‘In It To Win It’

With just one week left before the finale, the contestants of Chautauqua’s Got Talent took the stage Monday night to demonstrate their desire to win.

According to Ylsa Giuffre, CEO of Big Time Productions, the competition has reached a point where the contestants are bringing their best performances to the stage in order to continue. But, no matter how fantastic each performer is, eliminations will still come until only one remains.

“Right now I’m going to be sad no matter who goes home,” Giuffre said. “But, I’m looking to the entertainment next week because I think these kids are all in it to win it – it’s going to be a great show.”

Giuffre added that even if people haven’t been following the competition, if they come out to the finale they will be wowed by the level of talent and entertainment the contestants offer next week.

“If you see any week of Chautauqua’s Got Talent – our finale next week is the one to see,” Giuffre said. “It’s got our best performances and there will be a lot of energy. It’s going to be a really fun time with a really high level of quality entertainment.”

Week five of Chautauqua’s Got Talent began with Adam Gould’s rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Dirty Diana.” Following the performance, judge Steve Davis commented that he felt Gould was a strong contender for the finale. However, the audience didn’t seem to agree, and alas Gould didn’t earn enough votes to make it to the finale.

Brooklyn Bucklin then took the stage to share a cover of Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats.” Judge Giuffre felt Bucklin’s choice to go country was a good one, but guest judge Corey Osbourne added that he didn’t feel the song was big enough for her. Regardless of the judge commentary, Bucklin will have a chance in the finale to show what she’s made of.

Carol Westerdahl’s air-guitar during her rendition of Journey’s “Separate Ways” was entertaining, Giuffre said. But, the performance didn’t earn enough audience votes to bring her into the finale.

Chris Waddy wooed the audience with Brian McKnight’s “Back At One.” The tune garnered Davis’ admiration, but the performance wasn’t enough to earn him the audience votes needed for a spot in the finale. However, the judges and production team decided to use their coveted, never-before-been-used, save in order to give Waddy a chance to redeem himself next week.

Before intermission, Lindsey Hinger left the audience begging for more with an LED hooping dance routine to Zedd’s “Stay The Night.” Giuffre said it was the best performance she’s seen from Hinger so far, and the audience must have agreed as she’ll bring her act to the stage during the finale.

Following intermission, Rishi Gupta took on Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets.” Judge Jamie Lee commented that it’s so much fun watching Gupta perform, and Giuffre added that he managed to break the wall between audience and performer via humor. Although Gupta fumbled early on in his performance, he still garnered enough audience votes to continue into next week.

Taylor Latour then took the stage to earn the first standing ovation of the season with her rendition of Celtic Woman’s “Danny Boy,” which featured the Jamestown Harmony Express Barbershop Quartet. “Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow – stand proud, that was amazing,” Davis said in response to the performance. Latour’s fairy-like essence and beautiful voice earned her a spot on the stage next week.

The standing ovations didn’t stop with Latour though. Austin Anderson’s take on Primus’ “My Name Is Mud” was unexpected and refreshing according to Giuffre. “I don’t get it – but I love it,” Osbourne added. Anderson’s bass rocking performance garnered audience approval, earning him a place in the finale.

The evening was wrapped up with signs of peace and love during Dylan Carlson’s cover of The Lumineers’ “Ho Hey,” which also featured balloons. The judges weren’t entirely impressed with the performance, which Jamie Lee attributed to the fact that Carlson set the bar very high for himself, and everyone else last week. Yet, the audience voted, giving Carlson a chance at the finale.

The competition will continue next week with the final seven contestants. Each competitor will perform a song before intermission, and the audience will turn in the votes so that the winner can be announced during the show.

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 finale will be held at The Spire Theater, 317 E. Third St., in Jamestown on Monday 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, in-spire.us or search for “Chautauqua’s Got Talent” on Facebook.