Local celebrity judges will help decide who is named The Biggest Talent in Grand Rapids this weekend.

The first round auditions determined the top 15 performers who will return for the Finale Showcase at 6 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 12.

The Finale Showcase will be held at the Peter Martin Wege Theater in Grand Rapids.

This years Finalists include (in alphabetical order):

  • The Ardan Academy Irish Dance Team
  • Drew Alkema - Fingerstyle Guitar
  • Nate Altena - Vocal/Guitar
  • Nahshon Cook-Nelson - Spoken Word
  • Dylan Holmes - Vocal/Guitar
  • Taylor Krieger - Vocal/Guitar
  • Skylar Mayton - Vocal/Guitar
  • Jaycee Peters - Vocal
  • Royce Robinson - Vocal
  • Anders Rottschafer - Vocal/Guitar
  • Bradley Sinclair - Vocal
  • Gianna Stansell - Vocal
  • Jason Sytsma - Piano
  • MaRynn Taylor - Vocal
  • Payton Taylor - Vocal

Finalists’ Audition Videos are available on GR’s Big Talent YouTube page: GR's Big Talent YouTube Performances

This year’s GR’s Big Talent auditions features 15 uniquely talented performers from the greater Grand Rapids area. The Finalists range in age from 8 to 35 years old.

This year’s winner will be a featured performer throughout the calendar year after the Finale Showcase, representing GR After Hours at various locations to be determined by the GR After Hours GR’s Big Talent Planning Committee.

This years Emcee will be local radio personality Jackie Green from HOT FM.

Celebrity judges include:

  • Rachael Ruiz (WOOD TV)
  • Gravy (HOT FM)
  • Shelley Irwin (WGVU Public Radio & Television)
  • Scott Riemenschneider (BME, Local Marching Band Consultant/Adjudicator)

Each judge will be assessing each performance and providing feedback to each performer during the Finale Showcase. Winners will be chosen by a combined score from the judges’ evaluations and live, text-based audience voting.

In addition to the competition acts at the Finale Showcase, the winner of GR’s Big Talent 2015, Ja’Leeyna Dooley, will perform. Ja’Leeyna brought an amazingly talented voice to last year's competition, impressing not only the judges, but the audience as well, crowning her as the clear winner in 2015. Ja’Leeyna was awarded a $1,000 cash prize, along with opening the HOTFM New Year’s Eve Party and ball drop.

“Our whole event team, at GR After Hours, is excited about the talent here in Grand Rapids – this year's audition competition produced some of the best talent we have seen in the 5 year history of GR’s Big Talent”, said Chris Koens from GR After Hours, and the host of GR’s Big Talent audition show. “We’re also happy to have the partnership with the local community, helping us to promote the event and the performers throughout the 2016-2017 calendar year. We have some unique and Big Talent here in Grand Rapids and we're looking forward to showcasing this talent long after the awards are announced on Nov. 12. The 2016 Finale Showcase is one performance not to be missed!”

This years prizes include:

  • First Place - $1,000
  • Second Place - $500
  • Third Place - $250

One performer will be featured throughout the calendar year at various locations throughout Grand Rapids, representing GR’s Big Talent (locations to be determined based on the performer's schedule and the partnering locations).

Purchase GR’s Big Talent 2016 Finale Showcase tickets, visit: EventBrite/GRsBigTalent

Tickets are $15 in advance; $20 at the door.

For more information about GR’s Big Talent, visit www.grsbigtalent.com.