From left to right: Tiana DeNicola, Knox Adams, Nicole Correale, Hillary MacDonald. PHOTO: DASHA ZOLOTA

The fight for the mic

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By Betty Wondimu

More than 500 people applied to be MuchMusic’s next VJ, but 19-year-old Ryerson radio and television arts (RTA) student Nicole Correale made the top 40.

After attending an open call in-studio audition for MuchMusic in November, Correale and fellow RTA students Tiana DeNicola and Duhin Nanda were all told they impressed the producers and should pursue the up-and-coming VJ search.

“I applied because it’s the perfect gig if you want to get into broadcasting,” Correale said.

MuchMusic accepted online VJ profiles from Feb. 19 untill March 10. Contestants were required to upload photos, create a video, have a YouTube channel and become a MUCHCLOSER member to create their VJ search profile.

The job requires “no experience… the only criteria required are a passion for music and pop culture, a kick @ss [sic] personality, a flair for television, and the gift of gab,” stated a MuchMusic press release.

The three RTA students along with journalism’s Hillary MacDonald and fashion communications student Knox Adams created profiles and posted audition videos to the MuchMusic website in hopes of winning the title.

Each took a different approach with his or her video and Knox said this was his favourite part. DeNicola and Nanda focused on their experience in broadcasting and on-air work, while others chose to focus on unique aspects of their personality – like Correale who said she shot her video in a grungy garage to show that she wasn’t trying too hard.

From March 12 to 15, Much Music announced contestants who made the Top 40 cut in waves of 10 applicants per day. If the successful candidate was a local, a camera crew ambushed them in their homes to break the good news.

“When I got the call from Much on Monday saying they wanted to ‘visit me to get to know me better’ I was kind of skeptical and I already knew something was up,” Correale said. “So when they did come and ambush me on Tuesday, I wasn’t so shocked. If you watch the video, I was just like ‘Oh, cool!'”

MacDonald and Nanda said that even though they didn’t make the top 40, the best part was seeing all the support they received from their friends and family after posting their profiles.

MacDonald, who was born and raised in Charlottetown, P.E.I., said she never expected to receive so much love and support from her hometown.

“My province only has like 100,000 people in it… but everyone is still so supportive,” Mac Donald said. “When one person is trying to accomplish something, the whole gosh-darn province is going to help you achieve it, literally. I was so happy to see how many people were willing to help me succeed.”

VJ Search, MuchMusic’s reality TV show, is Correale’s next goal as the only Ryerson student to have made it through the first round of cuts. The program follows the top 20 finalists on their quest to be crowned the newest MuchMusic VJ. The finalists compete in challenges while riding on a tour bus across Canada with host Lauren Toyota until the winner is announced on April 26.

Correale said that if she does make the show, which airs on April 1, she would play the role of a fly on the wall.

“If I make the cut, I would just really push through and try to not be involved in any stupidity,” Correale said. “I definitely see drama happening, I just don’t see myself getting involved.”

Correale has also already scouted out her competition, as well as possible allies she’ll have on the show.

“I really like Justine from Nova Scotia and Alix from Toronto,” she said. “But that one guy, Fouad, annoys the hell out of me already.”

Just in case you were wondering what happened to the four who didn’t make it, they all plan to focus on school and get more experience through various internships and jobs in the industry.

MacDonald and Adams are both developing YouTube channels for more exposure.

Adams promises that this competition to be the newest Much Music VJ will not be the last people see of him.

“I will be the next white, male, gay Oprah,” he said. “Or just a male Ellen.”

*All of the video submissions and profiles created by Ryerson students for the contest can still be viewed on MuchMusic’s website by going to

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