David Benedetto (SFS ’13) garnered a $500 cash prize for the musical and puppeteering talents he displayed on America’s Next Great Star, a talent competition featured at various college campuses that made a stop in Gaston Hall for a live show Saturday night.

In Benedetto’s act, “A Million Shetland Ponies,” he performed a song titled “The Argyle in My Socks” using a puppet, which he calls Maxwell Q. Maxwell. Benedetto characterized his act’s genre as “[a mix between] folk, rap, techno [and] blues.”

The show lasted 90 minutes and was filmed by a production crew. Audience members were able to vote for their favorite act by text message. The nine finalists who performed on Saturday had been selected Friday night at an open casting call in the Leavey Program Room. A wildcard performer was also chosen from the audience to perform on Saturday night.

Judges selected the three finalists and audience members voted to determine the winner and recipient of the cash prize. Once Benedetto was voted as the prizewinner, America’s Next Great Star sent his performance tape to various casting directors across the country.

Finalist Olulomire Ogunye (COL ’10), who finished second in the competition for his dancing, said he enjoyed his experience participating in America’s Next Great Star.

“I enjoyed it a lot,” Ogunye said. “It was a lot of fun. I was amazed at how many of the people were very talented . the seniors in particular were amazing.”

America’s Next Great Star tours campuses across 26 states, putting on two-day events like the one held at Georgetown this past weekend. The show is produced to look like a live reality television show, including judges and special effects.

The event was sponsored by What’s After Dark, and the show was hosted by radio personality and entertainer Joshua Walker with the help of three full-time staff members and several current Georgetown students.

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