Canada's Got Talent: Contestants take the first step on the 'ladder' to fame

Bob Kapur     March 23, 2022 special guest columnist Bob Kapur recaps Canada's Got Talent airing Tuesdays on Citytv.

Welcome to your official Canada’s Got Talent report on My name is Bob Kapur, and I am happy to be your guide on the journey through the Great White North and all the way to the finals of the world’s greatest talent competition. Each week I’ll give you a rundown of the most recent episode, covering the good, the bad, and in some cases – the truly bizarre. Strap yourself in, because it’s bound to be a fun ride.

Speaking of rides, the episode started off showing the judges making their way to the Fallsview Casino in Niagara Falls for the first round of auditions. While Trish, Lilly Singh, and Kardinal Offishall arrived in style in different fancy cars. Howie Mandel opted for something more simple: a bike that looked he borrowed it from Miss Gulch in The Wizard of Oz. But unlike in her case, it wasn’t a tornado that brought the winds, but rather the helicopter that brought in host Lindsay Ell.


With all the players in the house, it was time for the contestants to take the stage in hopes that they would ultimately win the $150,000 cash prize courtesy of CIBC, and the chance to perform at the Luxor in Las Vegas.

Ivan Flett Memorial Dancers

First up on the stage were this trio of Indigenous siblings from Winnipeg, Manitoba, who were hoping to honour their late grandfather – their team’s namesake – by performing a traditional Metis jig. All the judges were amazed by the fast and fancy footwork – but then were blown away when the traditional music stopped and changed to dubstep, with the team not missing a beat.

The fusion of traditional culture with the surprising modern twist was enough to earn four yesses from the judges, advancing the team to the next round.

Personally, I liked the routine, but I worry about whether the act has the legs (pardon the pun) to go too much further in the competition. They were certainly entertaining, but will they be able to continue bringing something new to the table? Of course, Riverdance got its start on a similar competition and it’s been going on for nearly 30 years, so anything is possible.

Naughty Nana Duz / Bonnie Kilroe

A short clip aired from Nana’s audition. While Howie enjoyed Nana’s grandmotherly character, he pointed out that she was missing one crucial element from her stand-up comedy routine: the comedy. He gave her the big red X, and Nana hey hey goodbye.

Similarly, musical impersonator Bonnie Gilmour was given an early exit. Her Dolly Parton was a bust, her Cher was better left unshared, and she put the REBA in REalBAd.

Courtney Gilmour

On the other hand, where those “comedians” failed, however, Courtney Gilmour was there to pick up the slack. That previous sentence would undoubtedly be played for laughs by the Toronto-based Gilmour, whose routine referenced the fact that she was born without hands. A potentially touchy subject for humour, Gilmour made it work perfectly. To the point that while both Kardinal and Lilly were initially worried about laughing at those kinds of jokes, by the end they were won over and were simply caught up in the humour.

Which, for Courtney, was the point. She said she wanted to represent and inspire people with disabilities to go out and achieve their dreams. To that end, Howie told her that she was more than funny, but what she was doing is also important. And it helps reinforce the message that we shouldn’t be afraid to laugh with someone, even if the first instinct is to feel uncomfortable about it. “If it’s funny, it’s funny,” he concluded.

Musical Act clip montage

The unfortunate part about the episode being only an hour-long is that we weren’t treated to see all of the acts that auditioned.

Instead, we got a short montage of clips from the auditions of: classical vocalist Christina Smith from Scarborough, Ontario; Everett Levi Morrison, an opera singer from Moosonee, Ontario; and the Volare Tenors, a vocal group trio from Edmonton, Alberta. All of them were fantastic, with the Volare Tenors in particular hitting some beautiful harmonies. All three acts were put through to the next round, deservedly so.

Based on the short clips, I could easily see the Volare Tenors in the finals.


Someone who else may be finals-bound is this 14-year old singer from Vancouver, BC. In the tradition of other single-named singing superstars like Adele, Jewel, and Dido, Shea killed it, nailing her performance of Jax’s “Like My Father” which she said reminded her of her parents and their togetherness despite her father having to spend a lot of time away from the family because of work.

Shea’s voice was as clear and sweet as a mountain stream, tender and soft in the early moments. And her performance just kept getting better as the song went along, hitting the powerful crescendo before softening back down to a near-whisper near the end. Her love for music shone through every note, and it was a truly emotional performance.

