CGT is a smaller, friendlier, and tamer spin off of its international counterparts.
Because Canada is a much smaller country than the U.S., the show will never get anywhere near the ratings that its American cousin gets. This means that the show must operate on a much smaller budget. Corners are cut in many obvious ways: The award for first place has a value of approximately $200,000, compared to $1 million for AGT.
Each episode is half the length of the American version: 1 hour for the performance episodes, and 30 minutes for the results show (compared to 2 hours and 1 hour respectively for AGT).
The show also must be much less accommodating for its contestants: They don't have the budget to fly in and put all their contestants in hotels. This means that there is no "judges round". Unlike the American version where contestants must perform, without an audience, in front of the three judges, in order to advance to the semifinals, contestants on the Canadian show make it to the semifinals based purely on the merit of their regional audition. Finally, only 36 contestants perform in the semifinal round (compared to 72 for the American version).
But let's get down to the most important aspect of this show: The quality of the performances. To put it quite simply, they suck. This isn't due to any lack of talent in Canada itself. The main culprit is a very poor and disorganized screening process for the show. The process of culling tens of thousands of auditions down to the best few dozen is a very difficult logistical task, and the producers of the show simply don't know how it's done.
One other very obvious difference with the Canadian version is in the judging. Many people say that the three judges (Stephan, Dina, and Martin) are much nicer than the judges on the American show. And they're right. After all, politeness is a quality that Canadians are very proud of. But here's the thing: That's not a good thing, that's a very bad thing, at least for people wanting to vegetate on their couch and be entertained for an hour on Sunday night.
To put it quite simply, Canada's Got Talent judges have demonstrated astonishingly low standards. Incredibly, they allowed nearly ninety (!) percent of all contestants through to the second round. However, they didn't do themselves or the contestants any favors by being this generous: The excess number of acts were simply culled after the audition round.
As anyone who watches AGT knows, there are many acts on CGT that got three emphatic "yes"es from the judges that would have received three very quick buzzes from the American judges. (Daddy Cool, anyone?) Maybe somebody should have told the three that they're hired as judges, not cheerleaders.
The host of the show, Measha Brueggergosman, seems to follow the same pattern. She cheers on virtually every contestant with almost mindless enthusiasm.
I guess it wouldn't be fair to roast the screeners, judges, and the host, without giving due criticism to the one other group that has shown terrible standards: The audience. They're just as culpable in cheering on and supporting the mediocrity.
What all of this adds up to is a talent show that has about the same caliber of talent as what you'd find in a high school gymnasium. It's quite apparent that the judges care much more about not hurting the feelings of the contestants than curing the boredom of their viewers. And the way the host pumps up and cheers on even the most talentless of contestants make the show far too often seem like a grade school talent show.
Canada's got talent, to be sure, but you will see almost none of it by watching this show.
Rating: 2 out of 10.
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