All Articles

Canada’s Got Talent: a powerful singer with a harrowing backstory earns Lindsay Ell’s Golden Buzzer


People come to Canada’s Got Talent by air, by car – and some even by pogo stick.

Especially if they are members of the Xpogo Stunt Team, the first act featured on Tuesday’s episode of Canada’s Got Talent on Citytv.

“I never thought I would say these words,” said Lilly Singh after the trio earned a standing ovation from the crowd at OLG Stage at Fallsview Casino, “but I kinda wanna date a pogo-er.” The fit trio flipped and twirled much higher than anyone expected on their new age pogo sticks. It was four yeses all the way.

Next, Alexandria Côté from Thetford Mines, QC, took the stage with what looked to me like two beautiful Border Collies/Australian Shepherds. They flew through the air, caught frisbees and acted as if they were acrobats. “Me and my dog are going to watch this episode over and over and over again,” said Kardinal Offishall. The only judge not wagging her tail was Trish Stratus, a non dog owner who shrugged and said, big deal, she’s done the same thing with her kids. Lilly and Howie nearly rolled over and played dead. Three yeses.

A sweet mom from Victoria, BC named Sima Saxena came on stage and surprised the judges by performing an original number about her mom’s journey to Canada. “That song is going to be my ringtone,” said Lilly, who quickly followed through on that statement. The judges gave a very happy Saxena four big yeses.

Several circus-type acts took the stage next in rapid succession. Duo A3 from Quebec City rolled out on a unicycle and got four yeses. Abebe Erigete from Toronto used a ladder to climb his way into the judge’s hearts. Then, Will Stelfox from Vancouver came right up to the judges desk carrying an apple with four razor blades stuck in it. He terrified everyone at OLG Stage by placing all four razor-sharp blades in his mouth. The judges found that hard to swallow. Lilly and Trish got squeamish and looked away. Howie Mandel warned kids not to try this at home. Stelfox then outdid himself by taking some dental floss, placing it in his mouth and then pulling out the four blades all strung on the line. He finished up by swallowing a mint and inexplicably slicing his throat open with more floss and yanking the mint out of his throat through the front!

More impressed than disgusted, the judges had to admit they’d never seen anything like that. “If this is a start, we can only imagine what is to come,” said Howie, who joined with the others in awarding four big yeses.

Amir Brandon, a wedding singer from Toronto, shook off his nerves long enough to impress all four judges. Another singer, Konah Raynes from Ottawa, followed. He too got four yeses. “As far as male vocalists, I think that’s the best I’ve seen,” said Howie.

Viewers heard next from Anica, a singer/musician from Grand-Barachois, NB. We learned she had endured nine foster homes as a child. “Music helped me make sense of everything I’ve been through,” she said before taking the stage. She rocked the judges and the crowd with a fierce cover of “Unstoppable” by Sia. Anica also impressed host Lindsay Ell, who came down to the desk to slam down the Golden Buzzer, sending the singer straight through to the semi-finals.

“You are such an inspiration for everyone in this room, for all of the millions of people watching,” said Ell, who related to Anica’s harrowing backstory.

You want dance troupes? Tuesday’s episode ended with three of them. First up was Tap Dance Canada, featuring young dancers from all across Ontario. They failed to impress Howie, who gave them a buzzer. “I was disappointed,” he told them. “This was like a high school play.” The other three judges agreed.

Would MVP Dance live up to their name? The Toronto troupe featured nine very different dancers, but they still got four no’s from the unimpressed judges. It all came down to the Cool Giraffes from Edmonton to rise above this low dance bar. Their high energy, very contemporary moves earned a standing “O” from Mandel. As Kardinal pointed out, “Very rarely does a dance crew get Howie on his feet.” Lilly said they crushed it. It was four big yeses for Cool Giraffes to end the night.

Don’t miss an all-new episode of Canada’s Got Talent, Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Citytv and Citytv+, with catch-up available on and the app.

NEXT WEEK: Howie takes a phone call from a celebrity; a singer earns points for wearing Lilly’s white suit; somebody performs, as Howie observes, “without underpants.”

Go to Canada’s Got Talent’s YouTube channel for more of that joyous Golden Buzzer celebration. You can also listen to Howie and Kardinal discuss the new season now on the latest episodes of the podcast.