A SURPRISE TIE ADDS BOONE TO THE FINALE ROSTER
Wellington, FL – Feb. 2, 2017 - American Equestrians Got Talent (AEGT) Week IV, sponsored by Matt Johnson, kicked off with an unprecedented turn of events. Robert Dover, chef d'equipe of the U.S. Dressage Team and AEGT founder introduced Michael Boone. He explained that during AEGT Week III the applause meter showed a tie for Boone and spoken word artist, Brandon Olavarria.
The AEGT rules state that in a tie, the final decision goes to the judges. While torn between the two performers, the judges selected Olavarria as the winner. After the event, Linda Zang, a member of the Week III judges panel, felt that Boone was equally worthy. Zang, along with Desi Dillingham, offered to donate an additional $1,000 in prize money to name Boone a tie winner.
“Michael was so great and did such a great job,” said Zang “Robert said it was in the rules. So, if it’s in the rules, let’s give it to him.”
“I was blown away by the guy,” added Dillingham. “He is really talented and the kid (Brandon Olavarria) was magic. To me it was a tie.”
Boone performed to start off the evening festivities, followed by AEGT Week II winner, Zach Duckworth.
Grand Prix dressage rider and P.J. Rizvi, dressage competitor and high-performance owner Margaret Duprey, show jumping Olympic gold medalist Laura Kraut and Chip McKenney served as judges for the evening.
A total of nine talented competitors were in the first round of the competition. They included Cassie Ortiz, Alyssa Marie Coon, Anna Buffini, Brit Lee Moore, Ayden Uhlir, Neeky (Monique) Parker, Jonathan Perez, Tarek Chakib and Kyaunnee Richardson.
The top three moved on to a second round, as determined by the audience applause. Coon, Richardson and Chakib all progressed to the second phase.
Coon, who is just 12 years old, impressed the judges. “If I were a parent, I would want you to be my kid so you could perform for my friends,” said McKenney.
Chakib’s initial performance set the room on fire with his version of Etta James song, "At Last." The audience was awe-struck and their cheers and applauds culminated in a boisterous standing ovation.
But the night belonged to Kyaunnee Richardson. The young opera singer wore a scarlet gown and jewels and wowed the audience with two strong and flawless performances.
Richardson was only 2 when she first started singing. At that time, gospel and Disney music were her preferences.
“I’ve always loved to sing,” Richardson said. “My mom would put a cassette player by my bedside and I would mimic what was on the tape.”
As a child, she memorized “Pocahontas” from beginning to end. Later, Richardson discovered opera and classical music but admits it is still her favorite movie.
“I just love the message and the strength of the character of Pocahontas," she said. You have to believe in yourself, stick to what you know and follow through.”
It was a similar message that she revealed in her AEGT performance.
“No matter what your talent is, always bring it with honesty and heart and have fun,” she said.
In the first round, her rendition of “Glitter and Be Gay,” from “Candide” demonstrated her incredible vocal range. For her second performance, “Summertime," from 'Porgy and Bess,” showed her depth.
After Richardson’s second song, Rizvi commented, “Your performance showed that you have beauty, elegance and grace. You can do anything.”
“I am not worthy to comment,” Kraut said. Duprey said simply, “I am speechless.”
With her equally strong performances, Richardson emerged the winner and will return to compete at the Finale.
“I just wanted to give more to the audience,” she said. “I wanted to say, here is another piece of me. This is another gift I want to give to you.”
About a year ago, Richardson fell in love with watching horses, especially dressage, and it was while enjoying the sport that a friend told her about AEGT.
“This was my first time here and I loved it,” she said. “It was so much fun seeing everyone having a good time. It was (an evening of) good food, good company and good wine.”
The next AEGT audition is set for Wednesday, Feb. 8, at the Grande Ballroom located at 12150 Forest Hill Boulevard, Wellington, Florida, 33414.
Contestants should contact Robert Dover at Rdover2@aol.com or (561) 758-6186 about auditions. Walk-in performers may be accepted if time permits.
Dinner for Week V begins at 6 p.m. and the show begins at 7 p.m. Contact Patty Scott for tickets at: (917) 318-0425 or email@example.com.
American Equestrians Got Talent, a fundraiser to benefit USEF High Performance Programs, returns to Wellington, Florida, for its third year in 2017. Contestants participate in weekly auditions to earn a spot to compete in the season finale. Celebrity judges at each audition critique the performances and the audience's applause determines who will progress to the Finale.
AEGT FAST FACTS
6 p.m. Dinner
7 p.m. Show Begins
Wednesday, Feb. 8; Wednesday, Feb. 15;
Wednesday, Feb.22; Wednesday, March 1; and Wednesday, March 8
The Grande Ballroom
12150 Forest Hill Boulevard
Wellington, Florida 33414
Click here for map
$1,000 will be awarded to the winning performer at each audition.
Robert Dover at: Rdover2@aol.com or(561) 758-6186
Individual Ticket: includes gourmet dinner $60
Individual Standing Room Ticket: $10
Table of 10: includes gourmet dinner $600
Ticket purchase for beverages, wine, beer and spirits
Purchase and Reserve Tickets and Tables:
Contact Patty Scott at (917) 318-0425 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Wellington Hospitality Group (formerly Aaron's Catering of the Palm Beaches) Each audition week will be a themed event.
Auditions are open to the entire community, including competitors, owners, riders, grooms and others involved in any discipline and citizens of The Village of Wellington associated with the equestrian community. Please sign up in advance.
Robert Dover at: Rdover2@aol.com or(561) 758-6186 to set up rehearsal times the day and evening of the auditions. Walk-in performers may be accepted as time permits.
Week I - Olivia Willis, representing the sport of dressage.
Week II - Zach Duckworth, representing the sport of dressage.
Week III - Tie:
Brandon Olavarria, representing the sport of dressage.
Michael Boone, representing the sport of dressage.
Week IV - Kyuannee Richardson, representing the sport of dressage.
When: March 19, 2017
Where: Adequan® Global Dressage Festival show grounds, Wellington, Florida
Caterer: White Horse Catering is the official caterer of the Winter Equestrian Festival and Adequan® Global Dressage Festival.
Prize: The winner, who will be named America's Most Talented Equestrian, will receive a grand prize of $10,000 sponsored by Robert Dover, chef d'equipe of the U.S. Dressage Team, and Robert Ross, P.A., luxury equestrian realtor for Keller Williams.
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