'Idol' producer eyeing system

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"Canadian Idol" executive producer John Brunton has a problem: Regional voting routinely knocks competitors from Toronto, Canada's largest TV market, out of the TV singing showdown.

"Last night's elimination of three competitors from this year's 'Canadian Idol' top 22 is disgraceful," Brunton said Thursday after three of six "Idol" competitors from Toronto — Christine Hanlon, Derek Hoffman and Justyn Wesley — were voted off the show.

That's a challenge for "Idol" producers. Despite Toronto annually producing the largest number of young people auditioning — and delivering more top-22 competitors than any other Canadian market — Canada's largest city rarely sees local contestants advance further.

"No competitor from Toronto has made it to the top 10 since Season 1 four years ago, and that's pathetic," Brunton said.

In a country as vast as Canada, "Idol" thrives on regional audiences voting for a "local" trying to make good.

For example, a Newfoundland voting bloc has led to an aspiring singer from that Atlantic province making it into the final two at "Idol" for the past two years.

But clannish audiences with an anti-Toronto bias are thwarting efforts to earn "Idol" a breakthrough in the country's largest advertising market, Brunton insisted.

"While the rest of the country is buzzing about 'Canadian Idol' and the success of their hometown heroes, Toronto is not paying attention. Toronto is not supporting the local talent found right in its own backyard," he said.

"I'm not really supposed to do this. I'm supposed to be impartial. But as a born-and-bred Torontonian, I'm fed up with the lack of attention and respect paid to the bright, young singers from Toronto. They deserve more," Brunton added.
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