In Hedley’s early days, lead singer Jacob Hoggard spent a lot of energy trying to make people forget that he ever appeared on Canadian Idol.

“There was a period where we worked as hard as we could to separate ourselves from the show,” he says.

So it’s a bit surprising that he’d revisit his Idol past on his new album, The Show Must Go On.

The track, Cha-Ching, pokes fun of all the major reality TV shows, from Survivor to the Biggest Loser.

But he saves some of the better barbs for himself — “Line up all the idols, who paint on phony smiles, tryin’ to ride the fast track for free,” he sings.

In the video he dresses up in a blue spandex outfit — it’s a similar getup to what he wore during an Idol episode — and sings in front of three judges.

“It was time to bring it up and remind everyone of how lightly we take this,” says Hoggard, explaining why he chose to make fun of the very thing that made him famous.

“This isn’t some weird topic you shouldn’t bring up to us.”

Hoggard adds that now was the perfect time to sing about his reality TV days.

For one, the genre is far more outlandish than when he was vying for his 15 minutes, and after two albums that have gone platinum, the singer’s not defined by Idol anymore, even though it remains a piece of their identity.

“We could get away with it because it’s still a part of who we are,” he says. “Plus, it’s a commentary on how far people are willing to go in 2009.”

The band has come a long way since Hoggard was on TV, but Hedley’s new disc takes the band in a completely new direction.

For the most part, the band trades their power punk edge for sunnier mid-tempo pop.

Cha-Ching could be a track off a Smash Mouth album; Hands Up sounds a lot like an Aerosmith tune.

There are more introspective moments — Sweater Song (not a Weezer cover) is a soft and touching finger-picked number.

It’s the best and most interesting track here.

“It’s different and has a very unconventional pop song structure,” says Hoggard about the tune.
The new sound makes the singer a little nervous, though he’s always apprehensive around release dates.

“After you put so much time into something like there, there’s so much stress,” he says.

“But you have to hope for the best and know you did your due diligence and made the best record you could.”

It’s likely the disc will do well, so he doesn’t have to worry about falling back on a reality television career. But if he had to choose one show to be on it might be his favourite program: Wife Swap.

“The British version,” he clarifies. “They get to smoke all the time.”

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