Sunday, September 16, 2007

Canadian Idol Season 5 Finale Brian Melo Is The New Idol

Alt-rocker Brian Melo will be getting all he ever wanted and more as the newly crowned Canadian Idol, defeating rockabilly golden boy Jaydee Bixby and emerging from his initial image as the competition's dark horse.

After learning he'd earned the title in the final moments of a two-hour, star-studded finale, the modest Hamiltonian gave the crowd a taste of what they can expect of his victory lap as a signed singer.

His version of "All I Ever Wanted" closed out the show, and will hit the airwaves and multiple online music retailers at 12 a.m. on Sept. 13. It will be the gateway to at least a year in the spotlight, but if the judges' insights prove true, could turn into a lasting music career.

"When you think about the numbers of people who audition for this thing, it's a remarkable accomplishment to make it to this far," said judge Zack Werner, adding that Melo had grown more as an artist during his time on the show than anyone would have imagined.

In fact, Melo faced possible elimination more than many of the Top 10, landing in the weekly bottom three/two more often than almost anyone else on the show.

But instead of letting low votes discourage him, he seemed motivated to work harder each week, becoming one of the competitors with the steepest learning curve the show has ever seen.

The finale began with a Bon Jovi medley performed by the Top 10. Beginning and ending with "You Give Love a Bad Name," the singers moved like a well-oiled machine through a series of hits penned by the week's mentoring musical act.

Rockers Greg Neufeld and Dwight d'Eon brought their guitars along for the ride, once again showing fans they're more than just pretty faces with nice voices.

Next to grace the stage was Canadian-bred pop-punker Avril Lavigne, who sang two songs from her latest album "The Best Damn Thing": "Hot" and "When You're Gone." Belting into her token pink microphone, the internationally famous 22-year-old showed the competitors just how successful a young artist can be.

Next up was crowd-pleaser Bon Jovi, who played "Lost Highway," the title track from their recent album. It was followed by international hit "It's My Life," which earned a standing ovation from the crowd and even a bit of dancing.

The busy evening's third guest was Eva Avila, last year's Canadian Idol, who has since scored two hit singles and a modeling contract. Working the crowd like a pro, Avila was right at home on the Idol stage and even offered some advice for her soon-to-be-announced replacement.

"Just remember that you are so privileged and enjoy every minute but you never know how long it's going to last," she said.

The ever-modest Melo seemed ready to do just that, his generally wide grin beaming even larger than usual as he began to grasp what the next year of his life had in store for him.

"This is incredible" the overwhelmed singer told the crowd, then offering specific thanks to Idol vocal coach Debra Byrd. "I didn't think a year ago that I would be standing here. If it wasn't for the fans, my friends, my family and everyone in the Hammer... It's been amazing."

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