16 spectacular acts, two quirky alumni hosts, four fabulous judges, hundreds of glow stick crowns and one giant check, the size of a fourth grader, Ultra Violet Live was quite the event. The school-wide talent show, which on Thursday marked its eleventh year, is held annually by the Inter-Residence Hall Council.
The two alumni hosts, Mara Wilson and Jenny Jaffe kept the crowd amused between acts. Jenny Jaffe is a writer and comedian who works with both MTV and College Humor. Mara Wilson is best known for her work as a child actor in many films including, Matilda, Miracle of 34th Street and Mrs. Doubtfire. The hosts made the show more interactive by reading out audience tweets with the hashtag #UVL2014.
The four judges who were there to give feedback on the performances were Marc Juris, the president of WEtv, Susan Blackwell, who is known for her talk show Side by Side as well as her role in the Broadway show [Title of Show], Heidi Blickenstaff, who also stars in [Title of Show] and Cynthia Germanotta, mother of Tisch alumni and former Ultra Violet Live contestant, Lady Gaga.
While the performances ranged from beat boxing to the “face-changing” of the Sichuan Opera, only five acts walked away with prizes. Hayden freshman, Sasha Atlas won best solo performance for her sultry piano piece, Rolling in Blue. The Gramercy band, Like Fake Humans grabbed the Best Group Performance award, while Best Variety Performance went to NYU Abu Dhabi contestant, Tima Akimtegi for his beat boxing. Audience members cast their votes for Audience Favorite through an “American Idol-eque” process, in which votes were submitted via text message. It turned out that the most votes were cast for the 13th Street dance crew, Pulse Dance Project.
The biggest winner of the night was Weinstein freshman, Jonathan Evans, who we caught up with for a quick interview.
Embodied: How long have you been performing and how’d you get into it?
Jonathan Evans: “In terms of singing, I have been performing for around four years, but I’ve been playing piano since I was four.”
E: What motivated you to try out for the talent show?
JE: “My friends were insistent that I try out and I thought ‘why the hell not?’”
E: How did you come up with “Empire Nights,” the song you performed at the show?
JE: “My best friend, Matt Lau and I were messing around on the piano and it sort of just appeared. We write a lot of songs together like that. [It was] a spur of the moment I guess. We immediately recorded it to an IPhone, then I went home and finished off the rest of the lyrics and melodies. The whole [song] took a day.”
E: How did you feel the moment you found out you were the grand prize winner?
JE: “It was amazing. I was blown away, I had no idea what to say or how to react.”
E: Do you think this win will affect your music career?
JE: “I honestly have no idea. I really hope it will spur me in a good direction!”
E: So where do you see your music five years from now?
JE: “I really hope its popular, or at least something people listen to. I’ve always wanted to write music that matters to people, so anything that’s close to that will make me happy.
I also just want to say thank you to all the people who supported me and still are!”
You can find more of Jonathan’s music at
or at his YouTube account here
His EP, which is dropping in a few weeks, will be available for a free download on Bandcamp.
The night brought out, not only all of NYU’s finest talent, but also NYU’s sense of community. “People tend to say NYU doesn’t have a community,” said host Mara Wilson. “But I think we proved that wrong tonight.”