Melissa O'Neil

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Melissa O'Neil
File:Melissa O'Neil 2006.jpg
Melissa O'Neil in 2006
Background information
Birth name Melissa Crystal O'Neil
Born (1988-07-12) July 12, 1988 (age 32)
Origin Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Genres Pop
Occupation(s) Singer, Actress
Instruments Singing
Years active 2005–present
Labels Sony Music Canada (2005–2007)
Associated acts Ryan Malcolm, Kalan Porter, Eva Avila, Brian Melo

Melissa Crystal O'Neil (born July 12, 1988) is a Canadian singer and musical theatre actress who was the winner of the third season of Canadian Idol in 2005.[1] She was the first Canadian female winner. She is also an actress, known for her role as Two/Portia Lin on Dark Matter.


Early life

O'Neil was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, and attended Terry Fox Junior High School before studying at Lester B. Pearson High School. Prior to her Canadian Idol experience, she worked at a day care centre and was involved in local musical theatre productions. Her maternal grandfather gave her a Chinese name (Chinese: 奧詩敏).[2]

Canadian Idol 2005

In early 2005, O'Neil auditioned for the third season of Canadian Idol. The judges were impressed by her vocals, and she made it through to the top 100 round. On the first day, she sang the song "Concrete Angel" by Martina McBride a cappella and again impressed the judges; but, on the final day of competition, she forgot the words to her chosen song and froze. Nevertheless, the judges were still so impressed by her singing abilities that she continued to the top 32. After scoring the highest number of votes in her semi-final group, again with "Concrete Angel", O'Neil was granted a place in the final 10 of the contest.

Although she was highly praised by the judges, O'Neil suffered huge setbacks in the Top 10 and Top 9 weeks of the finals, as she was in both the bottom three and bottom two, respectively. Shocked by this, the judges urged viewers to vote for contestants like Melissa, who clearly had the best vocal abilities. From then on, O'Neil never fell back into the bottom three after delivering consistently praised performances, and judge Zack Werner declared that she was "a threat to win the whole thing". On September 7, 2005, O'Neil made it into the final two of the competition, alongside Rex Goudie, and after yet more stunning performances, judge Zack Werner famously stated that the headlines of the next day's newspapers would be "The Prince [Kalan Porter] is dead, long live the Queen." During the grand finale results show on September 14, 2005, O'Neil was crowned the third Canadian Idol and the first female winner, defeating Goudie.

Canadian Idol performances

Week Theme Song Sung Artist Status
Audition Contestant's Choice "If I Ain't Got You" Alicia Keys Selected
Top 200 Contestant's Choice "On My Own" Les Mis Cast Advanced
Top 32 Contestant's Choice "Concrete Angel" Martina McBride Advanced
Top 10 Canadian Hits "Believe in You" Amanda Marshall Bottom 3
Top 9 Steve Wonder Songs "Living for the City" Stevie Wonder Bottom 2
Top 8 Songs of the 1980s "Holding Out for a Hero" Bonnie Tyler Safe
Top 7 Big Band Hits "It's Delovely" Ella Fitzgerald Safe
Top 6 Classic Rock Week "Alone" Heart Safe
Top 5 Songs of the Guess Who "My Own Way to Rock" Burton Cummings" Safe
Top 4 Songs of Elvis "A Little Less Conversation"
"You'll Never Walk Alone"
Elvis Presley Safe
Top 3 Hits of BNL "The Old Apartment
"When I Fall"
The Barenaked Ladies Safe
Top 2 Contestant's Choice "Angel of the Morning"
"A Broken Wing"
Juice Newton
Martina McBride
Idol Single
Grand Finale Duet
Movie Duet
Favorite Song Sung
"The Devil Went Down to Georgia" with Rex Goudie & Kalan Porter
"Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)"
"It's Delovely"
Charlie Daniels
Phil Collins
Ella Fitzgerald
Declared Winner

Post-Idol career

2005–06: Melissa O'Neil

Immediately after her win on Canadian Idol, O'Neil received a congratulatory phone call from the Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin. She then signed a recording contract with Sony BMG Canada and released her first single "Alive", which hit stores on October 4, 2005 and debuted at number one on the Canadian singles chart, a position it held for four weeks. The single went on to be certified four-times platinum by the CRIA.

