Who Won Uptown’s First-Ever UWS Got Talent Competition? Find Out Here!

June 17, 2024

Singer-songwriter Amira B captured the grand prize uptown at Goddard Riverside’s inaugural “Upper West Side’s Got Talent” competition.

She belted out an original R&B anthem called “Lies” as the audience sang along.

“Don’t tell me that you miss me/Don’t tell me that I’m on your mind/Don’t tell me that you’re busy/’Cause I’m tired of going back and forth with all your lies,” she sang in a voice that soared clear and ringing on high notes and flirted with a growl on low ones. The Egyptian-born artist and music teacher accompanied herself on keyboards. 

“… America’s “broken system.”  

Ellanie, a 16-year-old who also boasted an impressive voice—and some dance moves— claimed second place with an irresistible cover of Selena’s “Como La Flor.” Third place went to hip-hop artist Jamale Jay, whose powerful “Top of the Podium” name-dropped Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin while railing against America’s “broken system.”  

Amira B went home with $1,000 after the Saturday, June 8, 2024, event while the second and third prizes were $500 and $250. 

Ellanie also won the Audience Choice award, with attendees voting via phone app. 

Eight finalists vied for the prizes in front of a full house at the Goddard Riverside Bernie Wohl Center. They included a trio of girls who tap-danced to salsa music and a brother/sister pair who sang an original folk-pop tune with a solo electric guitar. The contestants were chosen over two marathon days of auditions in April. 

Amira B’s performance drew rave reviews from the celebrity judges. “I’m gonna go listen to this later,” said Broadway singer and actress Aneesa Folds. “I really enjoyed what I heard.” 

“You’re confident and full of grit and I love this song,” gushed composer, conductor and NY Emmy® Award-winner Franciso J. Núñez, while Goddard Riverside President Roderick L. Jones said he was “captivated” by the performance. 

“These are ordinary people …”

The contest aligns with Goddard Riverside’s philosophy that the arts are for everybody. “We’re hoping to make this an annual tradition,” said Community Arts Manager Manon Manavit. “These are ordinary people—maybe even your friends or neighbors—taking a leap of faith. And they are amazing.”   

Photo credit: Upper West Side’s Got Talent competitors, including Amira B (far right), Ellanie (center, in red dress) and Jamale Jay (far left). Photo by B. Sharp courtesy of Goddard Riverside Community Arts program.

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