The amateur's hour 

Jenny MacCormack rounds out finalists in Whistler's Got Talent competition

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Jenny MacCormack never expected to win. She signed up for Whistler's Got Talent the week before on a whim, with no expectation that she'd be competing in the finals.

"I, like, have this perma-smile on today, you don't even understand!" she said.

See, unlike the other finalists, MacCormack very rarely performs. She's played six open mic nights in her five years in Whistler and hasn't competed in a music competition since her piano recitals as a kid.

No, music has always been a passing interest, until recently. She works nine-to-five at a bank, working hard all week to pay off the mortgage on her condo (a condo! In Whistler! At 23 years old!) and to get silly on the weekend. It was through these weekend shenanigans that she started, slowly, to get up onstage and belt out a few tunes here and there.

The Kelowna native grew up in a musical family - her parents play in bands and own recording studios - and cites a huge hip-hop and rock influence. But she only started taking music seriously over the past year. She says that last Thursday's victory might just be the kick in the pants to sit down and write her own songs.

With the help of her keytar and three friends, Ben Pickering, Pat Weibe and Cole Reade, she played Sublime-flavoured hip-hop covers that pulled wild applause from the audience. MacCormack was impressed and surprised with the reaction since the band had learned all the songs over a couple of days and had hardly a week to practice them.

"I'm usually really nervous to be up here but you guys are making it so easy!" she said that night.

But if she appeared nervous, it didn't affect the performance whatsoever as they beat out five other solo performers (including one hypnotic didgeridoo performer) for the top spot. It was clear in her Ludacris and Tribe Called Quest covers that MacCormack can rap like it's nobody's business, which is no easy task anyway, but she blends the rhymes with impressive melodic delivery that may very well give the other competitors a run for their money.

Well, Pique thinks so anyway. McCormack doesn't seem to.

"I don't think we'll win," she said. She gives a nervous chuckle. "Rachel Thom and Jon Shrier, they're just amazing. Laurel, they're all incredible. It'll be nice just to be able to play along side of them."

MacCormack will likely play more unusual covers but she says she has no idea what songs, exactly, she'll be performing next - although this was last Friday, so presumably she has her act together for the finals tonight (Oct. 21, Crystal Lounge).

Five musical acts will perform in what is sure to be an absolute bloodbath onstage. That's right, folks. Fist fights! Chair smashing! Bad language! And other instances of poor behaviour the likes of which have never been seen on Jerry Springer or Maury Povich! Come one, come all and witness the nonsense that will hopefully ensue! The winner gets a brand new guitar and extensive bragging rights until next year's competition.

 

 

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