Webster's Got Talent 2016

The fourth edition of Webster's Got Talent (WGT) Vienna set the town on fire last Friday night, as six creative students stepped into the limelight for the right to represent the Vienna Campus at the Webster's Got Talent Europe competition to be held in Geneva in April.

Students, staff and faculty packed local club Chaya Fuera to get a glimpse of the action - and they weren't to be disappointed. 

Graduate student James Seibert got the show started with a powerful rendition of the anthem of the musical Chess, which set the tone for the evening and drew loud cheers.

Second up was Gregory Hightower, whose spoken word performance of his poem This World made quite an impression - the room first grew quiet, then laughed, and finally cheered, all the more so since it was Gregory's first public performance!

Media Department Professors Anthony Löwstedt and Pogo Kreiner, alumnus Abylay Akpayev (BA, Media Communications '12), and current student (and event host!) Davielle Waldner then took the stage for a guest performance. Playing under the name Fooll Power, they had the crowd singing and dancing along to classic 60s rock tunes.

Alexander Haubenburger then gave his show-stopping version of "To Love Somebody" by Michael Bolton, displaying the same incredible voice and power as at last year's show but this time with much more showmanship and flair. Event organizers momentarily feared the building might collapse under the thunderous ovation he received.

The penultimate contestant, Ellen Faye Adams, just about brought the house down as well with her reading of an untitled poem. The judges especially commended her not only for her literary skills, but also her hard-hitting delivery. Not bad for a piece of work which, as Ellen told Waldner, was written while riding the subway!

Josh Gillan closed out the show with a bang, confidently taking the stage with his electric guitar for an energetic blues-rock solo he composed himself. Clad in a kilt, bare-armed and wearing a knit cap, Josh certainly played the part of rock star well and the audience gave its raucous seal of approval when he'd done.

The suspense began as the judges tabulated their scores and the public voted. The panel of expert judges included vocalist Kim Cooper, who represented Austria at Eurovision 2000, Natalia Villanueva, founder of the Max Steiner Orchestra, former national champion of Ukraine in ballroom dancing Kateryna Gresenko, and adjunct Professor of Philosophy and English Dr. Ryan Crawford.

The final score for each candidate was determined by a weighted formula combining the judges' and public voting.

Event organizer Jesse Alexander of Student Services then took the stage accompanied by former WGT Europe 2014 champion and Webster Vienna alumna Syreel Mishra (BA International Relations '15) and WGT Vienna 2015 co-winner Audrey Kodjo, who were on hand to present the trophies.

Alexander Haubenburger was crowned winner and Ellen Faye Adams received runner-up honours, to the delight of the crowd. They will both represent Vienna at WGT Europe in April in Geneva - we're looking forward to it!

Many thanks go out to the competitors, judges, guest band, volunteers, including those of the Webster LEADS program, who made the event such a success.

For more pics and video, check out Webster Vienna's Facebook page.