Does Fordham Got Talent?

CAB presents an in person talent show, allowing Lincoln Center students to showcase their hidden talents



The winner’s of the competition show that Fordham’s really got talent.


Fordham, at its center, is a liberal arts school, blending literature, philosophy and mathematics — subjects many are all too familiar with, thanks to the core curriculum. But if one is not a member of the Ailey School or the theatre program, opportunities to display one’s knack for the performing arts come far and few between. 

The Campus Activities Board (CAB) is there to save the day with its annual event, Fordham’s Got Talent, putting our peers to the test and asking the fundamental question: Does Fordham got talent? 

The event began with an introduction from CAB President Zuzanna Smurzynska, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’22, and Entertainment Chair Bianca Ortega, FCLC ’25. The Rev. Vincent Decola, S.J., dean of the Gabelli School of Business at Lincoln Center (GSBLC); Resident Director for First-Year Students Savanah Manos; and United Student Government President Joe VanGostein, GSBLC ’22, served as judges, ready to evaluate the 10 contestants.

The performance featured costume changes, a white wig, a well-tailored navy suit, an aqua soprano ukulele and Martinez-Canedo’s incredible lip-syncing abilities.

First up, ViVi Aiello, FCLC ’25, and David Perry, FCLC ’23, covered “Everybody Talks” by Neon Trees. They performed melodic vocals, with Perry complementing the performance by playing his acoustic guitar. Although there were some technical difficulties, the duo powered through, transporting the audience to a 2012 Neon Trees concert. 

Brooks Gillespie, FCLC ’25, followed with an original song titled “Manifest Destiny,” which is about meeting her partner. Gillespie’s piece highlighted the singer-songwriter’s natural talent as a performer. She wooed the audience with her storytelling of the event that inspired the song and an incredible bridge. 

Kamani Abu, FCLC ’25 and a member of the Fordham/Ailey BFA program, performed a contemporary dance. Using the limited space of G76 to his full advantage, Abu’s choreography grabbed the audience’s attention, as he used body percussion to create a vacuum in the room. The piece is an excerpt from Abu’s larger project “Inside Voices.” 

Next, duo Cass Do, FCLC ’22, on vocals and Jess Figueroa, FCLC ’22, on guitar played the R&B hit “Session 32” by Summer Walker. The vocal runs Do added to the original melody personalized and honey-fied the cover, along with Figueroa’s immaculate fingerpicking. 

Sebastian Martinez-Canedo, GSBLC ’24, followed with a lip-sync medley that included “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor, “LoveStoned” and “SexyBack” by Justin Timberlake, and “Faith” by George Michael. The performance featured costume changes, a white wig, a well-tailored navy suit, an aqua soprano ukulele and Martinez-Canedo’s incredible lip-syncing abilities. 

“Who among us hasn’t wanted to lip-sync and dance to Gloria Gaynor, Justin Timberlake and George Michael in front of a crowd and panel of judges while wearing a suit and tie?” he asked. “OK, maybe that’s just me.”

“Come to my collection of emotion digression.” Ethan Downs, FCLC ’25

Martinez-Canedo’s performance received an honorable mention. Decola rivaled Simon Cowell in his judging abilities as he doted on Martinez-Canedo’s ability to “lose (his) inhibition and become a great performer.”

Isis Poulouse, FCLC ’25, sung Rihanna’s “Love on the Brain,” receiving a standing ovation from half of the audience. Poulouse’s vocal talents allowed the beige walls of G76 to fade away, creating a metaphorical spotlight on the up-and-coming singer. 

Aastha Aggarwal, GSBLC ’22,  and former assistant features editor for The Observer, danced to “Kusu Kusu” from the motion picture “Satyameva Jayate 2,” captivating the audience with her fluid movements and rhythm. 

The finale featured Ethan Downs, FCLC ’25, under the stage name BLVE, as he performed his original rap “Reckless. 

“Come to my collection of emotion digression,” he repeated. Downs hints at the immersive experience his audience will inevitably encounter: The “obsession is infection.” 

The honorable judges took a 10-minute recess, after which they returned with their results to an anxious and eager audience. Abu’s innovative dance and Gillespie’s original song placed second and third, respectively, while Poulouse took first, her rendition of the vocally challenging 2016 hit winning over the judges. 

From Martinez-Canedo’s performance — that rightfully belongs in the Lip Sync Battle Hall of Fame — to Aggarwal’s mesmerizing dance and the songwriting of Gillespie and Downs, magic was created in the typically bleak G76, highlighting just how much talent Fordham truly has.