In celebration of Homecoming Week, the Favrot Student Union put together a week of activities for visiting alumni and current students, including the annual talent show. There were a variety of performances: from singers, to dancers, to rappers, to poets and even a saxophone player.
Jazmyn Hobdy, who is a distant relative of the late Frederick C. Hobdy and an Alexandria, Louisiana, native, stole the show on Wednesday night, placing first. She had the crowd moving with their cellphone flashlights in the air as she sang three hits from the late Whitney Houston: “I Will Always Love You,” “Saving All My Love For You,” and “I Have Nothing.”
Hobdy, 22, has always been a Whitney Houston fan. “Since, I’ve been singing, all my life,” said Hobdy when asked how long she had been a fan of Houston.
She began her performance with Houston’s 1992 Billboard hit “I Will Always Love You,” which grabbed the audience’s attention right away.
The graduating senior, double majoring in criminal justice and psychology, also sung a Whitney Houston song at the GSU coronation and the crowd loved her then as well.
“I sung Whitney Houston at the coronation,” said Hobdy, “so I thought I should continue on the same route.”
She obviously made a good decision, fulfilling everything the judges were looking for in the talent show winner.
“We were looking for originality, stage appearance expression, clarity, quality, audience participation and the overall performance,” said Dr. Lawanda Sykes, director of Academic Enhancement for Athletics, who was also one of the judges on Wednesday night.
Sykes said that the decision of the winner was split, but the winners in the top three performances were well deserved.
Second place belonged to Clarence McShan Jr., 26, who sang “If Only You Knew” by Patti LaBelle. He too had enticed the audience with his mature vocal skills.
Some people even thought he should have won.
“I felt the placement was off,” said Brittany Williams, a senior from Mililani, Hawaii who was in attendance on Wednesday night said. “Clarence should have won first place.”
McShan, a Benton, Louisiana, native, who loves to sing, has been singing for the majority of his life.
“It is a gift that God has blessed me with,” said Mcshan. “So anytime I have the chance to be used as is, there so I take it.”
Saxophonist Daniel Jolla III was the last performer of the night. Jolla, from New Orleans, Louisiana, played the tune of SWV’s “Weak” and the crowd loved it. He even was asked to play an encore.
“…I’m fairly confident in my abilities on the sax,” said Jolla, 23, “and I wanted Grambling to see what I was capable of.”
The chemistry and music performance major unintentionally chose the song “Weak” when he auditioned for the talent show.
“… they told me to play something and that was the first thing that came to my mind. They told me I had to stick with that song, so I was initially going to do something else, but it kind of stuck with me when I auditioned,” said the 11-year saxophone veteran.
Jahi Gilkey hosted the event. Gilkey is a senior mass communication major from Atlanta, Georgia, and is not unfamiliar to the T. H. Harris Auditorium stage.
“This is my second time hosting here at Grambling State University,” said Gilkey. “I hosted the Greek fall step show for my sophomore year in 2013 I think it was.”
The Atlanta native said that he enjoyed the show and it showed a lot of unnoticed talent at GSU.