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Video: One-armed Port Coquitlam musician wows Canada's Got Talent judges

Jack Thomas lost his right arm in a work accident in 2015, but that didn't stop the Terry Fox Secondary grad from rocking his heart out.
Port Coquitlam grad Jack Thomas rocked his in-person audition for the second season of Canada's Got Talent and received a unanimous "Yes" from the judges to advance to the next round.

Port Coquitlam's Jack Thomas is on to the next round of Canada's Got Talent after impressing the judges with his musical talents.

Oh, and he did it all with one arm.

The 25-year-old musician was featured in the reality show's fifth auditions episode for its second season, which was pre-recorded in October 2022 before it aired Tuesday (April 18). 

He jammed both on the guitar and the drums to "All The Small Things" by Blink-182, one of his favourite bands of all-time, in front of Howie Mandel, Lilly Singh, Trish Stratus and Kardinal Offishall at the Fallsview Casino in Niagara Falls, Ont.

People in the audience were seen banging their heads throughout the song, while others that their jaws dropped to the floor in awe of Thomas' abilities.

In the end, after judges insisted he call his mother Nancy who couldn't make it to the live audition, Thomas received a resounding "Yes" from the judges to move on to the cutdown stage.

"Hearing how much everyone has enjoyed my [Canada's Got Talent] performance is incredible," said Thomas in a post on social media following the episode.

"I'm so glad you've all taken the time to watch and give me your time to hear what I have to say."

@tricitynews THAT’s talent. 😱🤘 #tricitynews #portcoquitlam #canadasgottalent #cgt #onearm #onearmdrummer ♬ original sound - TriCityNews


Thomas, born in Burnaby and raised in Port Coquitlam, picked up a bass guitar at 10 years old, as well as drum sticks at 13, but has been instilled with a love for music for as long as he can remember.

Before starting Grade 12 at Terry Fox Secondary, on Sept. 4, 2015, he lost his arm in a workplace accident.

Thomas performed maintenance on a faulty drywall dump conveyor belt and turned on he was fixing it.

"I was completely by myself, I had nobody else around to help me. I didn't really have a fighting chance," he explained in a profile video for Canada's Got Talent, noting one of his co-workers turned white when noticing his arm was missing.

"I'm a musician who need all of their limbs to play the instrument that they play and everything I worked towards was with the goal of having a career and life in music. At that point, I believed it was it. I was done, it was over. I'm never going to be able to do this again."

Moments after waking up from surgery to discover doctors were unable to re-attach his arm, Thomas was reaching out to his teacher, Steve Sainas, to tell him he would still be performing the 20 sets he'd booked for the January 2016 Rock the Fox show.

Less than two weeks later, Thomas used his first day pass from the hospital to visit the school and surprise his Rock School classmates — and to prove that his injury wouldn't keep him from playing the drums.

"Losing my arm is definitely a devastating thing but it's not hindering me — it's a challenge," Thomas told the Tri-City News in 2015 from his room at the G.F. Strong Rehabilitation Centre in Vancouver.

He added that his drumming style had already been open-handed instead of crossed, like most drummers, so his left hand was just as strong as his right hand.

"Everybody has really been there for me," Thomas said when asked about being buoyed by an outpouring of support.

One of them came from Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen, who also lost his arm in a vehicle accident but continued to play with the legendary 80s band after his amputation.

Jammin' on

In the near eight years since, Thomas has become a self-employed multi-instrumentalist producer and audio engineer, as well as a motivational speaker.

Thomas speaks with companies and young people "to influence positivity and encouragement," according to WorkSafeBC in helping them understand workplace safety and listening to their gut when something seems unsafe.

He's also received several diplomas from the Nimbus School of Recording and Media in Vancouver.

With Canada's Got Talent, Thomas is looking to show an even bigger audience that accidents, no matter how severe can't stop anyone from living out their dream.

He has a way to go in the largest talent competition in the country as he's up against dancers, acrobats, stunters, magicians and other musicians.

But, if successful, Thomas could walk away with the grand prize of $150,000 and the chance to perform in America's Got Talent LIVE shows.

Canada's Got Talent airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. Pacific time on Citytv