All About Apple Blossoms Got Talent

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All About Apple Blossoms Got Talent
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Blue Ridge, Events, Kids Trail, Shenandoah Valley, Surprising Sophistication

Apple Blossom’s Got Talent has been a great addition to the Apple Blossom Festival the past few years and I wanted to find out more. I caught up with Theresa Gaines from the planning committee last week to talk about this years event, the finalists, and what to expect at the upcoming finals.

Tory Gallery (TG/GBRT): What year is this for Apple Blossom’s Got Talent?

Theresa Gaines (TG): The 3rd year.

TG/GBRT: How many contestants participated this year?

TG: Eighty-nine

TG/GBRT: What has been the community’s response to the event?

TG: It’s been great. Most of the families and friends of the contestants come but we have a lot of people in the community who come every year just to watch the show. They don’t have any ties to anyone, a lot of times they don’t even know someone in the show, they just enjoy it and it’s something totally different.

TG/GBRT: What are the different kinds of acts you’ve expected to see at Apple Blossom’s Got Talent?

TG: We have had everything from singers, magicians and hula hoopers to Irish dancers.


TG/GBRT: Oh wow I love Irish dancing.

TG: Lindy dancers, guitarists, just a wide variety of different types of talent.

TG/GBRT:: Who are the finalists this year?

TG: Ryan Jewell (sings & plays guitar), Victor Furtado (progressive clawhammer banjo), Melanie Miller  (sings & plays piano), Chauncey Baylor (sings), O’Reilly’s (James, Joseph & Finn Barr) (self choreographed irish dancing, Ryan Phillips (magician), Charles Bailey (singer), Marco Mendoza (singer), Stephanie Connell (hula hooper), Madalyn Martin (sings and plays guitar, Malachi Strother (Dubstep dancer), Angelica and Olivia Bullock (singing duo), and Jennifer “Baby” Jackson (singer), she is the wild card she won the Voice of the Valley.

TG/GBRT: Who are the judges and how does the judging work?

TG: Mario Orsini, Lars Henriksen, and Gwen Pangle are the judges.

For the judging, each judge has a tally sheet in front of them. They judge each contestant when they come out—overall performance, how they interact with the crowd and the judges, eye contact, smiling, etc. If it’s singing are they in tune, if it’s juggling do they do it without dropping it, same with the hula hooper, is she doing her performance without messing up, with dancers if they are in sync. After each contestant they critique them, tell them what they liked, if there’s anything they think they need to improve on, things like that. Then we take the judges scores and we have a computer program that we enter the total score for each contestant for each judge into and it automatically tallies it for us so we can see at the end who had the highest scores and pick the top ten for each round which gives us our thirty for the semi finals and from the semi finals we choose twelve finalists.

TG/GBRT: Do the contestants find out the same day if they made it to the next round?

TG: Yes, it’s that quick. The same with the semi finals, all thirty competed and then at the end of that evening the top twelve were chosen. At the finals all twelve plus our thirteenth will come out and perform, the judges will score them, then we will tally those and out of the thirteen there will be a top six chosen. Those top six will be given an opportunity to change clothes and do a second performance. From there 1st, 2nd, and 3d place are chosen. That is going to be done by majority audience vote. When each person comes into The Bright Box that evening they will get a ballot. At the end of the six performing a second time, the judges will have a little percentage in voting and we will tally that up and then everyone in the audience will vote. There will be a ballot box in the back room that each person will come and  drop their ballots in and the winners are announced from those votes.

TG/GBRT: Have the past winners done anything more in the community as far as performing?

TG: A few have. A few people have performed at The Bright Box. We have seen a few perform at downtown events as well. We try to share the names with the community for anyone okay with it and we let people in the community call them if they want something for an event they’re doing. The past two years we have had the people from Apple Blossom’s Got Talent perform around the community.

TG/GBRT: What do you think an event like this adds to the apple blossom festival?

TG: It’s something for everyone to attend. It’s great for families. It’s an opportunity for people to come out and get involved in something during Apple Blossom. It’s amazing how many kids we have that actually audition with singing, dancing, or some other talent. With the young ones we go wow, they’ve got a gift we hope they keep using it. It’s just something different Apple Blossom has and it’s on Wednesday night of Apple Blossom week so it’s before all of the dances and parties just for adults. For those people who want something a little entertaining and different it’s a perfect event.

TG/GBRT: What is the date and time for the event?

TG: It’s Wednesday April 27th at 7pm, the doors open at 6. It will be a Las Vegas theme. That’s what we’ve had the last two years. We have a lot of people that come and dress up. We do a walk of fame for the contestants, when they enter the Bright Box there’s a red carpet and stars with each contestant’s name. The contestants seem to really like that.

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