Talented students strut their stuff

Hope Austin

An enthusiastic audience in the Student Union Theater Thursday cheered on UPB Talent Show contestants showcasing talents ranging from dance to spoken word poetry.
First was Rose Rain and Gabrielle. Gabrielle sang while Rose Rain provided a rap verse.
The next performance was a dance routine by Renita Johnson, who performed under the name “The Doopster.” She danced to a melody of different hip-hop songs. For her last number, backup dancers Bianca James and Shakayla Holliday joined her on stage to dance to Beyonce’s “Partition”. The routine was met with rapturous applause.
Then it was Dominico Nguyen’s turn. He performed a cover of “Lean on Me” while the audience clapped along. Nguyen said that he enjoyed the crowd’s energy.
“I loved the atmosphere,” Nguyen said.
Nguyen got his start singing karaoke, but soon turned to performing songs on YouTube and eventually landed a spot on X-factor.
The next performance was Mead D’Amore performing a cover of “Details in the Fabric” by Jason Mraz on acoustic guitar. While D’Amore sat down and somberly played the guitar, dancers Khalil Kennedy and Phi Tran performed a humorous interpretive dance around him. While D’Amore’s name was the only one on the screen, D’Amore said that the dancing was Kennedy’s idea.
Much like Nguyen, D’Amore loved the crowd’s enthusiasm. While musicians might have preferred a more “legitimate” venue than a university talent show, the location was of no concern to D’Amore.
“I love performing, no matter where I’m at. It’s always nice to get some exposure,” D’Amore said.
Alfonso Hayes who performed his poetry. In his poem, His poem referenced the struggles of growing up and falling in love for the first time. Hayes said that his inspiration comes from within.
“I just write what I feel,” Hayes said.
The next performance was by Montrez Jones, who sang a cover of “Say Yes” by Floetry.
Montanna McDaniel followed Jones with a vocal performance. McDaniel’s passionate singing was a crowd pleaser.
The last act of the night was a dance routine by Dominique Young. Young’s performance impressed the audience and judges.
Before the voting began, Dylan Burd, one of the talent show’s judgesand winner of the 2010 Talent Show, performed a cover “Feeling Good” by Michael Bublé.
Hayes and Johnson tied for third place, and D’Amore won second place. Young walked away from the talent show with a first place win.
There was also a raffle at the event. Throughout the night, students won various prizes, including phone chargers and t-shirts.