"Canadian Idol" producer seethes at voter bias

TORONTO (Hollywood Reporter) - The executive producer of “Canadian Idol” has a problem: regional voting routinely knocks competitors from Toronto, Canada’s largest city, out of the TV singing showdown.

The hosts of "Canadian Idol" pose for photographers on the red carpet at the 2007 Juno Awards in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, April 1, 2007. The executive producer of "Canadian Idol" has a problem: regional voting routinely knocks competitors from Toronto, Canada's largest city, out of the TV singing showdown. REUTERS/David Stobbe

“Last night’s elimination of three competitors from this year’s ‘Canadian Idol’ top 22 is disgraceful,” John Brunton said Thursday after three of six “Canadian Idol” competitors from Toronto -- Christine Hanlon, Derek Hoffman and Justyn Wesley -- were voted off the show.

That’s a challenge for “Canadian Idol” producers. Despite Toronto annually producing the largest number of young people auditioning, and delivering more top 22 competitors than any other Canadian market, local contestants rarely advance further.

“No competitor from Toronto has made it to the top 10 since Season 1, four years ago, and that’s pathetic,” Brunton said.

In a country as vast as Canada, “Canadian Idol” thrives on regional audiences voting for a “local” trying to make good.

For example, a Newfoundland voting bloc has led to an aspiring singer from that Atlantic province making it into the final two at “Canadian Idol” for the last two years running.

But clannish audiences with an anti-Toronto bias are thwarting efforts to earn “Canadian Idol” a breakthrough in the country’s largest advertising market, Brunton insisted.

“While the rest of the country is buzzing about ‘Canadian Idol’ and the success of their hometown heroes, Toronto is not paying attention. Toronto is not supporting the local talent found right in its own backyard,” he said.

“I’m not really supposed to do this. I’m supposed to be impartial. But as a born and bred Torontonian, I’m fed up with the lack of attention and respect paid to the bright, young singers from Toronto. They deserve more,” Brunton added.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter