FORT BLISS, Texas - Many people have secret talents, be they singing, dancing, playing an instrument or some other unique ability. Several Fort Bliss youth, however, refused to keep their talents hidden and instead took center stage during Fort Bliss' Jr. Got Talent show Feb. 26 at the Centennial Club here.
The final night of competition pitted seven finalists against one another for both the judge's stamp of approval and votes from the audience at the conclusion of the show.
The top prize winner of the night was Isabella Fradet, 14, a student at the El Dorado Ninth Grade Academy, El Paso, Texas, who performed a vocal solo. Briahna Watson, 14, a freshman at Chapin High School, El Paso, danced her way to second place, while Travelle Blakeslee, 13, a student at Bassett Middle School, El Paso, took third place with a dance of his own.
"I was really excited to win," said Fradet, a native of Oceanside, California. "It was the biggest shock ever - I really don't have words. I practiced my song for about two weeks straight before the show, as well as some other songs, just to see what would work best."
Tony Lovett, the chief of operations for the Fort Bliss Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation program, spoke about what he thought stood out in the show and what he and the other judges were looking for throughout each performance.
"We were looking at their appearance, body language, tone and originality. We really pay attention to their showmanship. Professionalism, even at that age, is one of the things we look for in each contestant; it can really set them apart."
"The dancers really showed their talent," said Lovett. "There was a lot of facial expression and fancy movements - things I couldn't possibly do at my age."
In addition to the competition, the event featured activities for children including musical chairs, a trivia game and a recycling information booth with free gifts.
After the stage lights were dimmed and the evening drew to a close, Lovett had this to add about his experience with the show.
"I had a really great time," he said. "It was a great show and a really good platform. For those who didn't come out, they missed a really great performance, and I look forward to seeing them next year."