RTA VOLUNTEERS IDOLISED

In Arts & Life /

By Rosie Del Campo

You may have watched the second season of Canadian Idol come to a close Thursday night from the comfort of your living room.

But some of Ryerson University’s Radio and Television students watched it from the sidelines…complete with invitations to a VIP wrap party in their pockets.

After the live two-hour finale, the RTA clan dropped their headsets and staff T-shirts to celebrate more than 15 weeks of volunteering for one of the most popular TV shows in Canada.

Their effort dealing with hundreds of screaming fans, people hassling for closer seats, and of course, not getting paid, eventually did pay off when they were invited to Shmooze, a lavish lounge on Mercer Street.

At the party, they enjoyed a dance floor conquered by the spastic moves of Top 3 contestant Jacob Hoggard.

The big shots were having a great time after a second season of success.

But without the volunteers, the show wouldn’t have run as smoothly as it did. Most RTA students volunteered at the start of the season in June, having found out about the opportunity through their department.

For the top 10 lineup, volunteers showed up every Wednesday and Thursday night at the John Bassett Theatre in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. During a five-hour shift, they did everything from ushering to acting as a security force against people trying to sneak in to the theatre.

Second-year RTA student Cristina Tenaglia said she’s proud of contributing to the production. “It makes me happy that I did something self-satisfying, and being able to say that I was part of that,” she said.

Like the other nine RTA students involved, Tenaglia volunteered to gain basic TV production experience. But by the end, the job became more than just an extra gig to add to a resume.

Week by week, contestants on the show were removed from the race. Second-year RTA student Leanna Di Benedetto said she couldn’t ignore the emotional intensity as the final results came closer.

“I almost cried last week,” she said. “I really did drop a tear.”

Just as the contestants had to make their way home, so did the RTA team.

Tenaglia is already looking forward to the start of the third season. “Hopefully next year I can have a bigger role in the same scheme of things.”

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