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Chautauqua’s Got Talent contestants begin to feel the heat

February 20, 2014
By Dusten Rader - , Westfield Republican / Mayville Sentinel News

The contestants of Chautauqua's Got Talent are beginning to take their performances to the next level as eliminations continue.

According to Angelo Giuffre, producer and event organizer, the show is really becoming a competition now that the contestants have had the opportunity to perform on the stage of the Spire Theater several times.

"Now is when the competition starts getting tight - when it's not a given that you'll make it to the next level," Giuffre said.

Article Photos

Photo by Dusten Rader
Jillian VanHouten is pictured performing 'Never Close Our Eyes' by Adam Lambert.

Each week viewers have been able to see and hear a difference as the talent grew, but next week Giuffre expects to see a really close race.

"This is when it really starts getting fun and exciting for me because it won't be clear until we're done counting the votes," Giuffre said. "Honestly, I'm looking forward to seeing the contestants really start to sweat and see their mortality as the contest gets closer. Sometimes it brings out the best, and sometimes it brings out the worst - either way it makes for an exciting show."

Week three's show began with Austin Anderson, who took on Black Veil Bride's "Saviour." Judge Steve Davis commented that Anderson came out swinging, and that now it's obvious that it's a contest. Carol Westerdahl followed with Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me." Guest judge Rhett Simko said Westerdahl's performance showed she's still "kicking butt," but Davis added that he'd like to see more energy.

Dylan Carlson brought with him a mashup of Britney Spears' "Toxic" and Alex Clare's "Too Close." The performance earned judge Jamie Lee's approval. "You emit talent," she said. Judge Ylsa Giuffre added that it takes a heightened level of creativity to pull off a mashup. Carlson's performance was followed by Leisha Kolstee's cover of "Warrior" by Demi Lovato, which wasn't enough to advance her to the next round.

Jillian VanHouten was full of smiles after her rendition of "Never Close Our Eyes" by Adam Lambert earned Jamie Lee's comment of "big song, big voice." She was followed by Brooklyn Bucklin, whose rendition of "Cups" by Anna Kendrick actually featured some cup skills. Davis commented that the performance was the coolest thing he'd seen all day.

Lindsey Hinger wrapped up the first half of the show with a hoop and dance performance to Sara Bareilles' "Gravity." Jamie Lee said the performance made it appear as if Hinger was singing with her movements.

After a brief intermission, Chris Waddy took the stage to share a cover of Pharrell Williams' "Happy," which got the audience involved via dance moves and clapping.

Following the performance, Davis called Waddy a great entertainer. Simko pointed out that Adam Gould's banjo, vocal and harmonica rendition of "It Ain't Me, Babe" by Bob Dylan was a lot harder than it looked, and Davis added that it was honest and pure.

Unfortunately, Anna Paterniti wasn't able to perform this week, so instead Emma Anderson, another representative of Studio Dance, presented the "Sugar Plum Fairy" ballet routine from "The Nutcracker." Ylsa Giuffre thought it was a very nice representation of the professional level of talent that Studio Dance fosters.

Maia Davis' performance of "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey wasn't enough to earn her a spot in next week's competition, but judge Davis commented that she should stay encouraged.

Alexander Sanders brought with him another original tune, entitled "We Need You To Hope Again." Simko commented that it takes talent and courage to do originals, and Ylsa Giuffre enjoyed both the familiarity of the song as well as the positive message.

Taylor Latour dedicated her performance of Leann Rimes' version of "Unchained Melody" to her boyfriend, who was in the audience. The performance had Jamie Lee and Ylsa Giuffre missing Latour's renditions of classical vocal tunes. Rishi Gupta wrapped up the evening with a strong performance of John Legend's "All of Me."

So, minus Kolstee and Davis, the competition will continue next week with the remaining 12 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, 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 or search for "Chautauqua's Got Talent" on Facebook.



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