Her self-titled debut album Melissa O'Neil, was released on November 22, 2005 and debuted at number sixteen on the Canadian albums chart. The second single from her album, "Let It Go" was released in late 2005 and peaked at number seven on the singles chart. On February 7, 2006, O'Neil embarked on her first solo tour in North Bay, Ontario, named the 'Let It Go Tour' after her second single. Her support act was her Canadian Idol runner-up, Rex Goudie. The third single release from O'Neil's album was "Speechless", which peaked number thirty-one, significantly lower than her two previous songs but still respectable nonetheless. In March 2006, her debut album was certified gold by the CRIA for 50,000 units shipped, and her first single "Alive" was covered by Becki Ryan in the movie Flicka. On September 16, 2006 O'Neil returned to the Canadian Idol stage during grand finale of its fourth season. Here she was surprised with the certified gold presentation disc of her debut album.


On April 1, 2007, O'Neil attended the annual Juno Awards, where she was nominated for Best New Artist. Ironically, one of the other nominees was her Canadian Idol successor, Eva Avila. However, Tomi Swick took home the award. Since then, O'Neil stated that she was working on her second studio album, which she aims to illustrate her full musical aspirations, and allow her to grow as an independent, imaginative artist. She starred in the musical of Dirty Dancing in Toronto, Ontario as a featured singer. She then played the role of Gabriella in High School Musical On Stage with Drayton Entertainment in St. Jacobs and Penetanguishene and was featured as a lead in the Stage West Calgary production of "British Invasion", alongside former lead singer of The Guess Who, Terry Hatty. O'Neil made her Stratford Shakespeare Festival debut during the 2011 season as Martha/Maid by the Fire in Jesus Christ Superstar and she made an appearance in Camelot. She played Eponine in a sit-down production of Les Misérables in Toronto at the Princess of Wales Theatre, which ran from September 2013 through February 2014.[3][4][5][6] For this performance, she won the Dora Award for Outstanding Female Performance.[7] O'Neil later served as both a member of the ensemble and an understudy for the roles of Éponine and Fantine in the Broadway revival of Les Miserables, which opened March 2014.[8] She was then promoted to play Éponine.[9]

In December 2014, she was cast in the role of "Portia Lin" aka "Two" on the television series Dark Matter.[10]


Melissa O'Neil discography
Studio albums 1
Music videos 2
Singles 3
B-sides 3
Collaborations 1
Tours 1

The following is a complete discography of every album and single released by Canadian pop music artist Melissa O'Neil.


Year Album details Peak Certifications
(sales threshold)
2005 Melissa O'Neil
  • Released: November 22, 2005
  • Label: Sony
  • Format: CD


Year Song Canada Certification Album
2005 "Alive" 1 4xPlatinum (CRIA) Melissa O'Neil
"Let It Go" 7
2006 "Speechless" 31

Featured on

Track #6: "Concrete Angel"
Track #11: "Whiskey Lullaby"



Year Title Role Notes
2010 Broken Hearts Brandi / Bitch On The Rag

TV Shows

Year Title Role Notes
2015 Dark Matter Two/Portia Lin Main role, 13 episodes
2015 This Life Sarah

See also


  1. Menon, Vinay (September 15, 2005). "A muted Melissa our first Idol queen". Toronto Star. Retrieved August 22, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "奧詩敏加國一夜成名", Ming Pao, September 22, 2005, retrieved September 2, 2010<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. It’s Official! Ramin Karimloo, Melissa O’Neil & More Will Head to the Barricades in Toronto’s Les Miserables Retrieved February 13, 2013
  4. "Toronto's New Les Miz Will Star Ramin Karimloo, Genevieve Leclerc, Samantha Hill, Lisa Horner, Cliff Saunders". Playbill.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. LES MISERABLES, ONCE, ALADDIN & More Set for Mirvish's 50th Season Retrieved February 13, 2013
  6. "Toronto Production of Les Misérables, Starring Ramin Karimloo, Ends Feb. 2". Playbill. Retrieved February 2, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Dora Awards 2014: A List Of All The Winners! broadwayworld, retrieved July 18, 2014
  8. "Casting Now Complete for 2014 Broadway Revival of Les Misérables". Playbill. Retrieved December 3, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Melissa O'Neil - Les Misérables Official Website". Les Misérables.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Melissa O'Neil, Marc Bendavid Board Syfy's 'Dark Matter'". The Hollywood Reporter. December 18, 2014. Retrieved September 16, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links