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Thursday, November 30, 2023

UW's Got Talent: from student to stardom


One of the summer's hottest TV shows, America's Got Talent,"" will hit the collegiate scale this Wednesday at Mills Hall where UW's Got Talent will take place as part of this year's Homecoming Week. 


The competition will feature nine finalists that advanced through the initial auditions. Each finalist has something different to bring to the stage, with acts ranging from various genres of music to dance troupes, all the way to fire breathing.  


But no good talent competition can go on without celebrity judges! UW's Got Talent doesn't disappoint with local celebs Dan Cassuto, weatherman for channel 27, women's basketball coach Lisa Stone and Mayor Dave Cieslewicz. Even national acts will be present at the finale. Last year's winner of ""America's Got Talent,"" ventriloquist Terry Fator, recorded an introduction especially for the competition.  


When it comes to talent competitions, there's no doubt that the majority of contestants that audition boast of their vocal abilities, which means it's that much harder to stand out. Senior musical theater student Jeremy Sonkin had that ""something special"" during his audition of ""One Song Glory,"" which moved the entire judges' panel. 


Sonkin has a deep background in Madison-area theater, where he has preformed in many shows recently, including ""The Full Monty."" In fact, Sonkin's latest role as Geoff in the musical ""Ballots,"" which premieres Wednesday, makes him unable to perform in the finals.  


""I was given amazing critiques at my audition for UW's Got Talent that I had never received before and I'm so grateful for it,"" Sonkin said of the experience. 

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Freshman Rocco Bulmer flips the table completely with his incredible beats and articulate rapping. Bulmer's gifts are undeniable. His ability to continuously throw out his words makes the listeners wonder when and if he takes a breath, but he still leaves every word recognizable even in a large room. His final piece, titled ""Pastures of Gold,"" is written over music by producer Ruelz Rekka, and speaks about ""the delusions of material gain in life in stream-of-consciousness style."" 


Certainly the most unusual talent comes from junior Lloyd Thistle, who carries an extensive bag of circus tricks. His tricks include juggling everything imaginable, fire eating and breathing, the bed of nails and walking on broken glass, a few of which he will perform during the finals. He acquired his skills while working for America's Largest Traveling Sideshow in the summer of 2006. Thistle entered the competition on the account of a lost bet in a game of Texas Hold 'em with his roommates.  


""It is something that not everyone has seen yet. It is becoming a lost art, which also makes it that much easier to impress the people,"" Thistle said of his reasons for trying out for the competition. ""The nonverbal feedback that I receive from the audiences' faces is all I need. I try to make people happy, so they can have a good day."" 


UW's Got Talent will be held in Mills Hall in the Humanities building at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday night.  


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