Two great Nova Scotian musicians teamed up on this week's edition of Canadian Idol.
Top 4 contestant Mitch MacDonald had the chance to work with legend Anne Murray, and, as of press time, the Port Hood singer and guitar player was still in the running to become this year's Canadian Idol.
MacDonald was thrilled to be back in Nova Scotia last week for a visit and The Weekly News met up with him at Halifax Robert L. Stanfield International airport.
"I am so excited to be home," said MacDonald, who hadn't been back to Nova Scotia for two months. "I have five nephews and two little nieces that I haven't seen and, obviously, the rest of my family, too. So I think (the first thing I'll do) is just have a little chill-out session with them."
At press time, the Port Hood musician was the only contestant yet to be in the bottom two or three for receiving the lowest number of votes. And if he hadn't already won over the East Coast, he received even more buzz - and a special online message from the artist himself - when he covered Joel Plaskett's ode to Halifax, I Love This Town.
"I think it's probably my favourite song, and it means a lot for me, coming from the East Coast and Nova Scotia," he said. "I think everybody, no matter where you're from, can relate to that song.
"Hopefully someday me and Joel will cross paths and I'll get to say thanks."
Back to the basics
MacDonald played the song on his guitar and says he loves getting back to the basics and showing viewers who he is as a musician.
"It's a cover show, so I think it's hard to come across as the artist that you want to be, because you have to play the ball game when you're searching for votes and play songs that are a little more mainstream," he said. "I think I've done a good job of balancing out some of the not-so-well-known tunes, from the Jay Hawks and Joel Plaskett, with songs everyone knows, like during Beatles week.
"I'm trying to be true to myself, rather than just playing Top 10 hits the whole way though."
The most challenging part of the experience has been watching talented musicians and friends go home each week, MacDonald says.
"It's been an honour to be a part of such an amazing group of artists," MacDonald said.
Keeping the fun factor
"It's been busy and overwhelming, but I think it's important to keep the fun factor there. When you hit the stage to perform, if you're not having fun, then it's just not worth it."
MacDonald didn't expect to make it this far and appreciates each week he gets to remain in the Idol mansion. When asked to describe each of the other Top 4 contestants - Earl Stevenson, Drew Wright and Theo Tames - in one word each, a huge smile spread across his face.
"Earl, I'd have to say, 'spontaneous.' Drew is genuine, and Theo is dedicated," MacDonald said. "They're a great group."
Whether he's still in the running or home in Port Hood, MacDonald says it's all been worth it.
"I never, ever thought I'd get this far," he said. "I guess that just shows how much the East Coast likes to support.
"It's a crazy cool experience, and I'm just enjoying the ride."
Melanie Flynn of Fall River and her children, Claudia, 8, and Jonah, 6, came to the airport to welcome MacDonald back to Nova Scotia.
"He's really friendly, really personable," she said. "We think they're all great finalists, but, of course, we're cheering for Mitch."
Her kids watch the show every week and are allowed to call in to vote for MacDonald a few times before they go to bed.
"He's been doing a great job. I think he's got a great chance to win it," she said.
For more on this season of Canadian Idol, visit www.ctv.ca/idol.
- Top 24: Follow Through (Gavin DeGraw)
- Top 20: I'm Yours (Jason Mraz)
- Top 16: Blue (The Jay Hawks)
- Top 10: Moonage Daydream (David Bowie)
- Top 9: Angel Eyes (Jeff Healey)
- Top 8: Oh Atlanta (Alison Krauss)
- Top 7: Jealous Guy (Gavin DeGraw Version)
- Top 6: Love This Town (Joel Plaskett)
- Top 5: In My Life (Rod Stewart Version)
Did anyone see Mitch MacDonald sing a condensed Love This Town on Canadian Idol? Way to go, Mitch! One question ... how come Farley had never heard the song before? Where's he been living? Under a rock? That tune is MASSIVE ... in Port Hood.