Editor’s Note: The Michigan Daily covered Michigan’s Got Talent from two perspectives, one from the News section and one from the Arts section. To read the 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 Theatre on the evening of March 9. The nonprofit student organization aims to use music to create a positive social impact in the Ann Arbor community by hosting events to help fundraise for different causes.
Members of ComCo, a U-M student improv comedy group, emceed the talent show and entertained the audience with riddles and improv throughout the night. LSA junior Ahmad Kady, University of Michigan alum Archie Magnus and LSA junior Nicole Winthrop emceed at the event.
The four judges were Martino Harmon, vice president of Student Life; Dr. Fangfei Miao, assistant professor of dance; TikTok influencer and U-M alum Eli Rallo and music theory professor Ramon Satyendra. Winners were selected for the most entertaining, most creative and most moving performances, and the audience voted for the Audience Choice Award.
LSA senior Parnia Mazhar produced the talent show and said that this was the second time MUSIC Matters hosted Michigan’s Got Talent. She said Wednesday night’s performance was the first time the organization hosted the talent show as an in-person event.
“I think we’re just really excited about how everything turned out,” Mazhar said. “We felt the performers 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 different backgrounds, all different ages.”
Information senior Gillian Wasserman, President of MUSIC Matters, said that the show was encouraging and represented a selection of the great talent on the University’s campus.
“What our team (and) Parnia was calling for was bringing talent from every corner of our campus on one stage and celebrating everyone’s abilities,” Wasserman said. “It was so amazing. Just watching from the audience, I think it went very well.”
International hip-hop dance team Dance 2XS Michigan won most entertaining performance, Gimble A Cappella won most creative performance and Music, Theatre & Dance junior Kiran Mangrulkar won most moving performance for his rendition of “Falling” by Harry Styles.
The Michigan Taekwondo Demonstration Team won the Audience Choice Award for their exposition of martial arts techniques, formations and wood-chopping. LSA junior Alicia Wang, co-leader of 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 was an accumulation of our work that paid off,” Wang said. “(We were) able to see the culmination of everything working out and everything coming together really nicely, and … able to have others look at our work and say, ‘Yeah, you guys are having fun.’”
The demonstration team started off with a set of sequence techniques known as poomsae, followed by different kick formations such as tornado kicks, the spinning hook, “540” kick, and a flying side kick across the stage as their finale, according to Wang.
LSA senior Aaron Arnold, co-leader of Taekwondo Demonstration Team, said that basing the taekwondo performance on fighting techniques captivated the audience.
“It’s more entertaining in my opinion,” Arnold said. “People like to see what you could potentially do with taekwondo or what that looks like in fast-paced motion. Obviously, it’s all staged but also we take a lot of time and critiquing (when choosing what to perform).”
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 sophomore Charlotte Gu, who twirled across the stage with her light blue fan in a Chinese ballet dance to a piano instrumental.
Kol HaKavod A Capella also performed a cover of “Say It” by Maggie Rogers, and LSA sophomore Taylor Bullitt, a singer and songwriter, performed an acoustic version of “Youth” by Daughter.
Audience members also cheered as emcees introduced performances by Music, Theatre & Dance senior Matthew Stawinski, an electric guitarist; Architecture senior Courtney Chisholm, a pianist; and Music, Theatre & Dance PhD pre-candidate Kelly Hoppenjans, an electric guitar soloist who performed an original song.
The show also featured Gimble’s a cappella cover of “I Found” by Amber Run. Hip hop dance team Dance 2XS also swayed across the dance floor to bass-boosted songs like Remy Ma’s “Conceited” and others from Doja Cat. The show ended with a performance sung by LSA senior Francesca “Frankie” Torres and her band.
After the show, Mangrulkar reflected on the event and said he enjoyed connecting with the different performers in-person this year, who proved once again that Michigan has indeed “got talent.”
“It was a crazy melting pot of different artistic talents and groups,” Mangrulkar said. “The awards obviously are an honor and it’s really nice to have, but it was more just the experience itself.”
Editor’s note: Daily staffers performed at Michigan’s Got Talent, but they were not involved in the creation, production or publication of this piece. Cece Duran is a Daily Arts Writer and a Daily News Contributor. She did not contribute to the writing or editing of this piece. Parnia Mazhar was a Daily Staff Reporter. She is no longer affiliated with The Daily, and she did not contribute to this story. Ahmad Kady was a Daily Illustrator. He did not contribute to this story. Grace Tucker is the Statement Managing Editor and the 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@example.com.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated Taylor Bullitt performed an original song. She performed a cover of “Youth” by Daughter. Kelly Hoppenjans performed an original song.