Pioneers Got Talent: top three announced

A variety of unique skills including group parkous, hula hooping and an array of musical performances ranging from rapping to ukele mashup filled the Pioneer Crossing at this year’s Pioneers Got Talent Finale.

The talent show on March 28, hosted by singer and songwriter Jackie Tohn, featured Tohn, who made it in the Top 24 during season 8 of American Idol, addressed the audience with her sparkly fanny pack, humor-filled renditions of popular songs and quirky personality. One of her songs included an acoustic version of “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix-A-Lot.

With all the talent offered at the event, the judges experienced difficulties choosing the top three winners.

“It was really hard because we loved so many acts. There were too many people where I thought ‘you were amazing’ which made it difficult,” Melissa Stoner, resident director of Morrow Hall and one of the judges, said.

Nathan Hataj, a junior technology communications major, won first place with his acoustic rendition of “One Week” by The Barenaked Ladies.

“My parents always tell me I am too serious when I play, so I chose a fun song that I could put my own personality into,” Hataj said.

He added humor to the performance by “losing his shirt” halfway through, only to reveal a second t-shirt underneath.

“This is my third year performing in the Pioneer’s Got Talent event and my first time winning,” Hataj said, “I just want to say ‘thank you’ to everyone who came out and to CPR for putting on such a great event.”

A self-composed piano performance by Samantha Gathof took second place. Gathof not only composed the song herself, but also wrote the lyrics to the song she sung which was well received by the audience and the host who gave her a shout out afterwards.

“What’s cool is that you don’t know that these people have these talents just by looking at them,” Tohn said.

Beard Progression came in third with their a cappella styling of “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz. The group included sophomore education major Adam Steiger, senior history major Ricky Niemeier, junior accounting major Adam Wilcox and senior accounting major Dan Carmignani.

As the group took the stage, the audience could see that the beards of each individual member did indeed progress, starting with clean shaven member, Steiger, and slowly leading up to Wilcox with the full beard. Due to hectic schedules, they were unable to practice much prior to the competition.

“The total time we practiced the song was about four and a half hours,” Niemeier said.

The combination of a phenomenal student turnout, unique talents and a humorous host, the Pioneer’s Got Talent Finale was a hit and proved yet again that the students of University of Wisconsin-Platteville have a lot to offer.

“I think it’s awesome that CPR does these things in general, I wish my school had done more things like this when I was in school,” Stoner said.

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