Considering the Meaning of Talent


Contemplations after attending “Augustana’s Got Talent” and a word from the 1st place winner.

This year’s “Augustana’s Got Talent” was fabulous. The lineup of acts was a joy to watch, and I was pleasantly surprised by the range of talent on stage. What made attending this event especially interesting was witnessing the remarkably talented and creative side my peers possessed, something I would not have deduced simply passing some of them in the halls of Augustana.

The deceptively simple act of even getting up on stage in front of a large crowd warrants substantial courage, let alone feeling confident enough to perform and reveal parts of oneself under bright lights and entranced gazes.

During the show, I started to contemplate on the manifold meanings of the word “talent.” When I think of talent, I often think of a concept outside myself. Most of the time, I associate that word with possessing a tangible, visible ability—such as playing an instrument, singing, or dancing. I think, to have talent is to be able to do something well, to stand out. If talent can be defined as a special quality that makes you stand out, then there are so many ways one can be “talented.” 

To gain a deeper appreciation for what it’s like up on the AGT stage, I wanted to ask the first-place winner, Lemuell Pagulayan, what his experience was like. I asked Lemuell the following series of questions: “How do you feel about having won? Were you surprised, and how nervous were you to perform in front of a large audience? Lemuell’s response was:

“Winning unexpectedly gave me a feeling that was not that easy to comprehend. Yes, it gave me a sense of appreciation and a moment of fame, but it did also add a sense of responsibility. The main reason I decided to perform was because someone asked me to. I changed the songs I performed last minute because I wanted to dedicate them to someone. So I’ll take this win even if it was not what I had originally anticipated to come out of the evening. It was fun, I was a bit nervous when I went on stage, but once I got the first note right, it was all a matter of confidence.”

Lemuell Pagulayan, AGT Winner

Lemuell’s statement gives me some valuable insight, and knowing the motivation behind his performance is especially inspiring. After learning about the feeling of nervousness Lemuell had before going on stage, I was all the more impressed by his performance because he indeed came across confident, and it radiated in his singing. As it turns out, changing the songs last minute paid off, $1000, to be exact. Congratulations to Lemuell! 

I would like to thank the Augustana Students’ Association and all those who performed and were otherwise involved in making “Augustana’s Got Talent” so memorable. Overall, talent comes in so many forms, and it was great seeing such a wide array of it. Who knows, maybe I’ll participate in AGT next year? I’ll start practicing my juggling.

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