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Tillsonburg family competing on ‘Family Feud Canada’

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It’s time for some Family Feud.

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The Vilez family from Tillsonburg – Paige Gilvesy, Cheryl Fody, John ‘Opie’ Vilez, Emma Fody and Scott Gilvesy – will be competing in Family Feud Canada’s second season on CBC, March 22 at 7:30 p.m.

The Vilez family will be going head-to-head (pre-recorded) against another Canadian family with the host, comedian Gerry Dee, asking the questions. Guessing the top answers, based on ‘the survey,’ wins points and rounds, and for the winning team, cash.

“My cousin Emma, she secretly sent an audition tape of our family (in October and November 2019),” said team captain Paige Gilvesy.

Compiling the video was easier than it might sound.

“Our whole family, we’re just constantly taking videos of people doing crazy things and we save them on our camera rolls. We’re always playing games, doing charades and that kind of stuff, so there’s usually never a dull moment when we’re all together. She compiled the whole audition video for each player and put little tidbits about each of us and sent it off without anybody knowing pretty much. I knew that she sent it back in the fall but the rest of my family didn’t.”

In May 2020 they received an email invitation to a virtual audition with the producers.

Paige, now living in Toronto, Emma and her aunt Cheryl, her dad Scott, and Cheryl’s dad Opie (John Vilez) from Tillsonburg were all on board to play the Feud.

“We call him Opie, not grandpa,” Paige noted. “It was supposed to be Opa, but my sister, the first grandchild, couldn’t pronounce it and started calling them Omie and Opie and it just stuck.”

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The first round of auditions was done from their homes on Zoom.

“We had to come up with some fun facts about ourselves. And we had to do something that makes you really stand out as a family. I wrote a little song about our family, so we played that, and we did a couple little practice runs. They asked each person a round of fast money questions, they asked about our jobs… the first round of interviews wasn’t too crazy.

“You have to bring a lot of energy, so we were ‘overly energetic.’ We are pretty loud to begin with as a family, so that wasn’t overly hard to do. “

In the second round of auditions in June they had to play against a Windsor-area family virtually.

“It was very high energy, a lot of ‘good answer, good answer!’ like you see on television. It didn’t matter if you won or lost, they just wanted to see how you would do against another family.

“Prior to that we had to take family photos and put together a little collage with all of us. And every week we had practices for our auditions. I have some pretty hilarious audition videos of us practicing.

“My Omie was very much involved in the audition process, and helped us.”

Costumes are encouraged on the Canadian Family Feud, so the Vilez family wore traditional Hungarian costumes (made in Delhi).

“For our intro, we took five different songs and rewrote the lyrics to be about our family.”

The family found out Sept. 11 they had been chosen to participate in Season 2, with filming later in September.

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They had to come up with five talking points for each player, get their outfits approved, and they had a preliminary Zoom call with the producer.

“So you know what they are going to talk to you about.”

Due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, CBC did not have a live audience in their Toronto studio.

“It was unfortunate that because of COVID nobody in our family could come watch. So they’re all excited to watch it in March.”

The family was told ‘filming day’ would be four to eight hours. It started with them watching other families being filmed.

“I was the captain, so you get to try the buzzer,” said Paige, recalling their first run-through. “It was overwhelming to actually be in the studio. The lights… it was lit up really cool.

“Gerry really took to my Opie, so he spent a lot of time talking to my family which was really nice. With COVID, everybody was staying away from each other, but we were telling jokes back and forth with the other family.

“We were all a little nervous, but we had a great producer working with us. I had said, if she wasn’t our producer I don’t think our experience would have been as fun as it was.”

It was a long day, but “super exciting’ to see the ‘behind the scenes’ filming of a game show.

“It was definitely a good experience to have, especially having my Opie there. There were definitely some moments when we had to talk him up, tell him everything was going to be fine, but he was a really good trooper on the day, he had fun. I think it was kind of a cool thing to do with your grandpa and have those memories now.”

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Family Feud Canada’s inaugural season first aired on CBC in December 2019 as one of more than 50 regional adaptations outside the United States. The format, set design, and music are similar to the American Family Feud, which first aired in 1976 with host Richard Dawson.

Family Feud Canada’s second season began airing Oct. 19, 2020.

The Vilez, Gilvesy and Fody families had a game night tradition going back many years that also involved Family Feud.

“My Omie and Opie used to have a Family Feud game on the TV – we used to play it all the time – and we used to watch the American Family Feud once in a while.”

Paige recalled someone messaging her aunt when Family Feud Canada was first announced, asking if they would audition, saying ‘You’d be pretty good for this show.’”

“Nothing ever came of it,” Paige laughed. “Then sure enough, my cousin went and entered us.”

cabbott@postmedia.com

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