Toronto, the competitors congregated on their temporary home at the prestigious Royal York Hotel. They met their roommates, got checked into their rooms, and got ready for their first day singing for the show's judges.

Judges offer advice

Once the competitors had arrived at the Ryerson University theatre where the week's performances were taking place, the judges sat them down for some last minute advice.

"When you're singing, sing into the microphone," Sass Jordan reminded them. "My heart is with y'all!"

Jake Gold asked the competitors to please remind the judges why they were chosen in the first place.

"Show us how special you are," he said. "Show us why you think we need to see you again."

"We're looking for stars," Zack Werner astutely noted. "That's what the whole moment is about... One second where you sing something spectacular could be better than someone who knows all the lyrics but is boring."

With that, it was time for the chorus lines - a process where the competitors filed in front of the judges in groups of about eight, singing a verse and a chorus and almost immediately finding out if they would be staying for the next day.

Day 1 - Solos

It was a long day for the competitors and judges, who saw everything from standing-ovation-worthy performances to those that could hardly keep the judges focused on the stage. Elimination was a quick process - the judges would separate each chorus line into two groups and one group would be cut.

Dwight d'Eon impressed straight out of the gate with a resonating version of a Goo Goo Dolls song; Paul Fracassi - the artist formerly known as Johnny Nite - did a high-drama version of the Animals' "House of the Rising Sun"; and pianist extraordinaire Geoffrey Stone tickled the ivories and the judges' fancy with his obvious musical talent.

Then came Dan Legrand, the only metal-head left in the competition after Travis Thompson decided not to pursue the Idol dream after earning a gold ticket in Winnipeg.

"I came here pretty trepidatiously," said Legrand, whose song earned him a pass to the next day, metal-voice and all. "I wasn't sure if I'd fit in here."

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Joel Martin shows that his baby's got the butt with his acoustic version of a Sir Mix-A-Lot classic.

Shaggy-haired Tyler Mullendore convinced the judges he had the right voice and sunglasses for the job; baby-faced Joel Martin wowed with an acoustic arrangement of the Sir Mix-A-Lot classic "Baby Got Back;" Christine Hanlon's booming jazz voice brought a new, fantastic twist to Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody."

The once-shy Morgan Donaldson had Werner pounding on the judges' desk with primate-like excitement while Paul Clifford's performance touched everyone in the room, earning him a standing ovation and Flex's obvious admiration.

And then, there were 128.

Nighttime at the Hotel

While many would have liked to get to sleep, the evening held a long night of practicing for the remaining competitors, who were preparing group performances for the next day.

It what seemed like no time at all, quirky Quebecer Montana Martin Iles found herself without a group, while the members of Jason Remington Ford's group were frustrated that he was sleeping instead of practicing with them. The makings of a musical disaster waiting to happen were certainly brewing.

"We tried going to work with her and she's not exactly cooperative," complained Martha Joy, one of Montana's former group members. "When we're trying to rehearse you shouldn't have pillow fights."

Day 2 - Groups

It was a tired-looking bunch that showed up in front of the judges on Day 2, but while some had used the time to their advantage, others seemed bogged down by not enough sleep and growing nervousness of heading in front of the judges once more.

"It feels like a bad night at the bar," said Dan Legrand, slipping what looked like a mickey of booze into his pocket, then deciding to call it quits on his quest to be the Idol. "There's ridiculous talent and by no means am I someone who considers myself near the talent that they are at."

The performances started off well, with a smoothly executed version of "Don't Let Go" by Cindy Whiteman, Krystle Pederson, Amanda de Freitas and Venus Bertrand.

It wasn't long until the inevitable turn for the worse came, with a less-than-polished version of "This I Promise You" by Jason Remington Ford's less-than-practiced group. Things weren't much better for Brenna Daley's posse, making the judges wonder if she'd thrown out her Plan A as well.

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Jessyka Lapierre loses her cool after a night with no food and too much practice.

Jessyka Lapierre's group faced trouble with a language barrier; Jaydee Bixby couldn't remember what city the lyrics wanted him to "Take it Easy" in, and Martha Joy, Kat Harper and Katrina Melody - Montana's former group - didn't even earn judge commentary after their graceless performance of "Kiss Me."

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Montana Martin Iles finds out her group is no longer interested in working with her.

When the butcher's knife came down, many of the day's weakest performers found they would not be getting another chance at the crown this year. However, the episode closed before reveling how Montana fared as a soloits on group day; and what the rest of the week was to hold for the now-exhausted Idols.

See the rest of the Canadian Idol Top 200 week and the announcement of this year's Top 22 on Tuesday, June 19 -- 8 p.m. ET on CTV.

...

Emotional goodbyes, new beginnings for Top 22

Updated Wed. Jun. 20 2007 7:36 PM ET

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Eye on Idol

After an exhausting week - both mentally and physically - Canadian Idol's judges chose their Top 22, leaving a successful group of competitors torn between looking toward their future and lamenting the loss of some very close friends.

The show's final episode before the first live performance show began exactly where the previous show left off. Kat, Katrina and Martha and the expelled member of their performance group, Montana Martin Iles, were facing the judges to find out who would stay and who was finished.

It was Montana who had the last laugh. Of the group who cut her loose, only Martha Joy remained, and Montana herself was safe to move on to duets round. There, she found a working situation more to her liking, alongside the show's token male emo kid, Derek Hoffman.

"I saw him from the back row the other day and was like 'he is so gorgeous,'" Montana told the judges after finishing her song her with Derek.

Day 3 - Duets

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Ben Griffin, 28, gives his last performance on the Idol stage.

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Bianca and Morgan work late into the night on their song for duets day -- but it proves not enough to put them in the Top 22.

After well-executed duets from Ben Griffin and Heidi Jutras, and Khalila G and Matt Rapley, Morgan Donaldson stepped up with partner Bianca and showed the same nerves that lost him a spot in last year's Top 100. Pacing the stage nervously, the two failed to show a connection and lost out on moving to the next round.

"Performing with a partner is... a true test of talent, commnication and teamwork," noted host Ben Mulroney.

However, even when both competitors sang well, it wasn't necessarily a free pass to the next round. After a beautifully-executed version of "When You Say Nothing At All," 16-year-old powerhouses Sam Romijn and Annika Odegard had to say goodbye to their partnership, as Sam was cut from the competition.

The day ended with a string of surprising and not-so-suprising elininations, including Albertan super dad Ryan Langlois, Belleville piano man Geoffrey Stone and B.C. belter Emily Chambers.

Day 4 - Final Solos

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Jessica Sheppard learns she won't be part of Canadian Idol's Top 22.

The wear and tear of the busy week was beginning to show on many of the competitors. Both Jessica Sheppard and Christine Hanlon had visited the doctor for various illnesses and everyone else was some degree of tired, cranky and mentally drained.

After hitting a note that made judge Farley Flex look up from his notepad in displeasure, Naomi-Joy Blackhall was still confident in her performances leading up to the moment of truth.

"I seriously choked up," she said. "Hopefully they'll realize... and give me the chance."

Schoolteacher Ben Griffin showed his desire for a Top 22 spot after his performance, telling the judges: "put me in, coach. I'm ready to play." However, it was not to be for the fresh faced entertainer, who earned a negative vote from the judges

Before even hearing from the judges that she'd been placed in the Top 22, Khalila G had already decided that was the way it had to be.

"I deserve it," she said. "It's at the tip of my fingers, I just have to go for it. I always live in fear, I don't challenge myself enough."

The most heartwrenching elimination of the night came when a pair that had become quite close over the week learned from the judges they would be separated. Finding out Scarlett Burke had been eliminated, Justyn Wesley found it hard to celebrate his entrance into to the Top 22.

In keeping with the rest of his time in front of the judges, the ever-chipper Jaydee Bixby remained comical when placed under the judges' spotlight.

"If you were to give me a chance to be in Top 22, I'll even learn new songs." he said, to a laugh. Fortunately for Bixby, the judges were willing to take that chance.

Click here to see the complete Canadian Idol Top 22 - and don't forget to tune in for the first live performance episode on Monday, June 25 at 8 p.m. ET on CTV.

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Courtesy of: CTV, CANDIAN IDOL

Strong start to live shows as Top 11 guys take the stage

Updated Tue. Jun. 26 2007 12:57 AM ET

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Eye on Idol

In what may go down as the best Canadian Idol opening night in history, the Top 11 guys owned the stage with rock and roll classics and indie rock hits - and closed out the night with a mixture of the two.

But before the singers could even take the stage, judge Farley Flex broke the secret of who would be joining the Top 22 following Ritchea Hodge's decision to leave the competition.

"It was a fantastic year," he said before inviting the formerly eliminated Scarlett Burke to join the rest of the ladies in the best seats in the house. "Ultimately... it was a photo finish."

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Host Ben Mulroney kicks off Canadian Idol's first live show of the year.

And with that, the guys got right to the business of entertaining.

Fresh-faced Jaydee Bixby kicked off the night with a rockabilly classic, the Elvis Presley version of "Johnny B. Goode." After playing in bars since he was 11 years old, the young Albertan was convinced he'd be ready to take anything the competition could throw at him.

"I thought it might have been something from the last three decades," noted judge Jake Gold. "I expect more from you in the future."

Judge Zack Werner, however, thought Jaydee would be just fine if he continued playing the songs he likes best.

"You have an incredible rhinocerous grace," said Jake, referring to Jaydee's dancing. "I don't really have a problem with the total retro thing."

British Columbia's Clifton Murray was next up. In his performance of Edwin McCain's "I'll Be," he held one of the longest notes to ever grace the Canadian Idol stage.

"I just love people who know what they're doing," said judge Sass Jordan.

Zack chose a somewhat bizarre way to express his disagreeance.

"You held that note like you were on some ridiculous teen talent show," he said.

While Derek Hoffman's song choice was certainly modern, the Aurora, Ont. indie rocker didn't exactly earn the judges' praise with his performance of "Move Along" by the All American Rejects. While Farley commended Derek for his relevant musical taste, the rest of the panel thought he could have pulled it off just a bit better based on what they'd seen from him already.

"You sang that really bad but I think you're a rock star," said Zack.

"I miss you with your guitar and I think you did too," added Jake.

For soulful Torontian Justyn Wesley, the excitement of seeing his Top 198 duet partner Scarlett back in the competition wasn't enough to bring out his best performance. Zack compared his song choice, "(She's) Some Kind of Wonderful" to "Barmitzvah schmultz."

"It was entertaining but for me it was like being at a wedding and seeing a guy in a white suit singing,

said Jake.

"Except (his suit is) beige," noted the ever-fashionable Farley.

Dwight d'Eon brought it back for the judges with his selection, The Philosopher Kings' "Cry." While Sass was of the opinion that the Nova Scotian rocker "pushed too hard," Farley recommended that he "keep pushing on 'em hard."

"You lit up the room for the first time tonight," noted Jake.

"You played against style, but like Jake said, I think you are seriously a real contender for this thing so you better be around for next week," added Zack.

For former Top 22 competitor Greg Neufeld, stepping onto the Idol stage again meant having to work double as hard to prove he was worth giving another chance at the title. He certainly seemed to live up to his goal, performing a take on Maroon 5's "This Love" that was practically impeccable.

