After more than two hours of dancing, a cappella performances and numerous vocal harmonies, freshman Ricky Garcia arose from the crowd to collect a top prize of $500 at the Sixth annual Lobo’s Got Talent (LGT) Friday night.
Garcia, 18, is a vocal performer and he said he wasn’t sure he was going to participate until about two hours before the application deadline.
“I didn’t really want to do the show. I brought it up to my mom and she encouraged me to do it,” he said. “On the drive to drop off my application, I was shuffling through my iPod trying to decide which song.”
Garcia’s song choice was a bilingual rendition of Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man.” Garcia has a recording of his version of the song along with several other covers on his YouTube channel, Superstar13RG.
Garcia’s mother, Valerie Garcia, remembered hearing her son talk about LGT and researched the competition hours before the deadline. When she realized there were prizes involved, she said she told her son that he was going to enter.
“He did talent shows in fifth and eighth grades, as well as senior year of high school. It’s always hard when you’re younger with kids the way they are. In school, they don’t pick winners, it’s participating that counts,” she said. “When I read that there were placements and prizes, I knew it was going to be different.”
This year was Ricky Garcia’s first time in LGT. Other students, such as law student Suzanne Roxanne Fortner, have been through the process several times before.
Fortner, 23, in her first year at UNM Law School, has participated in the show all five of her years at UNM. Of those five years, she has made it to the finals once, where she sang what she said was a “cutesy song.” Fortner’s performance this year was a dance/comedy routine to Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night.” Donning apparel similar to Perry’s in the music video, Fortner spent the four minutes of the song bouncing about the stage, drawing laughs and cheers from the audience.
“This is going to sound cheesy, but I believe my purpose on this world is to entertainment people and make them smile,” she said. “I come back year after year just to have fun. I never give up.”
Though her silliness entertained the audience, Fortner did not place in the top three.
While the top three acts were decided, audience members picked their favorite act via a decibel meter. The Oklahoma Bros performance of Florida Georgia Line’s “Cruise” won them $100.
The Audience Choice prize money, along with the combined $1000 in top prizes, was donated by event sponsor Lobo Village.
The judges included representatives from Lobo Village and Casas Del Rio, Mark Clemmons and Laura Hamilton, past ASUNM President Brittany Jaeger, Vice President of Student Affairs Eliseo “Cheo” Torres and Nieves Torres, a lecturer in the College of Education.
Jaeger, who has been on the panel for LGT in previous years, said this was the hardest LGT competition for her to judge.
“This year was very entertaining and unique,” she said. “During the announcements, I really had no idea who was going to win.”
The second place winner was the 12-person UNM Acapella Group, who won $350. Duo Rich Resistins, whose performance featured original hip-hop vocals and dance, took home third place and $150.