Who has talent? TDSB has talent. Lots of it, in every subject you can think of. And it's celebrated every day in schools and by industry experts. In the Arts, the latest to receive industry recognition is 18 year-old Etobicoke School of the Arts student Jack Ettlinger. The ESA student is a semi-finalist for the television program Canada's Got Talent (CGT).
Judges on the program include comedian Martin Short, Juno Award-winning singer Measha Brueggergosman and musician Stephan Moccio. They selected Ettlinger along with 36 others from more than 11,000 who auditioned.
“We have the most exciting and diverse group of performers we could have ever dreamed of,” Executive Producer John Brunton said in a statement. “This is a showcase of the best this country has to offer in all genres,” he continued. “Canada is going to love these acts.” The semifinal round began April 2.
Ettlinger qualified for the semis by singing Feeling Good, which was also his initial audition selection. He almost didn't try out at all, he said. "I had a presentation that day [but] decided to get up really early that morning and go down because I’d probably regret not auditioning," he said.
The audition was on September 28 at the Rogers Centre in a small room with a producer, four other contestants and a camera girl. "I could see the big baseball field through the window behind the producer and she said to imagine I was singing for the whole stadium…so I did." He was the first performer that day and set the bar high with an a cappella arrangement of Feeling Good that helped him advance to the next round where he would be evaluated by the judges.
On December 5 for his next CGT performance, he sang the same song, this time with a track. The judge's comments made it clear they were impressed. Moccio told him that he was going to go a very long way in this competition. Brueggergosman noted his undeniable charisma. And Short simply said the youngster was one of the best he'd seen. Still, Ettlinger was nervous when it came down to final cuts for the semis. "I thought I was going to throw up," he recalled. "We walked down a long catwalk and approached the stone-faced judges. It seemed like they stared at us for like 10 minutes but it was probably only one." Then Short gave him the good news.
ESA Principal Rob MacKinnon said that schoolmates, staff, and parents are rallying round its star student. “We are all really excited that Jack made it to the next round,” he said, noting that the grade 12 Music Theatre major played Tony in the school’s staging of West Side Story earlier this year and wowed audiences.
Ettlinger’s talents also extend to the athletic arena. “Jack plays on the school hockey team that went to the Tier 2 finals the last two years,” said MacKinnon. The forward helped his Eagles win the Tier 2 championship last year by scoring a goal and two assists in leading the team to a 6-2 win that capped a perfect undefeated season. This year, the team seemed headed for a repeat but lost a 4-2 heartbreaker to York Memorial CI in the finals.
Ettlinger performs next on Canada’s Got Talent on May 6 at 8 pm on City TV. On April 15, 11 year-old Claude Watson School For the Arts student Shale Wagman advanced to the finals. Tune in on May 6 to help Jack Ettlinger make it a TDSB duo in the finals and vote often to support these rising stars!