To X Or Not To X? Canada’s Got Talent Premieres Sunday On Citytv

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Still from Canada's Got Talent

Singers, dancers, magicians, circus performers … and host Dina Pugliese broadcasting from atop the CN Tower Edgewalk.

You’ll see it all on the premiere of Canada’s Got Talent – airing at 8pm Sunday on Citytv. The nationwide talent search kicks off in Toronto, where thousands vied for a chance to get up on stage and show their act to celebrity judges Martin Short, Measha Brueggergosman and Stephan Moccio.

The performances range from cute and funny (the most energetic canine you’ve ever seen) to awe-inspiring (a beatboxer that conjured an incredible range of sounds and rhythms) to just plain awful — some earning frenetic applause and standing ovations, others earning boos, jeers and resounding Xs from the judges.

At a Toronto media conference that included a screening of the premiere, Short said he was stunned by the breadth of talent on display.

“It reconfirms this idea that this is an amazing country that encourages … eccentric behaviour,” he deadpanned. “And embraces it. You see, as you go from city to city, some of the most original and inspiring talent imaginable.”

From Toronto, the show travels to Calgary, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Halifax and Montreal for auditions, where aspiring performers of all ages and skills attempt to impress the panel. So what is Brueggergosman looking for in an act?

“I like an act to be fully formed with polish and a clear beginning, middle and end,” the acclaimed opera singer noted. “So even if I don’t know anything about the art form being presented it’s obvious they’ve put a bit of effort into making sure that it’s entertaining for us. That was the criteria for me.”

As with the American and British versions, the show airs two nights a week (Sundays and Mondays) and is divided into two parts – the taped auditions, and the live semifinals and finals. When the show enters the ‘live’ phase, Sundays are the performance nights, and Mondays are the results nights. The two-hour finale, airing on May 14, sees top acts competing for $100,000, a Nissan GT-R, and the opportunity to appear in Las Vegas.

For songwriter Stephan Moccio, what stood out most was the bravery exhibited by the performers in getting up on stage and doing their thing.

“For a lot [of them] it’s their first time in front of 2,000 people,” he marveled. “You’re subjecting yourself to whether people are going to clap or not clap, X you or not X you.”

Canada’s Got Talent airs Sundays at 8pm local time and Mondays at 7pm local time on Citytv.

Follow Canada’s Got Talent on Twitter @CGTCitytv. 

Download the Canada’s Got Talent app via iTunes or Blackberry App World.