Canada's Got Talent: Freaks thrive on audition week 5

Bob Kapur     April 19, 2022 special guest columnist Bob Kapur recaps Canada's Got Talent airing Tuesdays on Citytv.

This week’s episode featured a bunch of acts that were reminiscent of things you’d see at an old-time carnival freak show, with people doing some really extreme and unpleasant things to their own bodies. But amidst all of the bizarre, there was also the sublime. In this case, two singing acts that really stole the show – with one of them earning the fifth and final Golden Buzzer from judge Kardinal Offishall.

Acts with Props clip montage

The episode started off with a few clips of auditions from people whose acts utilized props. Christina Munchinsky from Canbrook, BC, put her personal spin on some hula hoop trickery; Justin Bereczki from Port Stanley, Ontario, did a crack job using his whip; and Ian Stewart from North River, Nova Scotia, did a ballsy juggling act which included flipping a chainsaw between his legs. They didn’t show the voting for all of the acts, but based on the reactions from the audiences and the judges, presumably all of them made it through to the next round.


Alliszon, from White Rock, BC, had a shell of an act, using a conch as a musical instrument. The crowd seemed befuddled by her performance, an odd – if not surprisingly in-tune - version of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” It’s hard to tell if Howie actually liked the quirkiness of the act, as he insisted that he loved it and was the only one of the judges not to hit the X on Alliszon. But after the other three did, Kardinal actually walked over and hit Howie’s X, making it unanimous. Well, Alliszon, you know what they say: life’s a beach.

Cathy Boyd

While most people in their 60s are content to retire and take it easy, Cathy, from Toronto, Ontario, decided to instead pursue her dream of being a stand-up comic. Her dry humour, which centered mostly around her family, struck a chord with the judges, who gave her Yesses across the board.

Esther & Ezekiel

This teenage brother and sister duo from Caledonia, Ontario, were taught to sing by their mother, who moved the kids to Canada from Uganda to escape persecution for being a gay woman. They said they were in the competition so that they could one day take her someplace in return – Las Vegas, where they will get to perform should they win. Though they were obviously nervous while speaking with the judges, they found a higher level of confidence while performing the song “No Air,” by Jordin Sparks and Chris Young.

The performance was hard to describe. Both of them sang in various tones which made it sound at times that they had more than two voices on stage. Ezekiel in particular had runs that ranged from baritone to Mariah Carey soprano, and despite being at the age where you’d expect his voice to crack (13 years old), there was nary a Peter Brady crack during his performance.

All the judges were blown away by the performance, and Kardinal even predicted that these two could very well make it all the way to the finals. We may find out, as they got four well-deserved Yesses.

Physical Feats montage

Up next were clips from two acts that were going to attempt to set new world records. Darrien Thomas from Bowmanville, Ontario, is ranked number one in Canada and number 22 in the world at competitive eating, and – in true Canadian fashion – was going for the record to eat the most donuts in two minutes. Meanwhile, the Monsters of Schlock – billed as the World’s Most Extreme Circus Sideshow Comedy act – were going for the record for setting off the most animal traps on a human body in a minute. Both acts succeeded in performing their gross-out stunts to set new records. Howie was so excited about their feats that Trish actually had to pick him up off his feet and deposit him back in his own chair, as he was excitedly walking up to the other judges and whooping loudly in their ears. He’s lucky she didn’t carry him all the way to the stage and put him into an animal trap. Note to Howie: if you get the urge to whoop loudly into Trish’s ears, donut do that again. They didn’t show the judges’ voting, but it’s safe to assume that both acts made it through.

Chucky Mady

Speaking of world records, ZZZ from Windsor, Ontario, was looking to break his own world record by tearing the lids off of 24 aluminum soda cans with his teeth. He exhibited a truly can-do attitude, tearing through 41 of them in the minute. But it still wasn’t enough to impress Trish, who gave him the big red X halfway through the audition. Kardinal wondered how Chucky could take it further should he advance to the next round, and Chucky said he has a lot more to come should he go through. Howie gave him some advice on the presentation, and gave him a Yes to give him another opportunity to impress. Lilly and Kardinal were intrigued enough to give Chucky the benefit of the doubt, and with three Yesses, he’s through to the next round.

