Students showcase skills at annual show

By Craig Dietel
Staff Writer

Three judges, two hosts and seven unbelievable student performances made for one incredible night in Kendall Hall on Wednesday, March 9.

The auditorium was glowing as the Student Government’s junior class council held its annual TCNJ’s Got Talent, a take on the TV show, “America’s Got Talent.”

This was a night for students to not only shine in the spotlight, but to also have the chance at winning some extra cash. The first-place prize was a $100 Visa gift card, while the second place victor won $50 and the third place winner was awarded $25.

Hosted by junior class President Rob Kinloch and senior marketing major Alex Moskal, the show started off strong with comedic intros. But the pair quickly directed the audience’s attention to the meat and potatoes of the night — the student performances.

Pirrera and Statkevich win first place for their Justin Bieber medley. (Kim Iannarone / Photo Editor)
Pirrera and Statkevich win first place for their Justin Bieber medley. (Kim Iannarone / Photo Editor)

Not just anyone was able to grace the stage at Kendall Hall, however.

“There were about 20 auditions. Junior class council was looking at quality and originality of performances,” junior interactive multimedia major and Vice President of Public Relations for the event Samantha Williams said. “We wanted to have a lineup that was varied. While we had a great deal of very impressive singers, this was TCNJ’s Got Talent, not TCNJ’s ‘American Idol.’”

There was clearly a wide range of talent on the stage that night. The few singers chosen to perform were there for a reason. As far as originality is concerned, senior communication studies major and singer/guitarist Julia Malak brought something completely new to the table with her hilarious rendition of Lil Jon and The East Side Boyz’s hit song, “Get Low.” Malak approached the stage and took her seat while telling the audience she was about to play her favorite song. The audience was taken by surprise when the rap lyrics of “Get Low” came out of her mouth with a beautiful new tune and rhythm.

Richards’s saxophone performance earns him third place. (Kim Iannarone / Photo Editor)
Richards’s saxophone performance earns him third place. (Kim Iannarone / Photo Editor)

From original songs to Justin Bieber mashups to impressive instrumentalists, there was never a dull moment. This made choosing a winner exceedingly difficult for the judges: Brower Student Center Manager Seth Zolin, Director of Planning and Administration Ceil O’Callaghan and Dean John Laughton of the School of Arts.

“It was a hard choice for the judges,” Zolin said. “All of the contestants were worthy.”

That being said, a winner had to be chosen. Vocalist Joe Pirrera, a freshman communication studies major, and guitarist Andrew Statkevich, a junior health and exercise science major who has played the instrument for 10 years, were the ones to walk away with the coveted $100 prize for their impressive Justin Bieber mashup. The talented duo incorporated fan-favorite songs like “Love Yourself,” “Baby” and “What Do You Mean” with acoustic guitar and vocal flare.

“We entered the talent contest toward the end of the deadline, so we only had about two weeks to prepare for the show,” Statkevich said. “But we practiced nearly every day to make sure we brought our best performance to the show. I had an awesome time playing in the show. The atmosphere was great and the rest of the talents were great. You will definitely see me back next year.”

The pair ended up splitting the winnings. Junior marketing major Eva MacDuff was awarded second place for her talented singing and junior sociology major and saxophone player Matthew Richards took home the title of third place.

This was the junior class council’s seventh annual TCNJ’s Got Talent event and the College can expect another showcase of student talent next year.