For the past two years I've been actively recapping Drafted, a reality show put on by The Score and Gillette to find Canada's next sports broadcaster. The first time I wrote about it, I was motivated by the fact that one of my friends, Jackie Redmond (the eventual winner), was competing. The next year it was because I was addicted to snarking about the eyebrows and tears of reality show combatants.
I usually hate reality shows but Drafted really resonants with me because (A) it's a show about people pursuing their lifelong dream of talking about sports for a living and (B) what's more fun than watching emotional breakdowns when they fail at it? Yes, I'm soulless but if you followed my recaps during seasons three and four (Hey you two! Hi mom!) then you know I'm kind of good at having no heart and writing about it.
For season five I've decided to start at the beginning and judge competitors from their actual auditions so that by the time the top six are finally chosen, I feel like I know them inside out and can comment on their months-long uselessness. Join me, won't you?
Auditions are happening for the next few weekends in Halifax, Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto. Every time a new city is hit, videos of the auditions are posted online for our viewing pleasure. Those minute(ish) long videos are what fuel my judgement. This is when these people are at their most raw and untouched. Are you rubbing your hands together? No, me either. First up on my docket of ridicule is Halifax and I've been refreshing Drafted's official YouTube channel incessantly. Right away I notice that the guys are seriously outnumbering the women. Way to bring it Halifax ladies.
Set up in the Halifax Shopping Centre this past weekend, the Drafted team, including Jackie and last season's winner Matt Drappel, interview hopefuls who have shown up to be judged. They have a cool Gillette hub up and running for auditioners to use products, shave (although no females appear to be taking advantage, it's summer ladies!) and look like they're partaking in general merriment.
People coming to audition were asked to prepare a one minute rant about anything (I assume it has to be sports-related or else someone like me would have gone off about the continuing popularity of peplum). Spoiler alert: No one blew me away. A lot of people were in that 'meh' space where I could see them advancing because there's no way they could get worse but a good number were just baaaad. Which is good in my books!
Alex MacKeigan (Rant Topic: Kobe Bryant)
Apparently, this kid has auditioned previously for Drafted and actually made last season's top 24. I don't remember him in the least but am momentarily impressed with his full, luxurious head of hair. He's kind of adorable joking about living at home and being 'under-employed'. Damn. My cold heart is already melting. Unfortunately, during his rant he never actually looks at the camera and instead is trained on something directly underneath it. No deal Babyface.
Kevin Powers (Rant Topic: Upcoming basketball season)
Hoooooo boy. Don't get me wrong. I know speaking to a camera is hella hard. Being on camera is a crazy skill and it's totally something you can hone and get down to a science...blah blah blah this guy is NOT good. He pauses, he stops, he stutters, he looks at moving things behind the camera and at one point he coughs into the microphone. Beauty. This does not a good audition make. If this was the '30s and emotionally abusing performers was still a thing, a long cane would have taken this guy off the stage.
Henry Whitfield (Rant Topic: Hockey PR)
Lest you think I'm all snark, no love, I didn't totally hate this guy! He had a great voice, it was kind of scratchy and unique and I liked that. Assuming they're looking for a voice you'd actually want to hear for more than a minute, this guy is a real contender. Henry doesn't stutter and actually sounds like he knows what he's talking about. He mentions that he's from England but doesn't actually have an accent. I'd be mad about it but his eyebrows make me hopeful for months of good writing material.
Matt Mead (Rant Topic: Shoot outs)
I think I've spotted the first cutie-pants of the auditions! Sound the alarms! Matt is ranting about shoot outs and I know this because he's said 'shoot outs' about 5,000 times. It's only a minute-long rant hun, you're not going to lose me that quickly. This guy totally looks like the beat boxer from American Idol during that season when it was mildly interesting. Which means, I'm pulling for this guy. Shoot outs.
Erin Rowe (Rant Topic: Lingerie Football)
The first female auditon! WOOOHO....oh she's ranting about lingerie football and wanting to try out. SIGH. OK so Erin doesn't instil me with any kind of 'rah rah sisterhood' feelings but I like her voice and she's making a case of the athletes involved in lingerie football. But she's wearing a baseball hat! This isn't a fashion complaint so much as it's a 'I can't see your eyes and you look inherently evil' complaint. Come on girls!
Luke Reynolds (Rant Topic: NBA star power)
This guy isn't playing around. He came prepared with a memorized script. How do I know this? Everything, right down to each and every breath, seemed to be timed. You know this guy is IN IT to...well, I doubt he'll win it, but he's here gosh darn it! He's cute and has a good enough voice but My God it's monotone and needs background music if anyone has a chance of getting through it feeling any kind of emotion.
Masha Shobbar (Rant Topic: Payoffs? Vancouver Canucks?)
I'm not going to lie, I watch the female auditioners with a little bit of a bias thinking 'even if they suck, yay for them for coming out'. Masha has effectively killed that tiny bit of happiness I had. This girl sounds like she's leaving a drunk voicemail for one of her girlfriends. Nervous giggling, long pauses and stumbling over words. Words that were: "I think...the NHL has learned well....to never....do a seventh game." Be a doll and exit stage left, would ya?
Xavier Merrick (Rant Topic: Barcelona's team)
I think I've spotted an early favourite. I mean, not seriously of course, but PLEASE let this guy make it at least to the Top 24. I have to see Xavier's hair at least once more before I can let go forever. He's actually not even terrible and gets through his rant with very few issues, my only complaint would be to cut back on the swaying. But Xavier, never fully open those eyes and don't even think about lowering that cocked eyebrow of yours. It's who you are.
-Justin Marshall couldn't get through his rant and my heart broke into a million pieces.
-Mike Meade, you were totally decent!
-Allan April distracted me with his '80s romcom hair. So, win?
-Justin Hartling, I was lost in your eyes.
-Blair Langille, I kind of love you.
These were just a few people that stuck out as I watched the Halifax Drafted auditions for longer than is probably OK. I've linked to it in this article so definitely check them out and let me know your own thoughts! Who rocked? Who sucked? Am I just a big fat meanie? Stay tuned for more audition recaps!