In an evening full of singing and guitar playing, with occasional dancing and a rap thrown in, the ninth annual Lobos Got Talent event gave UNM students the opportunity to showcase various styles of musical and spoken word performances on Friday.
Gigi Bella, a previous winner in the last two Lobos Got Talent shows, took the $500 first prize with a powerful slam poem about the everyday commentary women must endure with their bodies and choices.
In an original piece called “War Paint,” Bella spoke of men’s reactions to the choices women make in how they present themselves, and the common assumption that when a woman gets dressed up and wears makeup, it’s for a guy.
The poem started and finished with descriptions of people’s reactions to bright, sparkly purple lipstick, which Bella wore during her performance.
Bella said she was compelled to perform “War Paint” because she wanted to inspire women with her words.
“I definitely was thinking a lot about the current presidential election and what it feels like to be a woman right now in society. I really just wanted to do something that was empowering for women,” Bella said. “I was hoping that (the audience) would take away this kind of mini crash course on feminism. That they would be able to walk out of here and know that we’re people, too ... Ultimately, we can wear purple lipstick if we want to.”
The second and third-place winners were, respectively, Michael Junchaya with his performance of Michael Bublé’s “Feeling Good,” and TayTay Wells with an original rap performed to an instrumental version of Ariana Grande’s “Problem.”
There was also a $100 “Audience Choice” award, which was awarded to the contestant who received the loudest applause determined by a decibel meter on the stage. The audience selected Cody Aragon, a senior criminology major, for his performance of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues.”
Other performances included two covers of Meghan Trainor by Maya Pohl, a junior pre-athletic training major, and Something Major — an a cappella choir at UNM — and an intricate flamenco performance by a student referred to as simply “Solea” on the event program.
Branden McCurley, a member of Something Major, said the choir members were excited to perform “a twist” on their song in front of an audience and enjoy themselves.
“We’re not even here to win, we’re just here to have fun and perform. We like singing, so we’re here,” McCurley said.
Ethan Delora, a sophomore music education major who competed in the show, said he enjoyed getting to see the talents of other students showcased on Friday night.
“I may be biased, but I really liked (Solea’s) performance because he played the flamenco and that was so sick,” he said. “I was so excited to be able to hear it.”
Louise Browne, a student in the audience, said she would recommend students attend the talent show to support their fellow students and just see what hobbies interest their peers outside of the classroom.
“(The contestants) are pretty good so far,” she said. “Lobos got some talent.”
Each contestant that spoke with the Daily Lobo agreed that students who are interested in competing in future talent shows should audition and experience it for themselves.
Skylar Griego is a culture reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @TDLBooks.