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Felions Cheerleader Pumped

B.C. girl Alexandria MacFarlane has chance to become Much VJ

By Dana Gee
The Province

Alexandria MacFarlane says her job as a professional cheerleader is not that different than the job of music channel VJ.

The 20-year-old is a member of the B.C. Felions cheerleading squad and currently competing against 13 other young Canadians in the Fructis Fruit Sensation Presents: Much VJ Search.

“Being a cheerleader and this have a lot in common,” said MacFarlane who grew up in Abbotsford but calls Coquitlam home these days.

“You have to pump up the crowd, be a public figure, be a good role model, set a good example – it connects so greatly.

“I want to entertain people and I know I am good at it.”

MuchMusic, which has held VJ search contests (last in 2009, when Liz Trinnear won), has mixed things up this year and sent the VJ wannabes on a bus tour. The tour began in Vancouver and will pull to a stop in Toronto for a live show on April 26 when the new VJ will be revealed.

The VJ Search program, which airs nightly at 6 p.m. with Post Show following at 6: 30, shows the contestants competing in their daily challenges, including interviewing each other to facing off in pop-culture quizzes.

Along the route (they are in Ottawa for Wednesday’s episode) contestants are eliminated. The decision of who stays and who goes is made based on a combination of fan support, the mentors (current MuchMusic VJs) and, of course, production staff. The winner will get a three-month contract with MuchMusic. “We wanted to really focus that this isn’t Toronto centric, that this is all about all of Canada, so we came up with the idea of the bus, with contestants from all across Canada” said Much’s executive producer Kristine Luciw.

According to Luciw, more than 1,000 people from every corner of the country applied for the contest which has turned into a reality show.

“It is working out really well but it certainly isn’t easy to put together,” Luciw said. “The toughest part is having to eliminate someone.”

That point resonates loudly with MacFarlane who was one of 20 chosen for the bus tour.

“It is stressful, but really fun,” MacFarlane said. “It’s the best experience of my life. But everybody gets really emotional so it is stressful.

“I think, coming here, I honestly didn’t think I would make the relationships that I have. We have become close like a family. I know it is weird to say that. It’s reality TV everybody says that ‘we’re so close,’ and you’re like whatever. But it’s crazy I feel like I have known these people my whole life. It’s insane. So when you have to see people go home, it is heartbreaking. It’s stressful.” So while social media popularity goes a long way in this contest, the network types have certain boxes they want to check on the road to picking a new TV star.

“We are definitely looking for someone who is a fresh face,” Luciw said. “Someone we don’t have already on air. Looking for someone who is really different to what we have already.”

Of course, that person has to have some understanding of the world that MuchMusic operates in.

“We are looking for someone who is very passionate about music and pop culture,” Luciw said. “Someone who lives and breathes it. We are looking for someone who is unique, who stands out on camera, who is confident, very relatable and likable to our audience.”

And don’t forget enthusiastic.

“I want this job so badly because it is everything I love to do,” MacFarlane said. “Meeting new people, entertaining people, pumping up the crowd, social media – this is everything I am really good at and everything I love to do all in this job. Actually, it wouldn’t really be like a job: It would be me just being me for the rest of my life. So it would be perfect.”

Note: MacFarlane is the last B.C. contestant standing but there might be a chance that her fellow Top20 bus rider, Vancouver’s Desiree Mark, could be brought back (she was eliminated last Friday) due to a fan voting option. You can vote to help bring Mark back by going to muchmusic.com/vjsearch. The most popular castoff will be brought back for the final week of competition.

[Alexandria VJ Search on MuchMusic.com]

[Alexandria on Twitter]

[Alexandria at BCLions.com]

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