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The Launch (Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on CTV) premiered this week and, um, wow. This series doesn’t waste any time in showcasing some of the country’s most incredible talent—and we don’t just mean this week’s mentors, busbee and Shania Twain. (Does Shania even need a last name anymore?) The debut episode introduced us to 29-year-old Logan Staats from Six Nations of the Grand River, Ontario and Vivian Hicks, a 14-year old phenom from Georgetown, Ontario, chosen from a group of talented artists (including Toronto’s The Revel Boys, King City, Ontario’s Julia Tomlinson and Edmonton, Alberta’s Havelin) to perform an original song, ‘The Lucky Ones.”

Both performers impressed Shania, producer busbee, and show creator and record exec Scott Borchetta from the moment the first notes left their mouths. Eyes widened and jaws dropped, but it was Logan Staats who made the judges choke up a little with the raw, emotional way he connected to the music. In the end, Logan walked away with the right to record his stripped-down, indie version of ‘The Lucky Ones’—but not without being given a run for his money by a teenager half his age. With the benefit of hindsight, we can say we totally knew all along that Logan would be chosen, but… here are seven times we were holding our breath:

When Vivian shocked the judges with her totally precocious polish

We’ve said it before but we just can’t help ourselves. 14-year-old Vivian strode into a room of famous, successful adults without breaking a sweat and performed her song flawlessly. She managed to come across as both humble and self-assured at the same time. Does anyone know if she gives lessons? But Logan has his own kind of magnetism—one the judges were drawn to before he even sat down to play guitar for them. 

When Vivian told the judges about her insane social media following

Like Justin Bieber before her, Vivian comes with a built-in fan base of a million followers. If this was a TV audience vote, she probably would have been Launched. Logan’s win is a nice reassuring sign that our robot overlords are still a couple of years away from taking over.

When Logan struggled to connect to the lyrics in the recording booth

While it’s a great song, “The Lucky Ones” definitely fell well outside of Logan’s typical wheelhouse. There were moments of frustration as we watched him search for meaning in the words. Vivian, however, seemed to nail it much faster and with more self-confidence, apart from a missing love connection. In the end, it turned out to be a tortoise/hare situation, with Logan getting into the song on a deeper level. Those things don’t come quickly.

When Shania looked at Vivian like, ‘OMG, she’s baby me’

The two performers seemed to have a lot in common: both began singing from a very early age. Shania shared the story of her mother sitting her on countertops in diners and asking her to sing when she was just three years old. Logan, however, was the one who managed to “cut through the noise,” said Shania, and impressed the iconic singer in a bigger way.

When Logan did his hat flip

Hey, we think it’s a cool move, but the thought of him fumbling it made us seriously nervous. Is it all that guitar playing dexterity that helped him to land it every time? It definitely adds to what Shania called his “mystique.”

When Vivan walked on stage like she’d been there a thousand times

Because she totally has. Did you see that performance montage? How does she get any homework (or TV binging) done? Her performance was amazing. That said, is there such a thing as too much polish? The rawness in Logan’s performance made us feel ALL the emotions.

That last second when Shania, busbee, and Scott broke the news

Thankfully they didn’t drag it out (we can only hold our breath for so long). When Scott said he saw a future in Vivian (and of course he does, she’s mega-talented), we gasped. But then it was time to talk about Logan, and we were reassured—his unique talent, presence, and ability to really connect with the music meant Logan Staats was the first performer to be Launched!

 

Missed the show? You can watch the entire episode right here, or see an extended director’s cut on CraveTV. The Launch is back next Wednesday on CTV with One Republic’s Ryan Tedder and Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles mentoring a whole new crop of Canadian singers.