Season two of Canada Sings, where teams of everyday Canadians compete for a chance to win $25,000 for their favourite charities, premieres tonight. Judges Vanilla Ice (aka Rob Van Winkle) and new addition and former Lady Gaga choreographer Laurieann Gibson recently sat down with Metro to chat about the new season.

What made you want to return for a second season?

Van Winkle: I came back because season one was magical.

But the charity is a big part of why I’m here in the first place. I was pumped that they called me for season two.

What drew you in, Laurieann?

Gibson: When you do this in real life, like I creative-direct, you do one reality show and you become really cautious about that line, that reality line.

But when I found out what the show was about, I was like, “Wow, how incredible.”

This being an amateur competition for charity, do you find it difficult to make judging decisions?

Van Winkle: It makes our job hard. I’d much rather be on a Simon Cowell show where it’s like, “Well, that sucked.” On season one, I didn’t get it.
For the first couple of shows, you have to get in there, marinate and figure it out.

Gibson: [The competitors] want to know that they did the best that they could do, and that an expert was like, “Oh my goodness, that felt like a Grammy performance.” It’s so empowering.

So as judges, you do have to pull your punches a bit.

Van Winkle: We hold back, but deliberations, which they filmed this year, nobody else is supposed to hear that. We hope they didn’t throw us under the bus too bad. We know they’re not professionals. We could critique the heck out of them and point out the flaws. But we’re here to see the journey these people went on to come out of the work environment to put on a great show for a good cause.

Does watching them remind you of your first time performing on television?

Gibson: We came out the womb performing!

Van Winkle: I couldn’t even afford a video. I had to borrow money to make the Ice, Ice Baby video.

My song was already number one before anyone even knew I was white.

When I saw myself on TV, I was like, “Wow.” I was only 16. I can’t really remember. Everything took on a life of its own.

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