CSUEB talent fills the house at Showtime at the Apollo event



Bay Area R &B singer, Goapele, performs at Showtime at the Apollo Tuesday night.

Local talent was on full display Tuesday night at the California State University, East Bay Theater as part of the 2015 homecoming week festivities.

The Associated Students, Inc. of CSUEB collaborated with MKTG KINGS, “a creative agency that specializes in branding,” to put on their version of the iconic “Showtime at the Apollo,” television show.

Unlike the original show, performers were not booed off stage but instead given a five-minute time limit. The winner was chosen by the loudest audience applause at the end of all the performances.

Senior communications major Da’Ryn Merriwether won the event after she sang “Fool For You” by Cee Lo Green and Melanie Fiona. The crowd selected Michael C., better known as Braxxy, as the second place winner for an original rap, and third place was awarded to Nado Tovar who sang and played guitar to his version of “Barbie Girl” by Aqua.

R&B singer Goapele took the University Theater stage before the voting began in front of a near capacity crowd. Goapele opened her set with the 2009 hit “Milk and Honey” and the entire crowd rose to its feet.

The Golden State Warriors official DJ, DJ DSHARP, provided the music for the singer who performed some of her well-known songs along with some from her new album “Strong As Glass”. Goapele got the crowd excited with her last song “Closer” before the voting for the winner of the show began.

There was a wide variety of performers that included comedians, singers, rappers, and dancers. One of the biggest crowd reactions of the night came after homecoming king nominee Andrew Chen performed a solo dance routine to “My Songs Know What You Did In the Dark (Light Em Up)” by Fall Out Boy.

“I have no idea what I am doing,” Chen said. “I just really have no idea.”

CSUEB student Faja Tha Poet performed an original song called “Above” that also drew a loud applause from the theater attendees. Faja Tha Poet utilized the chorus of his song to get the crowd involved, “So hard to keep my head above water, so hard to keep my head above the clouds.

Braxxy performed an original rap with Megan Pineda who sang “Best Mistake” by Ariana Grande. Pineda won CSUEB’s “The Voice” competition earlier in the week along with Emil Jason Dela Torre. Braxxy’s performance drew a huge applause from the near capacity crowd.

Comedian Benjamin Lal was able to get the crowd to laugh with jokes about college, high school, and his pizza delivery job. “I had a math teacher in high school that was from Oakland. He used to tell us to call him Alge-Bruh, and I did,” Lal Said. “I deliver the pizzas because they don’t want me touching the food. I look dirty.”

The most unique performance of the night came from CSUEB student Benny Avalos who performed an original monologue. Avalos told the story of how the character died while driving distracted by his phone, radio, and other things. The crowd sat in silence and a few attendees even shed some tears as he described a 21-year-old college student whose life was cut short by driving distracted, “I wanna run, I wanna laugh, please don’t bury me!” Avalos said.

“I could not help it, I just started crying,” attendee Christina Fultz said. “That was really powerful. It made me think about all the times I texted while I was driving. So stupid.”