Editor’s Note: The Michigan Daily covered Michigan’s Got Talent from two perspectives, one from the News section and the other from the Arts section. To read Daily Arts’ interpretation, click here.
MUSIC Matters hosted Michigan’s Got Talent, a talent show featuring a variety of student performers, at the Lydia Mendelssohn Theater on the evening of March 9. The non-profit student organization aims to use music to create a positive social impact in the Ann Arbor community by hosting events to help raise funds for different causes.
Members of ComCo, a UM student improv comedy group, hosted the talent show and entertained the audience with puzzles and improv throughout the night. LSA junior Ahmad Kady, University of Michigan alumnus Archie Magnus, and LSA junior Nicole Winthrop host the event.
The four judges were Martino Harmon, vice president of student life; Dr. Fangfei Miao, Assistant Dance Teacher; TikTok influencer and former UM Eli Rallo and music theory professor Ramon Satyendra. Winners were selected for the most entertaining, creative and moving performances, and the audience voted for the audience award.
LSA senior Parnia Mazhar produced the talent show and said it was the second time MUSIC Matters hosted Michigan’s Got Talent. She said Wednesday night’s performance was the first time the organization has held the talent show as an in-person event.
“I think we’re really happy with how it all turned out,” Mazhar said. “We felt the artists did a phenomenal job, every single one of them. The whole point of the event is to showcase the palette of Michigan students from all walks of life, of all ages.”
Gillian Wasserman, chief information officer and president of MUSIC Matters, said the show was encouraging and represented a selection of top talent from across the college campus.
“What our team (and) Parnia was asking for was to bring talent from all corners of our campus together on one stage and celebrate everyone’s abilities,” Wasserman said. “It was so amazing. Just watching from the audience, I think it went really well.
International hip-hop dance team Dance 2XS Michigan won Most Entertaining Performance, Gimble A Cappella won Most Creative Performance, and Music, Drama and Dance Junior Kiran Mangrulkar won Most Moving Performance for his interpretation of “Falling” by Harry Styles.
The Michigan Taekwondo Demonstration Team won the People’s Choice Award for their display of martial arts techniques, formations and woodcutting. LSA junior Alicia Wang, co-leader of the taekwondo demonstration team, told the Michigan Daily that she was proud of her team’s performance and that winning the award was a testament to their team’s hard work.
“It’s an accumulation of our work that has paid off,” Wang said. “(We were) able to see the culmination of everything that worked and it all came together really well, and… able to get others to look at our work and say, ‘Yeah, you’re having fun. “”
The demo team started with a set of streak techniques known as poomsae, followed by different kick formations such as tornado kicks, spinning hook, “540” kick and a flying side kick across the stage as the finale, according to Wang.
Aaron Arnold, LSA senior co-leader of the taekwondo demonstration team, said basing taekwondo performance on fighting techniques captivated the audience.
“It’s more fun in my opinion,” Arnold said. “People like to see what you could potentially do with taekwondo or what it looks like in fast motion. Obviously everything is staged, but we also take a lot of time and criticism (when choosing what we are going to play).
LSA junior Cecilia “Cece June” Duran and her band opened the show followed by a rock band performance by Bernard, Xie, Whitten & Kerr. Other performers included LSA second year Charlotte Gu, who twirled around the stage with her light blue fan in a Chinese ballet on a piano instrument.
Kol HaKavod A Capella also performed a cover of Maggie Rogers’ “Say It,” and LSA sophomore singer-songwriter Taylor Bullitt performed an acoustic version of her original song.
Audience members also cheered as the emcees introduced performances by Matthew Stawinski, electric guitarist, senior music, theater and dance; Courtney Chisholm, Senior Architect, Pianist; and Kelly Hoppenjans, pre-PhD candidate in music, theater and dance, guitar soloist.
The show also featured Gimble’s a cappella cover of Amber Run’s “I Found”. Hip hop dance crew Dance 2XS also performed on the dance floor to bass-boosted songs like “Conceited” by Remy Ma and others by Doja Cat. The show ended with a sung performance by LSA senior Francesca “Frankie” Torres and her band.
After the show, Mangrulkar reflected on the event and said he enjoyed connecting with the various artists in person this year, which once again proved that Michigan indeed had “talent.”
“It was a crazy melting pot of different talents and artistic groups,” Mangrulkar said. “The awards are obviously an honor and it’s really nice to have, but it was more just the experience itself.”
Editor’s note: Daily staff members performed at Michigan’s Got Talent, but were not involved in the creation, production, or publication of this piece.. Cece Duran is a daily arts writer and daily news contributor. She did not contribute to the writing or editing of this piece. Parnia Mazhar was a journalist at the Daily Staff. She is no longer affiliated with The Daily and did not contribute to this story. Ahmad Kady was an illustrator for the Daily. He did not contribute to this story. Grace Tucker is the editor of Statement and president of Gimble A Capella. Tucker did not contribute to the writing or editing of this piece.
Daily staff reporter Nirali Patel can be reached at [email protected]