"That was the bomb," said Zack, but not after singing a few bars of Elton John's "Rocketman" to remind Greg why he was voted off last year. "You killed that!"

"For what it's worth, I think you got gyped last year," added Jake. "You're the man."

Cape Breton's Tyler Mullendore chose to prove that not everyone from his home turf in into fiddle music by choosing a song with a fiddle in the background track, The Rolling Stones' "Brown Sugar." Always willing to entertain, Tyler gave the most flailing performance of the night, pulling off the song like a veritable Mick Jagger.

"You just brought a whole new flavour to the word authentic," noted Sass.

"I don't think we've ever had anybody who plays this game quite like you do," said a clearly amused Zack.

Andrew Austin was next onstage, performing George Michael's "Freedom 90." He went into the event promising to bring energy and excitement to the audience, but left with some sobering news from all judges except Jake, who thought the performance was excellent.

"I still don't think you are ready for what this is about," said Zack. "There were enough clunkers in that minute and a half to flatten all four tires."

"You sang ok, but not well enough," added Sass. "There's sort of a lack of charisma there."

Smooth and soulful Matt Rapley showed off his gospel-trained pipes with an upbeat version of Stevie Wonder's "Isn't She Lovely." The judges had nothing negative to say about his singing, but some thought he could have upped the performance value a wee bit.

"I thought vocally, (it was a) really strong performance," said Jake, adding "from a charisma standpoint, it was lacking somewhat."

"You just have a lovely charming vibe and when you smile everything melts in a big way," exclaimed Sass.

After waiting all night to hit the stage, Hamilton's Brian Melo serenaded the studio audience with a Canadian Classic: "Stereo," by the Watchmen. It was a bold choice, considering that band was managed by Jake Gold for 14 years of their hit-making career - but even Jake was blown away by Melo's effortless delivery and clear tone.

"That was a wonderful reminder of how big a fan I am of your voice," noted Farley.

"I don't think you killed it as much as you could have," said Zack, adding "of the entire night, you're the first person who is clearly Top 10."

But that was before Victoria's Liam Styles Chang hit the stage with a new spin on an old classic - a punk version a hit from 1960 -- The Drifters' "This Magic Moment." After insisting that he's "not as depressed as he looks" and that Styles is his real name, he blew the crowd and judges away with his ease onstage, finishing the night's show on a definite high note.

"I've got to say Liam, you just made that moment magic," said Sass. "Honestly, the best performance of the night."

"You took a retro song and completely rearranged it... with that smooth voice of yours," added an impressed Jake.

Whether they'd been a judge favourite or not, the show's 11 remaining guys seemed relieved to have made it through their first performance show. Whether they make it to another is now in the hands of the voters.

Watch Canadian Idol on Tuesday, June 26 at 8 p.m. ET to see the Top 11 girls in their first performance show. Results will be announced on Wednesday.

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Courtesy of: CTV, CANADIAN IDOL

Some gems & some shaky spots fill females' first show

Updated Wed. Jun. 27 2007 1:39 AM ET

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Eye on Idol

The women of the Top 22 had big shoes to fill after Monday's action-packed performance show. According to the judges, not all stepped up to the challenge, facing the sting of tough criticism and left hoping to remain on the show long enough to learn from their mistakes.

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The female members of the Top 22 gather onstage with host Ben Mulroney.

Things were off to a good start when Newfoundlander Tara Oram kicked off the show. Singing Martina McBride's version of "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden," Oram stuck to her country roots and reminded the judges why they chose her.

"You've got a wonderful energy about you," said judge Sass Jordan. "There's a sweetness I really love. Good job."

"You actually stand for something," said judge Zack Werner, an exteme compliment for the panel's surliest judge. "You are who you are, you do your thing."

It was a night of interesting versions of hit songs, with Martha Joy choosing to perform the Regine Velasquez version of "Don't Want to Miss a Thing," a song made popular by Aerosmith in the movie "Armageddon." While agreeing on her vocal talent, the judges also seemed to agree that she needed to show more of her personality.

"There's no question you're one of the best technical singers in the competition," said judge Farley Flex. "You come across as a little academic, if you know what I mean."

"That was so theatrical and almost pagreanty," said Zack. "Is there is a world where doing what you just did sells records and builds a career. Who are you? Are we on broadway or are we making big records?"

Then came Montana Martin Iles - a seemingly introspective singer who showed everyone just how deceiving appearances can be. Singing "The Bird and the Worm," by screamo band The Used, she owned the stage, even calling out the show's guitarist and bass player to headbang with her during one part of the song.

"That was drama, intense, powerful, wicked, awesome, fantastic," ranted Sass.

"All I know is that at one point Farley and I looked at each other and we both had goosebumps," added judge Jake Gold.

Her dramatic act was followed by another flawless performance: Mila Miller's version of "I'm Goin' Down" by Mary J. Blige. After explaining that she's shortened her first name from Kamila to avoid confusion between herself and fellow competitor Khalila G, Mila belted the song out passionately with her raspy voice -- and the judges could clearly feel what she was going for.

"That was really impassioned," said Jake. "I just felt you. It really worked for you. That was really good."

"You have a definitely a sense of star vibe," said Farley. "You have a sense of how to move and really use the words to express the meaning of the song."

It was a tough act to follow for Sherbrooke's Maud Coussa-Jandl, who performed The Cranberries' "Dreams" with more enthusiasm that pitch, according to the judges. All four weren't impressed with the song choice, suggesting it would be difficult to sing a Cranberries song without trying to imitate the band's lead singer, Dolores O'Riordan.

"Song selection is critical," advised Farley. "The song has to play the role of winning people over."

"If it was up to me, I would come up there and scrub all the makeup off you and have you sing the song the way you would sing it without trying to 'Idolize' it," added Zack. "Being you is fantastic, but the way you sang there was horrific."

The judges' jabs began a rough patch in the show that saw a few singers receive less than the positive feedback they were hoping for. Annika Odegard's version of "Helplessly, Hopelessly" by Jessica Andrews was not quite what the judges were expecting from the 16-year-old Calgary sweetheart, and Zack made that heartbreakingly clear.

"You're in the dress from some bad bridesmaid apperance, you've got the pageant hair going on," he said. "I think that it's misdirected. The girl who's fragile and sings with that broken tone... That's the girl that you need to be. This isn't the Miss Tean Canada pageant. Forget about trying to win a tiara."

"I find it limp and in a lot of ways cheesy," added Jake. "Good singing, but not unbelievable."

Next up was Naomi-Joy Blackhall's version of "Judgement Day" by Whitesnake. She gave a killer physical performance, spinning her long black hair in time with the music and stalking across the stage like a prowling jungle cat.

"You look amazing," said Sass. "You had the whole act down... but it was pitchy to all heck."

"At the end the day you tried something specific but unfortunately the vocal didn't work out for you," added Farley.

Christine Hanlon chose Sarah McLachlan's "Possession" for her performance. The Rexdale girl explained how proud she was to be from her part of Toronto before launching into a performance that left the judges with mixed feelings on how proud they were of her.

"I felt that vocally there were some very strong moments," said Jake. "(But) I felt you weren't in the pocket, it felt like you were behind the groove."

"You've got way more edge and that song just wasn't you," said Sass.

After learning much later than the rest of the Top 22 that she'd be moving forward to that phase of the competition, Scarlett Burke had less time to prepare for her performance. The judges didn't see the talents that earned her spot in the elite group in her performance of Whitney Houston's "I Learned from the Best."

"That was really uninspiring," said Jake. "Don't sing Whitney Houston."

While agreeing with many of the issues the other judges had with the performance, which started off slowly and kicked into a higher gear partway through, Zack was - surprisingly - the most encouraging member of the panel.

"You're a really strong singer and I hope you'll be here for a while," he said.

After the string of critiques that led up to her moment onstage, day care worker Khalila G must have felt the pressure. But instead of buckling with dread at what the judges might have in store for her, she let loose and delivered a graceful and heartfelt perfomance of Pink's "Family Portrait."

"Poised, composed, cool, calm, collected," said an impressed Farley. "Beautiful"

"I think you just lit the fire that went out during the last three performances," added a seemingly relieved Sass.

The final song of the night went to B.C.'s Carly Rae Jepsen, the impish performer with a penchant for offbeat song selections with a tinge of jazz. Singing Corinne Bailey Rae's "Put Your Records On," she left things on a high note, delivering a performance balancing soft notes with belting, vulnerability and enthusiasm.

"The Rae in your name stands for 'Rae' of sunshine, I believe," Sass told the smiley singer. "You know exactly what you're doing. I just love you. I think you are the most vulnerable, adorable human being ever."

Zack was particularly drawn in by Carly's first verse, which she began sitting on a stool beside the show's guitarist before getting on her feet to rock the chorus.

"I liked the vibe of you sitting and starting it out, it felt right," he said. "I wouldn't have stood it up and kicked it into Idol mode because that's just not what it was about. You're Top 10."

After saying their farewells to host Ben Mulroney, the group headed backstage, beginning almost 24 excruciating hours before the annoucement of the first four competitors to leave the show.

Find out which members of the Top 22 will stay and who is going home on Wednesday, June 27 at 7:30 p.m. ET (check local listings) on CTV.

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Ben Mulroney is just SO hard to take.

He sure ain't no Ryan Seacrest...

ha! ..and I think Ryan is SO hard to take... :lol:

...and speaking of SOOOO hard to take....what's up with Tyler Mullendore (sp?)...eek! I couldn't believe the judges seemed to be giving him positive comments. :omg: I thought he was just a mess. :lol:

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Courtesy of: CTV, CANADIAN IDOL

First round of cuts comes quickly for eliminated competitors

Updated Thu. Jun. 28 2007 5:52 PM ET

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Eye on Idol

Competitors eliminated from the Top 22 were finally starting to feel settled in to the rigourous Canadian Idol routine when the first round of cuts came, sending two females, two males and three Toronto residents back to their regular lives.

Christine Hanlon, Justyn Wesley, Maud Coussa-Jandl and Derek Hoffman had varying degrees of involvement in the music business before the show, but all say they're leaving the competition with even more determination than when they arrived to make it in their own way.

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Justyn Wesley

For Toronto's soulful Justyn Wesley, being part of Canadian Idol meant learning how to take good songs and turn them into great performance pieces. He says his time on the show aught him how to emote the feeling in a song and to make sure he came across as believable to his audience.

"You really have to connect with the audience and show them you're feeling the song, feeling whatever you're doing," he said, after his elimination at Top 22. "Make it believable and just connect."

A shy guy through and through, Justyn believes his failure to earn enough votes was a failure of self-promotion.

"Maybe I should have been on camera more, given better interviews, opened up more and showed Canada who I was," he told Eye on Idol. "I'm just a shy guy by nature. It's kind of hard for me to do that."

An active music producer and composer, he plans to go back to what he does best, playing shows and working from the studio in his house.

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Maud Coussa-Jandl

For Sherbrooke, Que. songstress Maud Coussa-Jandl, the worst part of being eliminated was the closing credits of the show when all the competitors flooded centre stage to hug their soon-to-be-heading-home companions.

