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B.C. acts close, but Rebecca Strong $1M winner of ‘Canada’s Got Talent’

Saskatchewan singer outlasts the competition to win popular program’s largest prize
Jacksun Fryer, left, and Carlow Rush, also known as the dance duo Funkanometry, perform one last time on Canada’s Got Talent’s season finale Tuesday, May 14, earning second place. (Instagram photo)

Rebecca Strong is now $1 million richer after being crowned the winner of Citytv’s “Canada’s Got Talent” Season 3.

The Indigenous singer from Prince Albert, Sask., claimed the reality competition’s first million-dollar prize in a two-hour finale featuring eight finalists.

Viewers across Canada voted to determine the winner of what Citytv’s parent company, Rogers, billed as the biggest cash prize in Canadian television history.

The finalists were whittled down from over 100 musical, dance, comedy and novelty acts.

Vancouver Island’s funky dance duo took home second place.

Funkanometry’s Jacksun Fryer from Nanaimo and Carlow Rush took a risk and put the flow of their routine in the hands of judges Howie Mandel, Lilly Singh, Trish Stratus and Kardinal Offishall, who could control them “like a video game” with paddles that read faster, slower, or reverse. As they danced to Queen’s We Are the Champions, the duo adjusted their routine to fit the directive.

Singh was amazed they decided to “take the biggest moment of their lives and leave it up to the judges.”

“Throughout this entire season, everybody has been cheering for you guys. You’ve definitely been a favourite for so many people across the country,” Offishall said after their performance.

In a video before they took to the stage, Rush said their journey on Canada’s Got Talent had been amazing.

“We’ve always dreamed about being on a show like this in our own country,” Fryer said. “The secret to Funkanometry is mixing the old school with the new school … If there’s good music, I’ll dance to it.”

The hip hop and popping dance duo previously made it to America’s Got Talent semifinals in 2022, and are the second act from the central Island to make it to the finals of Canada’s Got Talent in two years – Lantzville’s Raymond Salgado also made it to the season finale in 2023.

Meanwhile, another B.C. act, Mission’s Eshan Sobti finished third in the competition after a performance of David Guetta and Sia’s “Titanium” during the final episode.

Sobti advanced to the finale by making it through the public vote after last week’s episode. The Mission singer previously performed “The Power of Love” by Frankie Goes to Hollywood during the elimination round last week and earned a standing ovation for Whitney Houston’s “How Will I Know” in the audition.

During the finale, Sobti and his parents were interviewed about his pursuit of music. After a rendition of “Titanium”, Sobti was praised by judges Kardinal Offishall, Trish Stratus and Lilly Singh.

Stratus said the judges could be looking at the million-dollar winner after the performance.

“I’m a little emotional about it because it’s your story that sets everyone’s hearts on fire and I know that’s what Canada was feeling when they voted you through. They felt it. They knew it. They saw your talent. I have goosebumps,” Stratus said.

“Imagine if you actually gave up on yourself,” Offishall said. “You would not be in this position right here killing it tonight. This is not about who chose you in the past — tonight you choose. And you chose to be excellent, my friend.”

“I relate so much to this idea of entertainment as a hobby, singing as a hobby, being funny as a hobby, so I respect so much that not only is it nerve-wracking to be on the stage but to be on the stage against all of those obstacles. There’s so many kids —Punjabi kids, but kids of all cultures — looking at you saying ‘It’s possible, I can do that. I want to be like Eshan.’ You just did that for so many kids watching at home, so thank you. You are a star, boy. Eshan, you are a star, baby,” Singh said.

One day after the Indigenous singer from Prince Albert, Sask., took home the competition’s first $1-million prize, Strong said she expected the victory will help push her ambitions to the next level.

“This means a lot of musical growth and a lot of opportunities I’ve been waiting for like recording new music, and travelling and playing more cities, hopefully outside of Canada too,” Strong said Wednesday in a video call.

In her final bid for Canada’s vote, Strong belted out Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” on Tuesday’s episode. The 20-year-old Strong said appearing on “Canada’s Got Talent” marked her biggest audience yet.

“I’ve been singing on stages since I was five so it’s crazy to think that this is even happening,” Strong said.

She encouraged anyone with a talent to pursue it.

“If you’re having doubts, don’t even think about what other people are going to think about you, your talent, or what you want to show the world and just do what you do,” she said.

The show’s third season also awarded $25,000 each to six Golden Buzzer acts – performers deemed good enough to progress from auditions straight to the semifinal.

The top prize was significantly higher than the $150,000 awarded at the end of Season 2 to a dance troupe from Quebec.

—with a file from Canadian Press

READ ALSO: Vancouver Island’s Funkanometry boogies into ‘Canada’s Got Talent’ semifinals

READ ALSO: B.C. singer moves on to Canada’s Got Talent finale

Mission singer Eshan Sobti performed “The Power of Love” by Frankie Goes to Hollywood during the elimination round of Canada’s Got Talent on Tuesday night (May 7). /Submitted Photo, Courtesy of Citytv