Sensational Six

Five more acts were eliminated during the fourth round of Chautauqua’s Got Talent on Monday night, leaving six performers for next week’s finale.

The five who were eliminated this week include: Halle Weston, a pop singer from Bemus Point; Victoria Campbell, a singer from Little Valley; Michael Earle, a singer and pianist from Falconer; Victoria McIlvain, a vocalist of Jamestown; and Taylor Latour, a vocalist of Lakewood. 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.

Area residents headed to The Spire Theater of Jamestown to see the semi-final of the competition on Monday, presented by Big Time Productions and The Post-Journal, to cast their votes.

According to Angelo Giuffre, event organizer for Big Time Productions, now that the majority of the eliminations are over, the finale of Chautauqua’s Got Talent will feature several additions to the act that make it more of a show than a contest.

“I was floored by the performances tonight,” said Giuffre. “The energy was 10,000 decibels higher and everyone was on the edge of their seats. Next week is going to be a show. The judges will probably take the stage, as well as former winners and the judges may even team up with some of the contestants. And, we may just convince some of the contestants to team up with each other. The beginning half of the show will be the finale for the contestants, and after intermission we’ll showcase much of the talent that we’ve accumulated over the years – it’ll be a really exciting finale night.”

This week’s show was opened by Weston, who Ylsa Giuffre felt related well to her performance of “Glitter In The Air” by Pink. She was followed by Campbell, whose rendition of “Don’t Rain On My Parade” by Funny Girl filled the room with powerful notes, said Jamie Lee, judge. Earle then put on some sunglasses and a single black glove as he played the piano and sang “Great Balls Of Fire.”

The stage was then taken by McIlvain, who up until Monday night was performing with Sean Gardner, a pianist from Jamestown who had to step out of the competition due to other obligations. McIlvain’s solo performance of “Before He Cheats” by Carrie Underwood had tons of passion behind it, according to Ylsa Giuffre. She was followed by SYMBA, featuring Hayley Restivo and Ryan Hawkins, an instrumental and vocal duo from Jamestown, who were joined by vocalist and guitarist Oliver Burdo, another Infinity Performing Arts student. The group’s performance of “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros had Restivo on vocals and tambourine while Hawkins rocked out on the accordion.

After a brief intermission, Teal Weatherly, a contemporary crossover vocalist of Jamestown, took on “Blue” by Patsy Cline. Ylsa Giuffre’s response to Weatherly’s performance was that the contestant could sing anything, and sing it well. Latour further impressed Ylsa Giuffre with her classical rendition of “Summertime” by Porgy And Bess. Corey Osborne, a theatrical vocalist from Jamestown, donned a classy hat, a jacket and tie for the performance of “New York, New York” that made Steve Davis, judge, very proud.

Stephanie Bensen, a singer-songwriter and guitar player from Jamestown, strummed away at the judges heartstrings with an emotional “I Told You So.” She was followed by Lindsey Hinger, a specialty dancer of Warren, who set the stage on fire with a dance that featured real balls of fire. Steve Davis, judge, called the dance, “Very hot.” The evening concluded with Austin Anderson, a vocalist and guitarist from Jamestown, who Steve Davis also found to be quite impressive as his performance of “Creep” by Radiohead had the judge call the 13-year-old a, “Rock star.”

Ylsa Giuffre, judge and CEO of Big Time Productions, said the semi-final made it quite clear that all of the performers at Chautauqua’s Got Talent are very serious about their art and their talent.

“I’m really happy that they have this platform to come and showcase what they can do,” she said. “It’s great because they get a lot of positive feedback from the community and I think it is a fun experience for them to have that outlet.”

Ylsa Giuffre added a reminder that although the judges do not vote, their feedback is made available for both constructive criticism and for entertainment value, she said.

The fifth round of this year’s competition, the finale, 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. 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.