"It was hard onstage because you see everyone crying around you," she said, noting she felt much better as soon as she got offstage and cleared her head. "You get so close to everyone and there's just too much emotion... you need to let it out. I really thought I wouldn't cry, but I did."

Her elimination came after the judges ripped apart her performance of the Cranberries' "Dreams," saying she sounded like she was trying to imitate the original singer and wasn't being herself. Judge Zack Werner even said he wish she'd looked more natural, like the hippie rock chick that initially auditioned for the show.

"Zack said he would have scrubbed all the makeup off me," said Maud, who wanted to use her moment in the spotlight to the fullest. "He's right. But I really wanted to have makeup on. It was my request. Lynn wanted me to have something really light and I was like, 'no I want to have some.'"

After working for two years as a marketing coordinator at a radio station, Maud plans to resume her career, but also kick-start her musical efforts.

"I learned recently that this is a voice inside me that wants me to pursue my dreams," she said. "At first it was just like a hobby. This was a big kick in the butt.... I don't want to sound too dramatic, but being forgotten is like proving you don't exist."

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Christine Hanlon

After a week in the superstar boot camp that is Canadian Idol, Toronto's Christine Hanlon says one of the big things she learned was that image matters a lot more than she likes to think. After being told early in the competition that the judges couldn't tell what she stood for, she's learned her book just might be judged by its cover.

"I hate to say it, but I've got to sit down and think about what my general sound is and try to cater to a certain market, even though I'd like everyone to like my music," she said. "You kind of have to play down to the crowd."

Reacting to her elimination moments after the news, she said she had already gotten over being cut.

"Nothing bothers me now," she said, adding she might have had more support had she been from a small, closely-knit town. "I am perfectly fine with the result... Now I'll just be staying humble and getting back to my day to day."

For her, that means getting a job to pay the bills so she can keep singing and songwriting, and occasionally playing shows with a group of musicians she assembles when she needs a back-up band.

"I am a solo act," she said. "If I do happen to get a show -- because I am a singer and people like my voice -- then I can muster up musicians and do our thing. I just haven't found the right musicians (for a band) because I am picky. I'm a perfectionist."

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Derek Hoffman

Indie rocker Derek Hoffman was booted from the show after singing a version of the All American Rejects hit "Move Along" - a song popular with his crowd, but dubbed "obscure" by judge Sass Jordan.

"Looking at the big list of songs (that we can choose from), it was tough to pick one that would have been relevant to me," said Hoffman, a multi-instrumentalist who plays in a band and runs his own music recording studio.

"I am a little embarrassed (of my performance). I think there was one big mistake of singing it too low and not trusting my own voice, that I could hit the higher notes."

Despite the elimination, Hoffman says the show gave him confidence in his abilities as a musician, and hopefully some exposure for his band, Mail Order Bride.

"I've gained the reassurance that I have talent. The four judges put me in the place for a reason. Not only am I a talented musician in my local music scene, I am apparently Top 22 in Canada."

Derek plans to spend most of the summer recording bands in his studio to save money for school in the fall (independent music production at Seneca), and hopes to head on tour in August with the band and possibly start work on a third album.

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Courtesy of: CTV, CANADIAN IDOL

Top 18 males make ground-breaking Idol first

Updated Wed. Jul. 4 2007 12:11 AM ET

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Eye on Idol

The men of Canadian Idol's Top 18 made great step for Idol-kind on Monday night, participating in the show's first-ever episode where competitors could play instruments on stage. But while some eagerly jumped at the chance to show off their skills, others left their toys at home, choosing to keep the attention on their vocal prowess.

The judges did not comment on individual performers' playing, but Farley Flex offered some useful advice before the show that could be applied to anyone stepping out of their box - whether that meant braving performances without an instrument as a security blanket or making the step of playing on live television for the first time.

"It's about making confident decisions that involve a good dose of risk," he said. "That's what (this show is) all about -- confidence and risk."

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Host Ben Mulroney welcomes the crowd to the Canada Day show.

Liam Styles Chang kicked off the night with a dynamic version of Tal Bachman's "She's so High." Delivering the song's high and low notes with his natural ease, Liam brought viewers back to the same high note he ended the show on last week, leaving the judges thoroughly impressed.

"I didn't know you'd be able to do that falsetto part," said Jake Gold. "You have the ability to sing low really well. It was like velvet the way you do it."

Zack Werner thought more effort was needed during the high parts.

"Do the falsetto with guts and it would be a record I would buy," he said. "But I'm wrong all the time and you're a rock star and you totally deserve to be here."

After last week's rough start to the live shows, Andrew Austin got on stage with a bolstered drive to show the judges why they chose him in the first place. The first performer of the night to use his own accompanyment, Andrew rocked his way through Maroon 5's "Sunday Morning."

"Last week we had 'almost Andrew Austin,' this week we had the actual Andrew Austin" said Farley, who later dubbed the singer "Andrew Austintacious." "This brought me back perfectly to the memory of you."

"That was really enjoyable and I love you with the guitar," added Sass Jordan.

Dwight d'Eon pushed the show into full-on rock mode with a version of I Mother Earth's "Used to be Alright." His high energy performance seemed to please everyone on the panel, although not all undertsood the logic in his song selection.

"While I have nothing against I Mother Earth, I would have chosen a different song," suggested Jake. "Something people at home could relate to, if you're trying to get votes."

"You are the first balls-to-the-wall pure Canadian rocker we've ever had on the show," added Zack. "I think you killed that. I'm all about it, man."

Zack was not, however, all about B.C. actor Clifton Murray's rendition of "You Give Me Something" by James Morrison. There were few noticable glitches in the delivery, but like last week, the judges just weren't feeling Clifton's loungy-smooth delivery.

"There's no real grit in your voice to substantiate what you're doing," said Farley.

"It's a great song and you sing great, I just wasn't feeling it at that moment," added Sass.

For his turn on stage, Greg Neufeld once again tore it up, this time bringing his guitar along for the ride. The judges were blown away by the skill with which he delivered Jason Mraz's "Geek in the Pink," reaffirming their belief that he is a key player in the battle for the Idol title.

"You stay in the pocket like lint," opined Farley, in what host Ben Mulroney later declared the best judge comment ever to come from the panel.

"While you're a little mainstream for my taste, you're every bit as good as anyone who ever won this show," added Zack.

Choosing Robbie Williams' smash hit "Angels," Hamilton's Brian Melo was hoping to show the judges a softer side of his ability. Channeling the high energy demonstrated in last week's performance into big, power-ballad notes, Melo took risks that paid off - for the most part.

"I'm blown away," said Farley, noting how happy Brian seemed with his performance. "Your face is beaming and it's deservedly beaming."

"I'm going to have to get my hearing checked," disputed Zack, ever the contrarian. "I thought you were pitchy in your upper register and thin in your lower register."

Once again choosing to sing in a style that has made him stand out from the crowd, Jaydee Bixby took a Ray Charles classic and gave it a rockabilly spin. Delivering "I Got A Woman" matched with his own effortless guitar playing, he winked and smiled at the camera and right into the judges' hearts.

"Does the word charisma mean anything to you?" asked Sass (to which Jaydee replied with a very earnest "yes"). "It's like watching a young Elvis without the hip business."

"While it's a little stiff and a little cheese-o-rama around the edges, this kid is a slam dunk for a career." added Zack. "If someone from Nashville is watching this show, they'll scoop you up in a heartbeat... Where do you come from?"

(Jaydee once again replied sincerely, pointing at his grinning father in the crowd: "that man sitting right there.")

In keeping with his stoic and sincere image, Regina gospel singer Matt Rapley took over the stage next, issuing an intensely heartfelt version of Josh Groban's "You Raise Me Up." There was no disputing his talent, even from the typically contrite Zack, who said Matt's delivery made him shiver even though he hates the song.

"You sing your notes well and you command the stage, but you've got to control your vibrato," advised Jake.

"People are already blown away by your voice," added Farley. "You've got to up the showmanship a little more."

For the show's last song, Tyler Mullendore made the interesting choice of stepping away from his hard-rocking image with John Hyatt's "Have a Little Faith in Me." His raspy tones added a raw edge to the ballad, leaving the judges practically speechless.

"You are great on stage," said Farley. "You perform from your heart. You're a natural."

A gritty rocker with a soft side herself, Sass was already preparing for a future as Tyler's number one fan.

"I wouldn't just buy an album, I'd buy a ticket to your concert," she told him.

Find out if any of the females chose to play instruments and how they match up to the males on tomorrow night's performance show - 9 p.m. on Tuesday, July 3 on CTV

...

Top 18's ladies face another night of judges' jabs

Updated Wed. Jul. 4 2007 11:51 PM ET

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Eye on Idol

After playing to a largely unimpressed panel of judges last week, the women of the Top 18 tried to turn things around Tuesday - but for the most part, did not achieve the success they were going for.

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The women of the Top 18 join host Ben Mulroney on the Idol stage.

While a few singers escaped the steady stream of harsh criticism that permeated the evening, most left the stage wondering just what it would take to prove to the judges that they were worth their spots in the competition.

"I expect more every single night," judge Sass Jordan warned at the start of the show. "It's the arc of a show and we are looking for a star."

"I think the biggest difference is there's a certain fortitude the guys are bringing to the stage," added Farley Flex.

As the first performer of the night, Martha Joy was hoping to bring the judges some fortitude of her own. She sang Josh Groban's "To Where You Are" with power and intensity, hitting every note in what Sass would later point out to be a difficult song.

"That's a tough song to sing because of the jumps melodically," Sass said. "It was sort of shaky... but in the higher notes it was crystal, magical."

"You're a great singer," noted Jake Gold. "You hit all the notes but I still feel you're very stiff. I just don't get any emotion from you. If you don't start showing some personality, it's going to affect you."

Tara Oram was next, performing Michelle Wright's "Safe in the Arms of Love" with ease and grace. Sass thought the song was perfectly suited to the Newfoundander's country music style, but the other judges didn't share the sentiment.

"What I would have liked to see there was a little more physical performance," suggested Farley. "You sounded ok on the vocal. It didn't blow me away but you look good when you move."

"I think you look great in camera but something about you looks 12, which I find a little disturbing," added Zack Werner. "Vocally I thought that was Carrie Underwhelming."

After her hard rock performance took some hard knocks last week, Halifax's Naomi-Joy Blackhall attempted to show her softer side with Dido's "Here With Me." Wearing a long, flowing dress, she began the song draped on a chair before standing to address the crowd at the chorus.

"After last week I think anything would have been an improvement," said an unenthused Zack. "In the last two weeks I think you have proven that you just don't sing that well."

Both Farley and Jake thought Naomi-Joy needed to rediscover the uniqueness that earned her spot.

"I think you've got to bring back the edge you had in the first few rounds," Farley advised.

After the comments she'd heard so far, B.C.'s Carly Rae Jepsen seemed visibly nervous as she took her place on stage. Her jitters dissappeared with her singing, though, her version of Sarah Slean's "Sweet Ones" coming off light-hearted and genuine, including her visit to the lap of competitor Andrew Austin.

"Throughout this thing you're going to show a lot of sides but I like that week one and week two you've chosen things that show who you are," said Zack. "You're definitely Top 10."

