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Let’s talk Talent: Let the Canada’s Got Talent games begin!

March 24, 2022


By Bill Brioux

It is four yes’s from me for the new season of Canada’s Got Talent on Citytv!

The new northern spinoff, backed by both Fremantle and McGillivray Entertainment Media Inc., premiered Tuesday and I’m happy to report that it hit all the wow factors and emotional high buttons that make this competitive talent series a winner.

The episode began with helicopter shots of Niagara Falls showcasing the series’ Fallsview Casino Resort locale. Then we were introduced to the host, country music singer-songwriter Lindsay Ell, and the judges. Former WWE champ Trish Stratus, rapper Kardinal Offishall, and Internet bawse Lilly Singh all rolled up in limos.

Howie Mandel, who also works the US desk on America’s Got Talent, made his understated entrance on a bicycle.

“I’m home!” Howie bellowed to the packed audience at Fallsview who gave the comedian a standing ovation. “This is more exciting than any other show I do,” he said. “Some of the biggest talent in the world comes from Canada.”

Then the talent parade began. At stake: $150,000 cash courtesy of CIBC plus the chance to perform at the Luxor Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

The first contestants were three siblings from Winnipeg, Man., who comprise the Ivan Flett Memorial Dancers. The trio are skilled in the art of “The Jig,” a traditional Metis dance combining First Nations dance steps with French and Scottish stepping.

Things went from fiddle to hip-hop in a surprise move that wowed the judges and the studio audience. That led to four big yes’s, with Singh declaring that she “popped my booty so hard my back hurts” watching the routine.

When The Jig was up, Naughty Nana DUZ took the stage. The granny from Sudbury, Ont., however, quickly got gonged. Great character, no act declared Mandel. An impersonator from Vancouver also failed to impress.

Next, however, was Courtney Gilmour, a stand-up comic from Toronto who was born without hands. From the moment she hit the stage, she wowed Mandel and the judges with her authenticity and ability to shed some humour on her experiences as a person with a disability.

“No one is happier than me that we are done with handshakes,” she jokes, “except Mandel.”

Just like on the US version of the series, there were quick looks at other contestants, including opera Singer Everett Levi Morrison from Moosonee, Ont.

This led up to a showstopper moment from 14-year-old Shea from Vancouver. The young singer was accompanied by her mother and explained that her father is often away working in China. Then she sang “Like My Father,” a song about finding a man who would love her “like my father loves my mom.”

Well – not a dry eye in the house.

Mandel leapt to his feet and slammed down the series’ first golden buzzer moment. All the judges praised her voice.

There were more highlights to follow, including a barefoot Bollywood fusion dance troupe from Mississauga, Ont., named Shadow Entertainment. Howie didn’t get them at first but Lilly quickly schooled him on why this gang deserved to go on.

The biggest surprise of the night may have been patient attendant Sébastien Savard from Alma, Quebec. The burly violinist shocked the judges when he started balancing large stepladders on his chin while sawing through some classical music. Even more impressive was the fact Savard spent much of the pandemic bringing joy to many whose lives were cut short by the pandemic. Mandel and others were happy to help him up the ladder at this competition.

The show came to a close with the performance of the Lions Gate Chorus, a vocal group of mature ladies from Vancouver. Cartwheels were performed. Mandel offered $1500 if they would sing and dance at a stag party for a friend. Not exactly a golden ticket, but grab it ladies, it’s probably $1500 American!

Miss an episode or want to relive a favourite moment? Rogers Ignite TV customers can catch up on all the episodes via video-on-demand. Simply say “Canada’s Got Talent” into the award-winning Voice Remote and get ready to be amazed by Canada’s talent.

NEXT WEEK: circus acts and another golden moment are promised. Don’t miss Canada’s Got Talent, Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Citytv, with catch-up available on Rogers Ignite TV, and Citytv Now.

Veteran columnist and podcaster Bill Brioux covers television daily at