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Quebec diva Avila and Newfoundland’s Sharpe wait for Idol crown
TORONTO (CP) – It’s down to the diva from Quebec versus the power pipes of Newfoundland and Labrador.
But “Canadian Idol” fans will have to wait nearly a full week before learning if the country’s next singing champ is soul-tinged Eva Avila of Gatineau, Que., or pop crooner Craig Sharpe of Upper Island Cove, N.L.
CTV won’t reveal who got the most votes from Monday’s final performance until the 90-minute “Idol” finale on Sunday.
The delay gives the network more time to prepare for the finale and drum up big audiences for the debuts of two new shows that will follow “Idol” on Sunday night, said executive producer John Brunton.
Brunton said he’s not worried about potential leaks or lost momentum by delaying the announcement, traditionally made the day after the final performance show.
“There’s not a chance in hell there will be a leak – I’ll kill somebody if there’s a leak,” laughed Brunton, noting tight security measures have been put in place.
“Essentially, there will be a person who will know the results and the details of those results will not be revealed to anyone – anyone on the crew or anyone at CTV – until the need-to-know people will find out next Sunday.”
He said the delay gives production staff more time to fine-tune performance details for the results show, which will feature sexy chart-topper Nelly Furtado, all top 10 competitors and last year’s “Idol” winner, Melissa O’Neil.
“We wouldn’t have been able to include all the things that we’re hoping to include in the finale if we hadn’t had the time to rehearse it,” Brunton noted.
Monday’s final performance show had Avila and Sharpe each tackle three songs – a favourite previously sung this season, a new selection, and the new Idol’s single, “Meant to Fly,” which will be released to radio stations after a winner is crowned.
Sharpe’s version earned praise from all judges, spurring Zack Warner to leap out of his chair to embrace the dimpled 16-year-old on stage.
“That was without a doubt the best thing you’ve ever done on this show,” said judge Jake Gold, who later criticized Sharpe for letting the band drown him out on Celine Dion’s “I Surrender.”
Avila also wowed the judges with her version of the uplifting ballad.
“It was your song – you delivered it like a goddess, fantastic,” judge Sass Jordan said of the song, co-written by Winnipeg singer-songwriter Chantal Kreviazuk and her husband Raine Maida of Our Lady Peace.
Avila, a 19-year-old former postal clerk and beauty consultant, is one of only two singers from Quebec to crack the top 10 and the first to reach the finale.
She says she was taught to sing by her father.
“It’s thanks to him that I’m here, really,” Avila said in the days leading up to Monday’s show. “He’s my inspiration.”
Sharpe, a student known for his high tenor voice, is the second from the Rock in as many years to make the finale. Last year’s finalist, Rex Goudie of Burlington, N.L., lost out to O’Neil.
“My dream is so close to me and I’m so nearly there, ” Sharpe said last week. “I’m so happy. I can’t believe I’m in the finale.”
Celebrity fans in the audience included tabloid favourite/Tori Spelling rival Mary Jo Eustace, “Canada AM” host Seamus O’Regan and TSN’s Michael Landsberg.