UPDATED: Talent show draws variety of Langley artists

Unicyclist Ayumi Sugizaki wants irreplaceable memories of her high school years in Canada to include winning the Langley Has Talent 2014.

The 18-year-old, Grade 12 international student from Langley Secondary tried out for the fourth annual talent competition on Sunday, and told judges she wants that special memory to hold close when she returns home to Japan this summer.

Sugizaki learned to ride a unicycle in Grade 1 in Toyko, took some classes in synchronized riding for four years as a child, then really hasn’t ridden more than a handful of times since Grade 5.

But she’s dusted off her unicycle, and been riding it around in the carport of her homestay host’s Langley City house the past few weeks getting ready for Sunday’s tryouts.

Admittedly, after 90 seconds of manoeuvring her unicycle around the stage to music, Sugizaki was out of breath. But she assured judges she could easily fill the required three-minute spot if she makes the cut.

Short of seeing a unicycle ridden during a circus act when she was a child, contest judge and sponsor Jolienne Moore of JL Model Talent Management said she hasn’t seen a unicyclist close up until Sugizaki.

“I enjoyed your energy… and you have a great skill,” Moore said.

After each performance, all three judges scored the artists and offered compliments and comments on how to improve at their craft.

Throughout the performance, but especially after hearing the praise from the judges, Sugizaki was beaming.

She was one of 26 young people who was set to audition on Sunday, added to the 32 who tried out the previous weekend.

There were about a dozen “incredibly strong” contenders who were shortlisted during the first weekend’s auditions, said talent show founder and judge Peter Luongo.

Early in the day on Sunday, he said that day’s contenders would have to offer very powerful and compelling performances to unseat any of last weekend’s shortlist.

After seeing the first handful of competitors, he said it would be a tight race.

Out of the 60 who auditioned for Langley Has Talent, only about 20 will move on to the semi-finals being held March 29 at Christian Life Assembly. The finals are being held April 12.

The artists are competing for the grand prize of $2,500 cash plus a series of additional industry prizes.

This event is organized by the four Langley Rotary Clubs, and was designed to draw attention to and begin raising money for a “much needed” theatre in this community where “this quality of local entertainment” can perform and be spotlighted, Luongo said.

As for shortlisting from this contenders, Luongo said it is a hard job, but explained a few of the factors in their decision-making process.

“Our role here, as ‘auditioners,’ because that really is what we are, is three-fold,” he said.

“One is to select the best talent, to select an array of talent, and to ensure that what the audience is coming to see is entertainment,” emphasizing that they’re looking for a variety of different types of artists, not just wanting to present an evening with only singers.

The list of semifinalist was released late Monday, Feb. 17

Organizer Smith Luongo note that the judges end up picking 26.

"After one final meeting of the three judges, the final spot was a tie," she said.

Aaron Swan

Singer

Alexandra Susheski

Acrobat

Ayumi Sugizaki

Unicycle Performer

Cassidy Hoflin

Singer

Chantelle Ward

Dancer

Dante Arias

Dancer

Hayley Bouey

Singer

Jazmine and Amanda Langset

Singers

Jessie LeBlanc and Kathleen Dunn

Singing/Musicians

Jessie Sapach

Singer/Musician

Jet Tangerine and Hugh Barbour

Singing/Guitar

Joanne Chiasson

Singer

Jordan Rodriguez

Singer

Josh Baron and Cheyenne Lewis

Singing/Guitar

Joshua Goodman

Rap/Hip Hop

Kaitlin Hartwig

Dancer

Kaiya Horvat and Kirk Musfelt

Singing/Guitar

Mark Armstrong

Guitarist

Michaela Mulder

Singer

Paige McLachlan

Dancer

Quinn and Tonic

Band

Rachel Dunn and Colson Kinna

Singing/Guitar

Rhiannon Kittson

Singer

Richie Vokes

Singer/Songwriter

Sara Garber and Kevin Wellman

Singing/Musicians

Sophi Spatzner 

Dancer

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