While many students headed home for Easter, 12 others prepared sparkling performances for the ninth annual TCNJ’s Got Talent show in the Brower Student Center Room 100 on Friday, March 30.
The talent show, sponsored by the Junior Class council, was in full swing with judges Don Trahan Jr., the director of the College’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion and Elizabeth Bapasola, the assistant vice president for student affairs.
Joining Trahan and Bapasola were hosts Dominic Clark, a junior management major and Sukhman Singh, a junior finance major, who kept the audience entertained in between acts with numerous skits.
The show started with a medley of 2017 hits by senior communication studies major Kamy Reyes and junior biology major Roshann Iqbal. Roshann played his acoustic guitar while Reyes sung through the choruses of songs like “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee and Justin Bieber, “Closer” by the Chainsmokers and Halsey and “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran.
Kelly Sullivan, a freshman special education and English double major, followed up and sang a slow, dramatic rendition of “Glitter In The Air” by Pink.
Afterward, Danielle DeFlores, a junior psychology major, impressed the audience with her strong vocal range in her rendition of “If I Ain’t Got You” by Alicia Keys.
Max Rosenberg, a freshman secondary education and mathematics dual major, performed the only non-musical act of the night. He caught the audience by surprise by successfully predicting a volunteer’s picks from three shuffled decks of cards — despite choosing from a seemingly randomized deck, the volunteer consistently drew three cards that came out to two, six and three.
“It was fun being different from everyone else and being a break from singing,” Rosenberg said. “I just like to provide a variety. There was definitely some jokes I didn’t expect and come up with. It was definitely enjoyable.”
Some students liked how Rosenberg set himself apart from the other contestants.
“I was partially biased to (Rosenberg) because I’m into card tricks,” said Amit Rana, a junior biomedical engineering major. “Everyone else also had amazing performances. There is no easy choice.”
Kristen Rutigliano, a junior psychology and elementary education double major, had the crowd up and singing along to “Gravity” by Sara Bareilles.
Christian Simpson, a freshman mechanical engineering, captured the enchanting spirit of “My Way” by Frank Sinatra with an electric guitar, and received a standing ovation from the audience.
In the next act, sophomore psychology major Jill Brueckner mimicked the actions of Alexander Hamilton’s wife — Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton — from the Broadway musical “Hamilton.” during an emotional rendition of “Burn.” Brueckner made the audience feel as though they were a part of the emotional Broadway scene in which she learns that her husband had an affair.
Celine Mileham, a junior chemistry major, then brought positive energy in her rendition of “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley.
At the end of the show, Simpson was announced as the winner, with Brueckner following in second and Rosenberg in third.
Simpson said his winning performance was inspired by Seth MacFarlane’s rendition of “My Way” from the movie “Sing.” He was astounded to hear his name at first place.
“I thought it would be a stretch to get third place,” Simpson said. “Once I heard third and second, I thought it was over. But then first place happened.”
Both Trahan and Bapasola saw their role as judges as a great opportunity to connect with the student body.
“It was an honor to be able to serve and see how talented our students are,” Trahan said. “Students have so many hidden talents and that’s part of the diversity we have on campus.”
Bapasola complimented the junior class council for hosting the event, which allowed her to spend time with students in a different way than she normally does.
“It was such an honor to see students in a different light,” Bapasola said. “We’re used to working with them in leadership roles and seeing them present their talents was an honor. I think the junior class council did an amazing job organizing this.