December 8, 2022



Students in Waterloo Region had the chance to give it their best shot at The Shot.

The singing competition was open to post-secondary students at the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University and Conestoga College.

The Shot is a week-long event where individual students or groups perform in front of four music industry professionals. It’s like America’s Got Talent mixed with American Idol.

The Shot just wrapped up its second season on March 21 at the Conrad Centre of the Performing Arts. People auditioned their best songs and then the judges, Juneyt Yetkiner, Stacy Zegers, Joni Nehrita and C.J. Allen, picked the top eight competitors. The competition was so good that they chose a ninth singer for the March 21 finals.

They were Jessica Bell, Emily Cortolezzis, James Downham, Matt Giblin, and Pam Olayemi, all from Wilfrid Laurier, and Sarah Russo, Tausha Hanna, Chelsea Marr and Vincenzo Romualdi, all from the University of Waterloo.

After hearing the finalists sing the judges decided Cortolezzis, Olayemi, Hanna and Downham would move on to the final round.

The winner of the competition received a full day of recording with a professional engineer and a mastered demo courtesy of Metal Works Studio, limousine transportation provided by Brentwood Livery, the opportunity to perform at KOI fest 2015, a performance and development contract with Circus Music Co., a new acoustic guitar courtesy of Brickhouse Guitars, a professional photo shoot courtesy of Sylvia Pond Photography, and a professionally produced music video courtesy of Esteemedia.

“I can’t even think of words to use to describe how proud I am of the nine who performed tonight,” said Allen, who is also the A&R executive of Circus Music Company, the company producing The Shot. “I am overwhelmed at the talent that we saw. I’m proud that they came, I’m proud that they took the stage, it’s a really great feeling.”

The judges listened to the nine competitors and judged who would move on to the finals, then, after the four finalists sang their final song, the audience voted on the winner.

After an anxious 15 minutes the results came in and the four finalists took the stage, holding each other’s hands tightly.

The crowd went silent as everyone waited in the tense room as the host finally announced the winner.

“James Downham!”

Downham had won the crowd over with his song Skydiving by Tim McGraw. At the announcement the crowd erupted in excited screams as the four finalists hugged each other and Downham lifted his fist in victory.

“I feel awesome,” Downham said. “I can’t believe that this actually happened. There were so many absolutely fantastic singers in this competition. It was amazing to be with everybody for this week, it’s been unbelievable. I never had the confidence before to do something like this. People encouraged me in the past and I was like too nervous. I just had to get to a point where it didn’t matter.”

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