"I think that was a lovely, animated performance from a lovely, animated young lady," added Sass.

The judge joyride was not to last when Scarlett Burke hit the stage with CCR's classic "Proud Mary." With eliminated Top 22 competitor Justyn Wesley cheering her on from the crowd, she gave an animated performance the judges found vocally shaky and bizarre to watch.

"I could see way better performances than that in any bar walking down Queen Street," said Jake. "I just don't get it."

For once in his life, Zack didn't even attempt a comment, just shaking his head in a dissapointed "no."

Showperson extraordinaire Montana Martin Iles brought things back up to speed with another dramatic, high-energy song, Fall Out Boy's "Thnks fr th mmrs" (pronounced "thanks for the memories"). Her Quebecois accent added a unique spin to her delivery as she perched on stage props, headbanged and fully entertained the crowd.

While no one disputed her ability to captivate, Farley suggested she try to choose a song that would show her best possible singing. Zack, however, just wanted Montana to keep on being her very unique self.

"I don't think we'd sit here and challenge someone from some really popular punk band to hit all the notes," he said. "You're not about that and you're breaking all the rules. Aside from being the Lukas Rossi look-alike winner, you rocked it."

After landing in last week's bottom four despite a performance that left the judges raving, Toronto's Mila Miller was hoping to inspire her fellow Torontonians to get voting with her song this week. Her adaptation of Otis Redding's "Try a Little Tenderness" came complete with moves that showed she was relating to every syllable of the song.

"You just feel the song, from the top of the song through the whole thing," noted Jake. "That's how you perform a song. Really great."

"That was a killa of a thrilla with the Mila Miller," added Farley, in a characteristic turn of phrase.

Calgary's Annika Odegard stepped on stage with lots to prove following last week's song, which left the judges thinking they'd died and gone to prom night. She perfomed Joss Stone's "Super Duper Love" with intense energy and facial expressions but it wasn't enough to win the panel back from the dark side.

"I think sometimes when the four of us sit around and vote in this Top 22 that we make mistakes," said Zack to a crestfallen-looking Annika. "That was an immature, uncool, not good performance."

"It takes about three cups of soul and I think you're in the teaspoon category with that," added Farley.

The last slot of the night went to Montreal's Khalila Glanville, who sang the Four Tops' "I Can't Help Myself." Her natural stage presence was in full effect, but the judges were uniformly baffled by her choice of a pop hit from the 1960s instead of something more like herself -- current and cool.

"I got the sense that it was almost a theme show where the choices were limited and you didn't know what to pick," said Farley. "You would never put that song on your record."

Zack ended the show with a comment on Khalila's choice and a request to everyone else in the competition.

"You belong on this show, but not singing something that's radically irrelevant," he said. "I am absolutely begging everybody who's a contestant on this show: sing songs that matter. You're dragging this thing down into some karaoke nonsense."

Find out if Canada agrees with the judges on Wednesday, July 4 (7:30 p.m. ET on CTV), when the Top 18 becomes a Top 14 and four competitors say goodbye.

...

Judges' picks line up with votes in Top 18 elimination

Updated Thu. Jul. 5 2007 1:47 PM ET

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Eye on Idol

The Canadian Idol judges had their fingers on the pulse of the voting public Wednesday night, accurately predicting three of the four competitors eliminated from the Top 18.

Both Sass Jordan and Zack Werner forsaw the departure of rock goddess Naomi-Joy Blackhall and Toronto belter Scarlett Burke when asked at the beginning of the show which women they would send home.

When asked which male singers would be on their way, judges Jake Gold and Farley Flex both named B.C. crooner Clifton Murray, but missed the mark when they chose Halifax rocker Dwight d'Eon - who landed in the bottom four males, but did receive few enough votes to be eliminated.

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Scarlett Burke

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Naomi-Joy Blackhall

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Clifton Murray

Also ending his Canadian Idol run was Sarnia singer-songwriter Andrew Austin, who wowed the judges during this week's performance (the first-ever where a competitor on the show accompanied themselves with an instrument) but landed in the bottom four for the second week in a row.

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Andrew Austin

"I have a lot of music going on outside this show," Andrew said when the results were announced. "I hope you people will keep looking for me. Thanks for having me on. I had a really amazing time."

"Andrew... certainly knows who he is," noted Zack, adding the rest of those who were eliminated might not have resonated with the Canadian public. "The people who are staying are good choices: people who made a decision to stand for something, to represent something they'll be if they had a career. I think Canada knocked one out of the park."

Once the results were announced, Naomi-Joy explained why she thought she'd lost her spot.

"I think the two songs I sang weren't as recognizable to the voting public," she said.

The judges had touched on this when critiquing her obscure first-week choice, and many of brought it up again when offering advice to the remaining competitors.

"The song's got to have some relationship to who you are and who you want to be as an artist," said Farley. "It's got to be relevant to the Canadian public and it's got to have an element of risk so you can show yourself and the public what your potential really is."

"A lot of what this show is about is song choice," said Jake. "If they want to be singers, they have to be writers at some point in their career."

"Guys, if you pick the right song, you will give the right performance," added Sass.

Scarlett had taken some heat for her choice of CCR's "Proud Mary" the night earlier, but when asked if she had any regrets, she simply said she "had a good time and... sang (her) heart out for everybody."

Hamilton's Brian Melo, Toronto's Mila Miller and Montreal's Khalila Glanville also hit bottom four status but breathed sighs of relief after learning they'd be back onstage for at least one more week.

In his turn to say goodbye, Clifton graciously reminded viewers that they still have lots to look forward to.

"I want to thank everyone for voting," he said. "Last night I didn't breathe and kind of choked. These guys are solid so you've got a lot to look out for."

See what songs the men of the Top 14 have in store on Monday, July 9 at 9 p.m. on CTV.

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Courtesy of; CTV, CANADIAN IDOL

Canadian Idol makes first ever charitable partnership

Updated Tue. Jul. 10 2007 12:55 AM ET

Eye on Idol

Canadian Idol has announced its first ever charitable partnership -- a campaign to help Ronald McDonald House Charities build a retreat for families of children who have suffered a serious illness or disability.

Available to families who have stayed at Ronald McDonald Houses across Canada, the retreat will be built on a two-acre plot of land donated by Bear Mountain Resort on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

Canada's 12 Ronald McDonald Houses provide a home-away-from-home for out-of-town families of children undergoing treatment at nearby hospitals. Such families will be eligible to visit the Bear Mountain retreat for an opportunity to spend time together, free of charge, in a setting where they can focus on each other and begin to get their lives back on track.

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Canadian Idol roving reporter Dave Kerr meets Ronald McDonald while helping out at McHappy Day, a fundraising event for Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Host Ben Mulroney and former Canadian Idol Melissa O'Neil will announce the partnership on Canadian Idol's July 9 episode. The "Help the Idols Build a House" campaign will last throughout the summer, and begins with an online auction on idol.ctv.ca where viewers can bid on a series of exclusive adventures and autographed merchandise with proceeds going directly to the charity.

The auction will be the first of many opportunities for Canadians to get involved in lending a hand in the project. All items can be viewed at idol.ctv.ca and all bids must be in by Wednesday, July 18 at midnight. A second online auction will be held later this summer.

Ronald McDonald Houses are independently owned and operated by not-for-profit organizations. They rely on donors in their communities and receive financial and in-kind support from Ronald McDonald House Charities.

The Houses' administrative and operating costs are covered entirely by McDonald's Restaurants of Canada Limited, which ensures that 100 per cent of every dollar donated to the charity goes directly towards helping children in need and their families.

Items up for auction include:

  • backstage passes to meet the 2007 Canadian Idol finalists\
  • a romantic weekend for two in Quebec City
  • a ride in the CTV helicopter
  • a behind-the-scenes experience with TSN during a CFL game
  • a soccer ball autographed by Rod Stewart
  • a signed and framed NASCAR flag
  • autographed jerseys by Tomas Kaberle, Ryan Smyth, Dany Heatley and Dion Phaneuf

Click here to bid.

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Courtesy of: CTV, CANADIAN IDOL

Top 14's males show they're all worth a Top 10 spot

Updated Wed. Jul. 11 2007 1:20 AM ET

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Eye on Idol

With the pressure of making Top 10 nipping at their heels, the males of Canadian Idol's Top 14 proved they've all got what it takes to compete.

In a night of stellar performances that will be the last for two of the remaining men, each stepped up to the challenge, leaving their fate in the hands of the voting public.

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"This is a competition and we're entering the playoffs at this point," noted judge Farley Flex at the beginning of the show. "There's no time for reservation. Just let it all out and do what we ask in terms of leaving a part of yourself on that stage."

That they certainly did, pulling off a night of strikingly strong performances that began with Regina crooner Matt Rapley. Accompanying himself on piano for the epic Jackson 5 song "I'll Be There," he proved himself to be a well-rounded musician who can also hit the big notes.

"I thought it was strong," said Farley, following positive comments from judges Sass Jordan and Jake Gold. "But I think you have to up the excitement. When you open up on those big notes you make the grand piano look like a keyboard."

"I think you're a really talented guy," added judge Zack Werner, adding "I do not believe in the last three weeks you have demonstrated enough maturity as a performer."

Next up was Greg Neufeld, covering new ground after making it as far as Top 18 in last year's incarnation of the show. After weeks of consistently strong performances, Neufeld pulled another rabbit out of his hat with an intimate, acoustic rendition of John Mayer's "Daughters" in which he sat on the edge of the stage and accompanied himself with acoustic guitar.

"The last three weeks you chose to do songs that were very much in your comfort zone," noted Zack. "If there's anything, you may be a little too perfect. You stood up like the man that you are and represented... You may be too perfect for the public."

"I think you can never be too perfect -- I feel like I am at the Greg Neufeld show," countered Jake, who then got the attention of the female competitors seated off to the side of the studio. "Ladies, that's your competition right there."

Tyler Mullendore pulled out another gritty performance with his song, strumming his electric guitar to The Steve Miller Band's "Rock N Me." While he brought the same headstrong enthusiasm that has won the judges over week after week, they didn't find it to be his best vocal showing so far.

"That was Tyler Mullendore doing George Thorogood doing Steve Miller," said Sass, laughing. "The singing was not the best but I really appreciated your performance."

"You're so genuine," added Jake, a big Tyler fan from day one. "I hope you're in the Top 10 because I look forward to seeing you every week doing something different."

Another panel favourite was up next, the impeccably smooth Liam Styles Chang. He used his classic casual strut to accentuate his choice of the Fray's "Over My Head," and punctuated it at the end with another one of his farm-related dance moves - this one called "kneading the dough."

"You're so consistently bang on," said Zack, bringing a massive grin to Liam's face. "I still want some explosiveness around the edges but, dude, you're it. You have a long way to go in this show."

"You're genuine -- that really speaks to everybody here and everybody out there," added Sass.

In what was dubbed by the judges as his best performance since the start of the competition, Halifax's Dwight d'Eon took his guitar by the reins and showed Canada what he is truly made of. With his parents beaming and screaming in the audience, he rocked the audience and panel with Matchbox 20's "Bright Lights."

