By Emma McIntosh
The competition at Ryerson’s Got Talent is fierce.
This week, a panel of Ryerson graduates will comeback as celebrity judges to narrow down their top 13 candidates to a final seven. The finalists will perform at the Gould Street Party on Oct. 18, when a winner will be chosen.
The judging panel consists of CBC News host Dwight Drummond, Canada AM co-host Marci Len, and Aisha Wickham, a program consultant for the Ontario Music Office.
Originally, the judges were supposed to cut down the finalists to five or six. But according to Drummond, there are too many strong contenders.
“There was such a variety of people,” Drummond said. “It’s going to be very hard to narrow it down.”
One of the competitors is Little Boxer, an acoustic rock-folk band. Lead singer Zack Henderson and bass player Juan Udarbe are in their third-year at Ryerson, joined by drummer Dave Silani.
“We have this raw, original sound that’s very Canadian-oriented. It’s both new and old at the same time,” said Henderson. “We pride ourselves on being unique and having a unique sound.”
Also in the mix is Adam Jamal, a 2012 Ryerson graduate. Jamal has been writing comedy for 14 years and is a familiar act in the area.
“One show let to another — I’d go out and perform, then get booked for more shows, and then the ball got rolling,” Jamal said. “ Now I’m performing virtually every night of the week, it’s taking over my life whether I like it or not — but I do like it.”
Many of the contestants already have large followings on YouTube. Mitchell Nugent has over 1600 subscribers and even performed at Yonge-Dundas Square over the summer. Ebony Good recorded her music in Nashville with an Emmy-winning producer. Charlotte Fabro did a series over the summer called Toronto Music Sessions, and is working on another called The Music Room.
Drummond said that Ryerson is a place with a lot of talent. During his time at Ryerson, he was a year behind Tyler Stewart of the Barenaked Ladies and said he saw them perform at the Ram in the Rye.
“It’s always nice to be involved with my alma mater, I’m looking for talent,” Drummond said. “I graduated a long time ago, but it’s always cool to see the new kids coming up.”