Finalists ready for Odessa’s Got Talent

One by one, contestants from across the community will show off their talents and dazzle audience members and judges in an evening of fun-filled entertainment in this year’s edition of Odessa’s Got Talent.

The event, which serves as a fundraiser for the Permian Basin Mission Center, will take place at 7 p.m. on April 29 at the First Baptist Church.

Eighteen finalists, split into youth and adult categories, were recently named finalists after auditioning virtually and making the cut. This year’s performers range from a pianist and a beat boxer to several singers and a few bands.

These finalists will compete for the chance to win $9,000 in prizes.

“This year’s finalists have a wide variety of talents,” said Cristy Batte, fundraising chair and Permian Basin Mission Center board member. “They are really fantastic.”

Winners will receive a top prize as voted on by the judges at the event. The judges for this year’s Odessa’s Got Talent are Shelby Landgraf, Sarah Johnson and Eric Baker.

There will be a $1,000 People’s Choice Award which will be awarded to the finalist with the most online votes. Voting for this award is open and can be done at www.permianbasinmission.org/ogt.html.

The auditions took place until April 3. After that, the Permian Basin Mission Center Board of Directors then screened each audition and determined the finalists which were announced the following week.

Batte said the number of people who auditioned was close to the same number as last year.

“The auditions were pretty similar,” Batte said. “We had more adult auditions this year, but the overall total is pretty close.”

This year’s finalists for the youth category are Areli Smith, Camila Rivera, Never Too Young, Samuel Chastain and Vincent Ramirez.

The adult finalists are Albert Hall and The 100, Ashley Simpson, BitterWater, Bryon Garrison, Capital Limits, Cristian, Grace Surmion, Juan Caamano, Kayla Dos Santos, Los Crazy Guys, Mikayla Heard, Molly Angela and Raeslyn Miller.

However, this year’s field of competitors will be slightly different than last year. Only three finalists who performed last year are back as Simpson, Miller and the band Los Crazy Guys.

Ashley Simpson performs at Odessa’s Got Talent show on Friday, June 18, 2021 at First Baptist Church. (Michael Bauer|American Odessa)

Last year Simpson performed a dance routine involving a hoop, but this year she will be performing as a singer.

Like many, Simpson is excited about this year’s Odessa’s Got Talent.

“It definitely feels like a whole new experience and the reason I say that is last year I competed in what they call a completely different talent,” Simpson said. “Even though I’m back in my second year, I still feel like it’s year number one. I loved the participation and I loved playing and sharing this experience with other people. It’s good to be back and I love what they’re trying to accomplish with the Permian Basin Mission Center.

This year, Simpson will perform a cover of “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen.

“It seemed like the best song to show off my vocal range,” Simpson said. “Normally I sing country songs in karaoke rooms and they’re great but when you want to play this song brings so much emotion and it’s a very beautiful and powerful song and it gives me a chance to show the dynamic brain that I have so much that’s why I chose to do this song.

She chose to do a vocal performance this year after being one of the few contestants who didn’t perform on Odessa’s Got Talent last year. She feels that by doing a song, she will have a better chance of winning.

“Last year there was a band and everyone was a singer,” Simpson said. “I didn’t know if the judges didn’t know how to compare this to the other talents, so I thought it might be easier to try something different.”

Like Simpson, Miller also competes in the adult category.

The 2020 Permian graduate is currently a sophomore at Oklahoma City University, majoring in Vocal Music Education and Vocal Performance, as well as a minor in Studio Art.

She will return to Odessa to compete.

“When I found out they were re-performing Odessa’s Got Talent, I was beyond excited,” Miller said. “It not only gives me a huge opportunity to get my name out there in the Odessa community, but it also gives me the opportunity to show what I worked on in a music school. It’s fun for me and of course I like fundraising and I like helping the Odessa community because they have done so much for me and it’s a good way for me to have some money in my pocket. I’m a broke student, but it’s always fun to get a chance to show off my skills. »

Miller will perform “Into the Unknown” from the Disney film “Frozen 2”, choosing to do the Panic at the Disco version instead of the Idina Menzel version.

“I wanted to do something a little edgy,” Miller said. “I know ‘Into the Unknown’ is a popular and well-known song, especially among Disney fans and families, so I wanted to push the envelope and instead of doing Idina Menzel, I might as well do something a bit more punk rock.”

Last year at Odessa’s Got Talent, Miller performed “Maybe This Time” from “Cabaret.”

Like Simpson, Miller is also thrilled to return and be among the finalists for this year’s show.

“I’m always happy to come home to see my family and everything,” Miller said. “Since being one of the finalists, I’m more than happy to go home because I can see some of my friends from last year who competed alongside me. I’m also going to meet new people and give them everything I’ve been working on and hope everyone enjoys not only my performance but Odessa’s Got Talent in general. I know last year we had a good turnout, so hopefully with the coverage we’re getting and the people competing this year, we’ll have an even bigger turnout than last year.

Last year’s show was the inaugural event and due to the popularity of the event, Odessa’s Got Talent was brought back this year.

However, there are some differences apart from the number of different finalists this year.

Last year, Odessa’s Got Talent took place in the summer, but this year it will take place in the spring.

“We had comments that people were often gone and we thought summer might not be the best time for this competition so we moved it to spring which is very busy mainly for the students, so the students had a lot of conflict,” Batte said. mentioned. “A lot of great things are happening, but we’ve had a lot of auditions, so we’re happy with the talent. We missed a few due to conflicts, but we’re glad we got to see so much talent.

Batte said last year’s show raised around $80,000. This year, the Mission Center hopes to raise $95,000.

“I feel like I know more about what to expect,” Batte said. ” It’s going very well. I’m happy to see how well it’s going. Frankly, it’s good to have a year in the books. We can improve some things, but last year went so well that we couldn’t be happier.

Permian Basin Mission Center Executive Director Hector Aguilar spoke about the many benefits of fundraising.

“We’re thrilled to have found something our community can support that is really fun for our community and contestants,” Aguilar said. “It’s really exciting.”

The Mission Center is a local resource center for people in need.

“All of our funding is going to help our low-income community,” Aguilar said. “It’s really exciting that we can have something new and fresh for our community. Above all, it’s really exciting to let our community know why we’re hosting this fundraiser. Proceeds will help our low-income community with food, clothing, and rent and utility assistance.

Aguilar says they are still getting more sponsors for this year’s event. Those interested in being a sponsor or making a donation can visit the Mission Center website at www.permianbasinmission.org/ogt.html.

Tickets can also be purchased at tinyurl.com/bd6hkfvk.

“We are hoping for a strong turnout,” Aguilar said. “It takes a lot of funding to run an organization like ours. But we’re pretty excited and hope everyone will donate in some way.

Meet the finalists of this year’s Odessa’s Got Talent

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