Canada's Got Talent - S2E1: Animal noises, amazing voices, and Judges' choices - welcome to Season 2

Bob Kapur     March 22, 2023 special guest columnist Bob Kapur recaps Canada's Got Talent airing Tuesdays on Citytv.

Welcome back, all, to the official Canada's Got Talent recaps on My name is Bob Kapur, and once again, I will be running down each week’s episodes, reliving the fun and exciting spectacle of everything you see on the CGT stage. So, without further do, let’s see who got the dreaded Red X, who got the coveted Golden Buzzer, and who got one step closer to the finals and the ultimate prize of being named the winner of CGT.

The episode started with a preview of many of this year’s contenders. The acts ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous to the downright scary – so it looks like this year will be a topsy-turvy ride. And, of course, our companions on the journey will be our dear judges – Trish of course, Kardinal Offishall, Lilly Singh, and Howie Mandel – and our ever-ready host, Lindsay Ell.

Lindsay welcomes everyone to the OLG Stage at the Fallsview Casino in Niagara Falls, and runs down the prizes that this year’s winner will receive: $150,000 and financial advice from CIBC, and a spot on the America’s Got Talent Supershow at the Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

So, with the host, judges, and audience all ready to go, it’s now time for the contestants to shine.


The first act up were four acrobats/dancers who originally came from Guinea, West Africa, and now make Montreal, Quebec their home. Their confidence was as strong as their rock-hard abs, and both of them were on high display as they bounced around the stage, doing some incredible tumbling, flying, and gymnastics. Their jaw-dropping final move saw three of the four members standing atop of one another’s shoulders, and then topple over, landing simultaneously and hitting perfectly-synchronized front rolls.

The judges were blown away, and the group was compared to video games and superheroes en route to earning four Yesses to put them into the second round. What a great way to start the second season off with a bang.

Atsushi Ono

Calgary, Alberta’s Atsushi confessed that he was feeling nervous just being on the CGT stage. But even if his hands were shaking, it certainly didn’t affect his sleight of hand skills. Indeed, his close-up magic was absolutely flawless, coming to the judges’ table and making coins appear out of thin air and then disappear and reappear with a magical flame. He then made the coin pliable and stretched it to giant size, before producing a previously-imaginary wine cork to put a button on his opening banter. The act was so impressive that Atsushi even made Kardinal disappear when he walked away, spooked out by Atsushi’s sorcery.

As scared as Kardinal was, he couldn’t deny giving Atsushi a Yes, and all the other judges made it unanimous.

My take: Atsushi might be an early front-runner to go far. The tricks were impressive, but his nervous act also gave him a vulnerable charm that the audience may really connect with. I’m not saying he’s going to win, but if he can level up his tricks, he could very well make the finals.

Dance Troupe montage

Up next was a series of clips of various dance troupes who were looking forward to Bring It On to the stage. See what I did there? Shout out to K-Dunst.

The CheerForce Golden Girls from Oakville, Ontario, showed off some big aerial stunts, but Trish thought they needed to tighten up their act a bit more. Marquis, from Winnipeg, Manitoba had some strong choreography, but Howie didn’t feel blown away by what he’d seen. Finally, T.Acos X T.eenagers from Granby, Quebec got denied because their name is far too complicated. Actually, it’s because the judges thought that they didn’t bring enough of the “wow factor” to their act. The judges are looking for something that raises the bar from last year in terms of energy and originality, and simply being good isn’t going to cut it this time. Maybe some more spirit fingers would help, too.

Evan Turnbull

Howie seemed a bit grumpy towards Evan, and almost a bit dismissive. It certainly seemed like he didn’t think Evan – a 19-year old from Glace Bay, Nova Scotia – stood a chance, only having started singing two or three years ago. Perhaps the noted germaphobe was scared of catching whatever had Evan sucking on a cough drop on the stage.

But his view quickly changed. Indeed, everyone’s view changed when a second Evan came into view. Actually, it wasn’t a second Evan, but rather his twin brother Aaron who joined Even with some harmonies for the chorus of Brooks & Dunn’s “My Maria” and then walked up on stage to join Evan for the remainder of the performance.

The surprise impressed the judges – and even allowed Howie to make a Tim Horton’s Double-Double joke, a callback to Evan’s job at Tim Horton’s. The other judges also enjoyed the performance, enjoying both the surprise run-in and the vocals. They got four Yesses. Or was it eight? Either way, they’re going through to the next round.

Bad Opera montage

Emma Garriott of Port McNeil, British Columbia, used some illustrated wooden standees to help her portray both the male and female leads from The Phantom of the Opera when singing the title song from that play. Both of them got X’d out by the judges and she presumably headed back to her secret lair.

The opera stylings of McElman and the Maestro from Toronto, Ontario, were more Phantom Menace than Phantom of the Opera. Which is to say that their singing was Jar Jar Binks levels of bad. Kardinal was particularly offended because the team didn’t use their pitch pipe to help mitigate the butchering of whatever song it was they murdered.

Paolo Troilo

Because her audition immediately followed the last two, and because her pre-interview was pretty bizarre, one might have assumed that Paolo Trolio’s audition would be another comedic lowlight of the show. Instead, CGT might have just had its first real Susan Boyle moment.

