While I'll admit I'm not totally immune to the whole reality TV realm (I follow the occasional Bachelor, Canadian Idol, and was glued to the tube during both Rock Star series in previous summers and the recent "Do you Think you can Dance"), I'm not completely fanatical about them. Okay, that was just a LOT of reality TV that I watch. But, I've never watched an episode of Survivor or Big Brother; caught a few of Amazing Race, but not enough to be hooked.
The most recent offering from CBC, created by Garth Drabinsky, quite the heavyweight in the entertainment industry, had me intrigued. And then totally captivated after I saw the first episode three short weeks ago. Triple Sensation, which only aired in the month of October, is making me hope this is the first of many.
Basically what they did was audition kids from across Canada, looking for someone who could sing, dance AND act, with the final prize being a $150,000 scholarship toward any school of their choice. They narrowed it down to twelve contestants, then took these kids through a series of master classes, with top tier professional actors, choreographers, singers, brought in to teach them. During the course of the program which ran for six days a week for about four weeks, I think, they narrowed it down further to a final six. The final six performed at a live concert, which was adjudicated by the "marquee" panel, and the winner (and two runners-up) was announced in last night's episode. The judging marquee panel consisted of a Alan Noble (director), Sergio Trujillo (choreographer), Cynthia Dale (actor), Marvin Hamlisch (composer) and Drabinsky himself.
What I enjoyed most about the show was not only the art itself - the kids were so talented, all of them - but the way that the judges provided positive, constructive criticism. They were almost nurturing, in that they would try to pull the best performance out of every contestant, even during the auditions themselves. The exercise was proving not only to find the talent, but to find the individuals who could be even further trained, to grow and really have a hope of making it in the theatre world. It appeared to me that the process itself, particularly the master classes, was something beyond most of these kids wildest dreams.
Some finalists were as young as 16; the oldest chosen was 24. I could not get over the talent and passion that these young individuals had for performance. It was so obviously in their blood, a calling. I think back to when I was 16 and the things that were priority for me at the time. I recall a lot of it was boys, boys, girlfriends and well, boys (much to the chagrin of my very protective parents). Well, there was piano practice too, but that was a pain. I think I even had a group of my friends come by for a "driveby pickup" when I was supposed to be practicing for a big exam. My parents were out and I was home much earlier than they were (party mah jong people they continue to be to this day)... so they were none the wiser.
To know at such a young age that this is their dream, and what they want to do for the rest of their lives. The focus and the drive. It gives me hope for young people of today. Which is a nice change from all the negative media that they get nowadays. I hope that they all make it to the big time.
This was TV I could watch with my whole family. Ian, Mr. "Sorry, even-Queen-won't get-me-to-musical-theatre", enjoyed it just as immensely, as did Liam. Liam couldn't really stomach the kissing workshops ("Ewwww!") but he did like the fight practice. And little G just puttered away at her toy kitchen, happy to be with us.
And on that note, here is my triple sensation, part of my adolescent dream come true -- in the form of my Hallmark Sunday moment: