Bakersfield’s Got Talent


Criston Moore performing to be on CSUB’s second annual Bakersfield’s Got Talent show. Photo by A.J. Alvarado

There were few performers and even less spectators present on Saturday, April 11 at CSU Bakersfield’s second annual Bakersfield Got Talent, but there was plenty of raw emotion and virtuoso. Though the talent show was open and invited all forms of entertainers, only three singers and one singer/piano player decided to showcase their abilities.

The first performance was a recital of Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing,” and was sung cagily but competently by Julianne Popek, 15, who currently attends Norris Middle School here in Bakersfield. Next up was 14-year-old Ashley Janzen who sung Rihanna’s “Stay” like a shallow flute.

But it was the last two performances who will surely give the judges plenty to argue about when it comes time to finally choose a winner.

Sarah Behill, a 28-year-old stay at home mother, sang Adele’s “Make You Feel My Love,” in a deep and wide voice nearly as good as the singer herself. Behill entered last year’s BGT and placed second. When asked how she felt about her performance she said, “Good, I feel good. I’m always a little shaky after the performance even after performing for so long I think it’s good to still have a little nervousness there.” Sarah said that she has been singing for twenty years, and, after last year’s performance has been invited to sing the national anthem at basketball and baseball games here at CSUB.

The last performance was by 25-year-old CCriston Moore who works at Independence High School as a piano accompanist. He sang his own rendition of “What a Wonderful World” originally by Louis Armstrong while his hands easily slinked and trilled up and down the piano. His voice was most reminiscent of John Legend’s, and his performance was so pure and felt that it caused hair to prickle and flesh to goose pimple. He’s been playing the piano for twenty-one years. Of his performance he said, “I feel pretty good, man. It was fun. Anytime I get on the piano and just close my eyes…”

Apart from the glory of winning and the cash incentive to participate in BGT (first place wins 1000 dollars, second place 250 dollars, third place 100 dollars) individuals have the opportunity, like Behill, to audition for further performances. Arthur Smith, the Spirit Coordinator and Cheerleading Coach at CSUB, said in an e-mail, “Last year our BGT winners (Unconditional Life) signed a recording contract and moved to LA over the summer.”

If you would like to attend the BGT and experience the talent, the semi-finals will be held this Saturday at 5:30 p.m. in Music Building Rm 127.