A kickoff to Homecoming week was the Talent Show, hosted by Daynon Smith, on Feb. 3. Six diverse performers left a lasting impression on the judges and audience members.
Joseph Lyons, assistant director of the Career Center, who has been with VCU for 15 years, started his performance stating “the sky’s the limit,” and it certainly was. His booming voice belted out, “The Greatest Love of All,” flitting between high and low notes at the drop of a hat. Lyons’ arm motions and facial expressions showed that he was not about to leave the stage without making the audience remember him. Overall the judges were impressed– he got straight fours (with the highest being a five). Judge Aaron Gilchrist, co-anchor NBC12 News, commented, “very well done, I give you props for originality.” Denise Smith, another of the four judges, thought that it was great that he could sing well a cappella.
The VCU Swing Club trooped on stage and danced to “The Shim Sham.” They looked adorable with their beaming smiles and swing inspired garb; one of the best outfits was a strikingly authentic sailor outfit. After performing an organized dance complete with slides, sways and kicks, they proceeded to form a semi-circle with one couple dancing in the middle. They continued the partner dancing for an encore and even added a healthy bit of competition and improvisation among the dancers when one girl refused to relinquish her partner when tapped. However, the judges were not fully impressed as they gave out threes and fours. Gilchrist commented on the fact that they looked at the dancer’s feet in front of them. While SGA Vice President Mirelle Truong said, “I liked the fact that you were smiling the whole time,” but only gave them a three.
Vocal performance major Tasha Thomas, sang Mariah Carey’s “Hero.” Thomas had a deep, soulful, attention grabbing voice. Although she didn’t have Miss Carey’s range, she was certainly neck-and-neck with her on pure vocal ability and “it factor.” Thomas got great audience reaction and positive comments from the judges–receiving a score of 19 out of 20. Smith was particularly smitten with her, saying that she certainly had the right major.
“Natural Woman,” performed by staff member Shayne Fountain, was the show stopper. She began singing and playing the piano but eventually let the piano go. The audience loved this woman. Every time “you make me feel” exploded out of her mouth, they would erupt with applause and cheers. You could even hear a few men passionately singing, “you make me feel like a natural… woman” along with her. She deserved and received a standing ovation. Academic Campus SGA president Shivani Gupta, who was also judging, spoke of Fountain’s “amazing presence.” Gilchrist said, “you could tell that you felt every second of that song.” The audience was highly pleased with Fountain’s perfect score of 20.
Jerome Barrett, a member of the staff at MCV for 42 years, sang the gospel song, “I feel Like Giving God the Glory.” He was an adorable man in a custard colored shirt, who had the audience clapping and singing along with him. Barrett received a 19 along with glowing reviews from the judges. “You took it to church,” said Smith,
“so I’m going to go with a five.”
The final and most interesting performance was by mass communications major Peter Moody. It was a self-written “dark comedy piece,” which was basically an elaboration on the poem “Fuzzy Wuzzy” set to classical music. Moody aggressively recited/ sang the tale of Fuzzy Wuzzy’s downfall and death. It was bizarre, and the audience loved every minute of it. “Different…,” Gilchrist said, “different’s good. An obvious display of talent on the piano.”
While Shayne Fountain received the top position, and Moody won second place from the three way tie between himself, Thomas, and Barrett, there was no lack of creative and vocal talents in the Commons that night.