"That was a rock star moment," lauded Jake. "I would never take the guitar out of your hands cause I wouldn't take the guitar out of Bruce Springsteen or Bryan Adams' hands either."

"You're the most improved player, straight up," added Farley. "When you take it down a notch -- because of your power and your physical skill to sing -- when you bring it up, it's absolutely in everybody's face. I thought that was fantastic."

After bringing his classic rockabilly stylings to the stage week after week, Albertan Jaydee Bixby took a different route with his first song of the competition that wasn't from the 1950s or 1960s. Singing the quick-paced "Sold" by John Michael Montgomery, he pranced into the audience, wailing in pure auctioneer style.

"Heck in tarnation, Jaydee," said a blushing Sass. "You just turned me into Ellie May" (to which the surprisingly savvy 16-year-old replied "I guess I'm Jethro.")

"What I like about you is you're 16 years old and you're working the room as if you've been doing this forever," added Jake. "That's a lot of work. You were a little out of breath at the end but... you really performed the song."

Ending the night was Hamilton's Brian Melo, who was hoping to win some new fans after landing in the bottom four for the first time last week. Singing "Drive" by Incubus, Brian certainly entertained the live audience, whose signs and t-shirts showed they'd come to support him in droves.

"I thought at times it was a bit screechy but I thought overall the performance was really strong," said Jake. "You're starting to pick the right songs for your voice. Hopefully you're going to be around next week. I hope you are."

"It wasn't the greatest performance but your comfort is really cool," added Farley. "I like your vibe and everything else. Hopefully your town will get behind you, buddy."

See how the females of the group fare on the next Top 14 performance show, airing on Tuesday, July 10 at 9 p.m. ET on CTV.

...

Females bring all they've got to Top 14 performance show

Updated Thu. Jul. 12 2007 12:58 AM ET

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Eye on Idol

In what seemed to be the judges' favourite showing from the ladies so far, the women of the Top 14 proved they've got just as much going on as the men in the quest for Top 10 status.

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The ladies of the Top 14 join host Ben Mulroney onstage.

Making the most out of their last chance to before the elite group was chosen, the gals belted, crooned and wailed through Tuesday night's performance show, eaning judge accolades and audience approval all the while.

As the evening kicked off, judge Jake Gold offered viewers some advice on how to cast their votes at this crucial juncture.

"You have to image that it's the finale," he said. "The person standing on stage... is the person you need to vote for."

Fans of Calgary's Annika Odegard can picture her there, having kept her out of the bottom four for the last two weeks despite scathing reviews from the judges. This week she showed the judges just what all her "Fannikas" are on about with an energetic performance of Vanessa Carleton's "Ordinary Day," accompanying herself on the grand piano.

"The first thing that came to mind was 'Rapunzel, you let down your hair,'" said judge Farley Flex, to the thrilled and relieved Annika. "That was the first time we've seen the real you."

"You've by far trumped anything you've done before on this program at all," added judge Sass Jordan.

Also hoping to keep out of this week's bottom four was Khalila Glanville, who had wowed the judges the first week but then chose a song much less to their liking for her follow-up. This time she went the R & B route with Monica's "For You I Will," earning mixed reviews for her efforts .

"I've seen a tremendous level of growth in you from the moment we met you," judge Zack Werner told her. "You may have come up a little flat around the edges (but) I don't think we've ever had anyone who's a mature, sophisticated, beautiful, strong woman in our Top 10 and I would love to see you there."

"There were a couple moments that sounded off for me," added Jake. "But overall, I felt it was really strong and I think you look great tonight."

Taking a cue from a James Taylor concert she once attended, panel favourite Carly Rae Jepsen started her performance in the centre of a semi-circle formed by members of the Canadian Idol band. After finishing the first verse of the Annie Lennox version of "Waiting in Vain," she stepped out to centre stage and blew the judges away.

"I thought that was a lovely, vulnerable, adorable performance like you always do," Sass gushed. "Some of the notes were sort of off but it doesn't matter because the intention behind them was so powerful."

"You're a stylist," added Farley. "Even when the moments might be shaky you style your way back into the pocket and into the vibe. It shows incredible maturity."

Newfoundland country girl Tara Oram once again chose to stick with the style that's kept her in the running this far, singing Martina McBride's "When God Fearin' Women Get the Blues." Covering the stage like a well-seasoned pro, she seemed to have taken's Farley's suggestion of giving a more physical performance to heart.

"For the first time, there was some physicality to your performance," said Jake, then offering a compliment that made Tara beam with pleasure: "finally I saw this is the kind of country singer you are... like Gretchen Wilson.

"I didn't think your singing was fanastic but I love your confidence on stage," added Sass.

For the first time since the beginning of the live performance shows, Montana Martin Iles chose to show her own unique confidence in a way outside her signature blaring rock anthems. Acoustic guitar in hand, she strummed and sang Alanis Morrisette's "Ironic."

"I'm not sold on the vocal but I believe you have that certain x-factor, that presence," said Farley. "But I challenge you again, I want to hear you sing."

"I think you're a star," added Zack. "I'm very honoured that you are part of the show and anyone who doesn't think you can sing with an accent can kiss my big, blue Julio Iglesias."

Next up was Martha Joy, the velvetty-voiced belter from the opposite side of the musical spectrum. Giving a lively rendition of Celine Dion's "That's the Way It Is," she impressed the judges with her ability to kick it up a notch as well as her conisistently strong vocals.

"You played it very subtle, especially for someone who's 16," said Zack. "You are technically the best singer there. I didn't get as much fun out of that as probably you did, but it was Celine."

"The last half of that song may be one of the best things I've seen all year," added an enthused Jake. "You sang great. I felt how happy you were. I got chills... really good."

The last spot of the night went to soulful diva Mila Miller, who badly wanted to convince voters to put her in the Top 10 after two weeks narrowly escaping elimination. Singing Amy Winehouse's "Rehab" lying across the grand piano, her normally-massive afro smoothed down into a sleek wave, she impressed the judges with her unique brand of groove.

"You're one of my favourite performers on the show right now," said Sass. "I thought that was a really good... imitation. You're got a sense of humour I just love when watching a performer."

Farley, however, thought she'd put her own personal mark on the song, loud and clear.

"It's pedigree," he said. "You just felt that song. You did it in your own way. You took ownership of it and eminated soul."

Find out if the voters agree with the judges on Wednesday, July 11 at 9:30 p.m. ET on CTV. See who makes it into this year's Canadian Idol Top 10!

...

Shocking cuts come with Top 10 announcement

Updated Wed. Jul. 11 2007 11:54 PM ET

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Eye on Idol

The Canadian Idol Top 10 was announced Wednesday, leaving behind four talented singers -- including three who had never once made an appearance in the weekly bottom four.

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The newly-announced Canadian Idol Top 10.

Viewer votes after the Top 14 performance shows eliminated Cape Breton rocker Tyler Mullendore, Calgary popster Annika Odegard, Victoria emo kid Liam Styles Chang and Quebec shock rocker Montana Martin Iles. Only Annika had appeared in the bottom four previously, while the other three seemed to be judge favourites expected to last well into the Top 10.

The eliminated competitors themselves seemed shocked by the country's choices, but took the news resolutely, vowing to use the Canadian Idol experience as a springboard to even bigger and better things.

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Tyler Mullendore

"There's now way I could go back to Cape Breton now and just sit on the porch and watch the sunrise," said Tyler, who closed the show with his signature flailing dance once last time. "This is like a kick in the bum, you know what I mean, to get going, to get this show on the road."

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Annika Odegard

Annika said she planned to use what she's learned on the show in her continued work with Calgary's Storybook Theatre, who she thanked after finding out she'd been eliminated.

"I will take memories that I've made and the knowlege that I've gained," she said. "I'm going to keep singing and keep playing and hopefully youguys will be around to watch it."

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Montana Martin Iles

Montana told the crowd her sadness to be leaving was balanced by eagerness to see her loved ones.

"I am going to bring back more skills and the title of being in the 14 of Canadian Idol," noted Montana. "I want to thank you for supporting me."

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Liam Styles Chang

Liam, too, used his final on-screen moment to thank everyone who'd believed in his talent, and left with a challenge that showed his loyalty to the remaining competitors.

"I did... my best," he said. "You're left now with amazing people, very talented musicians and singers and performers. Now do your part and vote for them."

Judge Zack Werner had some advice for those who were left, suggesting they work each week to push their boundaries and put on a show that's worth voting for.

"Nobody needs to be another song in the concert," he advised. "You need to think outside the box and choose that moment that you are the show stopper. Break every rule you can."

Canadian Idol's Top 10 is:

  • Brian Melo
  • Carly Rae Jepsen
  • Dwight d'Eon
  • Greg Neufeld
  • Jaydee Bixby
  • Khalila Glanville
  • Martha Joy
  • Matt Rapley
  • Mila Miller
  • Tara Oram
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I was surprised to see Mila go home so soon. I thought she rocked last night! I also really liked Greg's performance, though the judges didn't.

...............and......

for the first time..........

...............................................I actually really like......

(please don't throw stones at me)

.........

Jaydee :|

shhhh, please don't tell anyone else!

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Courtesy of: CTV, CANADIAN IDOL

Top 10 launch into first performance at Bassett Theatre

Updated Wed. Jul. 18 2007 11:19 PM ET

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Eye on Idol

In their first night performing to the massive crowd at Toronto's John Bassett Theatre, Canadian Idol's Top 10 worked their way through ten number one hits, taking viewers all the way from Conway Twitty's "It's Only Make Believe" (1958) to Feist's 2005 hit "Inside and Out."

The number one hits show kicked off a series of theme weeks that will narrow the competition from ten hopefuls down to one Canadian Idol. For a competitor to stay in the running despite themes as disparate as 1960s music and modern pop/rock, a competitor must work to demonstrate how they personally connect to each song, said judge Sass Jordan.

"You've got to lock into the emotion of the song that you're performing, every single time," she said at the start of the show.

Judge Zack Werner let the audience in with what he was expecting from the upcoming weeks, where competitors sing longer songs and often pull together elaborate stage shows.

"Now's the time we can find the unexpected 'wow' factor out of these candidates," he said.

First up was lobster fisherman Dwight d'Eon, who was introduced to the audience with a video of a visit back to his stomping grounds in West Pubnico, N.S. His vocal performance of Matchbox 20's "Unwell" wasn't Sass or Zack's favourite, but was better than bad as far as judges Jake Gold and Farley Flex were concerned.

"I think its in intersting you did two Matchbox 20 songs in a row," noted Jake, adding the performance could have been more exciting. "I thought you sang it quite well."

"Perhaps you're a little more ready fot the Top 10 than you were for the Top 22," added Farley. "It's a matter of staying the course and growth. Good job."

After showing a drop-in at the Montreal-area daycare where Khalila Glanville works, the show's camera crew spoke to the competitor about how the show had brought her family back together. Her performance of Roberta Flack's "Killing Me Softly" didn't quite do the same for all the judges, who were split between whether it was mature or uninteresting.

"There was a weight to your voice that I liked a lot there," said Farley. "You sang with a lot of intensity, a lot of control."

"It was mature, it was nice, but there was nothing that's going to make me wake up in the morning and go 'wow, that was amazing,'" countered Zack.

