Article: Fallsview is Foster City


David Foster


Shinan Govani, National Post
Published: Wednesday, December 20, 2006

David Foster’s whole wizardly star-making machinery was at work during a gala held in his name recently.

The event, which was held at the Fallsview Casino Resort in Niagara Falls and offered some goose-bumpy competition to those very Falls, helped raise more than $3.3-million — million! — for non-medical costs accrued by families requiring organ transplants.

Canada’s Foster collects friends the way Jerry Seinfeld collects cars, so le tout talented was on hand for an after-dinner, variety-showstyle sing-and-laugh-along. And — for those of us who’ve followed the ebbs and flows of one of the most successful music producers ever and not nearly-as-successful reality- TV star — it was more than just going to a concert. It was like going to a concert in Foster City, glassed inside a snow globe, and those on the inside witnessed the good, the better and the ugly. The good American Idol bridesmaid Katharine McPhee. One might as well mix philanthropy with(show) business, and Foster did just that when he set about laying the seeds for what will be an evidently out-and-out publicity push when the gorgeous McPhee makes her album debut next month.

“Remember this moment!” the terribly buoyant producer told his mostly prosperous audience. She’s “in the line of the Whitneys and Celines and Mariahs,” all three of whom he has, naturally, worked with, and she’s “the next superstar.”

So, how’d McPhee perform at this Ontario Lottery Corporation- sponsored event? Rather nicely — especially with her signature, hair-raising take on Whitney Houston’s I Have Nothing. Her hair, even more importantly, gleamed like black enamel. And even when she was cornered by the piano-tinkling Foster with some banter about Taylor Hicks, she managed just fine.

“That guy who won?is he a dick?” he asked her. Blushing and hesitating a little, Katharine replied like an experienced pol: “Taylor is a nice guy.”

A little later in the night, Foster trumped his latest chanteuse some more when, in a scene reminiscent of Madonnaa and Britney Spears joining forces years ago at the MTV Awards — minus the kiss! — he brought out Mc- Phee to perform a duet with superstar Andrea Bocelli. As far as passings-of-the-torch go, that’s as good as it sings. The better Well, signor Bocelli, of course! Fresh from serenading Tom Kat in Italy, he delivered movingly and sine qua non. Even a Tuscan style tribute to Elvis Presley — his rendition of I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You — was a possibly quizzical idea turned gold. Not much needs to be said except that we’d have dinner with Andrea anytime! The Ugly Michael Buble, who possibly needs to get a new torch of something.

It’s never the most fun thing to criticize an artist who’s come out to croon for charity — especially one who’s a genuine talent — but Buble’s appearance on the stage was one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen. Hoarse. Shaky. Distracted. Not funny, not gracious and even a tad combative. Me being the messenger, you should know that everybody was talking about it in the lobby afterwards.

Besides using the f-word at least twice and going off on tangents in search of a punch line, Buble was the dark side, at least that night, of Foster’s aforementioned star-making machinery.

In fact, right before the Grammy-nominated singer was scheduled to come onstage, there was a comedy routine by funny-guy Sinbad, of all people! A comedy routine that he stopped after a few minutes, but was then clearly signalled to keep going, and which he kept up for a bizarre half-hour. A source, for what it’s worth, tells me it’s because Michael wasn’t “ready.”

Performers, like everyone else, have off-days, but when you’re having your off-day onstage, the wonderful world of showbiz can turn suddenly cold. And when you’re sharing the stage with artists clearly having on-days — McPhee, Bocelli et al. — the contrast is evenmore acute.

What a gala! What a narrative arc! Just consider it: While one star was being born that night, and another was at the top of his game, yet another, surprisingly, was only staying afloat.

Who says charity events are boring?


Toronto funny person Eugene Levy is even older and wiser than we thought. He turned the big 6-0 last Sunday, not the big 5-0 as I mentioned yesterday!

Source: National Post

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