The cold and pouring rain couldn’t stop more than 1,200 people from signing up to audition for Canadian Idol at Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square Saturday.
A tent was set up for registration, while tryouts took place in holding rooms at the Elgin & Winter Garden Theatre Centre down the street. But before auditions got underway, the music of reigning Canadian Idol Brian Melo filled the square as he sang All I Ever Wanted and Shine.
CTV also treated the hundreds of Idol hopefuls with a special performance by international pop sensation Natasha Bedingfield, who had people on their feet dancing and singing to hit singles Unwritten and These Words.
“The turnout today in the pouring rain is just incredible … it looks like we have more people down here than we did last year, so it was mind-blowing,” said executive producer John Brunton.
The first blue ticket, which advances contestants to the next step in the audition process, was handed out at 1:30 p.m., and within three hours that total had risen to 25.
The first blue ticket was given to Kristen Barons, 24, from London, Ont. She was the 22nd person in line when she arrived at 4:30 a.m.
Barons, who auditioned for the show three years ago in London but didn’t make it past the second round, wanted to take a few years to better her talent and get up the nerve before coming back. She’s done the bar band thing and even worked with a producer out of St. Catharines on a few singles.
This time around, she was lucky to get the same producer she had three years ago, but she still had to prove herself.
“He wasn’t believing it right away. They’re very tough, so I sang four songs and then finally he said ‘Yes,’” said Barons. “He said he really liked my tone, my presence and my personality, and he thinks that I need to have some more power in my voice, so that’s something I’m going to work on before the celebrity judging round.”
For all those who passed the second round of auditions and are moving on to sing in front of the celebrity judges for that coveted gold ticket, which advances contestants further into the competition, Melo suggests keeping the song selection fresh.
“Think of some song you know you can do very well … and show them that you want to win,” Melo said. “And if you’re going to sing a song that’s been done a million times, make sure you kill it.”
Host Ben Mulroney added this piece of advice: “Look at it in part as a job interview … don’t look like you’ve just rolled out of bed,” Mulroney said. “You’re selling yourself to the Canadian people in the image that you project, and if you project the image of a slob, that’s not a star.”