A consistent judge favourite so far, Mission, B.C.'s Carly Rae Jepsen started out her part of the show with a taped segment visiting her band's regular venue. Her number one hit of choice was Feist's 2005 hit "Inside and Out," itself a cover of the Bee Gees' 1979 hit "Love You Inside Out."

"I didn't get it," said Zack, while giving props for a segment at the onset of the song where her silouette was framed by the lights in Bond-girl style. "I dug the Bond thing at the beginning but after that it seemed like you were short on energy, short on singing."

"I can applaud the effort to entertain but I think you could have gone over the top even more," added Farley.

For Hamilton's Brian Melo, the bio video visited his hometown, old friends and his mom's Portuguese home cooking. Before fending off host Ben Mulroney's desperate attempts to get a dinner inviation Chez Melo, he pleased the crowd with the same memorable song from his audition, Tonic's "If You Could Only See."

"I'm really happy you picked that song," said a pleased Jake. "That's... why we kept sticking with you all the way, because we saw that audition. You had a chance to sing it in front of all these people. You did a great job man, you're living up to it."

"I was really happy to see that performance," added Sass. "I thought there was some really major intensity that I haven't seen before."

For Mila Miller, the evening's performance was a chance to hopefully prove to Canada that she deserved a break from being part of the weekly bottom four. Unleashing her powerful pipes on Stevie Wonder's classic "Signed, Sealed, Delivered," the clarinet-playing roller coaster freak gave her least panel-acclaimed performance so far on the show.

"I didn't get the sense that was a competitive performance, it was just a performance," said Farley. "I would have wanted it to be a little more intense."

"I didn't think you sang it very well and I thought it was some old-school-who-cares-oh-well," added a less forgiving Zack. "I thought we went to the Top 10 to sing, not to show up like we're at some sort of barmitzvah."

Classic country crooner Jaydee Bixby used his home visit to show the Idol cameras around his hometown of Drumheller, Alberta. After noting that he likes visiting senior citizens' homes because of the respect they have for his kind of music, he launched into Conway Twitty's 1958 B-side (which eventually became a hit) "It's Only Make Believe."

"That was a fantastic performance," said Farley. "When we first saw you, you were an anomoly for us but you're no longer an anomoly, you're going to be one of the most famous people on the planet."

"You're a little awkward in your movement, but from the waist up it reminded me as if we were seeing that next Bobby Darin," said Jake, while Jaydee nodded eagerly and beamed. "(You're like) that 1950s pop star that had everything going for him."

Greg Neufeld's biographical introduction showed him playing with his band DiMarco in front of a screaming crowd in his home town of Abbotsford, B.C. Despite weeks of singing songs the judges just couldn't get enough of, his version of The Killers' "All These Things That I've Done" earned what seemed like his worst review yet in both his years in the competition.

"I think that you broke out of the stuff you're been doing into stuff you shouldn't be doing,:" Zack admonished before moving into slight gibberish. "Your upper register was like chalk nails on a board."

Sass disagreed.

"I liked that a lot," she said. "You broke out of the stuff you've been doing normally and you really delivered it, that was a really good performance."

Before her rendition of her second Celine Dion song in a row, Martha Joy took the show's viewers to a large family gathering - one of many where she always seems to find herself singing. Her choice of "The Power of Love" was crystal clear, but left the judges wondering what else she could do.

"I thought vocally really strong but... I felt the arrangement of that song seemed deliberate and slow and it felt like you were just milking it instead of just going with it," noted Jake. "You can sing well. We already know that"

"I'm at the point now where I'm absolutely convinced of your skill set," added Farley. "You are undeniably amazing, straight up."

Tara Oram's bio took her back to her home island of Newfoundland, where she tearfully greeted a mob of fans upon getting off her airplane. Her version of Shania Twain's "You Win My Love" was likely enough to win her a spot in the Top 9, the judges thought.

"The performance was really strong like it always is from you and you know your voice and I think you do a great job with what you've got," said Sass.

"There are some limitations to your range and the top of what you do," said Zack, who then changed tactic by listing the ways Tara maneovers around her shortcomings with grace. "You cut off the note and you throw to the other thing or whatever. That was the first time since the 22 started that I actually really dug what you did."

The last singer of the night was Matt Rapley, who told the cameras that he learned how to sing at the church where his father is a pastor. After heading home to give a brief performance to his Regina high school, Matt was back on the Idol stage singing Gladys Knight's "Heard it Throught the Grapevine."

The judges were split on how good it was.

"Nice, energetic performance," Farley said. "Well done."

"You sang ok" added Jake. "I just didn't get a lot of vibe from it."

Find out which member of the Top 10 in announced on the results show on Tuesday, July 18 at 9:30 p.m. ET on CTV

...

Mila Miller becomes first competitor cut from Top 10

Updated Thu. Jul. 19 2007 12:57 AM ET

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Eye on Idol

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Mila Miller learns she has been eliminated from Canadian Idol's Top 10.

Woodbridge, Ont. soul diva Mila Miller succumbed to Canadian Idol elimination Wednesday night after weeks of struggling to hold onto her spot on the show.

Her performance of Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" the previous night wasn't enough to break the plague that saw her reappear in the bottom three almost every week since viewer voting began at Top 22. After more than 2.5 million votes were cast the night before, she failed to make the cut.

"I didn't get the sense that was a competitive performance, it was just a performance," judge Farley Flex said on performance night. He reprised his comments before the results were announced, telling all the competitors that "this is a competition and it's critical that you guy see this as a competition and put your best foot forward."

When asked who he thought would be eliminated, judge Jake Gold also singled out Miller.

After announcing Miller's imminent departure, host Ben Mulroney offered his heartfelt condolences to a competitor he saw as brave, original and full of talent.

"You didn't have a lot of experience when you came into this," he said. "You brought something unique to this stage, this raw, unbridled enthusiasm."

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Mila Miller sings her final song as a Canadian Idol competitor.

Before ending the episode with her final performance as a Canadian Idol competitor, Miller thanked her fans for voting and promised to use the opportunity she was given as a stepping stone.

"I think this is just the beginning to something better," she said.

The bottom three also included Montreal's Khalila Glanville and, for the first time in the show, Mission, B.C.'s Carly Rae Jepsen, who judge Zack Werner has pegged as one of the best performers in the entire group.

The makeup of the bottom three was notable in that none of the competition's males were among the lowest vote-getters, predicting a tough time for the ladies in the coming weeks.

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Rihanna performs her number one hit 'Umbrella' on the Canadian Idol stage.

The episode wasn't all bad news, however - it also featured international superstar Rihanna performing her currest number one single "Umbrella" (earning a standing ovation from much of the audience as well as Jake Gold) and group performances by the male and female competitors ("Far Away" by Nickelback and Avril Lavigne's "Keep Holding On").

Watch Monday's show at 9 p.m. ET to see the Top 9 perform the hits of the 1960s.

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Courtesy of; CTV CANADIAN IDOL

Top 9 amaze judges withone of best shows ever

Updated Tue. Jul. 24 2007 3:32 PM ET

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Eye on Idol

After weeks of judge reprimands for choosing songs from eras past, Canadian Idol's Top 9 had a good excuse to rock the hits from the good old days - 1960s theme week. Choosing some of the decade's grittiest songs, the competitors showed their ability to relate to music well beyond their years.

They gave one of the best performance shows so far this year, and according to judge Sass Jordan after the show finished, the best show the series has ever seen in its five years.

Before the singing got started, judges Farley Flex and Jake Gold both noted how important it would be for the competitors to choose songs they could relate to considering none were alive in the decade the music was made.

"It was such a meaningful era," said Farley. "I hope each contestant buys into what the theme is all about. It's a great opportunity to show who you are and what is meaningful to you."

"I think the times today are a lot like the sixties in terms of political and social situations," added Jake. "At the same time I think they really have to connect to the lyrics. From the list I see in front of me, I think they're going to do really well tonight."

First to hit the stage was crowd-pleaser Jaydee Bixby, who kicked off the show with the Elvis version of the "Runaway," an upbeat song full of call-and-response parts. Making full use of the show's talented back-up singers for the falsetto sections, he performed his song wearing a dyed pink daisy on the lapel of his dress shirt.

"I've got to tell you -- while I thought you sang it really well in terms of the notes, I felt you weren't in the pocket off the top," said Jake.

"I'm really glad you decided to show a little chest hair this week," joked Zack Werner, then getting into the tough stuff. "You were grooveless off the top and I couldn't hear if you were singing the right notes."

Next up, Tara Oram kicked her country charm into high gear with an energized version of Dwight Yoakam's take on "Suspicious Minds," originally performed by Elvis Presley. The judges were highly impressed with the way she'd out their advice to be more physical to good use.

"It took you vocally a couple places I haven't seen you go," said Farley. "It showed a lot of things I haven't seen you do before."

"That was the best performance I have seen from you by far," added Sass. "Awesome, awesome energy."

Another competitor who'd seen constant urging by the judges to start playing at a higher level was Regina gospel singer Matt Rapley. Using his big pipes and deep voice, he belted out a commanding version of the Allman Brothers' "Whipping Post," using the full stage and emoting every word.

"This is a whole new game kids," said Zack, after Sass was so impressed she could only repeat "oh my God" before passing the spotlight to her colleague. "This is a whole new game and Matt Rapley came to play."

"Last week... they showed you singing gospel and I thought 'why isn't this guy throwing it down like gospel?'" Jake told him. "Well, that's what you just did. That's who you are, man. (It) blew my mind."

For Dwight d'Eon, the big challenge this week was winning over Sass, who'd been uncharacteristically harsh on his vocal ability in recent weeks. Choosing the Guess Who's "Undun" for his performance, the artist known as "Double D" (only by host Ben Mulroney) sang the tune with a soft, lounge-like twist.

"It was a really good opportunity for you to show off how you can sing melody because we haven't really seen a lot of that from you," noted Jake. "I thought it was a good song choice for you."

"That was the best singing I've ever heard from you," added Sass, much to Dwight's joy and relief. "That was the most in tune you've been."

Another singer coming off a rough week, Carly Rae Jepsen certainly was feeling some pressure after landing in the bottom three the week earlier -- for the first time so far in the competition. Reaching into her deep pool of creative vocal tricks, she pulled off a highly stylized version of Ray Charles' "Georgia on My Mind" that left all four judges more proud than ever they'd discovered her.

"The music makes you do what you do and you let it do it," said Farley, impressed with the way she moved as if she had no other choice. "That's an amazingly astute thing for an artist to do."

"There may have been some notes here and there that weren't killer," added Zack. "But I think of all the people here, you are one of one or two that if you were on the radio I'd recognize your voice or I'd recognize you visually."

Brian Melo also seemed to finally be coming into his own with his performance, owning the stage during his performance of "Bold As Love," a song initially sung by Jimi Hendrix and more recently redone by John Mayer. He finished off his song by throwing the mic stand across the stand in perfect time with the final beats, earning him a somewhat stern talking-to from the show's concerned host.

"How much is the band loving you right now, getting to kick some Hendrix?" said a beaming Sass. "That was an excellent performance. I really enjoyed it."

