Weatherly Wins Chautauqua’s Got Talent

Teal Weatherly, a contemporary crossover vocalist of Jamestown, was voted winner of this year’s Chautauqua’s Got Talent competition on Monday night after the crowd deemed she was superior to the five remaining acts.

Area residents cast votes at The Spire Theater of Jamestown to decide the winner of the contest, presented by Big Time Productions and The Post-Journal. Weatherly’s win came from her performance of “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston.

Of the performance, Ylsa Giuffre, judge and CEO of Big Time Productions, said, “Teal, you brought it tonight, good job.”

For winning the competition, Weatherly was presented with a $500 cash prize, website, promotional press kit and a free dinner each month at Wing City Grille for a year.

“It feels wonderful,” said Weatherly. “It was stressful, then wonderful. It took a lot of practice, a lot of dedication, prioritizing, and a lot of support from my mother. Through the whole competition I consistently only had my mom, boyfriend and kids here for me every week. So, it makes me feel good to think that people who weren’t even here for me were voting for me too.”

The five who were eliminated this week include: Austin Anderson, a vocalist and guitarist from Jamestown; Stephanie Bensen, a singer-songwriter and guitar player from Jamestown; SYMBA, featuring Hayley Restivo and Ryan Hawkins, an instrumental and vocal duo from Jamestown; Corey Osborne, a theatrical vocalist from Jamestown; and Lindsey Hinger, a specialty dancer of Warren.

According to Ylsa Giuffre, the evening was full of energy, excitement and surprises.

“There was an air of excitement because it was anyone’s guess who would win,” said Ylsa. “The top six performers that were here tonight really deserved to be here. Any one of them could have won because they are all very talented in their own right. But, the audience chose.”

This week’s show began with a DJ performance and light show by Prime Time DJ. The competition was then opened by Weatherly. She was followed by Anderson, who performed “Play That Funky Music.” Bensen then performed “Girl On Fire” by Alicia Keyes. Restivo and Hawkins took on “Send Me On My Way” by Rusted Root. The duo was followed by Osborne, who sang “One Time Show.” Hinger then wrapped up the competition with a dance that featured a lighted hula hoop, a dancing screen with two hula hoops and two fiery fans.

The winner, Weatherly, was announced after intermission. The votes cast by the audience resulted in a tie between Weatherly and Hinger. So, a second vote was done, also by the audience, to crown Weatherly the winner.

Before the announcement, the audience was entertained by a number of acts including: former contestants, such as the winner of last year’s competition, Emily Wirsen, who performed “There You’ll Be” by Faith Hill; Matt Warren performed a medley of Sinatra songs; a comedic performance of “Hit The Road Jack” by the judges and Angelo Giuffre; a preview of Shannon Nixon’s upcoming show “New York, New York;” a recording of live footage for Chautauqua Tonight’s spoof entitled “If Chautauqua Had Talent;” and a group performance by just about everyone involved in the program.

According to Giuffre, event organizer for Big Time Productions, there were so many things that happened during the evening that he didn’t expect to happen.

“Nothing went the way I expected it to go,” said Giuffre. “It was good, it was fun, and I didn’t have any expectations as far as who would win the competition. But I watched the vote count come closer and closer together to a clear two, then recount and have to turn it over to the popular vote. I love Teal. I have been a fan of hers for a long time, and I will be for a long time to come – and I was happy to see her win, just as I would have been to see anyone else win.”

Judges for this year’s competition included: Ylsa Giuffre, Jamie Lee, Steve Davis, Jillianne Dolce Higgs and Paul Schermerhorn. Sponsors of the event include Tim Hortons, Lutheran Social Services, Secret Garden Flower Shop, Odyssey Events and Wing City Grille. Lighting for the show was provided by Prime Time DJ, and sound by Star-Sirch Productions.

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