By Kimberly Ortiz
Six finalists stepped into the spotlight to show the judges and audience how skilled and talented they are as Rider’s Got Talent held its finale showcase in the Yvonne Theater on Oct. 5.
The Rider Dance Team started off the show on the right foot by stunning not only the audience, but the judges as well. Although the group was not competing, it offered a terrific amount of energy that showed what the true meaning of competition was all about.
The first act was freshman computer information systems major Brandon Rivera, who, after winning the New Student Talent Show, was automatically put in the finals. He offered his voice with the accompaniment of his guitar. Although the judges gave mixed reviews, Rivera was sent through to compete for the prize. It was truly a fantastic start to a night of hits and misses.
With Rivera as the only singing act, it was up to freshman political science major Ruth DelPino and freshman secondary education major Tyshelle Phillips, as well as the charismatic freshman theater performance major Justin Giachetti, to bring their monologue skills to the table. DelPino and Phillips gave an interesting view on what being bullied really feels like, alternating back and forth from narrator (DelPino) and character (Phillips). Both showed confidence and skill, allowing them to successfully move on in the competition.
In contrast though, and unfortunately for Giachetti, the judges seemed to disagree on his monologue about a Jewish camp counselor. Although it was not necessarily what the judges were looking for, he brought his personal, written monologue to life with the right amount of comedy and skill.
As a nice break from the competition, the audience witnessed a perfomance by Rider Vibes a capella group. Singing hit songs such as “If I Were a Boy” and “Hey, Soul Sister,” the ensemble surely proved that a band isn’t necessary to make a song sound great.
Speaking of live music, there were two instrumental artists who did not move on in the competition, mainly for the same reasons. The first was junior secondary education and history major Lawrence Rothweiler, who started out strong with his saxophone, but soon turned a bit pitchy once he switched to the smaller alto sax. He had a good amount of crowd interaction, but not enough for the judges to put him through.
Later, on the violin, freshman undecided major Sriram Srinivasan, who, like Rothweiler, gave a rather off-key performance, was told by the judges that he was not engaging enough. Even though Srinivasan did not move on, he showed the crowd what an outstanding instrumenthe violin really is.
It seems the famous saying “save the best for last” really paid off for junior global supply chain management major Michael “Magic Mike” Dziubas. As a magician of nine years, he brought a real show to Rider’s Got Talent with his charming magic tricks, including converting water from a cup to its original bottle and hiding a volunteer’s playing card. He not only kept the judges and audience intrigued, but this magician performed a really professional act.
To close the talented showcase, while the votes were being counted, the winners of last year’s R-Factor, senior popular music culture majors Jalyssa James and Toni Walker gave a thrilling standing ovation performance of “Sweet Dreams” that left the audience wanting more. It was a great way to end a long night of performances.
The final three acts, Rivera, DelPino and Phillips, and Dziubas patiently awaited the news as to who won the grand prize of $250 and a showcase during Parents Weekend on Nov. 2.
The grand prize was awarded to Dziubas, who was thrilled with his win.
“The competition was a fun experience,” he said. “A big stage, bright lights, three great judges, 200 plus Rider students in the audience, and a variety of great performers — Rider’s Got Talent is where it’s at. I’m also an Elvis fan. I once read that every time Elvis performed a show, he always did it as his best. So I took that to heart and every time I do a show, I always make sure I do my best with energy and passion.”
Printed in the 10/09/13 edition.