"One of the good things I can say about tonight is that only one person goes home tomorrow," mused Zack. "Right now everyone is stepping up. Dude, that was the first time that I completely bought in. That was you being you. It was a real fierce performance."

Montreal's Khalila Glanville took over the stage with another down-tempo powerhouse of a song. After singing Aretha Franklin's "Natural Woman," she was eager to give a shout-out to her supporters back at home, ending her time onstage by thanking the audience and her fans in French.

"You are definitely not disappointing us tonight," Sass - a fellow Montreal girl -- said. "That was fantastic. The best thing you've done so far."

"You made me feel like a very natural man during that performance," noted Farley. "Good job. That was black velvet."

After admitting earlier in the week that he'd had trouble choosing a song because he doesn't listen to a lot of 1960s music, Greg Neufeld settled on a song that had a recent life as well. Choosing "Long Black Veil," a song originally by Johnny Cash but later covered by Dave Matthews Band, he gave a subdued performance, emulating the Man in Black himself in a black shirt and dress pants.

"My guess is that was better on TV than it was for me," said Zack. "It sounded kind of uptight and really not in the pocket. Lucky for you, you're Canada's next Top Model, so it probably doesn't matter."

"That was so smooth and so calm and so together," added Jake. "It really showed your ability to be a pro, and that's what you are, a pro."

The final singer of the night was Martha Joy, a competitor who'd seen hardly any negativity from the judging panel. This was the show where her luck changed, as the three male judges all found very little to love in her performance of "Love Child" by Diana Ross and the Supremes.

"I don't think you should be singing songs like that," advised Jake. "I really believe that you weren't in the pocket and you don't know how to groove with songs like that. It just didn't work for me at all."

"I think it was the best thing you've done so far and the most energy I've seen so far," countered Sass. "It really makes a difference."

See who Canada decides to keep around for Top 8 - and a chance to workshop with Enrique Iglesias - on Tuesday, July 24 at 9:30 p.m. ET on CTV.

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Viewers make 'unnatural' choice in Khalila's elimination

Updated Wed. Jul. 25 2007 1:46 PM ET

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Eye on Idol

After giving what the judges rated her best performance yet with Aretha Franklin's "Natural Woman," Canadian Idol competitor Khalila Glanville didn't exactly seem like the natural woman for elimination.

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Khalila Glanville sings her last song as a competitor on Canadian Idol's stage.

Unfortunately for the Dorval native, her killer performance was part of one of the strongest shows in Canadian Idol history and the votes just didn't add up in her favour when results night came and Glanvile was cut from the show.

Still, ending her run at Top 9 was pretty impressive for someone who began the season as a much more timid version of her current self and who said she "auditioned the first year Idol started and they were like... no."

"I've learned being on Canadian Idol that you can never stop dreaming because you never know," she said at the end of the show. "If you push yourself your dreams might come true... I'm never going to stop performing."

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After learning of her elimination, Khalila Glanville gets some support from her pals in the Top 9.

Host Ben Mulroney was sad to see Glanville go and wished her a heartfelt farewell as soon as he had the chance.

"I don't think anyone has left this show earlier on a higher note than the performance you gave last night," said Mulroney. "That was for me truly a showstopping experience and I thank you for having given it to us on this stage."

The performance had also been something special to judge Farley Flex, who week after week stated how impressed he was with the way Glanville continued to improve.

"You made me feel like a very natural man during that performance," he'd said after Monday's performance show. "Good job. That was black velvet."

When asked who he thought would be eliminated on Tuesday's episode, he'd placed a tentative bet on Martha Joy, who received her worst reviews of the season after her performance of "Love Child" by Diana Ross and the Supremes.

"Based on performance, I'd have to say maybe Martha Joy but I don't think that should happen," he said, after a bottom three was announced that included Khalila, Martha and Hamilton's Brian Melo, a seeming regular in the bottom three.

The show also featured a segment that put potential elimination in perspective for many of the competitors, a video of their visit earlier in the week to the Ronald McDonald House in London, Ont.

A place to stay for out-of-town familes whose children are receiving treatment at a city hospital, the house was filled with brave and resilient kids who were thrilled for a visit from the Canadian Idol Top 9. The competitors sang, played and even got their faces painted, and left with a new perspective on what's imporant in life.

After the pre-taped segment, they launched right into a knockout performance of this year's first Idol single, Amanda Marshall's "Believe in You." Dedicated to sick children across the country, the song is available for download from Telus, Puretracks and iTunes with proceeds going to help build a family retreat for clients of Ronald McDonald House.

Next week the Top 8 Idols will workshop with Grammy winner Enrique Iglesias in preparation for the upcoming "Unplugged" episode. See what they come up with on Monday, July 30 at 9 p.m. ET on CTV.

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Courtesy of: CTV, CANDIAN IDOL

Top 8 lose some power when going unplugged

Updated Wed. Aug. 1 2007 1:02 AM ET

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Eye on Idol

Canadian Idol's Top 8 had their hands full for unplugged week: an intimate set-up that included seats for fans on the stage, singing with an acoustic band for the only time this season and facing a panel of judges that seemed even more unforgiving than usual.

Before handing out a series of not-so-sparkling reviews, the judges gave out some last minute hints on what they were expecting from the night's unplugged performances.

"I expect intense emotion and hopefully they'll deliver," said judge Jake Gold.

"The thing with being unplugged is you have to supply your own power," concurred Farley Flex after host Ben Mulroney asked for one of his classic puns.

Martha Joy

Kicking off the night was effortless baladeer Martha Joy, who sang a soft and powerful version of Cyndi Lauper's "True Colours." Along with the rest of the Top 8, she'd been coached this week by world-famous pop star Enrique Iglesias, who was blown away by her powerful pipes.

"She's got such an epic voice for a 16-year-old," said the professionally smooth Enrique. "Imagine when she's 25!"

The judges weren't thrilled with Martha Joy's interpretation, save Sass Jordan, who said it was a great interpretation in Martha Joy's studied style.

"I think there was a horrific note in the middle that was really hair-raisingly bad," added the less tactful judge Zack Werner.

Dwight d'Eon

Next up was Dwight d'Eon, who'd chosen Sting's classic "Every Breath You Take" to perform with his guitar. While Enrique seemed impressed with both the song and the performance, the judges weren't as forgiving.

"You picked one of my top five songs of all time," the pop star had said during his taped workshop with d'Eon. "When he sang it, I forgot about the Police."

"It wasn't the greatest singing you have ever done," said Sass, a seemingly chronic thorn in Dwight's side. "But I do appreciate what you were trying to do up there."

Jaydee Bixby

After weeks and weeks of performing country and rockabilly hits from the 1950s and 1960s, Drumheller's Jaydee Bixby took a step toward the modern era with his choice of Green Day's "Time of Your Life." Meeting the fresh-faced 16-year-old for the first time, Enrique was impressed with his attitude.

"He's innocent but he's real," he said. "And he's not trying to be cool."

The judges were harder on the twang-ridden performance, saying Jaydee's foray outside his comfort zone illustrated why he stayed there so often in the first place.

"Stick to who you are," Farley Flex advised. "Stick to your roots. That exposed so many flaws that I don't think you normally would have."

Tara Oram

Tara Oram was also using unplugged week to step away from her usual style, choosing a Bryan Adams rock ballad instead of her usual new country fare. Enrique seemed to swoon at her performance of "Heaven," one of those movie title-tracks that became more famous than the film itself.

"She sang it with so much innocence and so pure I can imagine anyone in Canada who doesn't like it," he said.

The judges once again disagreed, critiquing Tara's notes while congratulating her for her stage presence.

"I thought you gave an honest performance but I don't think you hit all the notes," said Jake Gold.

Brian Melo

The first grand slam of the night came when Brian Melo took centre stage for a renditon of the Black Crowes gritty ballad "She Talks to Angels." With a rosary wrapped around his left hand, he belted out the tune in a way that helped everyone in the house forget there had ever been another version of the song.

"It already feels like he's a superstar and he's sold millions of albums," said Enrique.

"You used all the flaws in your voice as assets," said Zack. "That was killer, dude."

Matt Rapley

After stealing the stage last week with a commanding version of the Allman Brothers' "Whipping Post," the judges were expecting a new level of performance from Regina's Matt Rapley. Instead, he seemed to shrink back to his soft and friendly ways when he sang Bill Withers' "Ain't no Sunshine," prompting suggestions for improvement from both the special guest and the judging panel.

"He's got the rhythm, the voice and the passion, I just feel he needs to be more angry at times," Enrique said.

"I just still think that when you show the real grit... it would have been that much better," said Farley. "You've got to slam it a little harder."

Carly Rae Jepsen

Always a judge favourite, Carly Rae Jepsen had no trouble wooing the ladies' man/houseguest after singing her acoustic version of Natalie Imbruglia's "Torn." The judges seemed to be won over just as easily, with agreement from all sides that Carly Rae has a knack for making cover songs her own like few singers they've ever heard.

"You have the type of gift that the minute you sing... I know I'm going to go buy the record," Enrique told her. "That's what I would do."

"This girl is singular, she is identifiable," said Zack, who rushed the stage after the judging to give Carly a huge hug. "I love what you do."

Greg Neufeld

Ending off the night was another panel golden boy, Abbotsford's Greg Neufeld. Not one to dissapoint, he closed the show with a pitch-perfect rendition of Bryan Adams' "Ready to Love You," making even the world's biggest selling Spanish-language artist feel a tinge of jealousy and prompting yet another post-judging hug from the atypically chummy Zack.

"You have that type of voice that I wish I had," Enrique said to a shocked Neufeld. "That raspiness, it's perfect."

"Fantastic performance," noted Jake. "You have it all, you really do."

Find out who Canada sends home - and see Enrique Iglesias perform two songs from his new album - on Tuesday, July 31 at 9:30 p.m. ET.

...

Martha Joy ends her Idol run with a tearful farewell

Updated Thu. Aug. 2 2007 12:19 AM ET

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Eye on Idol

Studied Toronto songstress Martha Joy had a chance to show her off true colours Tuesday night when she was eliminated after singing the Cyndi Lauper classic of the same name. While usually intense and unshakeable, the 16-year-old could hardly make it through her emotional final song, choking out the lyrics and eventually giving up altogether when the rest of the Top 8 gathered around for a hug.

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Martha Joy gets ready to sing her last song as a Canadian Idol competitor.

Martha Joy learned of her elimination after a high energy results show that included a two-song performance by this week's mentor, pop star Enrique Iglesias.

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Enrique Iglesias performs his 1999 hit 'Just Wanna Be With You.'

Singing "Somebody's Me" from his new album Insomniac and "Be With You," a number one hit from 1999's Enrique album, the seasoned performer had the whole crowd on its feet as he danced on the judges' desk and through the audience.

Also singing in the show was the Top 8, who kicked off the evening with a group performance of 10,000 Maniacs' "These Are Days," featuring Greg Neufeld and Dwight d'Eon on acoustic guitar and Brian Melo on the shaking stick.

Once the singing had finished, host Ben Mulroney did a quick run-through of the judge comments each competitor had received the night earlier, calling Martha and gospel crooner Matt Rapley to centre stage as the night's bottom two vote getters. Judges Farley Flex and Sass Jordan were both clear that they didn't agree with Canada's selection.

