The stars came out earlier this month when Sachem East Got Talent presented by Idol Maker USA and WALK Radio came to the school. The talent competition featured performances from about 50 students who danced, sang and played musical instruments, in front of the packed auditorium, as though they were on a popular reality TV show. All proceeds benefited the Sachem East PTA.
In addition, there were many show stopping celebrity performances including one from Long Island's Raquel Castro, 17, from the NBC hit TV show The Voice, who used her powerhouse vocals to sing the holiday favorite, "All I Want for Christmas Is You." There were also performances from up-and-coming local rappers Quiet Storm and Exclusive, and pop sensation Al Calderon of Sachem High School, who is already well on his way to fame. The show opened with a moving performance from 11-year- old singer Christian Guardino.
The celebrity judges included Castro, Quiet Storm, Exclusive, Jessie Sayre from WALK Radio, dance professional Monika Smith, and Guardino acted as honorary judge.
The raffle prize of four tickets to Peter Pan at Madison Square Garden was donated by WALK Radio, and won by Castro's mother, Kathy.
Master of Ceremony, Triple Threat, who has worked in the music industry with high-profile performers such as Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj, kept the evening moving along with his witty banter as each of the 40 acts had 90 seconds to give it their all, and impress the judges and audience, which consisted primarily of parents and peers. The fact that the students had been practicing since October was evident in their poise and professionalism.
"It all started with a possibility of no clubs. So, I wanted kids to have something to look forward to, so with auditioning and practicing they wouldn't be part of the infamous three O' Clock club, where they get into trouble," said Sue Brandes, president of the Sachem East PTA. "There is some talent here at East. It will blow your socks off."
As the judges deliberated over the winners, Triple Threat invited the audience up on stage for a giant dance party, complete with impressive break-dancing moves from some of its members.
The judges looked for the most entertaining acts, as well as those with the best crowd reaction. They had a tough time deciding among all the phenomenal talent displayed. Those who went home with trophies were: Best Dancer, Victor Reyna for his masked performance to "Robot Remain"; Best Group Act, "Smooth Sensation", with their modern take on doo-wop, performing 50 Cent's "Candy Shop"; Best Male Solo, rapper Mahad Shah who performed "The Resistance"; Best Female Solo, Jillian Murphy who sang "Turning Tables", Best Instrumental, Josh Bajarias, who presented an innovative vocal, acoustic guitar version of the 1988 hit single made famous by Paula Abdul, "Straight Up"; and Overall Winner, Emi Pellegrino, blew everyone away when she performed a biting and visceral vocal and acoustic guitar rendition of Christina Perri's soaring and heartbreaking "Tragedy."
Sophia Scalone, whose son Christopher took part in the competition, expressed the belief that everyone who had the courage to get up there and perform that night was a winner.
She said, "I think it's great that kids have enough self-esteem. I give them a lot of credit to get up there."
The entire performance can be purchased on DVD for $15 courtesy of JerrySmiles.com.