BYU’s Got Talent showcases students’ gifts

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BYU’s Got Talent returns to campus with 15 acts performed by BYU students and alumni. The acts included multiple musical performances, comedic acts and unique acts such as jump rope, lasso tricks and extreme yo-yo acts.

Sarah Shipp, Gwen Wallace, Halle Gebhardt, Benson Scoffield, Sam Haggard, Makenna Barlow and Brooklyn Barlow are BYUSA volunteers who facilitated and organized the event. Barlow and Haggard were the main leaders in the event. (Jared Cordova)

The event was hosted Jan. 20 by an entire team of volunteers directed by Brooklyn Barlow, the creative director for BYU’s Got Talent. A main focus for BYUSA activities this year has been diversity and inclusion, according to Barlow. “We’re all God’s children, but we’re all unique, and we all deserve to have a safe space here, and I hope that that can be portrayed by their individual talents,” Barlow said.

BYUSA volunteers Benson and Ryan Scoffield hosted the talent show, helped facilitate the event and introduced each of the acts. The contestants were pooled from online auditions held months prior to prepare for the show, according to Barlow.

The band Botanical Animal, the night’s opening act, performed their original song “Atlas” and placed second in the show. “Cowboy” Brett Lewis, placing third, followed the band and wowed the crowd with his rope tricks.

“I hope that they realize that each person has a unique talent of their own and that they’re not afraid to share with other people if they have the opportunity,” Lewis said.

In between acts, the hosts held lip-sync and air-guitar contests, and had audience members compete for prizes provided by BYUSA.

Many contestants said they felt prompted to audition. “I had heard about it but didn’t think to do it,” Amanda Hayes said. However, on the last day to audition Hayes said she saw a flyer two hours before the deadline and decided to go for it. So, she went home, recorded a quick video of her playing the cello, submitted it and soon after received her acceptance letter to perform.

Desi Kongao and Nadia Chanthaphuang pose in traditional Thai attire. Both honored their heritage through several Thai elements in their act. (Jared Cordova)

The show also featured two students of Thai descent, Desi Kongao and Nadia Chanthaphuang, who performed the song “บุพเพสันนิวาส๒ (Buppesanniwas)” from the Thai Drama “Love Destiny.” The duo introduced themselves in Thai and also dressed in traditional Thai clothing for their performance.

“In order to have this talent you have to practice and put in faith … we have to keep progressing, learning and practicing,” Chanthaphuang said. “Remember where it originates from … Heavenly Father has given everyone uniquely different gifts, and this is just a way to share a certain gift in a cool way.”

The show closed with “The Piano Men,” an act performed by Wyatt Johnson and Joe Ballard. The act consisted of Johnson singing the song “Piano Man” by Billy Joel while doing various impressions of celebrities or characters from popular media. The Piano Men act received a standing ovation after their performance and won first place in the show.

“I think all talents are just a little piece of heaven that everyone is given,” Johnson said. “Whether you do it on a stage or you do it in a classroom or at work, everyone’s got talents that have impacts that need to be shared. Just practice, start and things will happen.”

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