Throughout its history, students at the College of Staten Island have been no strangers to the limelight, as the College has produced its share of movers and shakers in various professions, distinguished fellows and scholars, and a long string of championship athletes and teams.
Throughout this semester, the College’s students had other opportunities to excel and show their chops in the first-ever “CSI’s Got Talent” competition, which wrapped up last week in the Center for the Arts in front of an enthusiastic capacity crowd of more than 300, including CUNY Trustee Kathleen Pesile, CSI President Tomás D. Morales, and many members of the administration, faculty, and staff.
The event’s MCs, who moved the competition along, providing a mix of humor and information about the contestants, while putting the performers at ease, were two Staten Islanders: Jay Miller, host of the talk show Mid-Evenings with Jay Miller, and Sal Vulcano, co-founder of The Tenderloins comedy troupe and star of a new hidden camera show on TruTV.
Carol Brower, Director of Student Life, said that the event, which featured a myriad of acts, including singers, dancers, a stepping group, a vertical guitarist, and even a yo-yo-ist, came together rather quickly. After more than 100 students auditioned in February, Brower reported that the acts were so good that the judges were unable to narrow the field down to 12, so they decided to hold a semi-final round in March. From there, the judges chose the final 12 contestants, who performed last week.
The top-three winners were:
–Alexa Criscitiello, who will be graduating from CSI this May with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications, received First-Place honors, bringing the audience to their feet while performing two numbers from Broadway musicals. Alexa will also be singing the National Anthem at this year’s Commencement.
–Jovanni Crespo, a first-semester transfer student, won Second Place for his unbelievably fun and dynamic yo-yo act. A talent he has brought to competitions and even the Today Show. You had to see it to believe it.
–Mark White, a senior Business major who is a singer-songwriter, was the Third-Place winner. He performed original songs that both moved and inspired the audience.
Receiving honorable mentions were Abidemi Komolafe, a Psychology major, who electrified the audience with her emotionally charged praise dancing, and freshman Biology major Troy Weekes, an R&B and gospel singer-songwriter who has auditioned for American Idol, The Voice, and The X-Factor.
President Morales commented, “The many talents of our students never fail to make me proud of their accomplishments, but it was an extraordinary pleasure to experience these performances, which were so well received by the audience.”
Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. A. Ramona Brown noted “CSI’s Got Talent was so well executed and spectacular. This was an extraordinary effort that brought the College community together to have an evening of fun, entertainment, and the opportunity to bond together. The broad, diverse, and amazing talent of our CSI students is now well known and we hope this event will be the first of many more to come.”
Brower is also very hopeful that this will become a regular event because, she said, “People were describing this as one of the best events they’ve ever attended at the College.”
Summing up the experience, Brower added that “This has been the most fun and rewarding program that my office has ever put together. For me, there were several amazing components: the unbelievable talent of our students and the relationships that developed among all of the contestants, the sheer joy and spirit of the event itself, and the incredible collaborative effort made by the many offices and staff that contributed to make this a success.”