Friday 1 July 2011

So You Think You Can Dance Canada's impressive Montreal auditions

CTV’s So You Think You Can Dance Canada (SYTYCDC) will reveal its top 20 performers on Tuesday night, July 5 (8 p.m.). But a few days ago we finally got to see the Montreal auditions, which took place back in November at the Theatre St. Denis.

Quebec is known for its strong ballroom tradition, producing SYTYCDC alumni Francis Lafrenière and Claudia Primeau, Danny Arbour, Vincent Desjardins, Yonni Fournier and of course season one winner Nico Archambault. The fact that Dance began airing in June this year pretty much nails the final coffin in Canadian Idol, which has still never been officially cancelled by CTV.

Ballroom dancer extraordinaire Jean-Marc Genereux was in the judge’s chair along with Blake McGrath, Luther Brown, Tre Armstrong and guest judge Mary Murphy. The one hour episode was extremely well edited and included some great performances.

West Islander Jenny Dailey was back for the third time. Her twin sister Jayme Rae finished in the top four two years ago. Jenny did not make the cut again last year in a heartbreaking moment in which Genereux encouraged her not to give up. Well she is back and I have to believe this time the judges will pass her through. Then it is up to the Canadian viewers.

JP Dubé was another interesting candidate. They showed him juggling, driving a unicycle and of course dancing. I am pulling for him as well. Check out his audition here.

Isabelle Lefebvre was shown with an interesting cheerleader: her mom, dressed in a real clown outfit. Yes her mom is a professional clown like you see in the circus. Isabelle presented something unusal- something called tribal fusion. It combines belly dance with flamenco, Bollywood, Bharatanatyam (Indian classical dance) and popping."If I'm a little caught up because you're so cute and beautiful I still have to do a job and my job is to say you are frickin' good," said Genereux.

For some comic relief, 56 year old one-time USA Olympic heavyweight boxer Milford Kemp was given some stage time. Attired in a cowboy outfit, his performance was indeed good for a few laughs.

Tune in Monday, July 4 at 8 p.m. for a two hour episode, followed Tuesday by the unveiling of the top 20.

Log on to for many more details.

Tuesday 28 June 2011

TEAM 990 strikes gold with Habs; Decisions to be made

The folks at THE TEAM 990 must be pinching themselves now that they have a seven year agreement to become the official English language radio broadcaster of Montreal Canadiens games. Talk about really putting a station on the map!

When THE TEAM 990 was launched 10 years ago it was part of a new national network conceived by CHUM Radio. They got the rights to the Expos and eventually the Impact, while falling short in their bid for the Habs. When the Montreal Juniors came along they inked a deal with them – an excellent move in anticipation of the day they’d get another stab at the Canadiens.

While THE TEAM network did not stay afloat, locally station general manager and veteran drive home show host Mitch Melnick found ways to remain viable. They built a loyal following which initially did not translate into big numbers in the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement (BBM) ratings. However, it was clear that advertisers were getting a response by reaching their key target markets.

CJAD might have been the official voice of Canadiens hockey, but THE TEAM 990 nonetheless ran comprehensive pre and post game shows. The morning show featured either hockey experts Bob McKenzie or Francois Gagnon as regular guests. Next up was Tony Marinaro, who proved to be one of the great hockey minds in the city. He always came up with superb guests and a fair share of scoops to the point where even the French media were listening to him. Former NHLer PJ Stock had a show for a few years. When he left the old pro Randy Tieman stepped in. The Marinaro-Tieman Intermission Show at noon is great radio. And what can you say about Melnick? He has been around for decades, does not hold back any punches and produces a neatly choreographed show which is best during hockey season. His weekday 5:25 pm chats with TSN’s Pierre McGuire offer enormous insight into the game and whatever breaking news is occurring that day.

A few years ago THE TEAM 990 started their own pre and post game Canadiens shows. Marinaro handled most post game programs and it was always fun to listen to him pick apart a loss or slump.

I certainly hope that Elliott Price (top photo) gets the play by play job – if he wants it. He has two younger children at home and this job entails a lot of travelling. Bews has an interesting choice to make in terms of the colour commentator. Sergio Momesso (above) stepped into the role alongside Rick Moffat last season on CJAD. The former number 36 for the Habs and NDG native was well received by listeners, particularly after all of those years that we had to listen to the awfully boring Murray Wilson. Sergio wants to move over to THE TEAM 990 and my sources tell me he will be given strong consideration. Then there is Chris Nilan, the former Habs enforcer who has virtually been auditioning for the job via the Melnick show since last winter. It is indeed a tough choice for Bews.

Shaun Starr did an impressive job handling colour commentary for Price with the Juniors. Would THE TEAM 990 go the unconditional route and use a non-player besides my choice Price?

Perhaps THE TEAM 990 has some surprises in store for us. Bews promises some news for us by August.