By JASMINE TURNER
Alec Mallman, assistant director of SAE and University Center coordinator, said “If you did not come to the show this year, come next year.” On Wednesday, March 15, Dodd filled up with supportive members of the Eagle community. Before the lights dimmed and the 12 performers took the stage, a couple of students commented in anticipation for a show that would match UMW’s 2016 Mary Wash’s Got Talent showcase.
Senior accounting major, Kadeem Gittens said he “was looking forward to seeing the crowd on their feet, going crazy with laughter, good vibes and a lot of school spirit.” Although the crowd may not have been quite as numerous as it was the previous year, there was surely enough crowd interaction with several of the performers.
Placing first, with a grand prize total of $500, Damon Dixon got the crowd to participate for his performance. He encouraged crowd members to sing along to hits such as Fake Love by Drake and Oui by Jeremiah as he arranged the mash-up on the spot as a part of his talent. Ashton Ledbetter also included the crowd in his act, by requesting that the audience yell out words for him to base his freestyle raps off of, chicken, money and chocolate were among the chosen words.
It seemed to be a theme, Jealous Audio also urged the crowd to participate in their performance. Jealous Audio is a duo from UMW’s very own One Note Stand, consisting of Joe Cheeks and Adam Newburger. A section of their performance included a skit that was directed to all of the ladies in the crowd, seducing them with various beatboxing skills, Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me a River” and then blowing them away with Bruno Mars’ “That is What I Like” and a few dance moves on the side.
Mary Washington students were constantly leaving a surprising, positive and joyful impression at every given opportunity. “I was so impressed with everyone’s talent,” said assistant director of SAE Sandrine Sutphin after having participated on the judges’ panel for the show. “I thoroughly enjoyed judging, and it was a tough decision to make. I believe all of the students should have won.”
The showcase of talents Wednesday night invited students who were not only looking to support the performers but also to be positively influenced by the various talents performed. According to Danielle Howard, the inspiration was one of the reasons why she decided to return to the show again this year. “Personally, for me, last year seeing Ray Celeste in all her glory made the night for me,” Howard said. “It is always nice to see students you look up to showcase more sides of themselves.”
The talent show also had a positive takeaway for those who performed. According to Damon Dixon, this was not his first time participating in the talent show. He placed third in the talent show last year.
“This has been a five-year process, and I have never placed first. I started performing in the 10th grade,” Dixon said. “I was relieved to win… After last year, I started to doubt my skills and that made me work harder.” Dixon took great consideration into what he was going to do this year. “In the past years, I’d only played piano and sang,” Dixon said. “This year I wanted to do something different.”