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Ohio State students show off talents, compete for cash prizes at Buckeye Showcase

Brandon Klein / Lantern photographer


From break dancing to magic tricks that involved escaping from a locked wooden box, Ohio State students took the stage to spotlight their diverse talents. 

The fifth annual Buckeye Showcase was held in the Ohio Union Performance Hall Tuesday at 7 p.m. 

Ohio Union’s Major Campus Events Committee, which also plans events such as student involvement fairs and Beat Michigan Week, organized the student talent show.

“It’s a chance for students to showcase their talents to an audience of their peers,” said Kristen King, the chairwoman of the event, in a Jan. 15 Lantern article.

King, a fourth-year in hospitality management, said 36 acts tried out for Buckeye Showcase in late January, but only 15 made it into the show.

The three judges for Buckeye Showcase were vice president for Student Life Javaune Adams-Gaston, 2012 Homecoming King and third-year in public affairs Anooj Bhandari and 2012 Homecoming Queen and fourth-year in marketing Aliza Bruchs

The show opened with a performance by last year’s Buckeye Showcase winners for Highest Overall Score, Ohio State a cappella group Buck That!, which warmed up the crowd before this year’s competitors took the stage.

Prizes were awarded to the Most Original Performance, Best Dance Performance, Best Vocal Performance, Audience Favorite and Overall Highest Score. 

Quartez Harris, a fourth-year in social work, took home the $150 check for Most Original Performance for his poem he read in the show.

“I really feel proud of myself,” Harris said. “I felt like I definitely put in time, energy and persistence to make sure I give the crowd a very good poem.”

Harris said his poem was about his experiences going through special education in middle school and said poetry is a way to express how he was feeling at that point in his life.

“People say like, ‘Oh, this (reading) looks really intense,’ but it was really me like connecting with my experience and reliving what I went through,” Harris said. 

Best Vocal Performance went to Devra Laserson, a second-year in music education, and the Best Dance Performance award went to Genesis Dance Team, an all-male South Asian Fusion team at OSU. The group took home a check for $200. 

Chethanya Eleswarpu, a fourth-year in biomedical engineering and the president of Genesis Dance Team, said the dance team is used to national competitions, but it is still fun to perform at smaller-scale events on campus.

“It’s always fun to do on-campus performances like these,” Eleswarpu said. “They’re just always a good time with your friends.”

The audience of about 300 students and family members of performers had the chance to participate in the judging by texting in a number corresponding to their favorite act. The Audience Favorite award and check for $100 went to Stylez Dance Group, a hip-hop dance group at OSU.

The biggest award of the night, Highest Overall Score, went to magician Drew Murray, a third-year in art, who received a check for $350. Murray, who has been doing magic for about 10 years, said it was great to win Buckeye Showcase and he loves entertaining the audience.  

“I like performing magic not only because the audience appreciates it but because it’s something unique and you don’t normally see it every day,” Murray said. “I like the fact that I can put a modern twist on it, because a lot of people think ‘magician’ and they think it’s cheesy or ‘creepy old dude in the corner at a birthday party.’ So I like to bring a modern twist to it and make it original.”

Some of Murray’s magic tricks included making a bowling ball appear behind a pad of paper and making a table float. His most impressive trick involved locking himself in a wooden box, and with the help of his assistant and a black curtain, he magically switched places with his assistant who was then locked in the wooden box. 

Richard Jones, a second-year in communication, got to be a part of the magic show when he was invited on stage to testify that the wooden box was real and helped lock Murray in the box. 

“I loved it,” Jones said. “I’m still mind-boggled right now. I’m going to have to YouTube, Google something. I have to find an explanation.”

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