"Neither of these two were in the bottom of performances last night and that's a fact in my opinion," said Farley.

"For me there wasn't anything missing," added Sass.

Judge Zack Werner disagreed, asserting that "the best people in the show are still on the couch according to what happened last night, and that's that."

After announcing it was indeed Martha who wouldn't be joining the Top 7 in workshops with Queen's Brian May and Roger Taylor this week, Ben threw in his two cents about the singer's time on the show.

"Without fail, every single week at least one of these judges mentions that the power and poise you had on this stage is coming from someone who's only 16," he said. "There's no doubt in anyone's minds here that your future is so bright. We know we're going to see much, much more from you."

As her parents sat motionless and emotionless in the audience - the news was clearly still sinking in for them - their daughter's farewell reel played her final words to her fans.

"I've learned how strong I can be not only physically but emotionally," she said. "This isn't the end so I hope to see you all again."

From there, she launched into her tearful final song, beginning with the lyrics "show me a smile, then, don't be unhappy."

See the Top 7 sing the songs of Queen next week after workshops with Roger Taylor and Brian May -- Monday, Aug. 6 at 9 p.m. on CTV.

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Top 7 to fans during Queen week: 'Don't stop me now!'

Updated Wed. Aug. 8 2007 1:09 AM ET

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Eye on Idol

Canadian Idol's Top 7 took to the stage with the music of Queen Monday night and -- thanks to coaching sessions with the legendary rock act's Brian May and Roger Taylor -- managed to avoid biting the dust.

Covering the songs of a band popular enough to sell more than 200 million albums worldwide was no easy task for the show's remaining singers. Judge Farley Flex advised that they go into the evening trying to be themselves while singing the songs with as much energy as they can muster -- without trying to be (Queen singer) Freddie Mercury.

"Each one of them has to come out here and entertain," he said at the beginning of the show. "Don't worry about the falsetto thing."

Brian Melo

Kicking off the show was a strong performance by Hamilton's Brian Melo, singing the 1995 release

"Too Much Love Will Kill You." Written by Brian May, the song seemed to evoke a particular sense of pride in the Queen guitarist during Melo's mentoring session.

"I was lost in it," May said. "I think he sings from the heart. He absolutely nailed it, definitely."

The judges wholeheartedly agreed, save for Zack Werner, who thought "pitchwise I thought it was sketchy all over the place."

Greg Neufeld

Next on the docket was Abbotsford darling Greg Neufeld, who made a gamble in choosing one of Queen's biggest hits, "We Are the Champions." His interpretation was unique and flawless, giving Taylor (Queen's drummer) an impression of just what kind of attention Neufeld must be getting from his fans.

"You're very sure with the mic," Taylor noted. "Do you get a big girl following?"

"You got one word wrong," joked judge Sass Jordan after Neufeld's live performance. "It's not 'We Are the Champions,' it's you."

Carly Rae Jepsen

The normally sweet and sultry Carly Rae Jepsen unleashed a whole new side of performance fury with her version of 1974 hit "Killer Queen." Wearing a ballerina-style skirt, she pranced across the stage and belted out her tune, even stealing a note of the accompanyment from piano man Mark Lalama when she joined him on his bench.

"You picked the hardest lines to sing," said an impressed May. He later told the cameras that Jepsen "has such a twinkle like a little star. You can't possibly watch a performer like that and not smile."

"First of all, I love how you look tonight," cooed judge Jake Gold. "I like that you took the cabaret-style theme. I think that was fabulous. I really liked your performance."

Matt Rapley

Choosing a song that very much reflected the tone of the competition, Regina's Matt Rapley made an attempt to bring back the power of his breakthrough Top 9 performance with "Under Pressure." His velvety voice took command of the song, but the judges didn't find that it matched as well as could have with the music.

"I thought as you went along here and there you hit some really strong moments," said Werner, suggesting he would have liked to see more energy from Rapley. "I would have liked to start that song out with hitting you with a cattle prod."

"You've got such power in your voice... seemingly without effort," May noted during Rapley's workshop. "I don't know what's going to happen when he starts putting his whole passionate self into it. He's on a journey of discovery. He doesn't realize his power."

Dwight d'Eon

Picking one of Queen's more high-energy songs, Nova Scotia rocker Dwight d'Eon took his performance to a new level with "Tie Your Mother Down." Singing the opening verse of the song from atop a stack of speakers, d'Eon danced through the audience as he belted out the words and won over just about everyone who was watching.

"You know I'm a big fan of that whole physical style performance," said Flex. "I thought it was really good."

"You hit the notes nice and clean... but try and get a little more of the tune," Taylor had suggested. "It's an easy song to shout."

Tara Oram

Dolled up in a corset and puffy red skirt with a new hairstyle to boot, country crooner Tara Oram took a walk to the wild side with her rendition of 1991's "Headlong." Insterting a bit of country flavour now and again in the form of hoots and kicks, she seemed to make the intense song her very own.

"As far as I'm concerned, she could sing in my band," said May, who wrote the song for Queen. "She's singing my song and that's the way it should be sung."

"You ran out of pipes just like Dwight did because of the energy level, but you sang it from your guts," said Werner, using his particular brand of backhanded compliment to let Oram know she'd done a great job.

Jaydee Bixby

The last ditty in Canadian Idol's Queen songbook went to Albertan Jaydee Bixby, who delivered a slightly-relaxed, slightly-countrified version of "I Want To Break Free." Beginning his performance among the audience, he made one young fan's day when he sang right to her, causing her to wave her "I love Jaydee" poster with even more fervor than before.

"It was quite unique timing," said May at Bixby's workshop. "It's not exactly the same as it was on our version but it was a valid way to do that."

"I felt that for a song about wanting to break free, you didn't really get the message across because you were smiling through the whole thing," noted Gold, echoing comments May had made during Bixby's workshop. "Brian told you and I don't think you listened."

Membership in the Top 6 depends on how Canada reacts to the Idols' interpretation of one of the most popular rock bands of all time. While all of them want to live forever in this Idol game, one will soon learn they will no longer be making the show's rocking world go 'round.

Find out who is eliminated and watch a special performance by the cast of Queen-based musical "We Will Rock You" on Tuesday, August 7 at 9:30 p.m. ET on CTV.

...

Mulroney disappointed in voters after Neufeld cut

Updated Wed. Aug. 8 2007 9:25 AM ET

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Eye on Idol

Canada's decision to eliminate Greg Neufeld wasn't just shocking to Canadian Idol's extremely surprised judges. After announcing the Abbotsford alt-rocker had been received the fewest votes from the previous night's Queen episode, host Ben Mulroney took an unusual departure from his diplomatic facade to express his dismay with the show's voters.

"I don't know what to say," Mulroney began, then deciding to alter his approach. "No, that's not true. I do know what to say. Canada got this wrong. I don't care if I'm not supposed to say that. Canada got this wrong. Anyone watching our show should know. If they don't know, I'm telling them. You are a bona fide star.

"I hope to God that you benefiited as much from being on this show as we benefitted from having you. If that turns out to be the case, your future is absolutely limitless."

Earlier in the show, the judges expressed their extreme displeasure with the bottom three selection, which consisted of Greg Neufeld, his fellow Lower Mainland B.C. resident Carly Rae Jepsen and Hamilton's Brian Melo.

"With respect to the Canadian public, that's absolutely ridiculous," said Farley Flex, shaking his head as he looked directly into the camera.

"Those three, in my mind, were the top three from last night," added Jake Gold. "I think any of them will have a successful career."

After Melo and Jepsen were sent back to the couches with the rest of the safe competitors, the camera panned to Sass Jordan. Her usually animated face was pale and unmoving, her eyes fixed on the stage in look of dissapointed shock.

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Greg Neufeld sings the show out in style after learning he has been eliminated.

Neufeld used his last moment in the Idol spotlight to thank everyone who had supported him during his run on the show.

"Thank you so much guys," he said, the audience rising to their feet to see him off. "It's been the summer of my life. There's some really great singers here... When I move on in my career I hope you guys will be there with me."

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'We Will Rock You' star Yvan Pedneault joins the Idols for a performance of the play's title track.

Before revealing Neufeld's elimination, viewers were treated to a segment featuring the competitors' visit to the Toronto stage production "We Will Rock You," a musical based on Queen's body of work.

After cheering for the week's mentors (Queen's Brian May and Roger Taylor) as they performed with the cast of the show, the Top 7 joined the whole group on stage for a rendition of "The Show Must Go On."

"They're wonderful artists, all seven of them," May told the audience at the Canon Theatre before the song began. "got the feeling that perhaps things (on Canadin Idol) are evolving more toward the singer/songwriters and the really talented people who really should be on TV. God bless 'em."

The taped musical segment didn't mean Tuesday night's live audience was forgotten. The crowd was treated to the Top 7's version of "You're My Best Friend," then performed the title track from "We Will Rock You" alongside the show's male lead, Yvan Pedneault.

Find out what songs the Top 6 choose for Pop/Rock week on Monday, Aug. 13 at 9 p.m. on CTV.

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Courtesy of; CTV.CA

Top 6 find success in singing or performance - not both

Updated Wed. Aug. 15 2007 1:10 AM ET

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Eye on Idol

While the most common form of popular music across Canada, venturing into this week's pop/rock theme wasn't as easy as might have been expected for Canadian Idol's Top 6. Perhaps it was in anticipation of Tueday's Maroon 5 appearance on the show, but the competitors seemed to be on the game with their voice or performance, but rarely both.

Before the singing began, judge Farley Flex reminded the competitors that every week's elimination - particularly Greg Neufeld's at Top 7 - should be seen as an chance to earn even more support.

"To take advantage of an opportunity, first you have to recognize it," said Flex. "This is now an opportunity for everybody else to step up to the plate and prove why they should win this thing."

Judge Sass Jordan agreed.

"I think it's hard for anybody to watch their friends go home very week, but... because it's a competition you take that angst and channel it," she said. "Somebody's got to win, it might as well be (you)."

Tara Oram

Kicking off the night's foray into pop/rock was Tara Oram, a competitor well known for her mastery of country music. Taking one of her first steps out of that genre, she sang Katrina and the Waves's 1986 hit "Walking on Sunshine" to comments that seemed to make her wish she's stayed in her comfort zone.

"I think you have a really great way on stage," said Jordan. I really love watching you. I don't think you sing as good as you act."

Judge Zack Werner was notably less diplomatic.

"I cannot for a moment imagine being a show or a place where someone came out and did something as awful as that," he said.

Jaydee Bixby

In a somewhat less pop/rock choice than expected (but wholly acceptable given judge Jake Gold's definition of the genre as "anything that's popular, anything in the Top 40"), Jaydee Bixby performed Lonestar's "Amazed." A popular song at country music dances across the continent, the loving blallad failed to earned the young Albertan the judge adoration he has been accustomed to.

"I can hear the 16-year-old hearts throbbing all over the nation but unfortunately my ears are throbbing too," said Flex, less than impressed with Bixby's singing.

"I actually think you sang it pretty good, countered Gold. "I think the drawl is a little much. I just don't find it believable. You've got to tap into lyrics and make me feel those words."

Matt Rapley

Performing Michael Bubl

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