Canadian Idol Announces First-Ever Top 24



    
       "Too Many Good Singers" - Wealth of Talent Expands Canadian Idol
           Finalist Selection by Two as First-Ever Top 24 Announced

                -- Also new this year: uneven gender split as
                     15 guys and 9 girls make Top 24 --

    -- Top 24 weeks to feature mixed performance nights of guys and girls --

             -- Twenty of Top 24 competitors play instruments --

           -- First-ever online auditions yields Top 24 competitor;
                     Top 24 also features two brothers --

     -- Live shows set to air three times per week beginning June 23 --

              -- This week's Top 200 episode to be re-broadcast
                         Saturday, June 21 on CTV --
    

    TORONTO, June 18 /CNW/ - The talent was too good and the stakes too high.
On tonight's Canadian Idol broadcast on CTV, it was revealed that the standard
group of 22 semifinalists would expand to 24 this season to accommodate the
wealth of talent seen by the judges during this week's Top 200 episodes. The
names of the Top 24 revealed on tonight's broadcast also indicated another
change: the Top 24 semifinals and Top 10 finals will no longer be split along
gender lines. Fifteen men and nine women begin competing for Canada's votes
with the first live Top 24 performance episode next Monday, June 23 at 8 p.m.
ET on CTV.

    For the first time ever, the Top 24 will perform in mixed groups over the
next three weeks, instead of in groups of guys and girls - meaning that there
will be no gender division when it comes to eliminations. The most talented
performers will move forward regardless of gender, resulting in the best group
of Top 10 performers possible.

    Canadian Idol now moves into its most crucial and important stage. In
total, 14 competitors will be eliminated in just three short weeks.

    (xx) Media Note (xx) Download all-new photos and biographies of the
Canadian Idol Top 24 at idolpix.ca.

    "There were just too many good singers," said Executive Producer John
Brunton. "The judges felt it wouldn't be fair to viewers to limit ourselves to
22. This is one kick-ass, rocking group of artists."

    "We do it different in Canada," said Susanne Boyce, President, Creative,
Content and Channels, CTV Inc. "We continue to offer fresh twists and
surprises for Canadian Idol viewers and this season is no different. The Top
24 format changes are guaranteed to result in one of our most dynamic Top 10
groups ever."

    For those who missed last night and/or tonight's episodes, and in advance
of next week's live Top 24 episodes, CTV will rebroadcast this week's Top 200
shows back to back this Saturday, June 21 from 8-10 p.m. ET. As well, watch
Top 200 highlights, including never-seen-before backstage footage, on demand
on the CTV Video Player at idol.CTV.ca.

    The Top 24 were selected after Canadian Idol's sixth exhaustive,
cross-country search in 10 cities and, for the first time, online as well.
Among the Top 24 singers chosen from 10,000 auditions is a carpenter, a
student, a house painter, a respite care worker, a music teacher, a massage
therapist and a backhoe operator - all hoping to realize the same dream as
past competitors by making music a full-time career.

    It's one of the oldest semi-finalist groups in years, with 20 of the 24
competitors aged 20 or older. Additionally, 20 of the Top 24 play instruments,
with over two-thirds having already played in episodes this season.
Representing eight provinces, they come from 19 communities from coast to
coast, from Vancouver to Portugal Cove, Newfoundland. The provincial breakdown
of the Top 24 is: British Columbia (3), Alberta (5), Manitoba (2), Ontario
(8), Quebec (3), Nova Scotia (2) and Newfoundland (1). As well, two Albertan
competitors were born in Saskatchewan.

    Among the Top 24 is a competitor who auditioned online for Canadian Idol,
yet another North American first for the series. As well, for the first time
ever in the history of the series, the semifinalist group includes two
siblings.

    This year's Top 24 is an even more intense and important stage in the
competition, with 14 competitors being sent home in the first three weeks
alone. Overwhelmed by the diverse and plentiful talent displayed by this
year's competitors, the judges felt compelled to push limits and allow 24
competitors to move to the next phase of the competition and let Canada decide
who should stay and compete for their chance to become the next Canadian Idol.
Committed to delivering the most talented group of hopefuls possible to the
finals, the judges have selected a dynamic, diverse, and unpredictable bunch
of finalists that Canada has ever seen.

    When Canadian Idol moves to live shows for the balance of the season on
Monday, June 23, 12 competitors will perform for viewer votes in a special
90-minute episode. The second group of competitors will take their turn to
sing for votes on Tuesday, June 24 in another 90-minute episode. The results
of both nights' voting will be revealed on Wednesday, June 25 in a half-hour
results show (go to idol.CTV.ca for local broadcast times). Performances
episodes continue Mondays and Tuesdays with results episodes on Wednesdays
until the Top 10 is finally revealed on Wednesday, July 9.

