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Got Talent?

Because Brandeis does

Published: May 2, 2008
Section: Arts, Etc.



On April 30 2008, the season finale of Brandeis Got Talents was shot live in Shapiro Theater. The final five contestants, were Etta King ’10, Lisa Fitzgerald ’10, Nick Pollack ’10 , Natasha Vadera ’11 and Michael Cohen (GRAD), competed before a live studio audience to affirm their supremacy as the talent-icon-demi-god that is the Brandeis Idol. The contestants were in rare form, no doubt pushed by the adrenaline of having their friends there to support them. The atmosphere in the room was one of community and mutual support and pride in the talent that students were able to showcase. No one had anything bad to say about anyone else, except of course myself and even despite my particularly critical nature I couldn’t manage to be too pessimistic.

Performances were really diverse and represented the great spectrum of types of performers here at Brandeis. From King we heard her soulful dulcet tones accompanied by powerful high notes. From Pollack, a riveting performance of “Gary Glitter’s Rock and Roll Part 2″ in which the whole audience had no choice but to yell “hey!” as they got into it. From Vadera, we watched graceful moves that spanned from contemporary to traditional dance seamlessly and had all the judges captivated.

Cohen did his ever-creepy, ever-funny and ever-accurate rendition of Smiegel, the dwarfish goblin-like antagonist of Lord of the Rings. And Lisa Fitzgerald, as always, blew the crowd away with the introspection and emotional honesty of her performance of yet another one of her self written pieces entitled “Study You.”

If you’ve been watching the show then you are aware of how it’s become a lightning rod for blossoming talent. As a judge I really found it hard to make some the calls I had to. If wasn’t impressed by the performances themselves, I was taken aback by the determination of some of our contestants, such as the ever-diligent Alexei Alvarado ’09. Mr. Alvarado, who you might recognize from class or from the grill at Usdan, sadly did not win the title of Brandeis Idol after ingesting a cup full of pickled jalapenos and Tabasco sauce. Alexei, although not a winner of the show, is a winner in my eyes in two ways. For one, there’s the whole cheesy yet true mantra of the determination with which he competed and his genuine self-investment in making the show exhilarating which was definitely appreciated. Furthermore, he will always be remembered as one of the craziest performers that the show has ever seen.

The competition in the last show was very close. As always, voting was left to the student, and in the case of the third show specifically, those were in attendance during the shooting. After the ballots for the contestants were counted the winners declared as Etta King in third place, Natasha Vadera in second, and the first Brandeis Idol being…(drum roll please)… Lisa Fitzgerald. There was then disorganized banter, hugs all around, and general fun-having. The feeling of community in the room was the ideal that we were thinking of when we began the show months ago.

In closing I’d really like to end by thanking all the contestants and viewers for their participation. We wouldn’t have a show without the talent, determination, and bravery of the contestants or the viewers taking time out of their busy Brandeis student schedules to stop, watch, and listen. Good luck with finals everyone and have a great summer. To people coming back next year I hope they are ready for more Brandeis Idol and other interesting BTV (who I also want to thank profusely by the way) shows.