Q&A With Daryn Jones

With the clock quickly ticking down to showtime here at Over the Rainbow we take a moment to sit down with host and professional funnyman Daryn Jones. Daryn was kind enough to offer up his thoughts about the show, and gives us a glimpse of what to expect once the crystal ball gets rolling. He's also got some advice for you budding performers out there.


Over the Rainbow host Daryn Jones makes pals with a Toto hopeful.

Q: What is it about Over the Rainbow that appeals to you?

A: Over the Rainbow is really appealing for a number of reasons.
One: It's not like American Idol, where if your cousins-aunts-friend says you've got a great voice, you're going to get on TV. You need to know how to sing and dance and perform, because the winner has to do eight shows a week starting in the New Year. It's a huge, huge responsibility.
Two: It's appealing for me personally because I love doing live TV, that's what I've been doing for six years. This show is live Sunday and Monday nights, I get to be out there, in front of a live audience, and it's going to be a lot of fun.
Three: The material is really funny to me. It's over the top, it's fun, everybody knows The Wizard of Oz... So it'll provide a lot of opportunity to go off script, to play around with the judges.

Q: What does Wizard of Oz mean to you?

A: I remember seeing The Wizard of Oz, maybe when I was six, at a birthday party. I think I saw it three times at three different birthday parties, either on betamax or on VHS... The older you get the less scared you become of the flying monkeys and the witches.
It's one of those stories that's ingrained in you, no matter who you are, no matter where you're from.


Daryn speaks with Top 20 Dorothy finalist Julia Gartha during a quick rehearsal break at Dorothy Farm.

Q: What's your favourite cover of the song Over the Rainbow?

A: The Hawaian dude, Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, that's an iconic one, it's quite beautiful really. And Rufus Wainwright's.

Q: Have you ever tried to sing it?

A: No, I'm not much of a singer. And it's a hard song, everyone tells me it's not an easy one.

Q: What do you think happens in Oz after Dorothy leaves, what's your theory? There have been multiple movie sequels...

A: That's right, there was the Michael Jackson one, The Wiz? And Return to Oz was really freaky wasn't it? Maybe Oz found its way and rejuvenated itself and became a bustling metropolis? Streetcars, subways, global financial crisis, who knows?

Q: What's your favourite song from The Wizard of Oz?

A: I like the Yellow Brick Road, with all the munchkins doing their thing.

Q: So Dorothy wore gingham in the 30's, what would she wear today if she was stuck in Kansas and not really enjoying life?

A: Hmm. Probably a pair of UGGs, ironic t-shirt, black tight jeans maybe, although the UGGs don't go with the jeans. She'd be a hipster right? She'd have fake glasses with no prescription, and maybe like a Betty Boop tattoo on her arm.

Q: What genre of music would she be into?

A: Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, probably, if she's a pop girl. Maybe a little Arcade Fire, but that's me hoping Dorothy would be cool. Or maybe a little country, like Keith Urban.


Daryn does a few takes for the camera during an early round of Toto auditions.

Q:How do want to help the performers out during the show? You've been through live performances and you know how scary it can be, what sort of advice would you give them?

A: Well, I certainly can't give them advice on their craft (singing and theatre performance)... They're going to have to know how to do that. But as far as getting in front of a crowd, the best advice I could give them for a show like this, is everybody is rooting for you, everybody wants you to succeed, nobody is looking for you to go out there and fall on your face. You've already won the crowd over without singing a note, so if you can keep that in mind and own it and just go out there and be Dorothy, then you should be alright.

Q: Do you have any techniques you've developed for dealing with nerves?

A: I always pretend I'm talking to one person. If I'm addressing a big room, I pretend it's one person, just having a conversation, very loose, very fun, not trying too hard. And I think that can translate to their performances as well.

We trust our Dorothys will be in good hands with Daryn, and he assures us that the aim of the show is not to dash anyone's hopes, but rather to help nurture Canadian talent and make dreams a reality. Be sure to watch Daryn on Over the Rainbow with us on September 16th!