Algonquin’s Got Talent provides a showcase of student ability

The annual event happened at The Observatory, as song, dance, and much more made the stage for students to see
Photo: Siobhan Rollo
Kiki Coe talks about performer Ebonie Saige's performance with the judges on stage at Algonquin's Got Talent. Saige performed halfway through the show.

As the winner of the competition was announced, golden confetti erupted onto the Algonquin’s Got Talent stage, Gracie Lister and Sammy Alcius turned to one another and celebrated. Lister threw herself to the ground, making snow angels in the scattered confetti. With a celebratory shout, Alcius dropped to the floor to join his partner.

They were just two of the 17 multi-talented students who performed at Algonquin College’s variety talent show Algonquin’s Got Talent on Thursday, Feb. 8.

Many students from different backgrounds gathered on the stage decorated with blue lights to see who had what it took to get to the provincial competition, Ontario’s Got Talent. In this crowd of people would be three finalists.

With 17 talented performers and dozens of audience members, the show featured many students with different acts.

Most acts were musical, such as Leyla Cornell and their partner, Nicolas Gatien. The couple goes by the stage name Nico and Kudos. They performed a duet, where both of them sang, whilst Nico played acoustic guitar. Kudos is an animation student at Algonquin College.

When asked about their reasoning for joining the competition, Kudos said: “I make music on the side, and we sing together on YouTube.”

The night was full of acts of many natures, including freestyle rapping, drag performances, singing, dancing, aerial performances, a dancing dog and more.

The night was hosted by famous Filipino-Canadian drag queen, Kiki Coe. Coe is local to the Ottawa-Gatineau area. Her claim to fame is her appearance on the hit competition reality show Canada’s Drag Race.

Coe is an alumnus of Algonquin College, graduating from culinary arts in 2012.

“It’s good to see the different talent, you can see the diversity,” Coe said. “As an artist, you can see how to perform your art better… you don’t stop learning. I’m so glad I did this.”

Alongside the host, there were three guest judges: local drag king and dancer extraordinaire Zak Zinya, theatrical performer Axandre Lemours, and comedian Nick Burden.

“I wasn’t sure what to expect coming here,” Lemours said. “But what [I saw] exceeded expectations.”

The show had a special feature that mimicked televised talent shows such as America’s Got Talent. Each judge had a mock golden buzzer, which was a golden confetti popper. The contestant would receive a $50 Visa gift card whenever one was pulled.

Three performers won this prize.

The first to receive their prize was the dancing duo Gracie Lister and Sammy Alcius.

“We’ve worked so hard to get here,” said Lister. “This has been beyond amazing, Sammy has never been in competitions before.”

The two winners of Algonquin's Got Talent, dressed in black clothing, as they speak to the judges about their performance.
Competition winners Sammy Alcius and Gracie Lister performed at the event. Photo credit: Siobhan Rollo

They had support from audience members, such as Harvey Ndina, a business management student.

“Sam is a longtime friend of mine from high school, turns out we both go to Algonquin,” Ndina said. “It’s a fun show. I’m here to hype up everybody.”

The second performance to win the bonus was aerial performer Sophie Watling, an outdoor adventure student. Watling is a student from the Pembroke campus, who travelled to participate in the competition.

“I feel pretty good, normally I’m anxious. I’m actually a hoop instructor, but I do pole and aerial as well,” said Watling.

The last to receive this bonus award was drag queen Karan Ligays. Ligays performed an elaborate lipsync and dance performance number. During her performance, she grabbed a member of the audience’s phone, brought it on stage with her, and did a split over the camera.

“I can buy a new wig,” Said Ligays, referring to their prize.

The night ended with three prize winners and an honourable mention, chosen by Lemours.

The honourable mention went to vocalist Ebonie Saige, who sang a rendition of “House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals.

Third place went to vocalist Jashan Dugri, who paid a vocal tribute to a late idol of his. He performed the song “Regret” by Sidhu Moose Wala.

“I was kind of nervous at first, but I started performing and it just vanished,” said Dugri. “It’s my favourite song.”

Second place went to drag performer Karan Ligays.

First place was awarded to the aforementioned dancing duo, Lister and Alcius.

“It’s so cool,” Lister said about winning. “We get to travel together, and be on a big stage.”

“It’s exhilarating, amazing, like what the hell,” Alcius said.

Lister and Alcius will be performing later March 8 at Ontario’s Got Talent. As part of their winnings, they have an all-expenses paid trip to the venue, Conestoga College in Kitchener-Waterloo.

“I was blown away, it was such a good time,” Zinya, a judge said as the show came to a close. “I felt like a judge on Canada’s Got Talent.”

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