University of Akron students put their skills to the test for Akron’s Got Talent on March 10 in the Student Union Theatre. All the participants competed for a chance to win gift cards for the best performances.
The event was put on by the Zips Programming Network and Campus Programs. The show was hosted by UA student Todd Simmons and judged by Justin Brown, Matt Webb, and Jasmine Zognein.
Thirteen different acts were performed by students, ranging from vocalist performances to breakdancing. The first act was Paul Clifford, a guitarist and vocalist who played an original song called “Eyes Ahead.”
“I’m glad I got to perform. I really enjoy it so I was thankful for the opportunity,” Clifford said.
The lineup consisted of the following performers: Tori Schurr, guitarist and vocalist who performed “Fly” by Nicki Minaj featuring Rihanna; Isaiah Hogan, a singer and songwriter who performed a song of worship; Frank Incandela and Kweku Bransah, who both performed a breakdancing act; Erik Zeeto and Allison Kieffer who performed “Fine by Me” by Andy Grammer; and Felicia Ferguson who performed “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz.
After the sixth act, attendees were offered free pizza from Papa John’s and refreshments in the lobby of the theater.
After the intermission, the remaining acts included: Joshua Stevens and his band who performed “Failure” by Breaking Benjamin; Matthew Marton who performed “To be Alone” by Hozier; Melanie Anderson who performed “On My Own” from Les Miserables; Chandler Shoaf who performed “California King Bed” by Rihanna; TJ Sae-Kho who performed “Classic” by MKTO; and Autumn Reynolds, a guitarist and vocalist, who performed “Hello” by Adele.
The judges gave every performance positive feedback and constructive criticism to help all the performers in their future endeavors.
During the event there was a Social Media Challenge, where attendees were encouraged to follow ZPN on Twitter and Instagram @UAkronZPN. Two participants could win a $20 gift card to whoever retweeted ZPN’s tweet about upcoming March events.
The two winners of the challenge were Marilyn Soviak and Nate DeRenzis. After announcing the winners of the Social Media Challenge, the winners of Akron’s Got Talent were announced.
Tori Scurr won a $100 visa card in third place; Autumn Reynolds won $200 in second place; and Melanie Anderson won $300 in first place.
Noor Hindi, last year’s winner, said that she liked Melanie Anderson the best but the breakdancing performance stood out to her the most. “The event was pretty good,” Hindi said.
Clifford was not pleased with how participants were critiqued. “It wasn’t made clear to us that our performances would be critiqued on stage, and it was very discouraging to have the deliberate style I like to play with criticized and to hear that what I was doing was wrong to them mere seconds after I finished,” he said.
“Next year, I hope the judging is more diverse and that they do away with highlighting to each performer what they did wrong,” Clifford said. “That’s just not what a talent show is about, and isn’t something I would partake in again.”