With eight acts, three judges and $1,000 in cash prizes, Weber State University hosted its annual Weber’s Got Talent show on March 15.
Francisco Ramos, a comedian who starred in both the animated film “Rio” and the television series “Shameless,” brought a light-hearted atmosphere to the evening as the show’s host.
The panel of three judges included Weber State’s vice president of student affairs, Brett Perozzi, Weber State alum Jessica Haslip and student Luke Schweinsberg.
“I’ve never judged a competition that has multiple acts,” Haslip said. “I’m excited to find the hidden talent in someone, there are a lot of talented people out there.”
Schweinsberg was selected to judge after a recommendation from a friend in WSUSA.
“I’m excited, but nervous, I’m worried about giving effective feedback. It takes a lot to come up and perform, let alone be judged based on your act,” Schweinsberg said.
After each participant performed their talent, the judges collectively decided on the top three talents to win first, second and third place. The first place winner was awarded $500, second place received $300 and third place received $200.
Caden Holmes, a digital architect student, won first place by the end of the night. Holmes wrote and performed an original song called, “I don’t,” which took him over a month to write.
“I picked up a guitar around the age of six and taught myself through Youtube and books,” Holmes said.
Holmes began singing at the age of eight, and later started performing at school assemblies, half time shows, and eventually moved on to restaurants and weddings.
“Honestly, I didn’t even know there was going to be a cash prize until earlier this week,” Holmes said. “I just wanted to go out and perform my song, I didn’t even expect to win, I’m shocked and humbled that I did.”
Holmes says in the future he would love to pursue a career as a musician.
“My dream is to produce an album and just put it out on Spotify,” Holmes said. “I plan to take this money and put it towards time in the studio so I can record and make more music.”
Jaden Nandkeshwar, a Weber State nursing student, sang “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys and won second place of the night.
“I was hoping I would place, but I didn’t expect it. I’m ecstatic to have won,” Nandkeshwar said.
For Nandkeshwar, singing has always been a hobby, although she said she would be interested in making it a potential career.
“I do think this has possibly opened doors for me, you never know who could be in audience one day.” Nandkeshwar said.
Awarded third place was the a capella group Ultra Violet. One of the group members, Cam Peterson, said he and his roommates decided to create an a capella group because of their mutual love of singing.
The group performed “Africa” by the band Toto. Peterson said it took the group about three to four months to fully nail the song.
“We’re very honored that we made third place,” Peterson said. “There’s so much talent here tonight so we are very humbled to even win. We’re going to keep performing, it’s something we all love to do.
Peterson said that with the money they won, the group is planning to invest in t-shirts and more music.
Weber State students Tyler Dopp and Jordan Mondfrans participated in the talent show together, performing a country line dance. The two friends first met at a local dance spot in Ogden, and continue to go country dancing every week.
Mondfrans and Dopp thought it would be fun to step out of their comfort zone to participate in the talent show and become dance partners. The two ended up spending 15 hours per week rehearsing and practicing their performance.
“I got into dancing because I had just gotten out of a relationship and I needed new people to talk to, I’ve been into it ever since,” Dopp said.