Kerri Baggs sings a broadway song to the audience and judges, the second performance of the Fort Bliss Got Talent competition held Aug. 11 at the Centennial Ban-quet and Conference Center at East Fort Bliss. Photo by Marcie C. Wright, Monitor Staff.
Local talent dance, sing their way to
the next round
Marcie C. Wright
The second half of the first-round eliminations for the four-week long Fort Bliss Got Talent competition brought nine more artists to the stage and a packed ballroom at the Centennial Banquet and Conference Center at East Fort Bliss, Aug. 11.
The competition is hosted by the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation office and is presided over by three judges: Col. Joseph Simonelli, Bliss’ Garrison commander; Mark Cauthers, director of FMWR; and Rusty Burns, runner-up from last year’s Operation Rising Star. The series is modeled after the popular NBC reality show “America’s Got Talent.”
The contestants are competing for a $500 grand prize. The second place award is $250 and the award for third place is $100. Units and Family Readiness Groups are encouraged to attend and cheer on their Soldiers, families and civilians, as there is also a $250 spirit award for the unit or FRG who shows the most support for their contestant.
Performers, judges and audience members had a seemingly diverting time at the show, cheering for the performers, clapping, laughing and admiring what their eyes and ears had witnessed. Many were amused by the talent Fort Bliss has to offer.
“That performance knocked my socks off,” said Simonelli of Saquawia Procter singing “Falling” by Alicia Keys.
Lykisha Gooding sings with grace her version of “All the Man that I Need” by Whitney Houston, as the third contestant in the Fort Bliss Got Talent competition held at the Centennial Banquet and Conference Center at East Fort Bliss Aug. 11. Photo by Marcie C. Wright, Monitor Staff.
“I enjoyed it immensely,” said Staff Sgt. De-Angelo Coatie, a chaplain’s assistant with Fort Bliss Garrison. “I came to support my first sergeant, but the other performers did a good job [too]. The one that sang a cappella for Alicia Keys was outstanding.”
“It was not as bad as I thought it was going to be,” said Staff Sgt. Daniel Davenport about possible jitters on stage. Davenport, a signal support systems specialist with 3rd Special Troops Battalion, 1st Armored Division, danced his way to the second round, impressing the judges and spectators with a music mix of pop, hip-hop and old school classics matched with his skill in movement and crowd interaction.
“I like to be the center of attention when I’m dancing anyway, so once I calmed down and started moving, it was actually pretty easy. It was nice,” he said. “I dance all the time … but I have never performed.”
Although this was Davenport’s first time entering a competition of this type, he performed twice that Wednesday, once for the judges, and once more as a prop – on short notice, the last performance of the evening. He wowed the crowd with both performances, escalating him and his impromptu partner to high levels of praise and both advanced to the next round.
Arnita Christy sings “Angel of Mine” by Monica for the Fort Bliss Got Talent competition, Aug. 11 at the Centennial Banquet and Conference Center. She added Daniel Davenport to her act to give it more stage presence. Christy also walked off the stage and sang directly to the judges and involved audience members. Photo by Marcie C. Wright, Monitor Staff.
“You stood out – in a good way,” said Simonelli of Davenport’s dancing performance. Davenport is the only dancer int he competiton.
The show-stopping performance was opinionated to be the last performance, where Amita Christy, a public affairs specialist, swooned the crowd and the judges with her movements, voice and stage presence during her rendition of Monica’s “Angel of Mine” (of which Davenport was the partner for added effect).
Coatie said he enjoyed the last performance as one of his favorites. “The one that sang “Angel of Mine,” she really had a great stage presence. She intermixed with the crowd well, she danced, she sang – and, she can sing – I had a great time.”
“It’s good stuff, good fun, good esprit de corps,” said Davenport complimenting the event. “I had a lot of fun.”
The next round in the Fort Bliss Got Talent competition happens this evening at 6 p.m. at the Centennial. Each guest is given a ticket at the door to vote for the performer they would like to see advance to the third round.