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Canada’s Got Talent – Almost at the finish line

By Bill Brioux

They don’t call it Canada’s Got Talent for nothing.

Judges Howie Mandel and Lilly Singh, along with guest judge Jason Priestley, were amazed at the level of performance on display during this week’s second and final semi-final round.

After one act, Toronto’s Trillium Entertainment, twirled and dropped and swung from their toes through the air, an amazed Priestley exclaimed, “I feel like I’ve just watched a Marvel movie!”

The judges voted two more acts on to the finals, and, surprisingly, Trillium wasn’t one of them. They still might get through, however, as viewers picked two more of the nine semi-finalists who competed on this Tuesday’s show. Their names will be revealed at the start of next week’s live finale, which will air Tuesday, May 17 on Citytv.

The Renegades were the first of nine to compete this past Tuesday. The Toronto dance troupe, all dressed in red this time, got the group Golden Buzzer last time. Howie was honest – he said he liked the choreography better during the audition round. Lilly is still obsessed with these dancers and disagreed with Howie – she thought this time was better. Jason, who had not seen them perform live, just went, “Wow!”

Next up was Trillium. As one of them boasted before their performance: “We’re dangling from parts of the body you wouldn’t normally hang from.”

They did their routine to the Stones’ early hit “Paint it Black.” That they did with their costumes, the stage design and the drama they added to a dangerous routine.

“They upped it!” exclaimed Lilly. Howie agreed, saying he was even “throwing up in my mouth” during the performance — and he meant it as a compliment!

Next came Stacey Kay from Cambridge, Ont., who got the Golden Buzzer last time from Kardinal Offishall. She already had the judges with her big voice, but when she started rapping like a machine gun, they were blown away.

“Girl, you are the whole package!” said Lilly. “My panties are in a bunch!” Jason and Howie made no mention of their shorts, but they also loved Stacey.

Ola Dada, a financial advisor-turned-comedian from Fort MacMurray, had the misfortune to follow Stacey onto the stage. The Fallsview theatre is a tough room for comics, and his material was simply not at the level it needed to be to get him through to the next round.

Howie still loves him however and offered plenty of encouragement. “I think you are a star,” he told he Nigeria native. 

Amazing Acro Gymnasts Theo & Mila came next. Trish Stratus’ Golden Buzzer winners, they performed some big, 360 degree flips to Elton John’s “Your Song.” A giant moon was lit behind them on stage, and Teo lifted 16-year-old Mila high up on one hand until she was framed by the moon.

Howie felt they were better this time than in the audition round, with “stunts I’ve never seen before.” Jason, whose two children take gymnastics, said their act was “beautiful.” Lilly called them the act she has thought about the most since the opening round.

Brother and sister singers Esther & Ezekiel from Caledonia, Ont, went next. They sang and harmonized through a ballad made even more moving when it was revealed towards the end that it was all about their mother.

“I’m choaking up,” said Lilly afterwards. “So insanely talented.”

“Really well done,” echoed Howie.

Savio Joseph stood out in the opening round with his feats of magic. This time, the Brampton resident pulled hundreds of five dollar bills out of his own bank, writing the names of famous people on each bill. He was, therefore, actually gambling with his own money to get through to the finals.

It was a complicated trick to explain here, but by the end, he threw all of the bills up in the air and then, with a sword, he stabbed one of them. On it was written the name of the performer all three judges had been thinking of: Drake.

The magic didn’t stop there. Joseph made three more connections, one with each judge. You had to see it to believe it and even then, it was hard to believe.

“Dude, this was awesome!” said Jason. “Super cool, man!” Both Lilly and Howie felt he outdid his prior performance.

Next up was Canine Circus, an animal act from Toronto. The good news is that they use rescue dogs and treat them well. The bad news is they did not appear to heed the judges direction to put their show in order. Howie went so far as the give them an X.

One of my favourites from the first round, Jeanick Fournier from Chicoutimi, Que., wowed the judges again with her golden voice.

“I can’t believe that you don’t already have a residency in Las Vegas,” said Priestley, hearing her perform live for the first time. “You are a living, breathing heart,” said Howie, moved by the singer’s devotion to her children.

At the end of the show, the judges voted two of the acts through to the final: Stacey Kay and Savio Joseph. Canada choose two more, and I’m betting Fournier will be one of them.

NEXT WEEK: Simon Cowell from America’s Got Talent will join his pal Howie and the others at the judges’ table. Eight acts in all will compete for the $150,000 top prize. They also can win 100,000 Airmiles Dream miles and a shot at joining the America’s Got Talent live show in Las Vegas.