By Bill Brioux
After a nation-wide vote that broke the internet, Canada’s Got Talent has a new champion: Jeanick Fournier.
The Celine Dion-level singer from Chicoutimi, Quebec, wowed the judges and Canadians voting at home in Tuesday night’s finale, seen live from the Fallsview Resort and Casino in Niagara Falls.
“Thank you to all of the people from Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean Québec and Canada for your support. Thanks to my team, my family, my friends, my partner, and my beautiful kids. My love is yours forever,” said the 49-year-old singer.
I have to say she was my choice all along. With her soaring voice and passionate stage presence, Fournier impressed right from her first audition. Her closing anthem Tuesday was “The Show Must Go On” from Queen.
The judges were also very taken with her back story. A palliative care attendant back home, she adopted and is raising two adorable children living with Down’s syndrome at home. Judge Howie Mandel called her the “heart” of the series.
“Just love,” is how he characterized her. During her performance, he was watching her little boy in the audience. “My heart was just bursting, and if that doesn’t open up the votes for everybody in Canada to be just pressing your number, I can’t imagine anything will.”
Clearly, it did. Fournier won the $150,000 top prize, courtesy of CIBC, 100,000 AirMiles and the opportunity to perform in the “America’s Got Talent Las Vegas LIVE” stage show at the Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
Judge Kardinal Offishall told Fournier, “I would definitely pay to come see you in concert. You absolutely destroyed it tonight!”
Simon Cowell, who created the “Got Talent” format which has been exported to 194 territories worldwide, joined the other judges – including Lilly Singh and Trish Stratus – for the finale. He purposely refrained from checking out the talent parade throughout the competition, wanting to see the eight finalists fresh for the first time. While he was not surprised by the level of talent – acts from Canada have gone deep on America’s Got Talent for years – he seemed blown away by what he saw on stage.
“You wrapped up just the most extraordinary night,” he told Fournier. “I’ve just loved the whole evening, the whole show and your story is really, really incredible. And based on everyone, I’ve met tonight, I think I want to live in Canada.”
Fournier was the last of eight finalists to perform Tuesday night, making her win that much more impressive; voters at home had less time to react to her performance than any of the other acts.
She beat out two others in the Top-3: St. John’s singer Kellie Loder, who drew praise from the judges for showcasing an original song, “Moulded Like a Monster.” Record producer Cowell called it a “great song;” Loder motioned back, “Call me.”
Also in the Top 3 was Toronto dance troupe The Renegades, who put on another high-energy dazzler. Howie called it, “the best of the night so far.” Fournier, however, was still to come at that point.
Also competing in Tuesday’s finale was Brampton’s Savio Joseph, who performed a card trick that saw everyone in the audience dealt into the illusion with their own deck of cards. All five judges were speechless after his expert illusion, and wonderful things are predicted for his future.
While some appeared more nervous than others, all of thee acts put on a great show, including Toronto’s Courtney Gilmour, Cambridge’s Stacey Kay, Vancouver’s GRVMNT and Mississauga’s Bollywood specialists Shadow Entertainment.
Host Lindsay Ell announced that a second season of Canada’s Got Talent has already been ordered. The nine-episode series reached more than 1.3 million viewers each week, becoming Citytv’s most-viewed original series in over a decade.
If you missed it, the two-hour finale can be streamed on-demand at Citytv.com.
Bill Brioux covers television daily at brioux.tv and can be heard weekly at brioux.tv: the podcast.