(see full photo gallery below)
To say that Louisville’s got talent is an understatement. Some of the city’s most talented youngsters showed off their skills on the stage Sunday at the final showcase of Louisville’s Got Talent.
The most difficult act of all was not on stage … it was performed by the judges who had to choose from a strong field of talented young people. There were singers, dancers, actors, singer/songwriters and even a magician.
CenterStage Artistic Director John Leffert said, “Any of the 20 acts could’ve justifiably been in the top three. They were all incredible. The creativity and talent in this city is astounding.” More than 70 acts auditioned.
The winners Kylie McGuffey, 12, and Caroline Siegrist, 11, sang a duet of “And the Birds Sing,” by Tyrone Wells. McGuffey, a student at St. Mary Academy in Prospect, played the ukulele as the pair sang. The duo won the top prize of $300.
McGuffey said that she and Siegrist have been best friends since they were eight years old, and they have been in many performances together. McGuffey participated in last year’s Louisville’s Got Talent, and this year wanted to sing with Siegrist, a student at Highland Hills Middle School in Georgetown, IN. The two harmonized and wowed the audience and judges.
McGuffey said it was thanks to her dad that they sang the song.
“We were trying to figure out which song to sing, and my dad plays the radio sometimes when I’m doing my homework,” she said. “When I heard that song, it got my attention. I thought it would be a nice song to sing.”
“When I heard it, I just loved it,” Siegrist added.
McGuffey already played guitar when her music teacher taught the class how to play ukulele. Because she picked it up quickly, her teacher showed her some extra tricks and gave her some songs to learn. Siegrist said that the two worked on their performance for a couple of weeks during sleepovers and weeknight rehearsals.
Siegrist said she was “really excited” when she learned the duo had won the contest. “I was a little more surprised than I was excited,” she said. “There were a lot of good kids there.”
Although this was her first attempt at Louisville’s Got Talent, she said she loved the competition. “I met a lot of new people there, which was really fun, as well,” she said.
The second-place act, who won $150, was Miller Kraps, who sang “Go the Distance,” by Michael Bolton, from the movie Hercules.
The third place winners were Emily Sipes and Madison Dailey, who danced to “The Promise.” They took home $75.
The show began last year as a bar mitzvah project by Jake Latts, 14. In its first year, the project raised $6,696 to support JCC’s Acting Out, which recently lost some grant money. This year’s event has raised more than $6,500.
Latts said he thought the talent and the turnout this year were great – the show was sold out, with more than 300 attending. “We had to add a lot more chairs (in the auditorium) this year,” he said.
Judges this year were Fund for the Arts President Barbara Sexton Smith, former Miss Kentucky Whitney Trowbridge, professional musician Angie Hopperton, professional dancer and choreographer Zachary Boone and Kevin Bundrent from Heyman Talent talent agency. An audience vote made up 50 percent of the final round judging as well.
Latts co-hosted the final round with Leffert.
Leffert offers special thanks to Dancesensation, which provided entertainment during the judging.