Another wild night of local entertainment has come to an end and a new contestant has been crowned the champ at Quest for the Best.
Jaykob Ryll bested Adrian Indian in a final musical showdown to take home the 2022 Quest for the Best grand prize on Friday night, reaching his number one spot with a crowd-pleasing performance of “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” by Trace Adkins to take first place in the first act and wind up in the showdown. Indian won the first place spot for the second act with an energetic rendition of Billy Idol’s “Rebel Yell” and while both performers thrilled during the showdown of Elton John’s “I’m Still Standing,” it was Ryll that the judges placed on top the podium when all was said and done.
Riding high on the win, Ryll said he was surprised and grateful to be named the grand prize winner.
“I’m definitely surprised, a little bit shocked,” he said.
“It’s so nice to be back. I felt it at rehearsal time, I just knew there was something special about this song, about the band, about the choice, it was the stars aligning. I’m so grateful.”
Ryll was also awarded the People’s Choice for the first set of performers as well, bringing him both the judge’s acclaim as well as the audience’s. Ryll said getting People’s Choice is a big deal for him, since it comes right from the audience.
“People’s Choice, to me, is always the award that touches me the most,” he said.
“I won it when I first did [Quest], I did Katy Perry’s ‘I Kissed a Girl’ and it was questionable, and I walked out there and said, ‘if I got one thing, it’s People’s Choice.’ As much as the Grand Prize is amazing, hearing from the people who watch the show that I’m their favourite, really just sinks into my heart. People are connecting with what I’m doing and they enjoy it.”
While Indian did not take home the grand prize of the evening, he did manage to also take a pair of prizes with him. In addition to the first place prize for the second set, Indian also received the People’s Choice award for the set as well, marking the first time the judge’s choices and People’s Choices have aligned for the competition.
Indian shared that he was surprised when he went up to received his People’s Choice award and emcee Jonathan Price told him not to leave the stage.
“I was really pumped and shocked, actually,” Indian said.
“When he told me, ‘wait, don’t go nowhere,’ I thought, ‘well, what is there left?’ Right? Then he said first place for second set, and I was like ‘no way.’ Then when he told me I was going to be battling [for the grand prize] it was a total shock. The People’s Choice blew me away.”
Indian was one of a handful of performers to bring an instrument onstage with him, and his high energy performance of the classic Billy Idol song clearly resonated with judges and audiences alike. When it came time to choose his song for the Quest competition, he said that “Rebel Yell” just seemed like the clear choice.
“When I play with my other band, we just tried it out,” he said.
“We started doing it more and more. This was my sixth time playing it live. My mind was going fast because I was trying to remember the lyrics. It was fun.”
With a slate of 21 performers on tap for the night’s competition, there was a little bit of something for everyone, and plenty of additional prizes to be doled out. Among the night’s multi-award winners was Allan McDonald, who was joined on stage by Jeff Gustafson and Zach Jolicoeur to perform Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird” in a repeat of their award-winning 2011 Quest performance. McDonald was the recipient of the Show Stopper award, and also placed second overall for the first set.
Meanwhile Heather Newman also received two awards that night for her performance of Lake Street Drive’s “Dude,” which earned her both the Band’s Choice award and second place for the second set.
The remaining awards were doled out in singles to no-less-talented performers, including Rookie Award winner Jakes Langford for his Gord Downie-channeling performance of The Tragically Hip’s “New Orleans is Sinking,” and former Lakers coach Dave Allison, who took home the Dark Horse award for a get-up-and-dance worthy rendition of the Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose hit “Too Late to Turn Back Now.”
Friday night proved to be a successful outing for a handful of local entertainers, and a funfilled evening for the crowd that packed the big-tent at the Sorting Gap Marina. While not every contestant could be a winner, each gave a pasisonate and entertaining performance, and the reception from the audience, along with the sheer volume of attendees promises that this is an event that won’t be coming up short in the years to come.
As for Ryll, he says he knows where his winnings will be going now that he’s become the 2022 Quest for the Best Champion.
“I go back to school in two and a half weeks, the money will be great for rent,” Ryll shared. “I’m looking forward to a great football season. I know I’m probably going to do a song next year, not competing, but just get in there and sing again. It’s something I live for.”