It’s week two of The Launch, the Canadian singing competition created and starring former American Idol judge Scott Borchetta.
In case you’re just joining us: The show airs on CTV and is only available to Canadian viewers. The talent on this show is pretty stellar. So, although I can’t watch a full episode, I’ll be posting videos here.
The show competition runs for 6 weeks. There are thirty total artists. In each episode, five acts vie for the opportunity to record a song. By the end of the episode, the winning act’s version of the song will then be released worldwide and launched immediately to Canadian radio. The process seen on the show takes about 48 hours.
FIVE artists vie for the opportunity to record this week’s single, “Ain’t Easy” which is a song Ryan Tedder co-wrote with Camila Cabello and Zach Skelton. Bebe Rexha co-wrote last week’s song. Scott continues to scoop songs off artists’ cutting room floor! Country singer Jennifer Nettles will mentor this week’s singers.
The auditions. Scott tells turns down two of the five acts right away.
The first is Divine Lightbody, a sixteen year old singer who performs a lovely version of Bob Marley’s redemption song. Scott wisely concludes that she’s not ready. The trio note that she doesn’t write songs.
Indie band, Liteyears, perform an iffy cover of Ryan’s “Counting Stars.” They fare better with an original. However, Scott and Ryan turn them down after deciding they were too indie.
JP Maurice has been kicking around the scene for awhile. Ten years ago he signed a deal with Warner Brothers, but unfortunately the album was shelved. He covers the Miley Cyrus hit, “Wrecking Ball,” followed by an original song. Ryan feels he’s not hitting the chorus hard enough, and asks him to sing it again. They send him away without a decision.
Basil Phoenix boasts a Trinidadian, Scottish and Cree heritage. She pulls influences from each culture, she says. The singer had a life altering experience at 13. Two men stabbed her in the shoulder blade, paralyzing her arm. She covers “Unthinkable” by Alicia Keys first. Her second song is an original and it’s pretty good! In the end Basil wins the opportunity to record Ryan’s song.
Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine have been performing together for the past three years. Jamie, the lead singer, has a unique, if somewhat overly mannered voice. The duo put their own spin on a stripped down version of Major Lazor’s “Lean On.” After they perform an emotional original song, Scott says, “I love when you can break my heart.” Needless to say, two earn a chance to record the song.
Scott, Ryan and Jennifer listen to the “Ain’t Easy” original demo.
Uh Oh. Basil screws up royally while recording her demo with Ryan. He looks pretty fed up.
Ryan leads a songwriting session with Elijah and Jamie. Jamie confesses that he completely re-wrote and re-arranged the song. Ryan didn’t like the tempo. And he wanted more melody.
After recording the songs, the two acts perform “Ain’t Easy” live in front of an audience for the panel. This is where the rubber hits the road. Afterward, Scott will decide which version of the song to release and promote to radio.
Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine
AND THE WINNER IS. No surprises here. The Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine version of “Ain’t Easy” was released everywhere after the show aired in Canada. Basil’s version hewed closer to the original demo. The duo’s originality and ability to make the song their own likely clinched the deal for them.
Listen to “Ain’t Easy” on Spotify