Paolo, a cook from Laval, Quebec, said that she never knew that the sounds she had been making from her mouth was singing until somebody told her so. That kind of comment is usually a pretty big red flag that this person has no idea how to sing.

But when she actually made those sounds, they were an amazing display of soprano opera singing, with each note sung perfectly with perfect tone and vibrato. The surprised looks on the judges’ faces quickly turned to wonder as Paolo blew away them and the audience with her voice. By the end, the audience were on their feet, and guaranteed there were tears in more eyes than in just those of her husband and sons.

The judges knew they had seen and heard something incredible, and they gave Paolo unanimous Yesses to deservedly put her through to the next round.

Young Mommy

Howie noted the irony in a 46-year-old white woman from Canada trying to lead a new rap movement. But that’s what Young Mommy, from Toronto, Ontario, is trying to do. Specifically, in leading a genre of clean-language rap that is appropriate for her four young daughters to listen to. But none of the judges thought that her rhymes – which were about Young Mommy’s body and her desire for a Maserati – were particularly empowering. They were being kind in her critique, as not only were the lyrics lame, but the delivery was also flat and boring (which they did acknowledge, but only after she’d left the stage). IN the end, Young Mommy got a full slate of Xs, and it’s ta-ta, Mama.

Beatrice Love

Beatrice got the extended video package of the night, and in it, she described her journey. She told of the hardships of growing up as an indigenous person, which ultimately led her to being a homeless drug addict. She tapped into her passion for music and that turned her life around, to the point where she is now a loving mother, living in Edmonton, Alberta with her five children, and pursuing her dream of being a singer-songwriter.

From the first note of her soulful rendition of the Jackson 5 song “Who’s Lovin’ You”, every bit of raw emotion inside her poured out. Her voice was reminiscent of Etta James blended with Janis Joplin’s attitude and Sheryl Crow’s countrified twang. It showed off her authenticity, her attitude, and most importantly, her amazing vocal ability.

Lilly said that Beatrice simply owned the song. Kardinal noted that Beatrice held back on delivering the big notes until the end, but really liked it when she did at the end of the song. Howie also remarked on Beatrice’s authenticity and how he is invested in Beatrice’s journey as a result of the song. All four judges gave her an enthusiastic Yes, and Beatrice is moving on.

My take: I don’t know if Beatrice’s performance is available on the Spotify or wherever music is sold these days (I’m still an old-school CD buyer). But if you find the link, send it my way. She’s made me a fan, and I am looking forward to seeing how far she goes in the competition. If she can bring it like this every time, there’s no reason why her journey can’t end with a CGT win.

Charles Philippe Laurin

With his sequined outfit and shiny gold boa, Charles Philippe Laurin from Montreal, Quebec, looked about as shiny can be. Unfortunately, he didn’t shine on stage and his impressions – if that’s what you want to call them – of Mickey Mouse and Lucille Ball among others, were completely dull. Trish was the first to hit the X, and the other judges quickly followed. Perhaps Charles can get more shiny by polishing up on his act.

Geneviève Côté

Geneviève, from Laval, Quebec, hoped that her skills would be enough to win the competition and help her achieve her life’s dream of being an “entertainer” and a “noise-maker.” Her impressions of various jungle animals, musical instruments, and tribal chants painted an aural picture, and as Lindsay said, made you feel like you were at a movie.

The crowd and the judges were blown away by Geneviève’s act, and gave her a standing ovation once they had emerged from the safari. Nobody was more impressed than Howie, who even engaged in a a Gizmo riff-off with her – and which she also nailed perfectly. The unique nature of her act was so impressive to him, and he noted that was exactly the reason why he wanted to do this show: to give a Canadian the opportunity to do what they wanted to do, and not have to move to the United States to get their break like he had to. He said that he wanted to find an act that we can point to and say this is an act that is distinctly and proudly Canadian. And he wanted it to be her – and to make sure she had the chance, he put her through to the semi-finals by hitting the Golden Buzzer.

Other thoughts:
  • In a classy move, at one point in the show, they broke to Lindsay who did a land acknowledgement. #Reconciliation #StartingPoint

  • During his interview, when he mentioned working at Tim Horton’s, Evan Turnbull said that his favourite donut is Toasted Coconut. He should have been eliminated based on that choice alone. Everyone knows that Maple Dip is the way to go. Unless you can find a place that serves Old Fashioned Dip – they aren’t available at every location and that’s a shame. Those are the bomb.

  • Like with the opera segment, it was a bit of an unexpected twist that Geneviève would fare so well, as the pre-interview package suggested she was in the same boat talent-wise as Charles, who preceded her. In both cases, it was a nice shake-up from the typical “bad audition” montage that is often a trope on these types of shows. In my interview with Trish earlier this week, she mentioned that there was a new production team working on the show this year. It seems like that was one of the changes they’re bringing in, and it was a good one.

It's great to be back here, and I’m looking forward to interacting with all of you again this year. Let me know your thoughts on the show, including on who are some of your early favourites in the comments below or hit me up on the Twitter at @ReadBobsTweets

See you next week!

Stills from episode »

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