Things got even more emotional, though, when Howie guaranteed Shea a spot in the semi-finals by hitting the Golden Buzzer. Each judge has only one Golden Buzzer pick – and this one was well-deserved.

Montage – Group acts

Clips were shown of the Great White Sharks, a cheerleading team from Cambridge, Ontario, and MRTKD, a martial arts academy from Red Deer County, Alberta. Both acts put on an impressive array of athletics and stunts, with the highlights being some incredible aerials by the Sharks and a couple of jaw-dropping kick sequences by MRTKD that looked like they were right out of the Mortal Kombat video game. Both teams were put through.

Shadow Entertainment

I was in the audience the day this Bollywood Fusion dance team auditioned. And while the act – which saw traditional bhangra dancing blended with hip-hop street style – came off as impressive on TV, live, the reaction blew the roof off the building.

Lilly was particularly impressed by the team’s performance, and was sympathetic of their desire to break free from traditional Indian cultural expectations that don’t consider dance and the arts to be serious endeavours worth pursuing. Which maybe explains why she was ready to fight Howie who questioned whether the group was as tight on stage as they should have been. In the end, after Trish and Kardinal voiced their Yesses and Lilly told Howie that the moves came off the way they were supposed to, Howie conceded to not be an expert in the dance style, and made the vote unanimous.

I’m going to take a hot take on this one. To me, an audition is only as strong as the initial gut reaction it generates. If the judge doesn’t like the act, they shouldn’t put them through. To me, Howie should have stuck to his guns.

Sebastien Savard

Speaking of sticking, could glue or duct tape have been the secret to how Sebastien Savard from Alma, Quebec managed to balance a ladder on his face while playing a fiddle? Yes, you read that right. He balanced a ladder on his face while playing a fiddle. Two of them, actually. First he balanced a six-foot ladder on his chin. And later - with some assistance by Lindsay to initially steady it – he managed to balance a ladder that was so high that it would make Jeff Hardy proud on his chin. While playing a fiddle. And sure, he wasn’t Charlie Daniels level. But then again the long-haired country boy never battled the Devil while balancing a freaking ladder on his chin!

That’s some superhero kind of stuff right there. But it’s not the only heroic thing about Savard who, during the pandemic, decided to become a Patient Attendant devoted to helping seniors, to help ease their pain by providing them with a friendly and uplifting face. And speaking of uplifting, did I mention he lifted a ladder up onto his face? And played the fiddle while doing it?
All of the judges were as impressed as I was, and they put him through.

Lions Gate Chorus

As impressed as I was with Savard, Howie was just as impressed with the last act of the night, this all-women’s choir from Vancouver, BC. Averaging around 50 years old, the ladies said they all joined together in a spirit of camaraderie and friendship – basically they’re a large group of ride-or-dies who like to celebrate life and music together. Their love for each other poured out of the TV screen, especially when one of the women shared the emotional story of her losing her daughter and how the rest of the troupe rallied around her to support her during that time.

On stage, they sang a glorious acapella version of Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” with some really fun choreography and some impressive gymnastics – including some cartwheels and handstands.

Trish was amazed by the performance, calling them incredible and electric. Lilly got emotional in seeing older women who commanded the stage with empowerment and a can-do-anything attitude. Howie was so impressed, he even offered to rent a party bus to transport the group to perform at a friend’s bachelor party. Needless to say, the Lions Gate Chorus went through, and we’re going to hear them roar some more.

Other thoughts:
  • In one backstage segment, the judges took turns trying to imitate Kardinal Offishall’s booming laugh. None of them could do it particularly well. It’s actually kind of scary in a horror movie evil laugh kind of way.

  • At the top of the show, the judges were asked what kinds of talent they were hoping to see showcased during the season. Lilly said she was looking forward to see a wide range of acts given how diverse the Canadian talent pool is. Trish is just hoping to see an act that will make a lasting impression.

  • How do we know this is a Canadian show? By the fact that nobody really came across as being the “mean judge” during this episode. The closest thing we got was hearing Howie get booed for his comments about Shadow Entertainment. And he wasn’t even particularly harsh with his criticisms – he just said he “didn’t get it.” We’ll see if that changes later. If you’ve seen Trish in a wrestling ring, you know she can get mean and verbally (and physically) tear you apart. Lilly is no stranger to snark in her stand-up. Kardinal Offishall looks like he could make you cry. And Howie has to have picked up some insults from sitting so close to Simon Cowell for so many years.

What did you all think of the show? Let me know in the comments below.

Stills from show »

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