High schools pitted against each other in a battle for the grand prize. With only one grand prize there can only be one champion.
No, this isn't a sporting event, this is talent.
A new TV show from KSL Channel 5 called "We are Utah" recently featured a high school competition called "R U Talented." This segment of the program, which aired at 9 p.m. on Monday nights, showcased teenagers from all over Utah in a statewide talent show. Each person submitted an audition video and from all these preliminary selections the show's creators chose only a few to air.
Next came a voting competition in which anyone could vote for whom they thought, out of all the collected acts available, was the most talented. Anyone could have just gone to the web page and voted. The prize for first place was $10,000 for the competing student's school.
Each week there were different people competing from different schools. Chosen at random, their talents spanned from piano playing to gun spinning. No talent was excluded and anyone could have won.
Close to the finals I checked out some of the videos and impressive was the variety. There was one called "Shadowlands" and it was of a girl, Tessa Norman, singing really well. Another one featured gymnastics and dancing.
The winner ended up being a student from Bonneville High, Landon Weeks. You could tell right off the bat that Weeks has a disability but with no hands, he didn't let that hold him back. He played and sang on the piano.
I believe that this competition used high school rivalry in a good way to promote school pride. I think it also benefits our public image as Utah students to the rest of the United States and the world. I also think, and this personally is the most beneficial, is that the program helped bring Utah youth closer together by showing that we all share talents.
It was a very touching finale of the show but honestly, with no offense given, you could tell who the winner was. He rose from a disability and surpassed that to play a musical instrument. It was touching, yes, but everyone else who entered had no chance. Even if someone was the new Mozart, they couldn't win. It was a talent this boy had but it turned from a talent competition to a heart-touching story.
Yes it's true that in every competition there are and always will be losers but what did the contestants have to show for it in "R U Talented"? They got a short segment, which for my school, included more of the student body than the person with the talent. We stood and shouted our school chant, the student body officers talked for five minutes, she played for two minutes, and then they talked about what we would use the money for. I know that it was to make us seem deserving but where was the talent competition?
If this program continues in the future it should be a more of an equal judging, non-biased and based on only talent. Another problem was the talent was too widespread. You can't equally judge between people if you don't have a medium to judge; if they had separate categories it would be more fair. The online voting could still be a good way to go but for an average teenager, if there's someone singing opera compared to a contortionist, the teen will pick the more interesting or unusual act.
I applaud the students who were brave enough to enter "R U Talented." Not that I don't have talents -- mine would probably be focused around stage technical and design -- but I don't think they'd be good enough to enter in something like that. But I encourage you all to think about your own talents and grow on them.
Sara Bowker is a junior at Northridge High School. She enjoys dance, theater and stage crew. Email her at email@example.com.