Fight For the Finish

What started as a showcase of talent has evolved into a competition, and soon only one contestant will remain.

The competitors have stepped up their game to fight for the title of winner of Chautauqua’s Got Talent 2014. With only two weeks left in the contest, only the best will make it past next week.

According to Angelo Giuffre, producer and event organizer, regardless of whether he wants it to happen, somebody awesome will have to be sent home.

“That’s because everyone was awesome,” Giuffre said. “My prediction is that somebody amazingly talented and really awesome will be sent home tonight. I can tell you that before even counting the votes because the competition was so tight – everyone brought it tonight. But, that’s why you should come out next week, because there’s nothing left but amazing talent.”

Week four’s show began with Austin Anderson’s twisted rendition of The Animals’ “House of the Rising Sun,” which guest judge Shannon Nixon felt could have engaged the audience a bit more. Taylor Latour then performed Giacomo Puccini’s “O Mio Babbino Caro,” which judge Ylsa Giuffre felt set the bar high for the competition.

Rishi Gupta then took the stage to perform a rendition of One Republic’s “Counting Stars,” which judge Jamie Lee felt was unique with a lot of confidence. Anna Paterniti returned to the stage with representatives of Studio Dance, who came out in a fiery blaze of red to perform a choreographed routine to Delta Rae’s “Bottom of the River.” Judge Jamie Lee felt the costume and routine was a bold choice and made for triple the excitement, but the performance didn’t earn enough votes to propel Studio Dance into next week.

Before intermission, the audience was treated to two original songs, including Alexander Sanders original tune entitled “For Ryan.” Nixon related to the angst she felt in the song, while Jamie Lee commented on Sanders’ contagious energy. Alas, the performance would be Sanders’ last of the season. Chris Waddy then wrapped up the first half with an original tune entitled “FTLOTG,” which Nixon felt exuded passion and inspiration. Judge Steve Davis added that there was a few pitch problems in Waddy’s performance, but the total package outshines any vocal issues.

Following a brief intermission, Carol Westerdahl took on Reba McEntire’s “Fancy.” Davis felt Westerdahl held it down, while Nixon added that she’s a sassy pistol who has a nearly flawless voice. Lindsey Hinger’s lighted hooping and fan dance routine earned Davis’ respect. He called Hinger an honest, pure, unique artist with class and grace.

Jillian VanHouten produced a cover of Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger,” which Ylsa Giuffre felt was lacking movement to go along with it – “be free” she said. Nixon added that she sees a lot of potential in VanHouten, but the performance didn’t earn her a spot in next week’s competition.

Dylan Carlson took the stage with a group of friends, including Ashley Paulus, Josh Lucas and Jessica Hochstine, for a piano duet and dance routine to A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera’s “Say Something.” Ylsa Giuffre called it the best performance so far this year, Nixon called it heartbreaking and honest and Jamie Lee added that it was the game changer that made the talent contest a competition.

Brooklyn Bucklin’s cover of Adele’s “Skyfall” was an audience favorite that earned much applause and garnered Ylsa Giuffre’s praise. Then Adam Gould wrapped the evening up with a guitar, harmonica and vocal rendition of Fats Waller’s “Ain’t Misbehavin.” Nixon felt Gould’s performance would fit right in on a road trip or late night in Greenwich Village.

So, minus Studio Dance, Sanders and VanHouten, the competition will continue next week with the remaining nine 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 59lucylane.com, Wing City Grille, The Secret Garden Flower Shop, J. Edwards Insurance Agency and Jamestown Vibe.

The competition is held at The Spire Theater, 317 E. Third St., in Jamestown on Mondays through March 10 at 7 p.m. Presale tickets are available at The Labyrinth Press Company for $6, and will be $8 at the door.

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