University Programs holds “Bama’s Got Talent” talent show in Student Center

Jacob Ritondo, Race and Identity Reporter

University Programs held the “Bama’s Got Talent” talent show in the UA Student Center Theater March 24, awarding a $300 Bama Cash grand prize for the winner. 

During the free two-hour event, which lasted from 7-9 p.m., students watched as 12 of their peers passionately sang, danced, played instruments, twirled batons and walked on stilts on stage. In between acts, the audience had the chance to answer miscellaneous trivia questions, with the student who answered the most correctly winning Bama Cash. 

At the end, students voted online on their favorite performance, ultimately selecting Rylie Dewey, a freshman majoring in political science, as the victor and Sara Naughton, a sophomore majoring in metallurgical engineering, as her runner-up. 

Victoria Niton is a freshman majoring in political science and criminal justice who performed “Make You Feel My Love” by Adele. 

“I wanted to perform, because I have always been doing talent shows, and I really love to sing. I didn’t have anything to be afraid of,” Niton said. 

Niton said she chose the song for its personal meaning. 

“I dedicated it to my family and my boyfriend because it really resonated with me,” she said. “In the song, it says ‘I want to make them feel my love.’’’  

Dewey, a Crimsonette in the Million Dollar Band, twirled batons to a musical mix of “Dangerous” and “Smooth Criminal” by Michael Jackson. 

She saw the talent show as an opportunity to meet new people who share her same passion for art.  

“I wanted to make a difference here and just get more involved,” she said. “I’m not in a sorority, so it’s been a little bit hard to find and make friends.”  

Her songs of choice were used in routines she has already practiced for past Crimsonette performances and upcoming tryouts. 

“I’ve been twirling since I was five,” Dewey said. “I have gone through some struggles in life that I didn’t really know how to express in words. I didn’t know how to share my emotions in the form of talking to other people. And I was able to get out those emotions and those feelings of sadness and anger and defeat through twirling.” 

Naughton shocked the crowd with her unconventional performance of dancing to “About Damn Time” by Lizzo while on stilts.  

Naughton has stilt walked for over two years and said she spent most of spring break practicing for the talent show. 

“I learned to stilt walk in a circus school in my hometown. And then we had showcases [and] I got to walk in class with my other classmates. But … there isn’t really a circus presence here,” she said. 

As a result, she said, she must seek out other opportunities to display her talent. 

“Whenever I see a talent show or something like that, it’s like, ‘Oh, great. This is an excuse I can give myself to put together a routine and get practicing,” Naughton said. 

To her, there are many benefits to stilt walking.  

“As well as being a good form of exercise, it’s just like a fun form of expression,” she said. “I’ve always really enjoyed dancing. But I’m not a particularly gifted dancer. It’s a little bit embarrassing to just dance, because I feel kind of awkward.” 

“But when I’m on stilts, then I feel like I can sort of let loose and have fun,” Naughton said. 

Naughton said placing second was very rewarding.  

“It’s just a reminder that I don’t need to feel awkward about my own dancing,” she said. 

Despite placing first, Dewey expressed how talented the University’s students are. 

“All the people that went out there on that stage, they’re so talented,” she said. “Everyone’s talents are so unique and different. We have people who walk on stilts. We have people who sing. We have people who dance and who play the guitar and play the piano. And then just to win, it just meant a lot to me.”