    Meet the 2008 Canadian Idol Top 24:
    -----------------------------------

    Lindsay Barr, 26, Halifax, Singer, Writer, Art Student

    Lisa Bell, 27, Winnipeg, Coffee Shop Manager

    Marie-Pierre Bellerose, 25, Quebec City, Bartender

    Adam Castelli, 26, Hamilton, ON, Carpenter, Singer/Songwriter

    Paul Clifford, 26, Port Moody, BC, Bartender

    Jesse Cottam, 23, Calgary, Music Teacher, Musician

    Katelyn Dawn, 19, Winnipeg, Singer/Songwriter

    Mark Day, 20, Portugal Cove, NL, Student, Respite Care Worker

    Shaun Francisco, 25, Vancouver, Coffee Shop Barista

    Martin Kerr, 25, Edmonton, Independent Singer/Songwriter

    Omar Lunan, 29, Scarborough, ON, Registered Massage Therapist

    Mitch MacDonald, 22, Port Hood, NS, Carpenter, Musician

    Gary Morissette, 21, Fruitvale, BC, Musician, Construction Worker

    Mookie Morris, 18, Toronto, Musician

    Tetiana Ostapowych, 25, Toronto, Session Singer/Songwriter/Server

    Oliver Pigott, 27, Toronto, Singer/Songwriter

    Sebastian Pigott, 25, Toronto, Actor, Writer

    Lindsay Robins, 21, Montreal, Singer/Songwriter

    Jessica Sheppard, 22, Toronto, Visual Manager

    Earl Stevenson, 23, Lloydminster, AB, Swamper for a Backhoe Operator

    Katherine St-Laurent, 17, Otterburn Park, QC, Student

    Theo Tams, 22, Lethbridge, AB, Student

    Amberly Thiessen, 19, Seven Persons, AB, Student

    Drew Wright, 28, Collingwood, ON, Musician, House Painter

    Learn more about the Top 24 in Monday's special Canadian Idol Top 24
guide in Metro newspapers across the country, or at idol.CTV.ca, the official
online portal for the series and the source for everything Idol. Offering more
features than ever for Season 6, idol.CTV.ca features exclusive video,
interviews, competitor blogs and photography. Visitors can experience
full-length interviews with the judges; custom behind-the-scenes footage;
telecast out-takes; past competitor updates; message boards; merchandise;
games; and much more.

    Canadian Idol was created by Simon Fuller and is produced in association
with CTV by Insight Productions. John Brunton and Barbara Bowlby are Executive
Producers. Mark Lysakowski is Supervising Producer. Senior Producer is Sue
Brophey. Jane Rimer is Executive Consultant for FremantleMedia. Ed Robinson is
Executive Vice-President, Programming, CTV Inc. Susanne Boyce is President,
Creative, Content and Channels, CTV Inc.

    About FremantleMedia:
    ---------------------

    FremantleMedia is one of the largest international creators and producers
of programme brands in the world, with leading prime time drama, serial drama,
entertainment and factual entertainment programming in over 40 territories.
FremantleMedia has production offices in over 20 countries worldwide,
providing local sales and production support for its international TV brands
such as Idols and the world's longest running game show, The Price is Right.

    The company's licensing operation, FremantleMedia Licensing Worldwide,
exploits FremantleMedia's many strong brands across multiple off-screen
platforms including merchandising campaigns, interactive and wireless support,
home entertainment and music publishing. Fremantle International Distribution,
the company's international distribution division licenses over 19,000 hours
of programming to 150 countries worldwide. FremantleMedia is the content arm
of the RTL Group, Europe's largest television and radio broadcast company. For
further information please see FremantleMedia's website
www.fremantlemedia.com.

    About CTV:
    ----------

    CTV, Canada's largest private broadcaster, offers a wide range of quality
news, sports, information, and entertainment programming. It has the
number-one national newscast, CTV National News With Lloyd Robertson, and is
the number-one choice for prime-time viewing. CTVglobemedia Inc. is Canada's
premier multi-media company which owns CTV Inc. and The Globe and Mail. CTV
Inc. also owns radio stations across the country, and leading national
specialty channels. Other CTVglobemedia investments include an interest in
Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, and in Dome Productions, a North American
leader in the provision of mobile high definition production facilities. More
information about CTV may be found on the company website at www.ctv.ca.





For further information:

For further information: Allie Page, Canadian Idol, (416) 559-4365,
apage@ctv.ca; Renée Dupuis Macht, CTV Inc., (416) 332-4596,
rdupuismacht@ctv.ca


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