Competition Heats Up

After testing their talent on the stage of the Spire Theater last week, 17 individuals returned with renewed enthusiasm.

According to Ylsa Giuffre, CEO of Big Time Productions, the performers are starting to get a grasp of the feel of the competition and are beginning to bring their best forward.

“I’m looking forward to a continuation of that,” Giuffre said. “I hope they keep upping the ante, bringing more versatility and getting more excited. The more excited the contestants get, the more dynamic their performances get and the better the show is for the audience – I’m really looking forward to seeing that energy keep building.”

The show opened with Jillian VanHouten’s cover of Evanescence’s “My Immortal,” which earned her a spot in next week’s competition. Anna Paterniti’s classical dance and ballet routine came next, which judge Jamie Lee commented was like watching a ballerina on a music box. Newcomer Katlyn Livermore then took the stage to present a cheerleading routine to China Anne McClain’s “Calling All the Monsters.” Unfortunately, the performance was not enough to earn her enough votes to move on to next week’s competition.

The show continued with Maia Davis’ rendition of Demi Lovato’s “Skyscraper.” Judge Steve Davis commented he’d like to see her perform something other than a ballad, and she’ll have another chance to next week. Alexander Sanders’ second original performance, entitled “The Visitor,” kept him in the competition for another week. However, Erin Page’s cover of David Guetta and Sia’s “Titanium,” did not.

Taylor Latour’s commanding presence during Jordin Sparks’ “I Who Have Nothing” earned the praise of judge Ylsa Giuffre. But, Mike Doty’s cover of Tracy Byrd’s “The Keeper of the Stars” wasn’t enough for him to move on to next week’s show. On the other hand, Rishi Gupta’s piano medley from “Pirates of the Caribbean” had both Giuffre and Jamie Lee smitten.

Following the intermission, the audience got what they were waiting for when Lindsey Hinger did some fire dancing to Godsmack’s “Voodoo.” Carol Westerdahl’s cover of Dixie Chicks’ “Not Ready to Make Nice” made Jamie Lee comment that she’s one of the best singers in the competition. Dylan Carlson then took on Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive,” which Davis thought was the best vocal performance he’s heard so far. Davis also enjoyed Adam Gould’s cover of The Tallest Man on Earth’s “King of Spain,” adding that he has star power potential.

The audience was in for a surprise when Leisha Kolstee took the stage with a vocal and dance performance of Christina Grimmie’s “Find Me,” which also featured Jamestown High School junior Telly Ortiz. Guest judge Jennifer Liuzzo felt Kolstee and Ortiz’s performance was very unique, but lacked a strong vocal performance. Newcomer Brooklyn Bucklin wasn’t feeling very well, but still impressed the judges with her rendition of Lady Gaga’s “Speechless.”

Second to last, but not second place, Austin Anderson’s acoustic rendition of Marilyn Manson’s “Tainted Love,” earned Liuzzo’s comment that it was deserving of a full band. The show was rounded out with Chris Waddy’s performance of Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man,” which Jamie Lee felt had the audience eating out of the palm of his hand.

So, sans Livermore, Page and Doty, the competition will continue next week with the remaining 14 performers. The contestants of Chautauqua’s Got Talent compete for at least $500 cash, a promotional website and dinner once a month for a year at Wing City Grille. The winners are determined not by the panel of judges, but rather by audience vote.

Chautauqua’s Got Talent is hosted by Big Time Productions and The Post-Journal, in conjunction with and Wing City Grille. The competition will be held at The Spire Theater, 317 E. Third St., in Jamestown on Mondays through March 10 at 7 p.m. Presale tickets will be available at The Labyrinth Press Company for $6, and will be $8 at the door.

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