The Finale Gala for American Equestrians Got Talent (AEGT) was held at the Global Dressage Arena in Wellington, Florida on Sunday, March 17th, 2019. The event, in its fifth year, was revamped for 2019 with two live auditions and a Finale Gala.
The event kicked off with Emma Jaye, daughter of Grand Prix rider Ashley Holzer and Rusty Holzer, singing her hit "Invisible".The Finale consisted of six Golden Ticket winners and four wild card winners who competed for the coveted prize of $10,000.
Chelsea Helman won first prize, with runners-up Matt Stone, Brandon Olavarria and Michael Boone, respectively. Other incredible performances included Nadège Nightingale, Gigi Pérez, Monica Canedo, Camilo & Dionte, Christopher Elberth and 10 year old Carly Cantor.
We were honored to have the talent judged by Ms. Victoria McCullough, a philanthropist who is passionate about issues surrounding horse welfare; Chip McKenney, founder of Gay Polo; Roxanne Stein, former WPTV morning anchor; and, world-renowned Canadian recording star Joey Niceforo, who left the crowd speechless with one of this greatest hits, “Live Like Horses”
Among the many guests in attendance were Tuny & Dave Page, Terri Kane & Devon Kane, Fritz & Claudine Kundrun, Murray Kessler & Sarah Davis, Betsy Juliano, Debbie McDonald, Tim & Kim Williamson, Robert Ross, Mayor Anne Gerwig, Rachel Hicks and Amy & Jan Ebling.
First place winner and aspiring Broadway talent Chelsea Hellman started with “Don’t Rain On My Parade” from Funny Girl, made famous by Barbra Streisand. Dressed in a pretty blue sequin dress, Chelsea showed off her amazing set of lungs and her charming voice. Judge Joey Nicefero commented, Chelsea is the “alter ego of Lea Michele.” In the second round, Hellman impressed the audience with the ballad “Never Enough” from the movie The Greatest Showman. Her performance was outstanding; the audience was awestruck, and their cheers and applause culminated into an enormous standing ovation. As expected, the judges were shocked by her talent and her vocals hitting every note perfectly.
The event was live-streamed by Chronicle of Horse TV. During the show, people could text a vote for the performers. Other festivities at AEGT 2019 included a live auction, with auctioneer and owner of the Tackiera Tony Copolla. Attendees playfully battled each other to win one-of-a-kind vacations in Spain, Nicaragua and New York. Last but not least a polo experience with Matt Coppola including a lesson. The event was staffed by many volunteers, including the Winter Intensive Training (WIT) students from Lendon Gray's Dressage4Kids Florida program. AEGT and Discover Dressage are grateful for the volunteers, without whom the success of this event is not possible.
Proceeds from this event will benefit the United States Equestrian Federation,USEF, Emerging Athlete Program for Dressage. This signature event AEGT, American Equestrian Got Talent, was created by Robert Dover 6 time USA Dressage Olympian. Discover Dressage founded by Kimberly Van Kampen has supported the event for the past two years.
A Special Thanks to all who have supported this event and Great Program for the Future Stars of Dressage.
Chelsea Hellman "Winning this highly competitive, prestigious competition is a dream come true, and has made me more determined to pursue my passion for singing and entertaining people for years to come. Thank you AEGT for thus incredibLe opportunity. I will be forever grateful."
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