Second Chance

The second round of the fourth annual Chautauqua’s Got Talent competition featured 20 acts, but only 16 will compete in round three.

Area residents headed to The Spire Theater of Jamestown on Monday evening to see the talent competition, presented by Big Time Productions and The Post-Journal, which showcases a variety of local performers.

According to Angelo Giuffre, event organizer for Big Time Productions, as the competition progresses, it’s going to be increasingly difficult for the audience to make decisions on who to eliminate.

“(Tonight) I saw that these people have even more talent than I realized,” said Giuffre. “Everyone did a little something to surprise us this week, and I was very pleased with the talent tonight. It was fun, and I think it’s going to be really close. This audience has a tough job cut out for them.”

The four who were eliminated this week included: Donovan Gomez, a pop vocalist from Jamestown; Leisha Kolstee, a singer-songwriter and guitar player from Jamestown; K-la Walker-Fleurant, a vocalist from Jamestown; and Ashley Paulus, a pianist and vocalist of Dewittville.

The remaining contestants are competing for a $500 cash prize, website, promotional press kit and a free dinner each month at Wing City Grille for a year.

The show was opened by SYMBA, featuring Hayley Restivo and Ryan Hawkins, an instrumental and vocal duo from Jamestown. The duo took a different approach on their performance of “Youth,” by Daughter, with Restivo singing vocals without the accompaniment of a guitar while Hawkins took over that role with some piano.

Gomez once again took on the Jackson 5 with his rendition of “I’ll Be There.” He was followed by Corinne Edwards, a contemporary singer from Jamestown, who adopted a slower, more thoughtful song by Ingrid Michaelson entitled “The Way I Am.” The audience was then given a performance that needed no words for expression when Anna Paterniti, a ballet dancer from Jamestown, enraptured viewers with a piece called “The Dying Swan.”

Samantha Marie Elleman, a contemporary singer from Jamestown, made a bold move by singing an a cappella version of “When You Say Nothing At All.” She was followed by Stephanie Bensen, a singer-songwriter and guitar player from Jamestown, who wowed guests with an acoustic version of “Hallelujah.” Taylor Latour, a vocalist of Lakewood, further impressed the audience when she, by surprise, performed a haunting opera song.

Paulus then discarded her usual keystrokes and picked up a ukulele and was joined by her boyfriend for a duet of Ingrid Michaelson’s “You And I.” Corey Osborne, a theatrical vocalist from Jamestown, then took the stage to belt out “Feeling Good” by Michael Buble. Just before intermission, Teal Weatherly, a contemporary cross-over vocalist of Jamestown, powered through a Celine Dion song entitled “Taking Chances.”

After a brief intermission, Kolstee performed one of her original songs entitled “Before You Go.” Victoria McThian and Sean Gardner, a vocal and piano duo from Jamestown, broke it down with Kelly Clarkson’s “Because Of You.” They were followed by Halle Weston, a pop singer from Bemus Point, who tried out an a cappella version of Dixie Chicks’ “Travelin’ Soldier.” Then Walker-Fleurant donned an all white dress and poured out Beyonce’s “Listen.”

Lindsey Hinger, a specialty dancer of Warren, drew the audience and the judges’ attention with an oriental dance that featured silk fans. And, in keeping with her strong suit, Cathy Covarrubias, a theatrical vocalist from Jamestown, put on some high heels, a sparkly blue dress and a feather in her hair to perform “Maybe This Time” from “Cabaret.” The evening took a turn when Austin Anderson, a vocalist and guitarist from Jamestown, performed Eric Clapton’s “Tears In Heaven” in honor of the late 5-year-old Isabella M. Stanford.

Maia Davis, a pop singer from Jamestown, tested her vocal chords with Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb.” Then Michael Earle, a singer and pianist from Falconer, brought new enthusiasm to 3 Doors Down’s “Here Without You.” The evening concluded with Victoria Campbell, a singer from Little Valley, whose emotional ballad by The Last Five Years entitled “Still Hurting,” captured the eyes and ears of everyone in the house and featured a piano accompaniment.

“I saw a huge improvement (this week),” said Ylsa Giuffre, judge and CEO of Big Time Productions. “I think the performers got over their opening night jitters, and they are starting to realize that they really have to bring their best to keep up with the rest of the entertainment. So, we’re starting to see their best, and their hidden talents emerging. (Next week) I hope to see even further escalation of those talents.”

The third round of this year’s competition is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Monday at the Spire Theater, 317 E. Third St. in Jamestown. Tickets to each night are $6 pre-sale or $8 at the door, and a pass for all nights is available for $25. The tickets can be purchased at The Labyrinth Press Co., 12 E. Fourth St. in Jamestown.

Sponsors of the event include Tim Hortons, Lutheran Social Services, Secret Garden Flower Shop, Odyssey Events and Wing City Grille. Each week an audience member is selected to receive a free dinner to Wing City Grille. Lighting for the show is provided by Prime Time DJ, and sound is handled by Star-Sirch Productions.

For more information, call 450-7357, visit or search for “Chautauqua’s Got Talent” on Facebook.