By Emily Bell | LSU Student
Participating in an LSU student talent competition can offer more than name recognition. It could also mean the opportunity, win or lose, for free studio recording time.
Eleven student acts competed in the third annual LSU's Got Talent Show, sponsored by business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi, in the LSU Student Union Theater recently.
Just like network television talent competition America's Got Talent, LSU's version offered a variety of acts, including spoken poetry, singers, musicians, a rapper and a dance/step routine.
Auditions two months ago narrowed the 26 prospective contestants to 12, but the night of the event, one of the singers was too sick to perform.
Judges for LSU's Got Talent were: owner of Dizzy Records, Adam Carrillo; LSU tour guide, Zumba instructor and mass communication junior Daisy Miller; Da Future Entertainment founder Eron Rousell, and four-year Tiger Band veteran and LSU senior Joshua Mullen.
The judges did not observe auditions nor did they see the acts until a rehearsal one hour prior to the event Friday, Mullen said. Judges were looking primarily for originality, Carrillo said, which they found in first place winner and spoken word poet Eric Couto.
Couto, a senior English major, said he had a hard life without parents and always wrote down his feelings. "I wanted [the audience] to feel what I feel. I wanted it to see what I see."
Couto said he was unaware of open call auditions for America's Got Talent in December in New Orleans, as announced via the Louisiana Entertainment Facebook page, but said that is something that interests him.
Mullen said the judges' decision was almost unanimous when it came to Couto, who took home a $200 cash prize, but that second and third place winners were more difficult to decide.
A four-member girl band of theatre majors called Theatre Chicks performed a cover of "Sail" by Awolnation, adding originality with cello and a four-part harmony. Carrillo said after the show, however, that covers of songs were "kind of a disqualification," no matter how talented the performers.
This type of judging also eliminated, among others, sophomore graphic design major Tanner Simoneaux who pleased the crowd when he sang "Let's Get It On" and sophomore theatre major Bella Innocence who dared rival Adele in "Chasing Pavements."
That left Psychedelic Astronauts' rap/guitar duo with their original song "Rocket Science" to take home second place and a $100 cash prize and Ezekiel Domonter or "Zeke Xillion" with his original song to take home third place and a $75 cash prize.
Marcus Toussaint won Crowd Favorite and a $50 cash prize for his dance/step routine. Crowd Favorite was the only award in which audience members could text their choice.
Both first and second place winners had the option of free studio recording time with Carrillo, but chose to take home the cash prizes instead.
Carrillo said after the show he would still offer free studio recording time to contestants, win or lose. Carrillo's studio is based in Shiloh, La. and has been in operation since 2010.
The event garnered approximately $2,100 in ticket sales this year for the fraternity and allowed fraternity members opportunities to improve their skills by bringing the event together. Chelsie Ciccone, Alpha Kappa Psi fundraiser chair and organizer for the event, said her fraternity hopes to make the talent show more of an LSU tradition.
"We want it to be more popular (on) campus."