Danny ZZZZ

The extreme acts continued with Danny, an escape artist from St. Catharines, Ontario. Danny’s act was to get put into a box and covered with bugs and snakes. Answering Lilly as to why he would subject himself to such extreme measures, Danny said that it was to commemorate his son Mason who passed away a year ago and to make sure that his name is never forgotten. And to send the message to his surviving kids that tragedy can’t define you, and you have to keep pressing on. Which may be hard to do when you have a bunch of bugs and snakes pressing down on you while you’re handcuffed at the bottom of a wooden box. But Danny was able to escape without apparent injury.

The judges were moved by Danny’s story and they were all impressed that he was able to channel his grief into his performance, and they celebrated him – and Mason – with unanimous Yesses.

My hot take: Danny’s story is certainly sympathetic and inspiring. But, frankly, I found the act itself to be somewhat lackluster and almost generated some zzzz’s. First, while bugs may be creepy, unless they’re killer bees or wasps or something, they don’t really scream out as posing much danger. Second, there were only a small number of snakes in there – so, like with Howie, it’s not like Danny was on the set of the next Indiana Jones film. Third, the wooden construct of the box completely obscured any visceral presentation of the dangerousness of the snakes. It never seemed like he was in any jeopardy because we never got any drama that suggested same. I don’t think it was so bad that I would have given him the X, but I don’t think I would have voted him through, either.

Stacey K

This isn’t the first time Stacey has showed off her talents on this kind of show, as she was a contestant some years ago on the American counterpart to CGT back in 2015, where she was eliminated in the Judges’ Round. After that, she signed a record deal, but was pressured into changing her look and her sound, leading to frustration. So she’s hoping to be able to prove herself on the CGT stage and relaunch herself, but this time as her truly authentic self. And who that is, is a killer performer. After only her first notes of a powerful, bluesy-soul version of “Lady Marmalade,” Kardinal turned towards Howie in disbelief that he could have cut her from the previous show. Her mid-song rap breakdown was on point, and had Lilly and Trish on their feet dancing, and she earned standing ovation from the judges and the audience.

Howie backpedaled from cutting her on the last show back then, but suggested it was a blessing in disguise, since that ultimately led to this amazing moment. Trish was completely Stratusfied, and Lilly was thrilled that Stacey nailed what was a really gutsy song choice. But all eyes and ears were on Kardinal, the resident music expert, for his opinion. As for whether he thought Canada would respond to Stacey’s style, he teased that he wasn’t sure, which earned him some boos from the audience. But they turned to cheers when he finished his thought: that he wasn’t sure, but rather absolutely positive. And to reinforce that positivity, he rewarded Stacey’s performance with the Golden Buzzer, putting her directly into the semi-final round.

My take: Using my litmus test that acts should only go through if I’d buy a ticket for their show, as far as Stacey goes, I say shut up and take my money. This was a killer audition, and Stacey could very well win the entire competition. Wow. Simply, wow.

Other thoughts:
  • In the opening clips, Howie told the audience that if they disagreed with the judges’ decision, they should feel free to boo the judges and let them know. At the live taping I attended, some of the audience directed their boos at the acts and not the judges. The producers of the show shut that kind of thing down, telling people that if they catcalled or booed during a performance, they could get ejected from the theatre. The rationale being that the performers should be respected for having the guts to go out there on stage and perform in public – particularly as not all of them are professionals. As someone who grew up loving "The Gong Show" where booing an act was perfectly acceptable, I think it’s fine when warranted. But, as anyone who knows me will confirm, I can be a bit of a jerk – so maybe the producers were right.

  • They showed a clip from the judges' lounge, where Howie successfully did his own trick with a whip, cutting a flower out of Trish’s hand. Pretty impressive, though I don’t think Harrison Ford is in any danger of losing his Indiana Jones role quite yet.

  • Between the can-shredding, the escape artist, the animal traps, and the binge-eating, there were a few physically dangerous stunts on this week’s episode. Surprisingly, I don’t think there was a notice for viewers to not try those things at home. So in an effort to be considered something other than a jerk for once, let me say to people, don’t try that kind of stuff at home, at school, or anywhere else. That being said, those Jackass guys are all millionaires, so you know what? Go wild. Just note that neither I nor this site take any responsibility for your actions.

  • With Kardinal using his Golden Buzzer pick this week, and all of the judges and host Lindsay Ell having used theirs previously, there are no more automatic advances to the semi-finals. Any future auditionees will have to go through every round in order to advance further in the competition. And, based on the preview for next week’s episode, it seems like the judges will have to make some hard decisions in order to pare them down to manageable numbers.

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

Stills from show »

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