Woodard wins with words


Photo by: Elodi Breg

From left to right, Jahylin Baxter, Cody Walker, and FMU’s Got Talent winner, Kristen Woodward.

The Campus Activities Board (CAB) held FMU’s Got Talent Finale at 5 p.m., March 24, in the Chapman Auditorium.

The talent for the night included performances from Cody Walker, Elise Campbell, Asia Senhouse, Alex Vereen, Kristen Woodard, Aleah Smalls and Jahylin Baxter. The event was hosted by Jayla Frieson and MJ Armstrong, and the judges for the event were Jeffrey Lampkin and Jordan Jefferson. There was also a special performance by the 2020 winner, Myla Wilson.

The Royalettes, a dance team on campus, opened for the event. To begin, Aleah Smalls, often compared to the artist HER, sang a song. Her performance was great, and she received positive feedback from the judges. Next was contestant Alex Vareen, who wowed the crowd with a gospel song called “Last Mile” by Jarell Smalls & Company. Vareen was engaging with the audience and became a crowd favorite. Following Vereen was Kristen Woodard, who performed a written poem called “Unwanted Acquaintance,” which talked about a battle with anxiety. Woodard’s performance was very moving, as many can relate to the discussion of anxiety. The students, as well as the judges, enjoyed her performance.

Moving forward in the night, contestant Cody Walker sang “Before You Go” by Lewis Capaldi. He showed his skills on the guitar by providing his own accompaniment. Other singers of the night were contestants Elise Campbell and Asia Senhouse along with the final contestant, Jahylin Baxter. Baxter was known as the “comeback kid,” since the audience from the original opening night of the talent show voted to bring him back. Careful to take advantage of his second chance, Baxter did his best to amaze the audience. He performed a song called “Listen,” accompanied on stage with posters reminding the crowd that their life matters, one of which included a suicide hotline number. Baxter’s performance received a standing ovation.

During deliberation, MJ Armstrong, a contestant from the 2020 talent show, gave a closing performance. Alexandria Vareen won 3rd place, with Jahylin Baxter coming in 2nd place and Kristen Woodard won 1st place by just two votes.

Vareen shared she was surprised she placed.

“I feel really good; I had a good time being able to meet new people and the experience overall,” Vareen said. “It was never about winning for me, I just wanted to use my gift.”

“It was really fun meeting new people, and I’m really grateful,” Kristen Woodard, a senior public relations major, said. “I thank my family, friends and God, and I hope this is the start to many new things.”

Woodard said her poem was great for the occasion given the global pandemic.

“I wanted to highlight COVID-19 since a lot of people are experiencing anxiety during this time,” Woodard said.

Students at the event enjoyed the performances and great laughs provided by the hosts of the event.