Suffolk University’s Performing Arts Office hosted Suffolk’s Got Talent on October 14 at the Modern Theatre, giving some of Suffolk’s gifted students a chance to perform and win a prize.
The talent show consisted of 10 performances each critiqued by the three judges, Suffolk alum July Grant, Suffolk alum and former Suffolk Journal News editor Katelyn Norwood and Dean of Suffolk students Dave DeAngelis.
Akhila John senior and Turner Mitchell junior hosted the show, introducing each contestant and warming them up before their performances.
Starting off the show on a high note, Elizabeth Leone was welcomed on stage to sing her own rendition of a Taylor Swift classic, “Love Story.”
Leone was accompanied by her own “hype bodyguard man”, as Judge Grant described him, in the background to keep the crowd engaged. The student, whose name was never released to the public, encouraged the crowd to wave their arms or clap as Leone sang.
Judge Norwood said she enjoyed the way Leone channeled Taylor Swift’s early singing styles.
The next contender to own the stage was Alexandra, performing a cutting-edge ballet routine. Alexandra has been doing ballet for eight years, which was evident by watching her performance.
The dancer had incredible control and was completely in tune with her body as she walked across the stage with true grace. She had such deep focus throughout her routine, it was like she was the only person in the room.
The relaxing experience was short-lived as the next contestants were a fiery duo ready to shock the crowd. When juniors Nico Miele and Tim Barry were asked what their talent would be, Miele simply replied “electrifying the crowd”.
The pair kicked off their routine with Eminem’s “Without Me,” before leaving the stage for an outfit change. They then returned to perform a theatrical rendition of Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s “Shallow.”
Miele and Barry kept the crowd laughing throughout their performance. Their confidence and enthusiasm to play was evident and they showed no less than their talent.
“I was looking for someone to get on stage and have fun and I feel like you did,” Norwood said.
The energy changed again for the guitar skills of Josh Tolentino. Tolentino has been playing bass guitar for eight years. He performed an original piece from one of his warm-up routines. Tolentino never seemed nervous and immediately found his groove in the rhythm.
“It seemed that until a person [in the audience] distracted everyone, everyone was in a trance,” Grant said.
After Tolentino’s performance, the hosts of the evening, Mitchell and John. The duo performed a cover of “Feeling Good” by Michael Bublé. Mitchell played alto saxophone while John covered the vocals.
The next contestant was rookie Layah Turner singing a cover of Roberta Flack’s classic, “Killing Me Softly.” Turner’s enthusiasm for performing was visible to the audience. She seemed comfortable but shy, holding back her voice a little. Despite that, her voice was amazing.
“I felt like I was in a jazz cafe, I loved that vibe,” Norwood said.
The next duo was a couple, Anthony Coviello and Grace Caccaviello. They performed an elevated cover of “City of Stars” from the movie La La Land.
The couple complimented each other perfectly and it was impossible not to notice the genuine connection they shared. Their voices blended perfectly and it was no secret that they had sung together many times before.
“Grace, you seem angelic, like I’m on cloud nine,” Grant said.
Coviello’s voice was also incredible, with an impressive range. The couple mesmerized the crowd with their talent. The duet was sweet, soothing and overall breathtaking.
Freshman Marie Audry then took the stage to perform a step routine. The way she took over the scene in her debut was extraordinary. Step routines are normally performed with a large group of people, but Audry braved the stage alone. His confidence and focus were unmatched.
The ninth contestant of the evening was rookie Rima Zahreddine. She sang “Stone Cold” by Demi Lovato.
Zahreddine’s singing filled the theater; her vocal range was incredibly remarkable and immediately caught everyone’s attention. Her passion was enough to convince the crowd that she was attached to the song.
Last but not least was freshman EC Repp, who performed a cover of Slash’s “Anastasia.”
“When he said Slash – back to the old days of rock and roll,” DeAngelis said.
Repp immediately got the crowd excited with his song choice, and he kept their energy high with his performance. Repp’s intensity during his performance was thrilling; he had the public’s attention all the time. The way Repp connected to the crowd was unlike any other contestant.
However, when the music stopped in the middle of his performance, Repp calmly went to fix it and when he finally did, the crowd roared.
After the judges shared their thoughts on her performance, which was nothing but praise, Repp asked, “I have another request, can I replay the part that was cut?”
When the answer was yes, the audience was the loudest all night.
After the momentary voting session for the crowd, all candidates were brought back on stage for the announcement of first and second place.
Second place was Zahreddine and first place, unsurprisingly, was Repp.
The whole event was fascinating, giving performing arts students a chance to show off their expertise and giving everyone time to appreciate the passions of their classmates.
Follow Sarah on Twitter @saraherobs.