Theo crowned new 'Canadian Idol'

LINDSEY WARD - Sun Media

, Last Updated: 12:34 AM ET

Piano man Theo Tams hits all the right notes -- and now he's got the Canadian Idol crown to prove it.

The 22-year-old Lethbridge songster got the better of four million votes to beat out smiley folkie Mitch MacDonald becoming the sixth Canadian Idol. Talk about livin' the dream.

"Ughh ... thanks so much!" stuttered the bewildered student, who will clearly be cutting a lot of classes this semester.

A teary Tams embraced family, friends and even MacDonald after singing his victory song, Sing. The track will instantly become his first single this morning, when it hits airwaves across the country. Soon (or perhaps as I speak) he'll sign a contract with Sony BMG and head off to the recording studio to work on his debut CD, due out in spring. In past years, Idols have been under the gun to put out a makeshift disc by fall, but now they're allowed to actually think about what kind of music they want to make first. That will help, right?

Port Hood, Nova Scotia native MacDonald's chances of fading back into obscurity are even greater, although even after being tossed aside on national TV last night, he was all smiles. Because, well, that's him. And besides, judge Jake Gold is still mighty confident the 22-year-old East Coaster has a bright future.

"I just want to say whatever happens, with your voice and your taste of music, you will go on to sell a lot of records."

It could have been either ivory-tickling Tams or humble folkie MacDonald's prize after both fellas pulled off three smooth performances on Monday's final round of singing. Week after week, the judges praised the two for their song choices, perfect pitch and awareness of themselves as artists (whatever that means). But Tams went out of his way to prove he wasn't "the sweaty kid" who showed up at his first audition with a very damp shirt. Despite looking slightly awkward every time he stepped out from the piano, his classically trained voice is well beyond its years. And hey, Canada dug it.

But of course, poor Tams had a mere six minutes at the very end of Idol's two-hour-looong finale to revel in his victory. Commercial breaks came fast and furious, and there was certainly no shortage of cover songs -- most of them being performed by castoffs. Strangely, I found myself feeling nostalgic when Mookie, Earl and even Oliver picked up the microphone for the opening medley. The previously dismissed contestants returned again -- and again -- to make us feel guilty for sending them home.

On the celebrity front, a robotic Mariah Carey teetered in, flashed her pageant queen smile and ran through singles I'm That Chick and We Belong Together -- complete with her signature gem-encrusted microphone (are those real?) and a sparkly cocktail dress. After tutoring the Top 2 in New York on Monday's episode, neo-soul Grammy winner John Legend plugged his upcoming disc with a performance of new single Green Light, and then got the heck out.

Idol alum Jacob Hoggard and his band Hedley -- who played mentors earlier this week -- dropped by to play their newest hit Old School and tout their upcoming tour. R&B diva Jully Black -- who coached the kids this season as Idol's newest staff member -- also had a turn, performing her tune Queen in a white minidress with a hemline shorter than -- gasp -- Mariah's!

And to ensure viewers that earning the Idol title is a big deal, last year's winner Brian Melo returned to the stage. He sang his alleged single Back to Me and then walked out of our lives once again.

Unless the previously mentioned acts aren't your thing, Idol's crew did a decent job of filling the hours with somewhat-relevant and mildly entertaining material. Instead of tossing in heaps of pointless clips, producers closed the sixth season with a look at host Ben Mulroney and judge Farley Flex's tragic trip to Malawi, live hits from Tams and MacDonald's hometowns, a segment on Canadian pride, recaps of past celeb appearances, and final performances from the last Idols standing.

And, just when you thought it was all over, CTV announced yesterday that MacDonald, Tams and third place singer Drew Wright will head out on a 26-date, cross-country tour starting Nov. 9 in Fredericton and wrapping up in Hamilton on Dec. 22. Tickets are on sale now -- so hurry! Or not. Last fall's (slightly more buzzworthy) Top 3 concert sold out -- but a year can make a big difference, you know? Congrats Theo.


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