The first time I heard of Carly Rae Jepsen, I had already heard of her.
In May of 2012, a relatively large group of friends and acquaintances and I had gathered to drink, snack, and watch a live stream of Eurovision. After Loreen and Buranovskiye Babushki shredded the competition (another rant for another time), we wound up in the driveway with a lot of drinks and a lot of opinions. Carly came up in the conversation several times—completely blanking, I felt like an uncool teacher at a dance. Someone put “Call Me Maybe” on (repeat), which generated many questions about this lovely siren—was she 15, or 25? Why did the song cut me like a warm, friendly knife? Just who did this perfect human think she was? A friend looked at me with some confusion. “You lived in Canada, Libby,” she said. “You know who she is.”
My relationship to American Idol is practically nonexistent. I’ve always known it as the background noise on the TV twice a week when I visit my parents during the right season; it’s the only non-football programming my mother yells at, a thing my father still calls the “new singing show” after 14 years. Canadian Idol, though? I actually have some feelings about Canadian Idol.
I moved to Montreal from Boston in December of 2004. It was tough to make friends and I had very little money, but I had ten television stations (six of which were in English). The format for the show was essentially the same as the American version—likable host, themed episodes, talented talent. The only noticeable difference was the fact that the judges seemed to be consistently polite. The first season I watched end to end was season three, which—I feel compelled to mention—featured a Barenaked Ladies-themed episode. I had a serious affinity for the single released by that year’s winner, Melissa O’Neil (“Let It Go”); it was stuck in my head for months, glued to the surface of my consciousness like a slightly angrier, less love-focused, mo...