Eleven talented students compete for cash prize in Raiders Got Talent

Summer+Fitch+choreographed+a+solo+contortionist+performance+to+a+mix+of+horror+movie+audio+and+soundtracks.+Once+her+performance+was+complete%2C+Fitch+remained+in+character%2C+maintaining+the+level+of+intimidation%2C+glancing+at+the+audience+and+judges+through+her+hair.+Photo+credit%3A+Michelle+De+Leon
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Eleven talented students compete for cash prize in Raiders Got Talent

Summer Fitch choreographed a solo contortionist performance to a mix of horror movie audio and soundtracks. Once her performance was complete, Fitch remained in character, maintaining the level of intimidation, glancing at the audience and judges through her hair. Photo credit: Michelle De Leon

Summer Fitch choreographed a solo contortionist performance to a mix of horror movie audio and soundtracks. Once her performance was complete, Fitch remained in character, maintaining the level of intimidation, glancing at the audience and judges through her hair. Photo credit: Michelle De Leon

Summer Fitch choreographed a solo contortionist performance to a mix of horror movie audio and soundtracks. Once her performance was complete, Fitch remained in character, maintaining the level of intimidation, glancing at the audience and judges through her hair. Photo credit: Michelle De Leon

Summer Fitch choreographed a solo contortionist performance to a mix of horror movie audio and soundtracks. Once her performance was complete, Fitch remained in character, maintaining the level of intimidation, glancing at the audience and judges through her hair. Photo credit: Michelle De Leon

By Whitney Bussell

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Eleven talented contestants competed for the grand prize of $500 at Moorpark College’s third annual Raiders Got Talent Thursday night.

Parents, students, and supporters all arrived early to reserve the best seats in the Performing Arts Center. Throughout the show, the Film Television Media (FTVM) Department filmed a closed taping using a live audience. It showcased not only the acts competing but also FTVM as they created a production.

One of the judges, Devin Sanchez, fulfilled the Simon Cowell role from American Idol to a tee with liners like “I’ve seen better,” and “I just wasn’t feeling it.”

Sanchez was one of three judges pulled from the FTVM department for this year’s Raiders Got Talent.

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Caitlin Henderson (right) and Elana Marino (center) gave poet Kelsie Simpson a round of finger snaps, while Devin Sanchez (left) filled the role of the disgruntled judge. Photo credit: Michelle De Leon

Nicole Block, executive producer and assistant professor in the department, used her fifteen years of experience in producing non-fiction TV shows like “America’s Funniest Home Videos” to create the talent show for the college.

“This is a hands-on experience so that students are building and developing skills,” said Block.

Block created the groundbreaking project to pave a way for students to put future career skills to use.

“I wanted a big project for students that could incorporate their skills and talents,” Block said.

Part of the live taping included solo camera shots of audience members laughing, booing or clapping. As students worked hard to elicit a lively response from audience members, Jeremy Hanes, FTVM production specialist, who helps assist with the program, ran down the stairs with an exuberant amount of energy to rally the crowd further.

“Now give me a boo!” shouted Hanes.

His energy awoke the audience to respond with bellowing boos.

Hosts Savanna Cory and Quest Couture counteracted Sanchez’s harsh criticism throughout the entire show, providing defense for performers and their acts.

Couture, who also performed as the Moorpark College mascot, Randy the Raider complete with a Spanish accent, wowed the crowd with his defiant school spirit, “Raiders are valiant!” he said. “Not pirates like Ventura College.”

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Hosts Savanna Cory (right) and Quest Couture (left) performed a skit aimed to educate the audience on the schools mascot, Randy the Raider. Photo credit: Michelle De Leon

Jennifer Goetz, Dean of Arts, Media, and Communication Studies attended the talent show.

“It’s a great way to bring community to the school and to highlight what the Film, TV, and Media department does,” Goetz said.

Acts competing included poetry, flag-twirling, singing, dancing, performing of instruments, and even a martial arts demonstration. The hard work and dedication were very evident throughout the entire show.

With such a wide array of talent, judges Elana Marino, Caitlin Henderson, along with Sanchez, and the audience, who had to vote for the winner at the end of the show via ballot, had their work cut out for them.

One particular act is sure to be remembered for her originality was a contortionist dance performed by student Summer Fitch. With face make-up resembling the Joker, she mimicked a ghastly mix of horror movie soundtracks, frightening the judges for the rest of the evening.

“Stop! Just stop looking at me. It’s creeping me out,” said Sanchez following Fitch’s performance.

“I can’t unsee that,” said Sanchez as Fitch exited the stage.

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Lily Berthold was encouraged by her girlfriend, Jessy Sulka, to perform at this years talent show. Photo credit: Michelle De Leon

Following Fitch was opera singer Lily Berthold who has been singing for the last 15 years, but recently honed in on opera specifically.

“I feel powerful when I sing, like I am taking on another character or expressing hidden parts of myself.” Berthold said.

Berthold went on to win first place, taking home the $500 prize.

“Getting your art to stand out,” were the message Berthold said she would want to tell other aspiring artists.

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Robert Ramirez (left) and Ej Abaya (right) performed a martial arts routine for Raiders Got Talent.Their routine was composed of board braking and sparring. Photo credit: Michelle De Leon

She was followed by two acts tying for third place winners of $100, Jeremy Judd, who exhibited his skills on the guitar while performing a John Mayer song, and the martial arts duo EJ Abaya and Robert Ramirez who wowed the crowd with their symmetry of moves. Second place winner of $250, Kelsie Simpson, won the crowd over with her wonderful rendition of Etta James.

Closing the show was Moorpark College’s very own Spirit Team, who delivered a riveting final performance of the season.

The crowd cheered and judges commended the Spirit Team on their continuous ability to hold smiles throughout the choreographed performance.

To watch the finished product of Raiders Got Talent check out the Moorpark FTVM Youtube channel soon.

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